This section details the design and construction of my garden, which I can happily claim is the very first demonstration Permaculture urban food forest in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia!
By “demonstration garden”, I mean that it is a proven working concept, from design all the way through to implementation. I do provide hard facts and figure for how much this garden produces (which you rarely find on many gardens) spanning the life of the garden since its creation, to prove my claims of how productive this garden really is.
If it all looks pretty impressive on paper, or a web page, seeing is believing! Literally hundreds of people have visited the garden, as I open the garden regularly to the general public and to permaculture groups for garden tours and presentations, and the feedback is always that the work is inspiring, which provides further encouragement for me to do more and teach people how to do the same with their garden, which is the primary purpose of this website.
This design proves that you can grow an intensive food forest in an inner suburban backyard, without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers, produce more food than you ever imagined was possible, with less water and less work, by letting nature do what nature does best, grow forests!
The only difference is that we get to choose what goes into this forest, the types of trees and plants that we use. Just like a forest, it grows without all the usual chemicals and human effort, and it really can be done, and it does work. And here is the proof, read on and I’ll reveal how I did it!
Here is a quick glance of the garden as it was at the end of 2008, a few months after I just finished building it.
Click on the pictures to see the larger images.
This garden was rebuilt as a demonstration project of what an urban permaculture garden in an average sized block in an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia could produce sustainably and organically. The intention was to not use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides, to rebuild the soil (which was leached and lifeless) and construct a self-supporting ecosystem.
I’ve used a range of organic and sustainable gardening techniques, such as no-dig, plant stacking, succession planting, composting, mulching, vertical gardening, companion planting as well as some modern design principles such as square foot gardening and backyard orchard design.
The garden utilises every square inch of free space and then some – container gardening, aquatic gardening and hydroponics. Yes the hydroponics ain’t sustainable/organic, but that’s another experiment…
Don’t think for a moment that this garden was designed to produce maximum yields of fruit and vegies to prove a point. There are about two dozen fruit trees packed into this garden (most of which are too young to really produce much at all), along with lots of berries, close to a hundred medicinal and culinary herbs, aquatic plants, and a wide range of ornamental plants, including flowers, scented plants, bonsai, carnivorous plants, cacti and succulents.
This project was commenced in October 2008, and I will follow it through a whole year, taking you through each season, trying different techniques and plants, and seeing how it all goes. This garden took all winter (3 months to build on my own), is approximately 80 square metres in size, and you’ll see just how much such a garden can produce, and what we can learn from such a project, as we follow its progress from month to month.
I’ve numbered each entry in sequence so you can follow it in chronological order. Hope you like it! I welcome any questions or feedback, so feel free to comment!