Suburban Demonstration and Education site for learning Permaculture, Natural Living, and Healing.
The main objective of this site was to create a backyard food forest garden for demonstration and educational purposes.
The soil is black gumbo clay and is in the heart of Texas's Blackland Prairie. The house currently rents rooms to interns or serious students of natural living and permaculture.
After an initial design was drawn up we dug straight in with hand tools to make two swales and berms and a small pond. The berms were then sheet mulched and left on their own for the summer. The site was not touched for two months and on return we were blessed with a berm full of rare organic melons. Just so happened that we used a not fully cooked compost as a layer in the sheet mulch and the melon seeds loved it!
4 IBC totes were then installed on top of cement pallets so they would not dig into the ground like a cheese grater. They were fitted with 2" pvc pipe and a 4" first flush. They have filled many times and emptied into the swales. However only 3 times have I seen the swales overflow into each other and the pond and it is nice to watch.
We then dug a gray water bed to harvest and clean water from 3 fixtures in the house: shower, sink, and washing machine. It's overflow is being dug to run into the top swale.
After digging the gray water bed we had quite a bit of serious clay on our hands. We ended up having a few cubic yards of top soil and compost (made from our the neighborhood's leaf waste, kitchen waste, and old produce from grocery stores) and mixed it with the clay to create an elegant backyard raised bed extravaganza of a design and an herb spiral. The beds were then seeded with hairy vetch and scatter mulched with straw and then left for the first season to grow mature and die before planting with vegetation, bushes, and small trees.
..... more pics and updates as they progress
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