I recently got the opportunity to convert the property that I have been living on into a sustainable ecosystem. It is a beautiful piece of land, located on the top of a hill in LA county with expansive views of the ocean and the canyons. The land is blessed with many favorable aspects, providing for a little more variety when it comes to what we can plant. We are in a Mediterranean Climate, with hot dry summers, and cool wet winters. But we currently find ourselves in a drought, highlighting the role water plays in any landscape. With these opportunities and challenges I set off to see what I could do to make this place self sufficient.
So for the past few weeks I have been walking the land, taking the time to reflect on what I see. The soil is dry, it almost looks dead, but deeper down, this sandy, clay soil reveals some moisture and some signs of life. What I hope is, that through the combination of a solid Permaculture design and the use of Biodynamic growing methods we can bring the soil back to life through all of its layers, hence bringing back life to the land as a whole.
The first of the projects that we will be working on is converting a living roof and the building terraces for vegetable growing, construction of a light straw clay chicken coop, and building swales for the beginnings of a food forest.
Today, with a little help from some friends, we raised the edges of our living roof to accommodate deeper growing beds. I don't know how a vegetable garden will work on the top of this roof, but we'll see. We used concrete block for this project that we were able to salvage from a construction site. We also began the building of terraces. We were able to get one of the trenches dug, there are going to be 3 levels to the terraces work. With two teams, 3 helpers down at the living roof, 6 of us digging trenches, it was a long hard day in the sun, but we accomplished a lot, many thanks to those who helped.
For next time, we hope to have the chicken coop ready to be infilled with light straw clay, and perhaps get another trench dug for the terrace. See you then....