The lower yard is coming alive as new beds and pathways are established. Raised beds will hold veggie patches above the re-mediated soil. Banks of topographic transition are now held by grasses and thick branch woven walls planted for stability. Wildflower mixes are seeding into rich black compost to germinate into spring. Even the greenhouse got a surprise repair with a little duct tape, thank you Mitch!
Last year I worked to put in stairs down to the lavender cabin. Now there are cisterns, garden beds, and raised beds for food production. Tenants are taking it upon themselves to cultivate and expand on the land. With their help, the land can become even more fertile and productive for the community.
Because of the previous mistreatment of some of the areas of the land, bringing in safe soil is necessary to continue growing food in certain parts of the landscape. Raised beds are a quick way to establish safe food grade space for veggies and medicinal plants. The current bed, built last summer by WWOOFers from England, is lined with branched on the bottom, followed by mulch, then a layer of dark compost to plant in this year. We hope to build two more beds this spring in time for summer transplants from the greenhouse.
Along the branch bank transition zone, raspberry stalks have been planted in hoped of making a wall of fruit to cover and grow over the branch wall. The buds on these new stalks are already coming out in response to warming weather and good spring rain. They will accompany the strawberries already being established at the foot of this bank, making for several picking spots of delicious fruit right out the door of both the lavender cabin and Mitch’s tiny house.
Now that these areas of continued zone one are coming to life. Other people living on the land can beguine tending these spaces for their own use, as planned in the original permaculture development here at Leafhopper Farm. More hands in the dirt will bring additional layers of cultivation and enjoyment for all who live and visit this landscape. This includes the non-human dwellers, like pollinators and birds, insects and amphibians who thrive in lush habitat supplied by our willing vision of beauty and productivity.
Kat has been using her own skills in horticulture and landscaping to add a personal touch of beauty to the farm. She has an eye for space, and maximizes locations I might otherwise not see, as my focus in the zone one of the main house limits my experience with other parts of the land. These new perspectives help me see potential new sights of intrest and use for the tenants and makes space more approachable for both planting and general enjoyment. This was a big part of my collaborative dream for Leafhopper, and it’s great to see things coming together cooperatively.
With the repair to the greenhouse done, we can now utilize a growing space for our starts and turn off the grow lights that were tending the young starts in the house. I was so delighted to discover the mending (which was done last night covertly) and now have a warm place for all the starts. It is a pleasure to know we’ve got the greenhouse back in operation, allowing everyone a place to get their tomatoes and cucumbers started for the coming summer. It’s going to be a very productive growing season this year!
The lower yard was once divided by a falling apart layer of overgrown cultivars and drain rock. The area was sadly unoccupied and in the process of remediation using wood chips and mycelium to break down burned trash and industrial waste left behind by previous owners. After a few years of flushing mushrooms and then re-banking the mess into one pile off to the side in the bank, we’ve put a new layer of topsoil in the space and are planting non-edible decorative shrubs and flowers in the soil to prevent further contamination.
The grasses Kat brought will keep the bank in place and offer a new plant to the land as habitat for birds and insects. A path also now graces the space, ushering people along the bank towards dwelling places. Logs also help define boundaries and spaces for human use, keeping movement off the beds and on the paths where compaction is best suited. As the wildflowers take hold, we’ll see this place exploding with color later in the summer.