We planned our community garden project with a progressive vision and it is moving forward. How?
We want to convert Roma Community Garden into a sustainable “Food Forest”, or a “Forest Garden”, where harvesting is continues for four seasons. This means a garden with many layers of perennial and annual plants living together; large walnut trees next to smaller apple trees, nitrogen fixing acacias and judas trees overlooking a variety of shrubs, accompanied by herbaceous plants and ground covers with vines climbing on tree trunks and branches. All these plants have their own niche in their own layers and they can live together in harmony. This is an imitation of a natural forest ecosystem, but the species and varieties are carefully selected for their food production, their soil rehabilitating properties and pest control functions. The forest garden will need our care and attention during its first few years, but when it matures it will start to take care of and sustain itself without our help, just like a natural forest.
We planted our first fruit and support species when the time is right; in November and December months. We fastened them to wooden poles to protect them from strong winds, covered their bases with stones and mulched them, then seeded peas and beans beneath the trees and around the garden for nitrogen fixation.
We chopped and dropped all the weeds on the terraces. We tried to clear the Bermuda grass as much as we could and prepared sheet mulching over them.
We planted trees on the previously unused part of the garden and did small earthwork “bowls” around them to harvest rainwater. We connected overflows of these bowls with each other and filled them with stones to prevent soil erosion.
We planted winter vegetables; leek, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, black, white and red cabbage.
We used worm compost where we didn’t before.
We prepared chicken manure tea and used it for our seedlings.
A mixture of oak wood ash and sulphur was applied to the soil.
We seeded the remaining bare soil with alfalfa, trefoil and vetch.
What we did last summer (2015)
A main problem we have with the garden is the lack of water source. To minimize our water need for vegetables that require regular watering, we used the wicking bed system.
For more information: http://www.leafninjas.ca/yasmin_raised_beds
We will need good soil and compost to provide healthy environment for plant growth. We built compost boxes to recycle our organic waste. This will provide us with necessary compost, enriching soil life, while making use of our precious waste.