We had our garden raising yesterdy. About 30 friends showed up for various amounts of time. We all worked, laying cardboard, carting compost, leaf mulch and wood chips around to create the gardens. The weather was lucious, not higher than 72 all day with deep blue skies.
The idea of a garden raising came from Broadfork, a group of talented and enthusiastic permaculturists. Ashley, Evelyn and Llani are a sort of perfect hybrid between farmers and landscape designers. Most farmers don’t have any concern for landscape design and most landscapers don’t care about growing food. Broadfork helps people design and install beautiful, functional and abundant gardens. They helped with measurments and planning as well as working their fannies off all day at the garden raising. All along, they have been teaching Zoe and I about the basic principles of permaculture as we go. For a really deep understanding of it, watch the movie Inhabit.
We first laid cardboard. Cardboard is sort of a miracle for gardening. The purpose of it is to first kill the grass underneath it. But much more than that, the cardboard offers a kind of 4 seasons hotel for worms. As the grass dies, it provides food for worms. The cover of the cardboard helps keep the worms protected from both cold and heat. As the worms move in make their home under the cardboard they poop like crazy and also aerate the soil. The worm poop is just about the best fertilizer there is. So rather than focusing on putting nutrients into the soil, we let the worms do the bulk of the enhancement. The soil in our field is rather sandy and poor.
By spring, with the cardboard covered with compost and then layered with leaf mulch, we will have amazing soil by spring. How cool!
We have lots of plans. In addition to the 15 fruit trees already here, we will plant many kinds of berries and fruits. Of course there will be tons of vegetables as well as mushrooms and native flowers to attract bees and butterflies. Of course we’ll have animals too – chickens, bees and our wonderful horses.
So many wonderful friends came to help. Thank you! I felt that everyone who came now has a connection to this place, some ownership of it. I am so excited to see how this will continue to manifest. Zoe and I both feel something magical happening but we don’t quite know what it’s all for yet. We like that sense of the unknown.
We ended the day with a ritual led by Phyllis Labanowski. Almost everyone had left already. My friend Anneke had brought a lobelia which we planted in the central herb garden. The gardens are already blessed and bringing blessings.
Zoe said yesterday, after hearing that a friend had come to the gardens when we were not there, “I love when people just come!” I agree. We want people to come and participate and hopefully be fed on many levels.
Stay tuned for garden raising part 2. We still have a lot to do and hope people will feel welcome.