How we use Permaculture in the Woolman Garden

Brianna Beyrooty, Farm Apprentice
Sunday, March 15, 2015

My name is Brianna Beyrooty, I'm the new Farm Apprentice at Woolman. For the next 9 months I will be working in the garden, experiencing a full season of farming. From Permaculture to weeding, I'm excited to get my hands dirty and see what this beautiful earth has to offer!

The great thing about the garden here at Woolman is that we are always looking for ways to improve and expand our thinking when it comes to gardening. Permaculture gives us the principles to do so, and is a great way to live in a sustainable way within our garden walls. The more we can reflect and observe nature’s already complex system we can take from that system and mimic what we see to have a more sustainable, ecological, and well-rounded environment.  
In our Farm to Table course students can directly see the principles they are learning about take effect in their own campus garden! Here are some principles of Permaculture that we use every day in the Woolman Garden on campus:
Sheet Mulching!
This is our sheet mulching between our raspberries. Sheet Mulching is a way to emulate nature’s own forest floor, sheet mulching is done by laying cardboard sheets down, along with a composting a material then finishing with a layer of mulch on top. By sheet mulching we can eliminate the need for weeding as well as protecting and giving good nutrients to the soil as the cardboard and organic materials disintegrate over time. 
Forest Garden!
Our forest garden creates a native place for plants to naturally work together with each other. It’s low maintenance and gives the local flora and fauna a great place to interact. 
When we compost we take leftover food from our dining hall and let earth transform it into nutrient rich soil for our garden. This eliminates waste from our school and turns our food into our own usable treasure! 
We installed swale in our garden last Fall, we have two 75 foot swales that collect run off water from the soccer field. Otherwise this water was flooding our garden during rainfall, so now we can slow down the runoff and spread it so it will slowly sink deep into the soil. The swale is directed into a 100-foot French drain to maximize drainage, minimize erosion and prevent water from flooding our garden plots.

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