By dominating the ground with a cover crop Geoff downsizes the kitchen garden at Zaytuna Farm, conserving the soil for future gardeners to inherit.

Geoff Lawton and Sam Parker-Davies show us how to take a garden apart and put it to rest for a while. As the crowds at Zaytuna have lessened, the large kitchen garden (designed to feed 30 people) doesn’t need to be at full production and has slipped into a chaotic state. Geoff and Sam are going to reduce the veggie plot into something more appropriate while keeping the rest of the garden space fertile and occupied.

They leave one bed for vegetables and use the adjacent two beds on either side of it to grow perennial, sub-tropical pineapples. At one end of the plot, a swale path feeding a row of bananas is converted into a mulch swale, covered with trimmings from the banana plants in the row and four nearby banana circles.

The remainder of the kitchen garden has been slashed and double ripped in both directions and planted to a cowpea cover crop, which will act like a green, living mulch, adding fertility while also taking spatial control in the race with weeds. This is how to control space by cultivating rampancy rather than allowing weeds to take over or using herbicides.

Key Takeaways

– Annual gardens that are too large for a site’s needs will slip into chaos.
– Cleared gardens can be planted to a cover crop to hold the soil’s fertility.
– The cover crop will occupy the space for several months until it’s ready to be used again or planted to another cover crop.
– Cover crops act like living mulch, keeping weeds at bay, until they become green manure and fertilize the soil.

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About Geoff:

Geoff is a world-renowned permaculture consultant, designer, and teacher that has established demonstration sites that function as education centers in all the world’s major climates. Geoff has dedicated his life to spreading permaculture design across the globe and inspiring people to take care of the earth, each other, and to return the surplus.

About Permaculture:

Permaculture integrates land, resources, people, and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed-loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts and at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics, and community development.

#permaculture #gardening #covercrop

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