Permaculture Update by Matt Lebon

by Jenna on September 12, 2017

Permaculture Update

by Matt Lebon

Farm Manager


It’s September and we have officially been growing on our permanent beds for over the half the growing season now.  Folks have asked, “How are the new permanent beds working out?”.  My typical response is that they are working out well but the truth is that we aren’t experiencing a huge difference in soil health or reduced weed pressure—YET.   That is precisely what makes our permanent bed system an outgrowth of the permaculture movement.  Permaculture teaches us to set up systems that will not just create short term improvement but allow for long term improvement with yearly dividends that yield a bigger and bigger payout each year.  By maintaining our beds and paths in the exact same spot we ensure that all our foot traffic stays in the same place– month after month and year after year.  Additionally, we have committed to not driving the tractor on our growing fields.  This way we never get the compaction of big tractor tires on our fields.  Furthermore, every time we finish growing a crop we then add compost to that bed to replenish the nutrients.  And because we aren’t tilling those beds we aren’t bringing up new weed seeds every time we prepare beds for planting.  With this permaculture based system, we are reducing our weed pressure each and every year and we are enriching our beds with compost based fertility.  If we imagine a few years down the road things start to get really exciting.  We’ll have had years of not turning over the soil and years of adding compost to the same beds.  Therefore, each year we can expect our beds to be that much more fertile and contain that many fewer weeds.  Now THAT  is a permaculture approach to vegetable growing– each year we improve the conditions of our site with less and less work that needs to be done. I can already see more hammock time in all of our futures.  Can you see me under the mulberry tree? When you do find me there, be sure to ask “So how are the permanent beds working out?”

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