Loading...

Follow Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid
Over the past 12 years, Ken Foster has been our “visionary” blogger! But Ken is opening up the blog to include other voices. At Terra Nova, we hire visionary people to work for us, and they have something to say, too. In this post, meet Neale “the Wheel” Inglenook. In future blog posts you’ll hear from Ken again on sustainable landscaping subjects, as well as from other staff and friends. Neale Inglenook maintains landscapes by bicycle with Terra Nova’s Tread Lightly Maintenance Service. He and his brother chronicled their Trans-America bike trip on the blog nealeanddave.blogspot.com. More of his writing can be found at digital-material.net, and in the forthcoming issue of the literary journal Dark Mountain. ———————————

Oregon Coast

By Neale Inglenook
On August 8th, 2010, my brother and I pushed our bicycles through the sand on the Oregon coast and dipped our rear wheels in the surf. A day of mist that wanted to be rain, the breakers rolling in gray from the west. Our panniers ponderous with everything we thought we would need for the coming journey, our handlebars aiming east, we were thrilled with uncertainty, trepidation, and explorers’ excitement.
Ten weeks later, our front wheels met the Atlantic on a South Carolina beach. We had traveled 4,000 miles; crossed mountain ranges, high deserts, rolling prairies that stretched to the horizon; endured summer heat that felt like breathing in an oven, mountain sleet that chilled our hands numb, deluges that pummeled our little tent; learned to love weak roadside coffee and canned chili; rarely slept in a bed, but more than once in a graveyard; shared almost everything we had between the two of us. Much of the trip was not what is usually called pleasant. We battled brick-hard headwinds with aching legs; torrential rains soaked us to the skin; we woke some mornings shivering and unprotected to oatmeal going cold. Most days we ended bone-tired, caked in salt from our sweat; I was so starved for it once I licked it from my shirt. We sometimes went weeks between showers. All through Nebraska we slept by rail lines where coal trains thundered and blared their horns every quarter hour, the earth quivering under our thin mats.

Shoshone National Forest

The discomfort could lead to an uneasy sense of vulnerability we tend to push to the margins of our minds when we can: the feeling that we are small, at the whim of greater forces, with nothing but ourselves to fall back on. Throughout, many people we encountered expressed disbelief that anyone would undertake such an endeavor voluntarily – indeed that it was even possible. A woman in West Virginia stood gaping at us when we told her how far we’d come. “You came all the way from Oregon?” she asked. “On them bicycles?” We gained things from the hardship and exposure, though, more than we gave up. I have never felt better physically than during those ten weeks, aching muscles and canned chili aside. Generosity followed on the heels of disbelief, as people all across the continent opened their homes, let us pitch our tent in their yards, gave us directions or made us a latte.

Yellowstone National Park

One time in West Yellowstone, a thunderstorm bore down on us like a tidal wave, nearly knocking us flat, soaking us, felling trees in our path. We made it to town and found a pizza joint with big bottomless mugs of coffee. Hearing about our undertaking, the young workers gave us a pizza for free. Sitting inside with the big mug filling my hand, watching the clouds scud over the mountains, I have never felt warmer or safer. Whether with people we met, passes we climbed, weather that descended on us, what we gained was contact and experience. Every moment our senses were filled with the wild landscapes we traversed, impressed into memory I still carry with me. We might have taken a week or two to cross the continent by car. But whether traveling thousands of miles, or merely around town, the experience is qualitatively different on a bike. In a car we are enclosed, our contact with the greater world attenuated by glass and steel and climate control, and the ability to command speed simply by pressing the gas. We are often wrapped up in our thoughts as we rush to our next engagement. The bicycle, by contrast, demands our bodily effort, a consciously steady pace, and an openness to what’s around us. We take in the light through the cypress trees, hear the growl of traffic and the call of the red-shouldered hawk, and breathe the air, with its tastes of ocean spume and car exhaust and soil in the sun. It is easy and conventional in our culture to disconnect from and disregard non-human things. To this, gardening and bicycling can be antidotes. If we are doing our work well and paying attention, both activities ask us to engage with our landscapes and their features, small and large. With that engagement comes an almost implicit care for places and things. This is why we chose to cross the continent by bicycle, and why I’ve come to work in the mode that I do. In the end it is not such a hardship or deprivation – our landscapes are made more healthy and our lives better, and we are left with potent memories. This week, working in a garden, I was savoring the sea wind blowing in at the front of the coming storm – heady, salty, humid – and I thought of a day, almost a decade ago now, when the wind was laying the grass flat on the Wyoming plains, and massive storm clouds marched stately on the horizon, trailing dark rain. That day the breeze was at our backs, and it carried us over rolling hills, as though we were light as birds.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
 

