San Rafael permaculturists document their garden journey

Move over Martha Stewart, P. Allen Smith, and all the other 35mm gardening gurus, and make way for Jed and Selim, residents of San Rafael who use only their first names for online privacy.

Jed and Selim are the entertaining creators and hosts of Late Bloomers Permaculture, an educational gardening series on YouTube.

“Permaculture is essentially an approach to growing food that works with nature rather than fighting it,” says Jed, a Novato Aborigine who works as a communications consultant and improv teacher. “Organic is part of it because our goal is to enhance life, not kill it, but it’s a much bigger philosophy than that. The real goal is to make our own nutritious food in a sustainable and life-affirming way.”

Neither Jed nor Selim, a Tunisian-born neurolinguistic programming life coach and COVID compliance officer, grew up gardening, but after seeing a video by French permaculturist Philip Forrer three years ago, Selim says he was “instantly off.” Loved the idea of ​​making my own food.”

His enlightenment inspired Jed, and two years ago they turned the back lawn of their hillside San Rafael home into an edible garden, which blessed them with £300 of produce last summer.

The new permaculture promoters decided to document the building of their garden—with all its lessons, surprises, humor, and even mistakes—in a YouTube series (youtube.com/Latebloomerspermaculture).

Each lesson focuses on a topic such as “Better Calling Ground”, “Planting Arrangement” and “Fence With Benefits” and typically lasts no more than 10 minutes.

“For me,[the YouTube series]was partly a creative frustration,” says Jed. “I was a comedy writer and improviser in Chicago for eight years when the pandemic hit and I lost all my creative opportunities.”

Then his mother died and he needed focus.

“From the start, I said to Selim, ‘If we do this, it can’t be just another boring, dry garden sewer. It has to have a sense of humor like we do.’ We both love to laugh and are a bit silly and playful in our daily lives. At the same time, we both knew it wasn’t just going to be a comedy. It had to strike a balance between information and entertainment.”

Jed and Selim’s 750-square-foot garden in midsummer that produced more than 300 pounds of food.

Selim, who is passionate about reducing the world’s carbon footprint, agreed. “I wanted to show people that we can make a difference in a small space and with little experience, achieve good results and have a lot of fun,” he says.

“I have found that many people find gardening very difficult, which is not surprising given how distant society is from nature. Our primary goal is to educate, but I think humor is a great tool to make anything seem more doable. I think people learn better when things are fun and playful.”

Selim especially appreciates the holistic aspect of permaculture. “Once we begin to understand the interactions (of nature), we can place each element in time and space to maximize those interactions and minimize the work I have to do. It’s like a fun puzzle to solve to get very lazy and harvest a ton.”

Jed and Selim’s pond adds beauty, helps regulate microclimate, and attracts beneficial insects.

Jed likes his scientific approach. “Permaculture is all about observation and correction. They spend more time observing than digging or planting. Every piece of land is different. water flows differently. The ground conditions are different. Local flora and fauna differ. I just think the goal of creating something that adapts to your conditions by simply observing and correcting it is cool.”

The two grow herbs, artichokes, beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, corn, cucumbers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, garlic, leeks, lettuce, mixed leafy greens, onions, parsnips, potatoes, peas, peppers, radishes , spinach, tomatoes, beets, zucchini, cantaloupe, grapes, watermelon and berries.

“Some of these we’ve grown in multiple strains, and while most have grown fairly well, some have been on the battle bus,” says Jed. “Unfortunately, our beets didn’t survive the winter, may they rest in peace.”

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