Field trips are always fun because you get to see concepts in practice. Visiting Linda Gibbs’ garden was no exception. I stopped by her Malibu home last week for a look at her Permaculture/biodynamic garden as she prepared for spring.
Linda’s property sits at the edge of a gulch and overlooks the ocean. Lush green views and ocean breezes lend themselves to a peaceful garden experience. Over winter, wild fennel, borage and grasses volunteer to cover the hillside to attract beneficial insects. Now that spring is near, she has cut the grasses down to prepare the garden beds.
As part of Linda’s effort to break up clay soil, she planted daikon radishes over an entire future garden bed. The deep roots break through tough soil, making it easier to work in spring. Why work so hard when you can let nature do the work for you?
She built a biodynamic compost pile last fall with alfalfa, reclaimed cow manure and biodynamic preparations. The pile has been turned once, and is now almost ready to use.
Along with the glorious view…
…Linda has included bees in her ecosystem. They sit behind the fence (bottom left corner behind the shrub). The hives ensure success in her garden, with bees pollinating everything in sight.
In addition to letting nature assist in the gardening, Linda uses compost tea to boost soil microbiology and plant growth. Her compost tea brewer sits under a shade structure like Oz behind a curtain.
There are Permaculture concepts in practice here, including a couple of carefully dug swales to direct water down the hill to awaiting garden beds. Linda plans to install other rain catchment systems (rain barrels and additional swales) to keep water on the property and recharge the aquifer.
Once her cover crops are cut down, she’ll plant warm and hot weather crops. It may be a lot of work to get a garden started, but the harvest will be worth the effort.