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Southern SAWG- Big yields in small spaces


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Using Permaculture principles to increase yields in urban gardens

Using Permaculture principles to increase yields in urban gardens

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  • 2. Urban Harvest- Houston     Houston non-profit seeking to develop the various aspects of the local food movement within our city. Community Gardens Education: Adults and Youth Farmers Markets
  • 3. Bob Randall, Ph.D.- Founder   Permaculture Instructor and former University professor started Urban Harvest in 1994 using the principles of permaculture. His goal was to teach Houstonians how to grow their own food by developing community gardens.
  • 4. Using Permaculture Principles        See solutions; not problems Everything works in at least 2 ways Work where it counts Minimize inputs; maximize outputs Use everything to its highest capacity Bring food production back to the cities; help make people self reliant Co-operation not competition
  • 5. Planning Questions How much space do you have?  How much of it gets 6-8 hours sun?  What garden elements would you like (beehives, orchard, chickens, co mpost, pond)?  How much time do you want to 
  • 6. Site Considerations 6- 8 hours of unfiltered sunlight  Nearby Water Source  Raised Beds  A. 8” tall minimum  B. North / South Orientation 
  • 7. Raised Beds: Bio-intensive Gardening      More surface area for planting Control of soil quality & drainage Naturally maintains paths Easy to set up structures Easy to install row cover
  • 8. Windsor Retainer Wall 12” length x 10” width x4” height; available from Home Depot
  • 9. Solid Concrete Blocks
  • 10. Rough Cedar Fence Slats 5 ¾ ” height x 6’ length x ¼ ” to ½ “ thick: use this to maximize space
  • 11. Plastic Wood or Hardie Plank
  • 12. Logs for Habitat Beds These were collected from the neighborhood
  • 13. Building Your Soils      Increase production>increases root system & soil microorganisms Soil Type: Sandy Loam with 25-50%organic matter No-tilling: Fukuoka Avoid compaction Maintain moisture
  • 14. Soil Food Web
  • 15. Fertilizers & Foliar Sprays Balanced organic fertilizer  Contains materials that also feed your soil organisms  Usually has a low N-PK  Granular for initial planting  Foliar spray to sidedress 
  • 16. Vertical Gardening       Minimizes your foot print Maximizes space that is often unused Increases the productivity of a square foot; decrease disease Facilitates harvesting Minimize work: watering is close, harvesting and managing weeds is easier Creates microclimates: due to increased density and moisture
  • 17. Vertical Garden Structures
  • 18. Vertical Garden Structures
  • 19. Vegetable Selection      Think in “pounds per square foot” Separate annuals from perennials Indeterminate tomatoes Perpetual Harvesters: kale, collards, chard, spinach, eggplants, peppers Varieties that can be trellised: Cucumbers, legumes, melons, squashes
  • 20. Succession Planting     1. Plant quick producing crops every 2-3 wks (cucumbers 6wks) 2. Plant in succession/ be ready to plant new crop (transplants and sprouting seed will produce faster) Choose diverse crops with different ripening times No empty beds; if the plant serves a purpose (attracting pollinators, living mulch, going to seed) leave it
  • 21. Spacing Vegetables         Read packets for mature plant size 18” dia. peppers 18” dia. Broccoli 2’ dia. Cabbage & cauliflower 2’ dia. Indeterminate tomatoes 1’ cucumbers 8” bush beans 1’ chard
  • 22. Include Fruits in a Food Garden      Select regionally appropriate rootstocks (possibly dwarfing) Choose appropriate varieties: Chill hours, planting Zones Plant for year around production Intensive plantings: Needs training & pruning High Density: 4 trees 1-2’ apart
  • 23. Interplanting/ Mixed Planting      Maximum Diversity: both in species and varieties Plant annual herbs and veg. together Plant perennial herbs and vegetables with fruit trees: plant guild Plant shorter shade tolerant crops with vertical crops Incorporate native & edible flowers into your garden
  • 24. Ecological Pest Control  Starts off like IPM  Create healthy plants that resist attack  * Encourage creatures that eat pests *  Make it difficult for pests to find food  Trapping and Biological Controls  Use organic pesticides
  • 25. Cultural Practices and Healthy Plants         Region appropriate vegetable varieties Plant at the appropriate time (get a planting calendar from Extension) Sterilize pruning tools Harvest before watering! Air circulation Regular watering: lessens plant stress Proper fertilization Weed – directly around crops
  • 26. Crop Rotation     Make it difficult for pests to find food Learn the vegetable plant families Do not plant the same vegetable family in the same bed year after year Rotate vegetable families from one bed to another
  • 27. Attracting Beneficial Insects  Most insect species are beneficial or neutral  Many of our garden pests are insects that can be controlled by other insects  Insects are a vital part of the ecosystem and our lives.  Create an Insectary
  • 28. Create an Insectary or Hedgerow  Permanent  Water source  Nectar/ pollen source  Diversity of plants  Year around blooms  Various plant heights  Hedgerows for larger areas Easy to do with an Herb garden!
  • 29. Mulch, Mulch, Mulch!!!        Regulates soil Temperature Maintains moisture Suppresses weeds Should be from a diverse group of trees never a singular source Should be composted down not “green” Alfalfa hay for Vegetables Never use coastal hay from an unknown source
  • 30. Tips for a Successful Garden         Check water temperature before watering Harvest before watering Water the soil not the leaves Trellis vines Harvest frequently Fill fallow beds with cover crops or mulch Add annual flowers for pest control Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
  • 31. An addiction to gardening is not all bad when you consider all the other choices in life . . . Cora Lea Bell Thank You!