Report: Funny Farm

ERC Permablitz Garden Monitoring and Maintenance Program

2015.08.17 | Report by Michelle Hernandez

The gardens are doing well and producing in this summer heat.

Irrigation System: 2 separate systems of drip line on timers, run for 1 hour every other day early in the morning. The 2 systems run in alternating days. As a very rough estimate of water usage, we use 461 gallons of water to run all the berms. (length of berms x # of drip lines x distance of emitters on drip lines x emitter rate/hour).

Much of the soil came from the property, but 6 cubic yards of berm builder were also purchased (we could have gotten away with 5).

The Permablitz installation was part of an overall larger site plan. The Permablitz included 5 numbered berms/swales in 3 areas that collectively covered 173 linear feet of berms, with an additional 173 linear feet of swales (356 total linear feet).

The numbered areas are:

  1. Area 3, with 3 berms/swales
    2. Area 12 (shade)
    3. Area 13

Area 3

Berm 3c: The berm is 6’ wide x 27’ long. The swale has the same measurements as the berm.
All the trees except an Eve’s Necklace survived. Trees include Common Persimmon, Red Mulberry, Texas Persimmon (already on property), and Pomegranate. Other plants include sorrel, asparagus, Italian Dandelion…and more.

Berm 3b: The berm is 6’ wide x 22’ long. The swale has the same measurements as the berm. All the trees have done well. Trees include Loquat, Anna Apple, Kidneywood, Blushing Delight Apple, and Moringa. Other plants include comfrey, fennel, sweet potatoes, okra, peppers, etc.

Berm 3a: The berm is 6’ wide x 19’ long. The swale has the same measurements as the berm. The 2 Red Peach trees are doing well. I’ve added a Moringa that is growing. Asparagus, sweet potato, California black eyed pea, etc.

Area 12 (in shade)

The berm is 8’ wide x 50’ long. The swale has the same measurements as the berm. This berm needsThis berm lost 1 Goldenball Leadtree and 2 Redbuds. Trees on this berm include Texas Torchwoods (haven’t grown much), Redbud, Brown Turkey Fig, Kidenywood, Anacua, and Texas Mountain Laurel. Other plants include Flame Leaf Acanthus, Cast Iron, Aloe Vera, Chile Pequins (nubs…grazed by wildlife), Texas Betany, Greggs Mist, Truks Cap, Plumbago, and Cedar Sage. I’m using various mints as ground cover, including peppermint, double mint, and patchouli. I also have 2 large mystery plants that I think were intentional plantings, but I couldn’t find in my plant logs a plant that matches the description.

Area 13

The berm is 8’ wide x 55’ long. The swale has the same measurements as the berm. This berm is oriented to get the most sun throughout the day and also had the most weeds and note more in ERC website post. I didn’t diligently pull all of them. I think more compost and mulch and more cover crops may have helped. We lost 3 Redbuds, a Flame-Leaf Sumac, and a Western Soapberry on this berm. The Holy Basil did really well. We’ll replant in the fall with nitrogen fixing trees/shrubs and also Mediterranean climate trees, like olive and pomegranate. Remaining trees include LSU Purple Fig, Eve’s Necklace, Pecan, Anacua, Kidneywood, Western Soapberry, and Goldenball Leadtree. Other plants include Texas Native Milkweed, Henry Duelberg Salvia, Lemongrass, Aloe Vera, Yucca, Holy Basil, some weeds, and some unidentified plants. Deer can reach area 13, so I chose to let the frostweed grow in some places to make an annoyance barrier to the deer to hopefully keep them from going to the plants in the berm. I’ll use the frostweed as chop and drop for the fall. Bad idea?

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