Saturday, October 14, 2023

2022 Retrospective

I'm writing a retrospective very late this year, but we're still here, still learning, still developing this site.

We created a fourth forest patch, and we forested the walking labyrinth and the tropicals patch on the east side of the house.  In all of these areas, we used a planting approach designed maximize the rate of early biomass development with minimum inputs of water, seeds, and imported (i.e. from outside the site) material.

We did this by 1) watering with network of dripline (1/2" tubing with pressure-compensating emitters embedded at intervals in the tube wall), and 2) concentrating the seeds and added growing medium along the dripline.

This strategy of concentrating inputs in lines was accidentally inspired by the success of the annuals we planted last year in the walking labyrinth, where the walking path naturally results in a linear planting bed.

We set up a kitchen garden1 in the northwest quarter where we used the linear planting approach described above in addition to the hay mulching2 approach we started using the year before.  In my 2021 retrospective, I mentioned that the chickens helped us prepare this plot.

We harvested wheat for the first time in 2022.  It turned out to be much easier than I expected to harvest and prepare a small batch of wheat3.

We pollarded (i.e. pruned back to the trunk) our moringas for the first time in 2022.  The picture to the right was taken in April, 2023, and you can see how severely we pruned them back, and how quick the trees were to regrow.

As we pruned the branches, we harvested the leaves.  We ate some of the leaves fresh, some we froze, but most we dried and ground into powder.

On the book learnin' front, a couple topics I studied in 2022 related to Sage Garden were facilitation4,5, regenerative work6,7,8, and system thinking for sociocultural change9,10,11.

I'll leave the final words to a couple of wild beings who visited us in 2022 to do their thing.


1. Maureen Gilmer, Growing Vegetables in Drought, Desert & Dry Times (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2015)

2. Ruth Stout, Gardening Without Work (Battleboro: Echo Point Books & Media, LLC, 1961)

3. "It's Easy to Harvest and Process a Little Grain." YouTube, uploaded by Sage Garden Ecovillas, 29 May 2022,

4. Sam Kaner, Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2014)

5. Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless, The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures (Seattle: Liberating Structures Press, 2013)

6. Adam Kahane, Transformative Scenario Planning (San Francisco: Berret-Koeler Publishers, Inc, 2012)

7. Michael J. Goldberg, The 9 Ways of Working (Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 1999)

8. Carol Sanford, Indirect Work (Mill Creek: InterOctave, 2022)

9. Jay W. Forrester, Principles of Systems (Waltham: Pegasus Communications, Inc., 1990)

10. Donella H. Meadows, Thinking in Systems (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008)

11. David Peter Stroh, Systems Thinking for Social Change (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015)

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