As we move towards self-sustainability and a more locally focused diet, our gardeners work hard to supply us with a good portion of the veggies we consume. The experience of gardening allows us to become more intimate with the land we live on and with the crops that sustain us. Our community gardens enable us to indulge in different flavors and varieties, and to enjoy rare vegetables that can’t be found in the local grocery stores. We currently cultivate around three acres, which includes herbs and orchard space. The growing space is separated into two main gardens areas.
The Upper Garden is a space that is right at the center of community. Most of it is maintained as permanent raised beds. We maintain soil fertility by building compost piles and cover cropping when there isn't a crop growing in a bed. Crops are rotated to reduce pest pressure and nutrient drawdown of the soil. Over the last season we have successfully cultivated tomatoes, peppers, leeks, okra, eggplant, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, squash, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, cucumbers, green beans, several varieties of greens, watermelon, and cantaloupe. There are some berries, trees, and other perennial plantings around the edge of the upper garden. One of the two community herb gardens is right next door, where we grow a multitude of medicinal and culinary herbs, as well as several beautiful ornamental plants.
The Mulberry Garden is East Wind's second garden, so named for a large and extremely productive Mulberry tree in the center. It is just down the hill from the upper garden, and it has only been garden space since 2010. Previously it was pasture, but our ranch and garden made a trade, and the old lower garden space (which was much further from the center of community) was made into pasture. Some areas are relatively flat and good for annual cultivation. Here, we tend to grow more of the crops that need a larger patch, such as tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash. They are better suited here than to the more intensive upper garden.
However, for the sake of rotation, the exact crops grown in each garden varies .The more sloping sections of the Mulberry garden are unsuited to extensive annual cultivation because of susceptibility to erosion. These areas are still useful space, however. We have planted a number of fruit trees, ranging from common apples, pears and peaches, to more exotic jujubes, goumis and medlars. We have also planted chestnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans. Chestnuts are a particular favorite, as they have the potential to be a simple starch. Our second herb garden is located nearby.
As our population continues to grow, our garden program will need to grow with it. We strive to provide varied and nutritious food to our members, and that requires dedicated gardeners, the more the better. We are always excited to have our visitors and new members get involved.
To learn more about our cultivation of medicinal and culinary herbs, please visit the Herbs page.