The adventure of growing food for our family has been a passion of ours for a lot of years now. Every year it seems that we have new motivations and new goals to expand in various ways. This year, along with growing our usual staple crops, we have incorporated some new and exciting systems. The chicken composting system has been giving us about a cubic yard of ready to use compost every 30 days. This has changed the way we grow food in an exciting and more sustainable way.

We are also implementing fruit tree guilds. A fruit tree guild is a Permaculture technique for disease-resistant, high-yield gardens. The goal of the guild is to underplant a central element, such as a fruit or nut tree, with plants that are highly useful, multifunctional, and that might naturally be found growing together. A fruit tree guild develops into a Mini Ecosystem. Every one of our fruit tress will be accompanied by a Guild. Another functional addition to our system was to build a small pond. We took the problem of a flood zone area on our land and turned it into a solution. We are now giving the water somewhere to go, holding it on site, and then providing a spill way giving the water a way to exit when there is excess. The pond is a fresh water ecosystem. It has the potential to provide food, medicine, water storage, sun reflection (heat and light), filtration for waste, recreation and aesthetic value.

It has been a great experience being a part of the Build It Up program. This is our second year. The staff has been great, all the subjects covered have been very informative, and we have met some great people along the way.

Happy Growing!