Reprinted from an article published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel
December 13th, 2018, Home and Garden, Lifestyle section.

Ken Foster and Jillian Steinberger’s garden in Santa Cruz.  

Climate change is predicted to threaten the health of our ecosystems with droughts and storms, food shortages, shifting habitats and extinctions. Here are some tips for making your garden and your native ecosystem more resilient: Prepare for drought

Drought will be one of the main concerns for the area, endangering many sensitive species, according to the Central Coast region report of California’s fourth climate assessment.

Ken Foster with the harvest at a rooftop garden.

To prepare for dry years, Ken Foster, founder of Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping, recommended asking about drought-tolerant plants at any local nursery.

“With drought, it’s certainly about choosing the right plants,” said Foster. “And there’s plenty of California natives that evolved with a drought cycle, there’s plenty of plants that are colorful, that attract pollinators, that are low maintenance perennials that have deep roots and therefore use less water. Native plants are uniquely adapted to their environment and provide food and habitat for insects, birds and other animals.

Foster also said mulching over bare soil, removing water-intensive lawns and installing drip irrigation systems with smart timers can all help conserve water. Greywater and rainwater catchment systems can also make use of water that would otherwise go down the drain.

Prepare for storms

Extreme rain events will also threaten the area, causing erosion and damaging freshwater and ocean ecosystems with sediment and pollutants.

Foster said that biodegradable jute netting and groundcovers can be used to retain soil on bare slopes, and rainwater that isn’t caught in tanks should be diverted into bioswales – level ditches that allow water to sink into the soil and recharge the groundwater.

“Instead of running it off into the gutter where it’s collecting pollution and polluting the bay, we’re trying wherever possible to sink rainwater, either by capturing it in a tank or sinking that water into the ground using bioswales,” he said.

Foster also advocated for more permeable hardscape — paths, patios and driveways that prevent excessive runoff and allow water to percolate through into the soil.

“We’re teaching the water to walk, not run,” said Foster, who helped start the Ecology Action program Monterey Bay Friendly Landscaping, offering strategies, workshops, certifications and incentives for ecological landscaping.

Plant natives

Linda Brodman, president of the Santa Cruz chapter of the California Native Plant Society, said that native plants are uniquely adapted to their environment and provide food and habitat for insects, birds and other animals, supporting them and allowing them to move through the built environment.

“It’s good to plant what has evolved locally in these particular soils and in these habitats because they’ve developed over a long time, they’ve coevolved with what’s here,” said Brodman. “It’s a foundation for restoring and developing your garden. You’ll attract birds – good grief, in my garden I found a salamander recently.”

Brodman recommended Calscape, a native plant database searchable by location, species, plant type and microhabitat, to help figure out which natives evolved locally.

Encourage biodiversity

Brett Hall, director of the UC Santa Cruz native plant program, said conserving genetic diversity is crucial for maintaining resilient ecosystems.

“The more genetic diversity, the more potential you have for successful adaptations,” he said. “We have no idea what secrets lie in genetic diversity, how helpful they might be for humans, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Hall said that planting locally sourced native plants can increase genetic diversity, not just of species but of individual populations, and particularly if they’re planted in patches and stands to attract bees to cross-pollinate them.

Planting rare, endemic and endangered plants, or the plants that rare animals need for food and habitat can also help preserve the biodiversity of the region.

