Nestled deep in the sticks of Schoharie County in upstate New York, lays Raven Crest Botanicals , a 250-acre sanctuary of an organic farm. Over 80 herbs are grown at Raven Crest for a variety of teas, tinctures, elixirs and skin care products. Susanna Raeven, owner of Raven Crest Botanicals, aims to bring non-toxic, safe and efficient, hand-made natural items, made in little batches with love and intent to her customers to help them discover balance in their lives with the generous support of the plant kingdom.
Raven Crest tinctures, teas and elixirs are derived from Mom Earth without hurting her, made well for Susanna’s fans to be well. Ms.Raeven utilizes a variety of permaculture approaches to guarantee that every one of her products is natural, natural, and pesticide and fertilizer free.
Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer, the Daddy of Permaculture, describes the farming technique as an environment where all components within a system connect with each other; plants and animals interacting in harmony. Holzer described significant themes of permaculture:
– Multi-functionality: every aspect satisfies multiple functions and every function is carried out by numerous components
– Extensive systems in a little location
– Use and shape natural procedures and cycles
– Support and use edge impacts (producing highly productive small structures).
– Variety rather of monoculture.
Keeping the styles of Sepp Holzer in mind, below are 5 permaculture tips for a more sustainable farm, as utilized by Susanna Raeven at. Raven Crest Botanicals. :
1. Attempt Sheet Mulching
If you don’t have excellent soil, you got absolutely nothing, Susanna Raeven stated. Sheet mulching establishes an excellent structure for planting by using various layers of inorganic and organic products to help the soil develop itself.
At Raven Crest Botanicals, Ms.Raeven utilizes Espoma plant-tone, blood meal/dried blood, bone meal, azomite, rock phosphate, and lime for soil modifications. For added trace element, kelp or seaweed works well too.
The inorganic cardboard brings the carbon and the manure brings the nitrogen into the system, which are both needed for high quality soil. The secret to outstanding soil is a healthy ecosystem of microorganisms working the land, and sheet mulching is a method to offer excellent habitat for them.
2. Construct Permaculture Guilds.
Permaculture is based upon using and forming natural procedures, like those seen in forests. One way to simulate nature is to build a food forest. Similar to a natural forest system, food crops and other plants that offer human needs can be planted together to produce numerous layers of plant life and a varied environment..
A good start for a long-lasting food forest is a permaculture guild. A guild is a grouping of plants, animals, bugs and other natural aspects that collaborate to make it through, grow symbiotically and assist one another reach their maximum capacity.
At Raven Crest Botanicals, sheet mulching was laid around fruit trees to provide the ground work for other herbs and flowers to be organized together around the tree, and ultimately develop a permaculture guild, when the soil is all set to be planted in.
Generally, monoculture grass and fruit tree root structures lie at a comparable depth in the soil, therefore producing competition for resources like nutrients and water. By planting herbs and flowers in a guild rather of planting yard, the competition for resources is removed and the plants can grow together symbiotically.
To construct a strong permaculture guild, companion planting can be utilized to help with the smaller sized symbiotic relationships that contribute to the performance of the system as an entire community. Planting different crops that match each other can also assist with insect pollination, boost and control productivity. Tarragon and eggplant can be planted as buddies. A common example of buddy planting is the. 3 Sis. : corn, beans and squash. The stalk from the corn serves as a trellis for the beans to climb, as the beans fix nitrogen to benefit the corn. Squash vines act as living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing moisture in the soil from evaporating.
View the buddy planting guide created by MOM EARTH NEWS. here. .
3. Reassess Your Gardening Space.
A permaculture idea, a Hugelkultur is just a raised garden bed filled with wood. Perennial herbs were planted to keep the soil in place.
The decomposing wood consists of high levels of organic product, nutrients and air pockets for the roots of the plants in the bed. With time, the soil prospers and packed with practical microorganisms. As the wood diminishes, it makes more air pockets; enabling a bit of self tilling. The wood also helps keep excess nutrients in the soil, not leak into the groundwater, acting as a self-fertilizer. The water held in the tree stumps and branches enables very little watering. Only a foot approximately of soil is needed on top of the decomposing wood, so Hugelkultur reduce soil expenses too..
Another interesting way to totally eliminate soil expenses is to try straw bale gardening. No requirement for a big plot of land or soil, straw bales permit gardening on roofing tops, in parking area, and high density urban areas. The bales are portable too! To begin planting in straw bales, merely add a great deal of heavy nitrogen and organic fertilizer for one week, to assist aid the decay procedure. Spend another week watering the bale. The straw bale will get very hot inside, however once the temperature level boils down to 100 degrees, it is time to begin planting seedlings. Straw bale gardening produces an easier harvest too, because roots do not have actually to be removed.
For more details about straw bale gardening, read this post in the. New York Times. .
4. Go Solar!
Part of the vision of permaculture is to use energy efficiently and work with renewables. At Raven Crest Botanicals, a solar powered watering system waters the herbs and flowers with the water from the pond on the farm. Likewise at Raven Crest is a passive solar, earth-sheltered greenhouse. The greenhouse was developed using the plans from The Earth-Sheltered Greenhouse by Mike Oehler, a book featured on Mom Earth News.
The Raven Crest greenhouse is insulated by the Earth and has a cold sink to give cold air an area to settle far from the tender seedlings. The oil-filled pistons of the temperature-sensitive automatic vents allow the greenhouse to manage its own temperature level. The oil in the pistons contracts in the cold (closing the vents) and broadens in the heat (opening the vents). There are likewise 10 55 gallon water drums to assist regulate the temperature level in the greenhouse.
The hanging beds naturally keep mice away and function as drying shelves when all of the herbs and flowers have actually been vacated the greenhouse, solidified and planted. Although Ms.Raeven has a solar drier to dry her herbs for tinctures, teas and elixirs, the included space from her greenhouse provides her a much better opportunity to dry all her herbs at their peak when they are the most medicinal.
5. Grow the Organic Farming Neighborhood– Host a WWOOFer.
Susanna Raeven explains her farm as a single lady operation. In order to grow her small organization and reach more clients, she needs help planting and gathering her herbs and tending her farm. Since of this, Susanna has actually become a part of the WWOOF program as a host farm..
Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming. ( WWOOF) is an effort to connect visitors with organic farmers, promote an academic exchange, and build a worldwide neighborhood mindful of environmental farming practices. The program links people who want to find out more about the natural movement, permaculture and sustainable farming, with farmers who desire to share their understanding. No cash is exchanged in between host farms and WWOOFers, simply space and board for the volunteers (and fantastic food if you are fortunate!).
WWOOF is an excellent way to cultivate the motion for organic, healthy foods and to engage the more youthful generation in permaculture, farming and the environment. WWOOF develops an atmosphere of trust and respect, with focus put on the worth of effort and integrity. The program reveals that living off the land is a way to eat well, be well and wash your spirit clean.
More Gardening Ideas & Resources