Draco Hill has expanded its food gardens to three primary fields and various components of edible landscaping around the house. We don’t use chemicals around any food production, and have been learning the hard way about how to deal with undesirable pests.
All three fields now have swales. Two of the fields have rotting wood underneath the swales and berms for water management. The wood will help absorb rainwater from the roof of the house. The third, our oldest garden, does not. Now that we’ve established these gardens we hope to disrupt the integrity of the soil as little as possible.
- Our oldest garden will rest this season. Our efforts to plant it with a cover crop this fall failed, in part due to timing, the weather and the fact that the guineas found it and ate what was left of the cover crop seed.
- Our next oldest one is planted with winter rye as a cover crop and we will plant this summer.
- In our newest garden we made berms which would serve as raised beds but then trenched through the center of those and filled those trenches with about 3 feet of compostable materials – layers of leaves, manure compost, grass clippings, food scraps, more leaves, etc. We hope that three feet wide and three feet deep is enough critical mass for the material to compost over the winter. We plan to plant straight into it in the spring. This is called “barrow composting” and we learned it from Andrea Chandler who wrote Growing Great Vegetables in the Heartland.