May 17, 2008

So, a few of us met tonight and did a lot of talking about where this project is going. We discussed our long term visions of the group becoming an edible landscaping guild that works on peoples homes as a non profit (or for profit) business. Having a subscription or membership fee that goes towards projects was also mentioned as a way to invest folks in the project. We also realized that our visions are high-bar and that most of us don’t know where we will be in 2 years, but wanted to take the baby steps towards developing the group more. We think that sticking to our original vision of hosting workshops, tours, events and projects is the best way to reach out and become better known and to gain experience. We brainstormed possible summer/fall events and assigned them possible time frames. This is a great space to brainstorm more possible things that we could host!!! Use the comment area!!! :0)

Here’s what we have so far:

Early june: tour of 2 of Hburgs finest urban gardens and a small work project

mid-late June: Video: The Synergistic Gardener

July: Home style chicken coop/ Radical Roots tour

August: Fall Apple Cider Fest

September: Permanent(but movable) window boxes

October: Canning workshop

Others: Intro to Permaculture Panel/ Roundtable, Stucco workday @ Radical Roots

Like I said, let us know what you are thinking, even if you want to install an herb garden and need help. You could turn it into a workshop and learn a bunch and then pass on the knowledge to the rest of us!


Permaculture: Conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems – Bill Mollison (the guy who helped start this whole thing)

So, of course this definition is a blanket that swoops over the whole of this great thing called permaculture, and really, who knows what it means? Hopefully, you will figure it out after reading a couple of these blog posts.  :0)

So, let’s get up to speed.  HPUG started back in the winter o’ 2007.  We decided that we wanted to learn and teach each other permaculture.  I mean, there isn’t a much better way to learn than to teach. Well, except to DO what you are learning, too! So, that’s what we are doing, learning, teaching, doing.  We started by figuring out what permaculture is, what is the philosophy behind it, and why do we need it in this crazy world of ours.  We did some research (and we still are) to decide what we wanted to learn about through workshops, and we have had one on water and medicinal herbs.  From our water discussion, we have installed several rooftop water catchement systems on our homes (pictures will come), and man, we are really impressed with how fast 4 55 gallon barrels can fill up in the springtime! what an untapped resource! just imagine if every house had a cistern with a filter… well, public water would only be used in the summer during a severe drought in suburban areas! (Maybe a slight exaggeration)

We decided to make a local backyard our testing grounds for a seasonal garden, and boy has it been a learning experience! We installed a keyhole garden bed, designed with a keyhole path in the middle to control footsteps through the garden, thus limiting soil compaction.  The bed was covered through the winter to kill the grass, and in the spring, we sheet mulched (manure, cardboard, straw/wood chip mulch) which has brought hundreds of worms and other microorganisms to the beds. It has been really great at holding the moisture in the soil and we have hardly any weeds! We also have installed and are continuing to install a raised bed, due to black walnuts in the backyard.  So far we have planted kale, spinach, beets, carrots, tomatoes, basil, eggplant, cukerbits, peas, corn, garlic, onion, and more is to be seeded and planted.

We have already faced some challenges in the guild and in the garden too.  Once we plant all this stuff, who takes care of it? Being that we are largely college aged and beyond, many either have left for the summer or have their own gardens, or, they are busy people.  We are working on getting some people to commit to being garden caretakers, while anyone in the group can stop by, say hello, and plug in if needed.  Also, our kale and spinach have been visited by some slugs!!! We are working on drumming up a solution and coffee grounds seems to be in the forecast.  We’ll post on our trial!

So, that’s where we are now. If you have ideas, comments, want to be a part of this group, let us know!

The video posted gives a good overview of permaculture and shows some people doing stuff. The end is a little off the PC and for who ever put it up, but the beginning is good. enjoy