Michael Loik, UC Santa Cruz professor of environmental studies and an author of the Central Coast region report, said climate change will eventually cause significant shifts in habitat ranges that will threaten many species, especially those with small populations.

“The central coast is a hotspot of biodiversity, and that means that there are a lot of species for which climate change could be imperiling,” he said.

According to the report, changing patterns of rainfall and temperature will in general cause plant species and the animals that depend on them to move up into the mountains and north through the lowlands as temperatures increase, requiring conservation not only of existing habitat but anticipation of future habitats and corridors for species to get there.

Provide habitat for wildlife

“You can make your yard more pollinator and bird friendly with some simple changes,” said Chris Lay, lecturer and manager of the UC Santa Cruz Natural History Museum.

“By providing them with good pollinating plants and habitat for nesting, a little bit of a water source, diversity of species, shelter, perches, that sort of thing, we can make the habitat that’s here more attractive and suited to their needs, and help them survive and cope with these changes better,” he said.

Ask for pollinator- and bird-friendly plants at your local nursery and think about how to design your garden to support wildlife with food, water, shelter and movement.

For example, Barry Sinervo, a UC Santa Cruz professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, said he transformed his yard into a rock garden, making a haven for the lizard species he studies.

“If you plant rock gardens, you enhance the ability of many of these species to take hold in the urban landscape,” he said.

Sinervo said that some of the species he studies have already gone locally extinct or are endangered due to climate change, but that providing “refugia” can help them persist and adapt.

Monarch butterflies are beloved visitors of the Monterey Bay that overwinter in eucalyptus groves, but their populations have declined severely due to habitat loss. Based on the latest Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, the population in California is anticipated to be less than 30,000, an 86 percent decline from last year and a precipitous drop from historic estimates numbering in the millions.

Planting native milkweed, the only plant that monarchs lay their eggs on and that their caterpillars can eat, as well as flowering plants that produce nectar for the adults, can provide much-needed habitat that could help revive the species.

Share this:

View more on Santa Cruz Sentinel

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
When it comes to water conservation the solutions are not black and white, they’re grey. You will find it (correctly) spelled greywater and graywater but whether you spell it with an ‘e’ or an ‘a’ it is one of the smartest strategies for maximizing your water economy. You see, we in the state of California spend around 20% of our overall energy making water potable and moving it around. There’s even a word for that, ‘watergy’ refers to the energy we spend on the wet stuff. So with graywater you can help reduce watergy, save money and the water itself by keeping laundry water on your site. Technically greywater is all used house water sources (shower, bathtub, bathroom sinks) except the ‘blackwater’ from toilets and kitchen sinks. A ‘laundry to landscape’  system is often the easiest to install. This type of system cuts the pipe going to the sewer or septic and diverts it via tubing into multiple ‘mulch basins’ where it can safely infiltrate into the ground to hydrate the root zone of garden and landscape plants. The State of California has guidelines that make it clear how to install a safe greywater system. As long as the twelve basic guidelines are followed no permit is needed for Laundry to Landscape Greywater Irrigation Systems.  A permit is needed when any change is made to the household drainage plumbing.  Although no deaths have ever been reported from the use of graywater, it is wise to prevent possible contamination from above ground pooling. With these guidelines greywater never sees the light of day or the inside of a storage tank for that matter. Storing graywater is a bad idea. It becomes a science experiment within 24 hours turning it from grey to blackwater. Five easy steps 1.The laundry out-flow water is diverted with a three way valve installed right next to the washing machine. This gives you the option of diverting the water back to the sewer or septic if needed for any reason. For example: if you are going to use bleach in the laundry or the ground is saturated from rain you would divert the graywater away from the landscape with this valve. 2. Next: it is important to install an auto vent. This ‘air admittance valve’ is to let air into the pipes to break the siphon of the laundry machine pump. The auto vent should always be placed AT LEAST 6 inches above the fill line of the washing machine. 3. The graywater flows out to the landscape through one inch poly tubing were it is dispersed at multiple ‘mulch basins’. The number of mulch basins depends on what size the wash load is and how many loads are done per week. Between 5 and 10 mulch basins is typical. A mulch basin is simply a 2 foot x 2 foot hole dug in the soil and filled with wood chips. Each mulch basin has a manual shut off valve so you can make the call where the water is dispersed   4. To make the Graywater friendly to plant and tree roots it is important to only use laundry soaps that have no chlorine bleach, dyes or chemical scents that can be harmful to plants. Here are a few examples of ‘Greywater’ friendly laundry soaps: Oasis Laundry Detergent (liquid), ECOS liquid detergent, Vaska, and Dr. Bronners liquid soap. Vaska also makes a commercial laundry detergent that is compatible with commercial washing machines.

