[permaculture] Permaculture Garden Installation

Kirby Fry peace at totalaccess.net
Wed Jul 24 10:06:18 EDT 2002


Cross Timbers Permaculture Guild had the good fortune last February to
install extensive Pc gardens on its demonstration site near Elgin, Texas.
Please come by for a tour and visit if you're in the region.  We can be
reached by e-mail or phone:  512-273-9538.  Our web site is

As one enters the 32 acre property the gardens are on either side of the
road and around key central buildings.  There are approximately 60,000
square feet of raised garden beds which were amended, tilled and put under
irrigation.  All of the beds are basically swales and berms on contour
including a section of chinampas and a 150 foot canal.  The process was like
sculpting a small golf course.  Fortunately, we installed on the barest part
of the land and only had to remove six small trees for the garden
installation, the largest about 4" in diameter.

Six of the ten gardens have a small pond in them.  All together, there are
16 ponds on the land holding over 4 acres of surface water between them.
The smaller ponds (the larger ones are still filling) have been inoculated
with water lilies, lotus, submerged grasses, horse's tail, ginger, hibiscus,
rushes, sedges, taro (elephant ear), Louisiana iris, crinums, minnows and
much more (we're just getting to know most of these water plants).  First
the mosquito population exploded, then the frog and minnow population, then
the snake population, now the herons, sandpipers and egrets are often
spotted hunting.

Behind the dams of the larger ponds and along the land's creeks and woody
margins we also planted 1,000 bald cypress, 500 river birch, 500 red maple,
100 sycamore, and 100 Shumard oak.

The soils we're pretty deficient and required the maximum doses of organic
amendments.  The beds were amended with 2,000 lb./ac. of ag lime, 1,000
lb./ac. of soft rock phosphate, 1,000 lb./ac. per acre of fish, alfalfa,
bone and blood meal, 800 lb./ac. of green sand for magnesium and potassium,
60 lb./ac. of dispersol (pellets) sulfur.  We tilled in 200 yards of bark
mulch, put out 3,200 pounds of cover crop seed (wheat, oats, wry, crimson
clover, vetch), and then mulched with 20 round bales of miloh straw.

Currently sorghum and beans are up as cover crops in the garden beds.  As
well, we are putting out a steady stream of local wildflower and forbe seeds
such as coreopsis, black eyed Susan, salvias, maximillian sunflower, curly
dock, Echinacea, partridge pea, Illinois bundle flower, purple prairie
clover, rosin weed, Indian blanket and more.

Throughout the beds we planted 1,000 asparagus crowns, 500 black-berry
brambles, 200 blueberry shrubs, a couple of buckets of potato and garlic,
100 grape vines, 20 hard-kiwi, 10 passion fruit vine, 40 wisteria.  Our
fruit trees include 100 persimmon, 100 paw paw, 100 jujube, 100 citrus, 50
fig, 50 fruiting mulberry, 60 pear, 50 pomegranate, 30 Chinese chestnut, 30
apple, 30 plum, 30 peach, 20 pecan, 10 English walnut.  Many, many plants
have not made it due to molds, freezing, poor soil conditions and poor
drainage.  We would like to add pineapple guayava, appricotte, loquat,
kumquat, Mexican plum, black cherry, Texas persimmon and more...

Our farmers trees include 20 honey mesquite, 10 Schafner acacia, 10 kidney
wood, 10 Wright acacia, 20 Guajillo acacia, 10 cat's claw acacia, 10 desert
blanket acacia, 1 huisache.  We still need locust and red bud.

Presently the beds below the fruit trees are full of squash, melons, beans.
The small hills raised from pond excavation are planted with yarrow,
valerium, oregano, thyme, lavender, rosemary, basil, copper canyon daisy,
lantana and Mexican butterfly weed.  We would like to eventually bring these
herbs out into all of the beds.  Two stretches of arbors (about 70 feet long
combined) support gourds and cucumber as well as all of the perennial vines.

It's a site to behold.  Visitors are welcome.  Cheers,

Kirby Fry

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