Left to Right:  Girl Scouts, Liz and Calley (supposedly the adults in the photo)



It seems like for a few days that I've been nudged back to promoting my permaculture roots. All the gardeners at the Garland Community Garden and most community gardens are organic gardeners--that is to say that we do not use any chemical fertilizers, GMO seeds, pesticides or herbicides.

Permaculture takes organic gardening to another whole level.

Permaculture, at its core, is sustainable agriculture. It also includes 12 design principles that expand beyond farming and offer an ecological approach to modern living and communities—for example, energy conservation and zero waste living. All in all, permaculture takes its lessons from nature and how things grow naturally in a forest in particular.
In the beginning of the Garland Community Garden almost 10 years ago now, we "made" the soil for most of our beds the permaculture way: Lay down cardboard the entire area of your bed, right on top of the weeds or grass; Water it well; put a layer of twigs and several large old porous logs on top of the cardboard; Pile brown organic matter such as leaves on top of the logs; old newspapers torn up; mix a little green from shrub trimmings; and some rotting produce; straw; water well and wait for the worms to come.
Vegetables grown in our lasagna beds did not grow well so we gradually moved away from this method. It takes at least a year for most lasagna beds to attract enough worms to harvest the organic materials into rich soil.

Monica Escamilla, Starbucks Store Manager and community gardener


Monica Escamilla Store Manager at the Starbucks on North Garland Road between a Walmart and Target store recently has come to our garden to help us out. Monica mentioned that her previous experience included working in a permaculture garden in Nashville. There are several in the Nashville area so I don't know which. one but talking with Monica reminded me of the value of this method of gardening. But more importantly Monica mentioned that you can buy live big night crawler worms and also the red wiggles at Walmart or any bait shop and add them to your soil.
I decided to make a lasagna bed on Sunday, bring worms to it and see what happens. So I bought three containers of worms collected the leaves I had raked from my yard and some cardboard and headed for the garden. At least as far as the beginning of this bed goes, it was magical.
I had barely started to pull the cardboard out of the truck when a troop of girl scouts flooded the garden like so many butterflies.
The girls were not only strong and enthusiastic, great listeners and action-oriented, they displayed great teamwork and kindness to one another.  This photo shows one of the older girls helping a younger one to loosen the roots of a transplant.  Yep, the garden encourages all kinds of good manners.
They were curious about what I was doing. When I told them they begged enthusiastically to come and help. Of course I said yes and Calley, one of our new gardener members joined in to help us. With the exception of going into the woods to get the old rotten logs, we let the girls do everything--from laying the cardboard to planting the plants which included some herbs, a tomato plant and a pepper plant. (The tomato plant was planted at the other end from the pepper plant as they are not good companions.)
The girls were fearless with the worms which surprised me. It was so much fun to see their enthusiasm and sheer joy.
After we were finished and the girls had left the garden it struck me that I had helped to create a happy memory for a group of children. This was likely an event that many of them would remember their entire lives. And I, as a participant, would also be remembered as well. I guess this is the closest we come to immortality--to make happy memories for others. No better place to do this than in the garden.
The Girl Scout's lasagna bed.  They have eight plants (herbs, one tomato plant and one Banana pepper plant.  In addition, this bed is the new home for about 15 worms.
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