This week at OKY we began to prepare the small food forest we are designing for the chicken yard/pasture land.
A food forest is a permaculture design technique in which perennial fruiting trees, shrubs, grasses, and root veggies are planted in layers in order to support one another’s growth and provide an abundance of edible goodies in a small space. Prior to any digging we want to make the soil as nutritious and workable as possible. Once we chose the placement of the trees, we began mulching the surrounding land. Mulching is the process of placing layers of decomposable material on the earth in order to:
a) suppress weed growth
b) retain water
c) build up organic matter in the soil
We began the mulching process by recycling all of the cardboard boxes that remained from West Coast Party and hauling them over to OKY, we cleared out two dumpsters, twice!
We stumbled upon a large pile of decomposing cow manure on the site to use as the first layer of our soil preparation. We are continually grateful for the wealth of resources at camp, making use of waste and transforming it into treasure.
It’s all about harnessing that flow.
After contemplating how we could get our hands on some rain barrels, our neighbor Haggai surprised us with a truckload of empty containers waiting to be of use. The rains finally came and we’ve seen how quickly the barrels fill up, thus we are figuring out a way to extend the harvesting of rainwater. It will be wonderful to use this water to irrigate the garden this summer.
Other smaller tasks of this week included:
a.) Pruning the Catalpa tree and digging a trench around its base to assist in drainage
b.) Building an A-frame, which is a leveling tool that will allow us to build garden beds that are in contour with the slope of the hill. We plan on using the A-frame to build terraced beds when the rains end and the earth can be tilled
e.) Painting one last coast of floor finish in the house ‘office’
f.) Preparing a presentation on Lotan/OKY for Temple Emanu-El’s 5th graders
g.) Researching fruit tree planting and care
h.) Receiving a bio-intensive Terraced Bed Prep lesson from Michelle at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
i.) continuing to de-slug plants…