5. Finally it is advised that graywater not be used directly on leaf vegetables, root crops or grass for that matter. A mulch basin near the root zone of a fruit tree is a good example of the best use of greywater. As you reduce water consumption, using a graywater system allows you to water even as you mind landscape water restrictions. I hope this clarifies your graywater (questions). Ken Foster

Call Terra Nova Ecological landscaping to schedule a free estimate for a ‘Laundry to Landscape’ graywater system and receive $50.00 dollars off through March, 2014.

831-425-3514

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Terra Nova owner Ken Foster starts blog for his book, Recipes for a New Earth A 30 year investigation into ecological landscaping

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Or so says the bumper sticker on my landscape truck.

The funny thing is leaf blowers also blow, metaphorically speaking. It is a sad thing to hear the gardeners arrive with all their noise and have it still called gardening. I beg to differ.

I put this all to the test when I called for the “Broom vs. the Leaf Blower” challenge that took place in December of 2015. This field test challenge was set up with four judges. One with a decibel meter judging for noise pollution, one testing for air quality, one with a stopwatch judging for speed and one with a camera judging for thoroughness. My broom and I and my challenger with a two-stroke leaf blower had the exact same area to clean with the exact same amount of debris. As you may have guessed with my broom I won in the noise pollution and the air pollution categories. On a scale of 1 to 10 we tied at 6 for thoroughness and I lost by 14 seconds in speed. In other words as the headline in the paper declared the following day, “Broom sweeps the competition”. See the video of the challenge here…
http://player.tout.com/tout/mqp8uv

The Blow Job without the happy ending.

More and more cities in California are banning gas leaf blowers precisely because of this unhappy ending. Leaf blowers are implicated in stirring up particulate matter including dog feces, pesticides, heavy metals and fungal spores that stay airborne for hours, a bad thing for those of us who breathe. They disturb our circadian rhythms, a bad thing for those of us who sleep. Even chickens exposed to loud leaf blower noise refuse to lay eggs. Soil exposed to the gale force winds of a leaf blower end up denuded and that’s a sad ending for the life in the soil.

The theft of the quiet soundscape

Often “Mow, Blow and Go” landscape companies forgo horticultural training for their employees in favor of power and speed. This comes in the form of two-stroke leaf blowers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers and mowers. Power and speed equals noise, exhaust and dust.
In the leaf blower’s wake, animals flee. Birds, bees and butterflies depart, and the plants wish they could. Often the leaves in one yard just get blown to the neighbors and now the neighbors are up in arms. Dust gets blown onto cars and house windows for someone else to clean up later. Ultimately the soundscape is sacrificed in the pursuit of the immaculate landscape.
Landscapers have to be on constant guard against theft of these supposedly indispensable and costly pieces of landscape equipment, while nobody is too worried about the theft of a corn broom. The broom has no on-and-off switch and it runs on orange juice and toast. At the end of the day when using a broom there is no buying, mixing and spilling of the oil and gas mixture and no carbon footprint. One of the principles in the design science known as Permaculture is to “Use small and slow solutions”. The use of the broom meets this principle perfectly, especially when using the classic witches’ broom made from sustainably grown bamboo. My ride of choice. That’s why my next bumper sticker will say, “My other truck is a broom.”

