Permaculture Garden News

If you regularly drive Rt. 58 through Baywood, you have probably wondered what is happening in the half-acre plot in front of Church of the Good Shepherd.  Five years ago, the church offered to let Grayson LandCare use some of their land as a demonstration garden for permaculture, with the provision that it be used to grow food for people in need.  Turning a hayfield into a vibrant, productive food forest doesn’t happen overnight; but as the community partners celebrate the fifth anniversary of this initiative, it is beginning to “bear fruit.”
Permaculture is an approach to land management and a set of design principles based on natural ecosystems, paying attention to the needs of the earth, the plants and animals, and the people involved.  The two earth berms were designed on the contours of the plot to distribute rain water throughout the food forest.  The fruit trees on the berms were purchased by members and friends of the church to honor or memorialize loved ones.  Plantings around the trees help hold the soil, add nutrients, or also produce food, such as strawberries. 
Perhaps the most visible aspect of the project is the pollinator garden along the driveway.  Planted with native perennials, the garden is not only beautiful but has attracted many species of bees, butterflies and other insects, which will pollinate the food-bearing plants.  A bluebird house built by a local Boy Scout houses nesting bluebirds each spring.
The vegetable garden was constructed and planted last year, yielding 180 pounds of sweet potatoes for Food Independence and 12 gallons of tomatoes for God’s Storehouse.  A Cross Garden was constructed, with four raised beds around a central point, and wooden benches installed.  In addition to providing food, the garden is intended to be a place of rest, meditation and communion with nature for anyone who wishes to stop by.
The Permaculture Group has logged 3100 hours of volunteer labor in the last five years.  More volunteers are needed, and anyone is welcome to join the group.  Contact [email protected] for more information.

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