My neighbor, and fellow nurse, Nikki Duncan is an avid supporter, promoter and teacher of the gardening method known as Bio-Intensive Mini Farming. On a small plot of ground, Nikki grows 80% of the food she eats as well as feed for her chickens and horses. She even grows things whose only purpose is to go into making compost. I took her popular course in Bio-Intensive Mini Farming this Spring. All I have to show for it is the textbook and one tomato plant, grown not using the techniques I learned in the class. While I am a dismal failure, Nikki is a huge success at sustainable living. I went to Nikki’s on a chicken house-call this morning and while there she offered me a tour of her spectacular garden. As if hosting my visit weren’t enough, Nikki’s garden is part of a tour this weekend of the American River Conservancy. I wonder if they will notice my tomato plant as they drive by?
Nikki’s garden has changed so much since I took the class. She has vegetables, fruits, grains, flowers, and even cotton growing from which she will make a T-shirt. I was in awe, myself having to prepare two days in advance to wash a T-shirt.
I finished my tour, we dusted some chickens and I headed home. I returned a short time later with my camera and Michael in tow to take some pictures of Nikki’s Garden. We parked by the adorable little barn, painted to match the house and compost bins. I really should move back to the city. I am a disgrace to the country people.
Buck and Bart, Nikki’s 2,000 pound Percheron draft horses were happy to see us. Is it just me or do they need their bangs trimmed?
I started taking pictures while Michael got Nikki’s lecture on pasture management. This is a repeat lesson for him too but we are, as you know, city people.
This corn is not sweet corn for eating, slathered in butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Nope, not at Nikki’s house. It is corn for grinding into flour to make tortillas. What? Have these country people never heard of Taco Bell?
These are mini gourds and, unless Nikki never speaks to me again after reading this, I am getting them when they dry so I can turn them into Christmas ornaments. I’ll pimp these gourds out with paint and glitter for a real country Christmas.
Here are the color coordinated compost bins at Nikki’s place. At the Buck ‘N Run Ranch we throw ours on the ground behind the barn. I think I’ll invest in one of those ComposTumblers. They’re green. Our barn is green. See where I’m going with this?
All kidding aside, we had a fun time and I came home with squash, garlic, leeks, and rhubarb. I left Nikki a receptacle for a chicken dirt bath and some diatomaceous earth. That’s how we do it in the country.
By the way, we also grow sorghum here at the Buck ‘N Run Ranch. It seems the seed was carried here from Nikki’s garden and deposited via bird droppings. Ha! Country people buy their seeds.
Please enjoy the slideshow I made of all the beautiful images I captured at Nikki’s Garden. And if you are on the tour this weekend, I will be outside early in case anyone driving by has any questions about my tomato plant.
Please click the arrows to scroll through the images of a real country garden, Nikki’s Garden.
Nikki Duncan is a Placer County Master Gardener and Biointensive Sustainable Agriculture instructor certified through the non-profit Ecology Action. Nikki grows approximately 80% of her diet including grains for making breads, granola, crackers, and tortillas. The GrowBiointensive method includes deep soil preparation, planting in a grid pattern rather than in rows, and growing compost crops. The method uses less water, increases yield and requires little to no imported compost or fertilizer because you produce what the soil needs to maintain fertility right in your growing space.
About the American River Conservancy:
For more than 20 years, the American River Conservancy (ARC) has been preserving rivers and land for life. As a non-profit community organization in the central Sierra Nevada foothills, we work to preserve natural areas and cultural resources and build an enduring ethic of care, building a sustainable future for humans in harmony with nature.