Ken Foster, the owner of Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping and the author of this post is the proud winner of the “Broom vs. Leaf Blower Challenge.  www.http://player.tout.com/tout/mqp8uv

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Permaculture Class – Fall semester 2017

Hort 162PC
Instructor: Ken Foster
2017
Fall semester

Class Description:

Introduces principles and practices of
permaculture design though collaboration on real-world projects with a focus towards repairing, restoring and regenerating human and the planets ecosystems.Room: HORT room 5010
Class Organization:
Meets 16 weeks on Saturdays 9/2/17 through 12/16/17 from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Cabrillo’s Permaculture class, taught by Ken Foster, was both life affirming and trajectory changing. It brought together so many areas of interest that I feel passionate about (ecology, economics, horticulture, culture, energy independence, sustainability), and provided me with the opportunity to build a road map towards the life of my dreams.
It also helped me to clarify what is essential in my life
I wish that every citizen of this planet had such an opportunity.
Thank you Ken, for your generous sharing of both your knowledge and enthusiasm.
I am forever better for it.

-Kelly Pettit
Read more…
Permaculture Design is the Art and Science of Ecological Design, which uses the application of Natural Patterns and Ethical Intentions to create long-lasting, beautiful, and regenerative systems that provide humanity’s essential needs, starting with water, food and shelter. 
Originally a derivation of Permanent agriculture, Permaculture has evolved to deal with all aspects related to human culture and land stewardship.  The goal is to design systems so that they are the most productive with the least amount of inputs and maintenance.  Through thoughtful observation, a design is arrived at that most fits the needs of all involved.  Mother Nature is the Model: Design for Regeneration.
Permaculture differs from other design methodologies in that Ethics are at the core of the design process.  Through the Ethical Intentions of Caring for the Earth, Caring for People, and sharing surplus resources necessary for survival, we can develop resilient communities well equipped to deal with climactic and economic fluctuations.
These Ethics translate into the Triple Bottom Line for Sustainability.  In order for any system to truly sustainable, it must be:
– Environmentally Responsible
– Socially Just

– Economically Viable

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I am a landscape contractor and have been in the industry for over 30 years. I am a business owner and have owned two-stroke back-pack and hand held leaf blowers for years. I have used them myself and have had my employees use them in the past. This was part of the experience that drove me to become a dedicated ecological landscaper. I personally know more than a few landscapers that quit the industry specifically to escape the pollution and noise. I have been working out in the field all of my career.

Quintessential ‘tools’

The only reason I still love what I do is because I have chosen to leave many of the ”tools-of-the-trade’ behind. One of these quintessential ‘tools’ is the gas leaf blower. I now believe that the use of gas leaf blowers and high speed/high volume leaf blowers are an affront to the communities in which we work. Of the landscapers arsenal they are one of the easiest to misuse. They cause dust and particulate matter pollution including heavy metals, fecal matter, fungus spores and toxic chemicals, they cause gas and oil exhaust pollution and noise pollution. They threaten human health including auditory, respiratory and nervous system health. They threaten animal health for these same reasons in both domestic and wild animals, they threaten beneficial insects (like bees), they threaten plant health with the dust and they threaten soil health in the form of denuding. Some might claim to be improving the environment with their ‘Mow, Blow and Go’ landscaping and I beg to differ. Enough is enough! It is not okay to destroy the sound-scape, the air and the soil in our communities in the vain pursuit of the perfect landscape especially when rakes and brooms can do the job just fine. This in No way is a word against the workers using leaf blowers. They are just trying to earn a living and are the ones most at risk. Every single one of us including the workers will benefit from moving away from the gas leaf blower.
Hit and run landscaping makes a mockery of the art of landscape gardening.  Simply put If you put up with leaf blower pollution you end up with pollution.
This is a call to raise the bar to the industry.


We can do better than this!

Ken Foster

Owner

Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping

Santa Cruz, Ca.

Winner of the ‘broom vs.the leaf blower’ challenge.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

To all our garden allies we say Mi casa es tu casa – My home is your home or to be more precise, Mi Jardin es Tu Jardin – My garden is your garden. Terra Nova has been building and maintaining homes for ‘beneficials’ for many years. Here is our garden casa story.

