Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Over the years I've been inching away at my lawn. I dig up a half foot off the perimeter of my veggie or flower gardens and in less than a season it's back. I first heard about permaculture in my local newspaper, then a friend told me about Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway.

                                                 Huckleberry, with permaculture beneath
Hemenway's basic recipe is to lay down vegetation and soil amendments, then a thin layer of manure. On top of those goes a thin layer of newspaper or cardboard followed by another thin layer of manure or a nitrogen-rich substance. Top that with a very thick coat of hay or organic material. Lay down some compost and crown the whole thing with straw, leaves or other types of seed-free mulch.

                  Area of my veggie garden I permacultured last year with mulch and first layer of     
                  vegetation down.

I decided if I followed the recipe exactly my yard would tower over my driveway and walks by several feet. So I modified. For areas I wanted to till -veggie garden- I kept it thin. It was virtually weed-free last year and tilled easily this spring.

                                                                  The evil Ivy

For an area on the side of my house that had been infested with ivy- I went thick. The ivy has popped up in only a few places but either the straw sprouted or some grass-like seed took root.

                                            My sprouting straw

Luckily it's on the surface, rather than running beneath, so it's easily plucked and used as a first layer elsewhere.
Now I have all my veggies planted I'll be after the big stuff- my front lawn.
In a later post I'll show some of the layers as I put them down.

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