Growing Organic Food for Whitewater Eco Rafters on the South Fork of the American River
When we established our original garden twenty years ago it was small and located next to the main kitchen. Occasionally the garden thrived, mostly it died, but the herbs, basically a form of weed after all, took over.
Building on last year’s effort, this season we have set the long term objective of achieving a “permaculture”. This increasingly popular concept combines organic farming techniques, such as composting and integrated crop selection, with green landscape architecture and eco farming techniques to achieve sustainability. Permaculture is more of a process than a destination and it will take several seasons and a big team effort to achieve substantial results.
Scotty is the leader of our eco permaculture team which now includes allies from the Garden Valley “Grange on Green” (see our blog article on this group for details). Two particularly knowledgeable Grange participants are the owners of Redbud Farms, Martha Cox (Master Gardener) and Dr. Dave Cox(retired UC Davis Ag Professor) who are hosts of a gardening show on KFOK 95.1 FM on Saturdays and are local experts with decades of experience. They did a site visit/consultation and suggested the size of the garden be many times greater than last season and be located in a more favorable location on an area of “Auburn sandy loam soil” with a ph of 6.1 (who knew?). Pass the lime please. Martha donated some seeds as well- Thanks!
Another helpful suggestion was made by Allen Carrozza, our ever energetic solar expert from Grange on Green. He donated solar panels that will heat water and circulate it under the garden to warm the root zones of the plants. This can increase the rate of growth by 140%. If you look carefully at the “American River Gothic” picture of Scotty and Sarah above, you will notice a large, black, rectangular object behind Scotty and Sarah- this is a plastic solar panel of the type commonly used to heat swimming pools. The round black object behind the panel is the 600 gallon tank that will not only serve as our rainwater recapture reservoir next winter, it will store the water heated by the solar panels and help keep it warm both because of its mass and also due to its passive “black body” solar energy collecting properties.
See you in the River Center Permaculture Garden,