Saturday, October 3, 2015

Backyard Project: Gunilla's Garden

This garden bed was started when the trench from the house to the studio had to be dug.
I don't have a before image but the area to the left was covered with weed cloth and river stones.
We removed all of the river stones and marked out a new track further away from the bases of the trees - orange tape and markers.

The soil underneath the weed cloth was compacted and starved of nutrients/food.

The whole area was first covered with cardboard and paper then many layers of coffee grounds, horse manure, grass clippings, decaying wood, more paper, compost.... were added.
At this stage friend Gunilla was staying. She spent time out in this new bed adding layers. I remember she told me some wonderful stories while we worked. It is now called Gunilla's Garden.

John, an environmental sciences university student, also worked on the garden when he came around over the summer to hand water the gardens. The construction had destroyed the irrigation system so we hand watered to get the essential beds through the dry season.

John added lots more compost, paper, and decaying logs - a juicy combination if you are an organism living in the soil.

I added lots of pruned branches to build a mulch cover to help retain the moisture in the bed. The soil organisms need moisture to be able to work on the layers and make new soil.

We had 2 truck loads of freshly shredded garden 'waste'. I say 'waste', but to permaculturalists it is like 'gold'.

We put a thick layer of this treasure on Gunilla's Garden. As soon as the rains started mushrooms and other fungi popped up all over the bed. They are a good sign that the different materials are beginning to break down. I am looking forward to being able to plant in Gunilla's Garden.

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