Food Forest on the Mesa, June-July 2013

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) :

raingarden, food forest, earthworks, before pictures, rainwater harvesting, lawn removalraingarden, food forest, earthworks, before pictures, rainwater harvesting, lawn removal

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:

community workshop, water harvesting, digging basins, raingardensbunyip, using a water level, raingarden, earthworks, water harvesting

earthworks, rain harvesting basins, raingardensrain harvesting basins, mulch, raingardens, earthworks

 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:

food forest, community hands-on workshop, tree planting, water harvestingplanting, food forest, Permaculture, water harvesting

tree planting, compost tea, water harvesting, food forestnative plants, food forest, water harvesting, plantingcommunity hands-on workshop, water harvesting, food forest, plantingalternative transportation, bicycles, community hands-on workshop

 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.

After pictures:

food forest, mulch, water harvesting, tree plantingfood forest, community hands-on workshop, water harvesting

food forest, mulch, lawn removal, water harvesting, permaculture



Here are pictures of the yard taken in April 2014:

same yard, 10  months laterfood forest, ten months after plantingfood forest, earthworks, rainwater harvesting, edible garden