On my folks quarter acre lot, we have been building a bank of biodiversity on the corner of a McMansion development for many viewers to pass by in the ‘burbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Fortunately all that separates us from the nearest city neighborhood of Northside is Mt.
Airy Forest, the nations second largest city forest. We do find ourselves within the constraints of aesthetics and a homeowners association but have managed to make it pretty wild feeling over the years. It is the longest running site that I have been managing under Permaculture principles, which has been great for my learning process through protracted and thoughtful observation. Right after my West Coast adventure and PDC in 2005 out in California and Oregon, I returned to the house where I dug a garden in a nice micro-climate up against my parents house (where else does a young permie begin). It has been a vegetable garden ever since and now much of it has turned to a strawberry bed as we have implemented much bigger vegetables gardens and edible landscaping.
The work here has also largely focused on water harvesting with this important function being supported by many different elements. The following elements can be seen to slow, spread, and sink water:
- rain barrels
- organic lawn care including compost extract
- edible landscaping with the food forest layered approach
We also have a focus on producing food and herbs, creating an educational space, and being a resource for local plant propagation. The site itself has a large slope with varying aspects. This has forced us to use earthworks to create space for growing and take advantage of our microclimates. We trade our excess with local producers and processors, our family, and our neighbors and friends. It’s a garden of abundance as we focus on composting and very few outside inputs.