 Honey bees

As beekeepers we have installed and maintained bee hives for Terra Nova clients. The honey bee is one of the most fascinating creatures on earth and an essential member of the garden community. They provide an impressive array of services from pollination to honey making and wax production. Observing a bee hive is simply some of the best entertainment in the garden.

Bees at Ken’s Top Bar Bee Hive.

Native bees

The honey bee is one of the better known celebrities of the bee world but we must not forget native bees. Native bees are some of the forgotten pollinators. There are around 1,500 native bee species in California. You can invite them to your garden with a native bee hotel. I gave one to my Grandaughter. She is now inviting these beneficial friends to her backyard.

Native bee hotel

Red worms

As ‘Vermicomposters’ Terra Nova has built and maintained worm bins for our clients for many years. Red worms – (Eisenia fetida ) are one of the best composters. Turning kitchen waste into garden fertilizer par excellence. Every kitchen and garden should have one in our opinion.

This is a challenge to raise more worms than I have in my worm bin. There are millions in my bin and they all have names. The first 100,000 are named Sally Ann, Sally Ann the 2nd etc. the second 100,000 are named Billy Bob, Billy Bob the 2nd and so on. My secret? Giving them plenty of kitchen scraps and covering them inside their bin with moistened recycled burlap coffee bags.

Red worms in burlap coffee bags.

                            

Chickens

We have built a few chicken coops over the years. We built one for our own chicks recently. Like honey bees chickens perform numerous chores in the garden that help to close the loop. For this reason we call our chicken casa the ‘Closed-Loop Chicken-Coop’.

We dream of a world where a chickens motives are not questioned, it’s simple, they just want to scratch for weed seeds, peck for bugs and lay eggs. Watching chickens in the garden rivals the entertainment of the bee hive.

Ken’s grandaughter Rita with a chicken and Ken with Rennie.

Owls

Owl boxes for both Barn and Screech owls are a recent addition to the list of homes we have built in client’s gardens. Now that is a fine way to control gophers! Building these owl boxes was the seed that germinate into this Mi casa es tu casa story in Jillian Steinberger’s brilliant mind. Thanks for the idea Jillian!

Bats

Then there’s mosquito control. How about inviting bats (Cleopatra) to your garden with a bat house? Bat’s are skilled pest control agents catching and eating up to a thousand mosquitos per hour. If that wasn’t enough this incredible flying mammal produces guano (yup, bat poop), one of the best high nitrogen fertilizers you can buy. Most bats species are endangered due to habitat loss and pesticides. Invite them in with a bat casa and a pesticide-free garden. A perfect win / win for the garden and the bat.

Bat house

Blue birds

Blue bird boxes are next. Another opportunity to house an at-risk species that provides excellent pest control in the deal. Since Western bluebirds also have to compete with the more aggressive, introduced species like house sparrows and European starlings, for food and nesting sites. Blue bird nest boxes are a welcome haven for these blue feathered beauties.

The science of maximizing beneficial relationships

During the Permaculture class I teach at Cabrillo College we have a whole day dedicated to ‘Building Bonds with Allies’. Including these homes for beneficials is a key part of this lesson.

My iconic and beloved horticulture professor at Cabrillo, Richard Merrill always said that the study of horticulture is the study of everything. I now tell my students at Cabrillo that the study of Permaculture is the study of how everything is connected.

Bill Mollison, the co-founder of the design science known as ‘Permaculture’ once wrote,

“Design is a connection between things… Education takes everything and pulls it apart and makes no connections at all. Permaculture makes the connection, because as soon as you’ve got the connection, you can feed the chicken from the tree.” This is why Permaculture is called, ‘The science of maximizing beneficial relationships.’ Making these connections and building these relationships is what the sentiment Mi Jardin es Tu Jardin is all about.

Everything Gardens

There is a Permaculture principle that ‘Everything Gardens’. What this means is that nothing in nature works in isolation, including us humans. Everyone of us affects our environment. The challenge is to design specifically for beneficial affects. Instead of controlling everything in our gardens we can get better results if we sit back and let our allies do some of that beneficial work for us.

