Observe and Interact

01 Feb

The garden is in full bloom…

Just kidding, though it is in full sprout. The weather has been chilly, dipping into the low 30’s some nights, and very wet. Our region receives about 65 inches of rainfall a year with over half falling during the hurricane season. Following is an image of the garden taken a few days ago, after several days of rain. Here lies one of the vexing problems of a Florida farmer or gardener that I made reference to earlier – to raise the beds or dig them in. Certainly if I were a farmer in the northern part of the county, blessed with fertile soil and a higher elevation, I would probably dig in. This is not the case. Should I have located the garden on higher ground, across the street? Maybe, maybe not.

A partially submerged quadrant

At this point, I’m not too worried. The rain has demonstrated the depths to which the water will rise. The important thing is that the top of the bed is popping out of water and the water had receded by the next day after the deluge. I’ll keep this in mind as we finish constructing this bed and begin planting. The amazing thing about building the beds in this fashion, is that they can retain a tremendous amount of water in the swales and under the mulch, creating a self watering system.

Going back to the vexing problem, I’m hoping that this same system serves the garden well, when the summer droughts come…and they will. Just as the Florida garden has days of tremendous rainfall, it can have weeks of relentlessly hot and humid drought. By building the beds closer than comfortable to the water retention area, I’m hoping to capitalize on the water capturing when it really counts.

This reminds me of David Holmgren’s first principle of permaculture, observe and interact. It’s really quite obvious, just like looking both ways before crossing the street. It’s best to observe a site through all four season before making plans, though we don’t always have that luxury. So, we adjust and change plans as we go, interacting and growing with the site.

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Posted by on February 1, 2010 in Eden's Landing Garden


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