Homepage » Forums » Urban and Suburban Permaculture » Urgent Permaculture Opportunity!

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    My local community garden is hoping to change things up a bit this year. We have access to about 3 acres of fertile, former horse pasture right in the middle of the suburbs! We’ve only done this for one year and last year it was tilled and organically gardened by us, but I was hoping to present a permaculture plan to the group. I play a pretty big part in how we do the garden as I am extremely good friends with the land owner. I just recently started the permaculture course and it has been life changing, everything that I’ve learned so far just clicked. I even cried when I learned what we were doing to our soil. However, I don’t know much about how to create a permaculture plan for a garden yet let alone one this large. Our first garden meeting is Monday where we will discuss what to do this upcoming year. Does anyone know of any permaculture groups local to northern Indiana that would be able to help? Or be able and willing to help start a plan so we can get a permaculture garden started in time for this year’s growing season? I have to present the idea Monday evening, but I’d like to have some committed resources in order to convince the group that the venture would work for all of us.

    Either way I have talked with the land owner and he will grant me control over a large portion of the garden (most of it) to garden however I want next to everyone else’s traditional “organic” gardens in order to set an example. That would just end up being a LOT more work for me. As I said earlier, I fear that started learning Permaculture a little to late in the year and am now pressed for time so any help and advice would be very much appreciated by me and my entire community!



    You may want to check and do a search for Permaculture. I found 3 groups in the Chicago area, you may find one in your area. Members are eager to work! I too am pretty new to permaculture. The meet up groups are great for hands on experience, something we’re missing learning on-line.



    I would look over the soil and plant quite a good amount of cover crop. This is a little late for your input but I am hopeful that you see it sometime.

    The soil can always use more building and you can progress from a smaller first year plan to larger plans as time allows.

    And you can be the winner by building soil, not taxing your resources, and getting a nice yield for people and the soil at the same time.



    Hopefully you are still working that plot of land. Here’s a little advice from what I know from working on organic farms and doing my own permaculture garden now that I’m settled. Hope it helps.
    *Sunken beds are the sh*t, especially if they are placed at the bottom (or near the bottom) of a slight grade. I have several banana trees I planted that don’t need as much water since they are in a permanent position to capture and retain not only what falls on the bed, but also the surplus run off from the top of the gradient. I live in Florida, which gets ample rainfall, but the soil is so porous that we can have six inches of rain in an hour and there’s no standing water left thirty minutes later. The sunken bed also serves to “plant” water in the ground, helping to replenish the local aquifer.
    *One bed, many functions.
    Speaking of my banana trees, they are still small, and so leave more than enough room for at least one or two seasons worth of interplanting. I have two varieties of peas growing behind them, using the existing fence as a trellis, which will also store nitrogen in the soil and increase the growth and production of the banana crop. I also plan to turn the pea plants into compost/mulch right on the spot, adding even more nutrients. Once the weather gets a tic cooler, I’ll be planting kale and collards in the patch as well.
    *Deep mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Once your plants are big enough to see over your mulch, lay it down and lay it thick! Two to four inches deep is great.
    *Rock on. If you have naturally rocky soil, don’t take them out when you make your beds! They help retain moisture as well, and so long as the soil is not compacted, help give roots lots of little nooks to grow in and something to latch onto that doesn’t dry out as fast as regular soil. Make sure it is not only a little rocky but also rich in organic matter. I would say roughly 25/75 rocks to organic matter is a great ratio.
    *I would like to direct you to two of my absolute favorite authors who have both inspired and educated me. Brad Lancaster,; and Ana Edey, Amazing people, fascinating work.



    Do you still have any opportunities open?

    Regards, Teresa Haering
    [email protected]

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