Growing Organic with a Growing Family

We would like to introduce you to Shalane, Brent, and Elias, who are not only a growing family but also have chosen to grow a permaculture garden in their backyard.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Brent, my husband is a Pastor in Galeton, PA and I am a stay at home mom to Elias. However, I was not able to carry full term babies until year 15. So our babies are later in our lives but loved all the more for it. After our 3rd miscarriage I was so hurt and upset with God (truthfully), but He used that hurt to help me grow.

Funny enough, my garden has played a HUGE part in my walk with God. Growing things knit my heart to Him in a way that I had never experienced before. We are actually expecting our second child in April!

Elias and his apple tree

What made you want to start growing trees?

Since permaculture gardening is a great interest of mine I started researching how to plant fruit tree guilds which support the trees in many ways and offer extra herbs and foods in the same growing space. 

We have less than an acre to try to grow as much as possible and are trying to be self sustaining. We knew that apples were something that we love to eat in so many ways. So, we researched  local nurseries and found Mehrabyan Nursery. Much to our delight it was very family centered and Surik was such a helpful and warm person.

What have been some challenges?

So far our trees are doing well. Our challenges have been using only organic pest control methods since we keep honey bees in our small area and they are sensitive to pesticides and pruning (which we haven’t tried yet). 

Do you have advice for any new growers?

If we had any advice to give to new growers it would be to ask ALL the questions and not to be afraid to try something new!” 

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