Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Photos,  Ponds,  Rain Catching

Permaculture Garden Update


Lots of hard work is being done on the property, and the garden is taking on character.  Bits of the palms that were cut down are being used in so many ways.  The upright trunks that were left have been stripped, and metal poles were tied between them.  I didn’t care for the look of the poles, so Roger immediately came up with the idea of wrapping them with palm fronds… and it looks great.    The above photo is of the future ‘formal entranceway’ to the garden.  Francisco and Juan were working from the tops of ladders in full sunlight on this unseasonably hot day… it must have been over 90 degrees out there.  Summer weather too early!  I’m glad that it is going to cool down a little starting tomorrow.


They also covered metal poles that they criss-crossed the trunks in the palm walkway.  Up all of the trunks are a variety of flowering vines, and also climbing heirloom roses.  I ordered the roses from Heirloom Garden Roses (, and the plants are small but healthy and virorgous.  I made little cages out of leftover chicken wire from the chicken tractor to set over them; otherwise, the bunnies would nibble the young rose leaves down to nothing.  Beneath the palms, many plants that will create the plant guilds are in the ground and mulched with chipped palmsand surrounded with rocks.  Rocks have also been placed around the property to add character and interest.  The palm sheaths that were skinned from the trunks will be used on top of the mulch as a secondary layer; its interesting to look at, is textured and therefore makes interesting hidey-holes for lizards, salamanders and all sorts of creatures.  Most planting will now cease until the important decisions about installing the rainfall retention ponds, dry creek beds, swales and the permanent (swimming?) pond are made.  We met with more people this week about the pond installation and are awaiting bids and ideas.  I’m looking for the most sustainable, least impact and easiest way of installing them, and we may have found a company that understands this.  More about the ponds when decisions have been made.

Other work has concentrated on the embankment and the erosion areas there.  This is the area below the fence; the embankment with the streambed is on the right, and the main property is beyond the upper left corner of the photo.  This area had been leveled, firmed, mulched, and old broken pipes and wires that had been a junky retaining wall was replaced with old chainlink fencing and aluminum from the sheds.  Then palm logs were used to line the cut-out area around the left to help hold the soil.  Palm fronds were installed all along the top of the chainlink on the right…

Erosion area

and also on the next level which is in the process of being firmed, repaired and made available for bird watching, including a very

Lower level

handy bench.   This area had been greatly eroded, especially by the December deluge.  An enormous toyon has tipped over and its roots are exposed on the embankment.  From this vantage point out over the embankment my daughter and I could watch a lot of birds flying between the canopy of the streambed trees.  You can see from this photo also how the palm fronds have been used to block the lower side of the fence.  In the bottom left corner is some of the old corrugated aluminum that had been there from the previous owner, and which is still holding up.  It will be blocked by fronds as well.  Past this point and around the corner is a big erosion area which ends the pathway.  It is being worked on.  With the ponds, streams, mulch and swales in place, as well as these bulwarks of wire and aluminum, the chance of such heavy erosion happening again even in the worst rainstorms is almost nil.  The property will be augmented to deal with excessive waterflow as well as insufficient amounts.

I am still tossing around ideas about buildings to replace the sheds.  I need a tool/mower storage shed, a small ‘bee house’ where we can store our bee equipment and work on honey extraction without the bees bothering us (we’ve extracted honey in our kitchen), and I’d like a small greenhouse or growing house for seedlings.  I also would like small building or trailer that could be used as a guest house, as well as an area for groups of people to gather for teaching purposes.  I’m getting prices and ideas on how to do all this cost-effectively.  I’ve looked into Quality Sheds in Menifee, asked the carpenter who did my other projects to give me a bid, and have researched trailers, yurts, geodesic domes, straw bale…  everything.   So many decisions!  But how fun it all is.  That’s all for tonight, and thanks for reading.

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