This year's garden has been very productive here at the Nest I call home. The raised beds again prevented the wetter months we experienced this year from impacting my garden significantly. I have improved upon my weed reduction/soil enrichment efforts by making the time to surround any above ground plants with straw or hay & also by covering the soil completely in some new raised bad areas. This soil covering will help prevent weed seeds (other than the grasses in the straw or hay) from sprouting. I will put the composted chicken & straw mixture I mucked out of my chicken stalls this spring onto all raised beds in the fall so the compost & straw/hay top dressing will have ample opportunity to decompose into the soil by spring.
This time of the year my thoughts also turn to what chores & goals can do I to make this place more sustainable? What can I do prior to the snow flying? Good time to ponder these thoughts as I weed, harvest & tidy the garden. What chores & goals do you have?
One chore/goal of mine is to build another outbuilding to house additional chickens & rabbits, in keeping with utilizing permaculture methods. Co-house that livestock!
Chickens are very easy to raise & benefit a farm in numerous ways. I can always sell my chickens' eggs & chickens, since they are non-GMO, whole grain fed birds (eggs $4 doz; birds sold by wt.-average $12). Chickens keep the bugs population down, fertilize wherever they are allowed to roam, & can "live off the land" by eating bugs, worms, grass or anything that they can outrun, thus vastly reducing their feed costs a portion of the year.
Rabbits are another bonus to one's farm. Very prolific & quiet, this additional manure source (which can be applied immediately to your garden beds, unlike chicken manure that needs to age to take the 'heat' out) is underrated & under utilized as a delicious & cheap food source. A friend suggested adding some cold frames to the south side of this outbuilding. This is a great idea & another option to improve upon the design of any building by adding onto existing walls with another structure!
So as we saunter into fall, consider where you are in your available land's permaculture design, set those chores/goals before the snow flies, & get that woodstove ready!!