At Southwoods Forest Gardens By: Kelly Jo Kokaisel
Recognize patterns and details. Southwoods Forest Gardens is a wonderful example of permaculture principles in action. This is why I chose to visit and take a tour of the property and see first hand how it works.
Solar, biomass, water, photosynthesis, respiration. This pond collects rainwater from the rooftop catchment. In it are koi fish that eat the scum on the surface, cattails, poplar, willow, and spiderwort. When it fills with water, it is diverted to the swale and berm system which is home to the orchard trees and their polyculture systems.
Store energy, provide feedback, recycle, instill control mechanisms. This space has been recycled to make a potato tower. A small, vertical space like this makes it easier to obtain a yield in a limited space.
Tripartite Altruism When one is obtaining a yield, everyone gets enough. Some fruit will be eaten by us, some will be eaten by animals who support the system, and some will simply fall to the ground and become food for the decomposers, microorganisms, and eventually the fruit tree itself.
Solar, plants, animals, water, compost. These beehives provide endless cycles of honey, as well as help pollinate the plants, all with relatively minimal maintenance.
Exchange, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The food and yard waste goes into the worm bin. The worms help break down the material which goes to fertilizing the plants, which will in turn feed us.
Space, Time, Landscape, Guilds. Microclimates and guilds, like corn squash and beans, or daffodils buckthorn and apple trees, benefit the whole by protecting each other from enemies and providing each other with nutrients.
Each element performs many functions, supports many elements. The berm and swale landscape design prevents water run off and redirects it to nourish the plants.
Scale & Speed. Propagating plants from seeds instead of buying plants may take longer but is much cheaper, allowing you to generate more, creating a yield.
Generalist, Community, Genetics. Trial and error can often lead to well working systems.
Keyhole Garden Beds, Ponds, Dams, Agroforestry. Plants that are used on a regular basis are placed nearest the home for quick and easy access. This microgreens box is designed for easy access to the plants and to keep weeds down in between rows.
Conserve, Release, Reorganize, Exploit, Flexibility, Chaos Theory, Ecosynthesis. This lower pond has been overcome with weeds and scum due to years of taking in run off water containing phosphorous. This abandoned pool pump has been repurposed to help obtain to stored water, and a little creativity will find a creative use for the energy in the scum.