Sweetwater Collaborative's first official project was done in two workshops--putting in water harvesting basins and the beginning of a food forest at a residence on the Mesa in June and July 2013. Thanks to all the energetic and caring volunteers who helped to transform this front yard into an evolving lush food production center.
Before Pictures (click on any photo to enlarge it) :
The homeowners had taken out their front lawn a few months before a Sweetwater crew came to visit for the first time. We got them to remove the black plastic as soon as possible, as it kills the organisms in the soil as well as the grass. Before the first workshop we sprayed the yard with compost tea and injected more tea into select areas where we would be digging.
Then the fun began:
In the first workshop, we dug water harvesting basins to capture roof runoff. We measured the critical elevations with a bunyip (a water level, shown in the second picture), and added gravel and mulch to the completed basins.
Our second workshop was a planting extravaganza:
After the workshops, an effective drip irrigation system was added and then a flagstone path was laid in the garden. The result is beautiful! The food forest will continue to grow and evolve as the years go by, more species are added to the mix, and the homeowners begin harvesting! There may be a crop of blueberries this year already.
Here are pictures of the yard taken in April 2014: