Beyond Garden Scale
Gardeners know too well the feeling of overwhelm when facing a new landscape. The seemingly infinite possibilities brings up the question, “Where do I start?”. Fortunately, there is a process we can use to answer that, it’s called permaculture design.
From Food Forest to Farming Dreams
Some of you might remember a special place in Holyoke Massachusetts called Paradise Lot. This garden is still one of my favourite places in the world! That’s right, Paradise Lot continues to attract visitors who enjoy the explosion of perennial vegetables, rare and unusual fruits, a unique story, and backyard scale permaculture in action.
Along with Eric Toensmeier, and many other friends, Paradise Lot was my first big garden design challenge. The question of “Where to start” defined our early process. Thank goodness, at the time, Eric and Dave Jacke were writing a book called “Edible Forest Gardens”, and our garden became the case study. The garden is where I learned many key design strategies: The Problem is the Solution; Constraints Focus the Design; What Was, Plus What Is, Could Be; Watch Out for the Red Gazebo and many other principles.
I lived, breathed and ate that garden for thirteen years. During that time a new thought seed was planted. The beginnings of a vision of what a garden like this could be beyond one-tenth of an acre. This idea didn’t hold my thoughts very strongly, but it did take root. Then, by around 2012, when my wife was pregnant, and we enjoyed the bounty and success of a thriving food forest, global climate change impacted our lives.