The VegHeadz have been busy digging ditches--or swales--and creating berms from the displaced soil. It's the first step in creating a food forest or forest garden at the south end of our space where there is just a little too much shade for growing annual vegetables. The purpose of the swales (there will be three) is to capture water as it descends the hill (I guess you've gathered are garden is on a slope), and retain it for the use of plants below the swale.
Food forests are relatively new to the US and other countries in the temperate zone. Some call them the gardens of the future, but they have been used by people in the tropics for milllenia.
From Wikipedia: "Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans:"
We have been growing perennial vegetables for several years and our perennial garden is one of the most successful and least-labor intensive areas of the garden. We haven't quite figured out what to do with the food grown there, nor made it a part of our regular diet. It takes time to change life-long habits. Food pantries we usually donate to don't know what to do with the unfamiliar edibles either. It's an area we will be working on as we develop the food forest.
As it becomes more and more difficult to grow the familiar crops we all love such as tomatoes, we hope to develop new tastes that require less work to satisfy. The perennials we presently grow will be incorporated into the forest which will be expanded to include fruit trees, soil building plants, and new layers of edibles.
A diagram of the food forest, designed by local certified arborist and natural landscape designer David Copps, is available under our Resources heading. David's article on food forests previously published in the Tallahassee Democrat gives a further explanation of where we are heading. We'll be posting updates as we progress--or come visit us any Wednesday morning. You can even help us dig ditches.