Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Applying Permaculture to the Kitchen Garden

Claudia Joseph, a permaculture teacher from Brooklyn, is leading three classes this spring at the Kitchen Garden. The question at hand is: what is transformed when applying the knowledge of permaculture to this community garden.

There will be three classes: Sat March 24, April 28, and May 19, from 9 AM to noon. They are open to all. However know that the focus will be on the Kitchen Garden.

Crops we would like to plant for the communal garden and/or individual plots: Greens (kale, chard, spinach, collards, mizuna and a variety of lettuces), tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (hot and sweet), eggplants (?), broccoli (?), Brussels sprouts (Susan, maybe Laura), beets, carrots, winter squashes, tomatillos (Iris), peas, herbs (cilantro, parsley; we have lots of sage, oregano, thyme, mint), mushrooms?, native flowers to attract beneficial insects and for beauty. Gabriela plans to use her bed for medicinal plants.

Here are the questions the group has for Claudia. Stay tuned for some learnings to be posted here. 
  1. We currently have crab grass in between the beds and bare dirt under our table (where we had a huge crop of volunteer lambs quarters last year! Not a good spot for them.) We also have a large pile of dirt and a smaller one of wood chips. Would it be good to spread the woodchip pile under the table or in between some of the beds (not sure how far the chips will go)? Or how about spreading the dirt pile as far as it goes and covering those areas with wood chips?
  2. What’s Claudia’s opinion of the Norway Maple that shades part of the garden and is rumored to be non-beneficial (or actively worse)? Cut it down and chip it for garden paths? Leave it and grow mushrooms underneath? (Whether it could actually be cut down is a decision of Roots & Wings bc of finances.)
  3. Can we find an area for perennial fruits and nuts?
  4. Are we using our space well? Is there more room for planting?
  5. What can we do about the deep back bed to provide more accessibility to all parts of it?
  6. How can we grow more vertically, using the fences for growing? Beans? Cucumbers? Peas? Flowers?
  7. Can we use the raised beds with the hoops for seed starting or in some other helpful way?
  8. Should we plant clover or some other crop instead of crab grass in between the two long communal beds or reconfigure them in any way?
  9. How important is it to rotate crops in the communal beds?
  10. What should we plant at various times, especially in order to have some fall/winter crops? (succession planting strategy)
  11. Can anything be grown in the same bed as garlic to maximize use of space?
  12. What are beneficial combinations of plants that we could grow together?
  13. Is there anything we should do before the first workshop? Spread dirt/woodchips? Start seeds? (limited capacity for this)
  14. What about control of invasive species and pests?We’ve had wild grape and poison ivy coming from next property via the stone wall, powdery mildew, leaf miners and cabbage worms