Before Permaculture

I got my first permaculture design project, unpaid of course

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This site is a long 8 acre lot with a small 1960’s ? ranch style house. Most of the lot is forest. When the previous owner died, the property was given to a nearby church. The church decided to give the lot to their Boy Scout Troop on a temporary basis, and if they are good stewards, they will get it permanently. So my brother is the current Scout Master, and my Sister in Law asked me if I would like to design a garden for the property. So I went to Florida last week, and looked over the land, made plans for a garden and a supply list to get them going. I think the front 1/2 acre would be ideal for a annual garden and a bunch of fruit trees. So far it has been fun to get to design a real site.

The Front lawn is large, with good sun, so we agreed that a vegetable garden would work out well there. After looking at the soil, I observed that it is very sandy, so to conserve water, I think the best way to proceed would be to dig out about 8 inches of the soil and fill the space with rotting logs from the back of the property. This would serve as a sponge to hold water. Then put a soil mulch mixture on top- as deep as possible- 12 inches would be great, then mulch on top of that. Plant the seeds in the soil/Mulch mix. My SIL got a grant from Seed Savers and received a nice package of vegetable seeds, which should be enough seeds for the entire troop to grow vegetables. They also have a Scout father who is a plumber, so I suggested they install a sprinkler system to water when they are not there. There is already a spigot at the garden, and the Church will pay the water bill.

There is also a Bee keeper in Pensacola who will give you a bee hive… and maintain it for you…so I said go for it.

There is bamboo on site, so I think trellis’s made of bamboo and lashed on the front of the sad little brick house would do wonders to hide the look. Then plant Kiwi and in a year or so, they would have a wild jungle look that is more in keeping with the Boy Scout mystique than red brick.

My nephew known as the “Yellow headed Kid” and I did the “Jar Test”… you collect some soil from your site, and put it in a straight-sided jar, fill it with water, shake it up to mix, then let it settle for a week and observe the layers of sand, silt and clay. The preliminary results are mostly sand. The Jar Test came from Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier’s 2 volume book Edible Forest Gardensedible Forest Gardenshttp://www.edibleforestgardens.com/files/image_bookset.gif

I am working on a drawn design, I will post that when it is complete.

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2 responses to “Before Permaculture

  1. What a wonderful project to be doing. I guess it is rare to come across virgin land so to speak in which to start a new permaculture garden. I’m looking forward to seeing what the backyard looks like.
    I used to be in the girl guides and look back on that period of my life with happiness. We used to meet in the church hall and would have given our eye teeth for a place like this. 8 acres they’ll be able to camp on site and all sorts of things.
    Your plans sound interesting. Have a look at the www. thetuckerpatch.com.au which is part of the http://www.thegloucesterprroject.org.au I was involved with this for a bit . They used permaculture techniques and I’d go home and try them at home. Eventually I was struggling to maintain my own veggie patch so I stopped going.

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    • The Tucker patch looks amazing, we have something called community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that you pay farmers to grow you a box, I’ve done it in the past, this year I’m going to try to grow my own, I won’t be able to help the Boy Scouts too much, because they live 3 hours by car away, but may make another trip down when they are ready to plant…I hope so, as I would like more pictures.

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