Monday, December 13, 2010

Laid Out, Lasagna'd, and Mulched

We are prepared for winter! Roots & Wings' labyrinth has been laid out, the garden beds have been prepared using "lasagna-style" raised beds, and the pathways have been mulched. We'll get into each of these simple processes in more detail in subsequent posts.

These photos show a Halloween weekend work day (thank you South Church Middle School Group) and the results of a Thanksgiving-weekend mulch fest (Susan with Betsy, our liaison from the 2020 Vision Fund).

The physical work was not as hard as working through all of the questions and decisions that came up along the way. Such as:
  • Will the raised beds, under two grand old trees, hurt the trees in the long run? (no)
  • Will the garden, under two grand old trees, get enough sun? (yes, 5-6 hours is fine for some vegetables, not all)
  • This is the front lawn of our church! Will this garden look good? Who will care for it in the summer when we can't manage our own lawns? (questions we cannot answer with 100% certainty but permaculture's promise is that it is relatively low maintenance AND, while we are all used to the look and easy mow of a lawn, it is not sustainable. It uses resources while not contributing a harvest. We were heartened by Nina's comment that she had just been to Seattle and it is very common for people to have gardens on their front lawns there.)
  • One of the top layers of our raised beds was cardboard, and most cardboard is treated with formaldehyde. (we tore off the colored portions of the cardboard, which is the chemically treated part, before using. And we only used the New York Times, too, because it is printed with soy ink)
  • We needed to buy compost for our raised beds this first year. Did it need to be the more expensive, organic kind? (yes. we bought out Stone Barns, then went to Sprainbrook. Next year we will generate our own compost)
  • Is the soil polluted, and does it matter if it is since we are using raised beds? (still not sure of the raised bed aspect, but we just got our soil analysis back and it indicates that we have perfect acidity for gardening)
  • We removed one "layer" of the labyrinth to fit better in the space. But now we enter with a right turn, is that OK? (it took hours but we reconfigured to enter with a left turn. As we finished, Ellen who had just completed her labyrinth facilitator training (!) came to help. We learned that only a truly medieval labyrinth is entered from the left. Ours did not absolutely need to be configured that way, but it now has the added aspect of entering female energy which is always the left side of a figure)
  • Should we line the garden beds with potato-sized rocks? It would look nice and separate the beds from the paths. (no, for now, it might tempt rock throwers)