Intrinsic characteristics

The trick here is to invite creatures (garden allies) whose intrinsic behavior benefits other creatures or elements in the garden ecosystem. Intrinsic = in·trin·sic is the basic characteristic of a person or thing. There is a synergy that happens when we design these intrinsic characteristics into the system.

Final notes about designing and building a garden that is inclusive.

Water and Soil

Water is important for all species of beneficial allies. They need water like that rest of us. Including a water feature (like a flow-form fountain) helps keep everyone hydrated. This is a good first welcome sign for our garden friends.

Building your garden soil is also part of building the garden casa. The life in the soil (the-soil-food-web) depends on available organic matter. Some of our most important allies are the smallest ones: the microbes! We need the cooperation of soil bacteria and fungi. Making compost to use in the garden and spraying your vegetable garden regularly with aerated compost tea and effective microorganisms, inoculating mycorrhizal fungus and adding plenty of mulch keeps your microbes fat and happy. The mulch provides homes for all the denizens of the soil (tierra).  Thus we can say to the Soil-Food-Web … Mi tierra es Tu casa – My Soil is your Home.

Plant diversity

Designing in plants that will provide forage and habitat for beneficials is a key strategy. The importance of including trees and shrubs, perennial and annual plants that offer pollen and nectar (forage) for birds, butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects should not be underestimated. Include plants that provide nesting materials and cover (habitat) for birds. You might say the garden as a whole is essentially a casa, that is, Mi Jardin es Tu casa- My Garden is your Home.

What other homes can you think of to welcome in garden allies?

To recap, our garden casa and the garden ally list looks like this…
  • Bee hive for honey bees
  • Native bee hotel to welcome in native bees
  • Worm bin to house Red worms
  • Chicken Coop for our favorite egg layers
  • Owl box for both Barn and Screech owls
  • Bat house for nature’s pest control agents
  • Blue bird box for Blue birds
  • Healthy soil for the Soil-Food-Web
  • Diverse plant species for diverse life in the garden
Let us call our allies to join us as we create and tend the Garden so all may benefit from its abundance, nourishment, beauty and joy.

 – Ken Foster

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Permaculture Class – Fall semester 2017

Hort 162PC
Instructor: Ken Foster
2017
Fall semester

Class Description:

Introduces principles and practices of
permaculture design though collaboration on real-world projects with a focus towards repairing, restoring and regenerating human and the planets ecosystems.

Room: HORT room 5010
Class Organization:
Meets 16 weeks on Saturdays 9/2/17 through 12/16/17 from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Cabrillo’s Permaculture class, taught by Ken Foster, was both life affirming and trajectory changing. It brought together so many areas of interest that I feel passionate about (ecology, economics, horticulture, culture, energy independence, sustainability), and provided me with the opportunity to build a road map towards the life of my dreams.
It also helped me to clarify what is essential in my life
I wish that every citizen of this planet had such an opportunity.
Thank you Ken, for your generous sharing of both your knowledge and enthusiasm.
I am forever better for it.

-Kelly Pettit
Read more…
Permaculture Design is the Art and Science of Ecological Design, which uses the application of Natural Patterns and Ethical Intentions to create long-lasting, beautiful, and regenerative systems that provide humanity’s essential needs, starting with water, food and shelter. 
Originally a derivation of Permanent agriculture, Permaculture has evolved to deal with all aspects related to human culture and land stewardship.  The goal is to design systems so that they are the most productive with the least amount of inputs and maintenance.  Through thoughtful observation, a design is arrived at that most fits the needs of all involved.  Mother Nature is the Model: Design for Regeneration.

Permaculture differs from other design methodologies in that Ethics are at the core of the design process.  Through the Ethical Intentions of Caring for the Earth, Caring for People, and sharing surplus resources necessary for survival, we can develop resilient communities well equipped to deal with climactic and economic fluctuations.

These Ethics translate into the Triple Bottom Line for Sustainability.  In order for any system to truly sustainable, it must be:

– Environmentally Responsible

– Socially Just

– Economically Viable

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview