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Zone 1 Transformation: Krater Garden And Food Forest

*** This blog expands off a post we made on Instagram, with a bit more detail. ***

Zone 1 Transformation

In June, we re-shaped via earthworks the area around the homestead. Inspired by Sepp Holzer’s permaculture paradise and thanks to the elegant design and skillful installation of Zach Weiss of Elemental Ecosystems, we have a magical template to grow an abundance and diversity of food and medicine, right out our backdoor.

Previous to this instalment, the area was on-grade with our house such that the basement was threatened by flooding; there was a steep slope outside the walkout portion of our basement, which was slippery in the warm months and treacherous in the winter months, and made hauling chickens in and out of our retail freezers unnecessarily hard on our bodies; the soil was poor and only seemed to grow patchy, parched grass. We were at a loss for how to use this prime location for our Zone 1: a place around the house to grow annual and perennial gardens and food forest.

In the process of earthworks, Zach designed a new landscape that moves water away from our house and captures it in the from of a “krater garden“. It has terraced paths with angled embankments for optimized sun capture by future vegetables, fruit and medicinal plants. Berms made from unwanted sod provide a block from the north wind and even more vertical space for growing. (You can see the biggest berm to the right of our house from the road! Water flows freely but is now gently coaxed to a pond, which is also fed by a natural spring 💦 that was liberated when we broke the pre-existing tile drains. 

“Krater garden” = a berm for a wind barrier + terraces for pathways and south facing slopes + a pond for water capture, aquatic life and swimming + lots of rocks for heat sinks = a microclimate perfect for growing and a landscape for endless enjoyment. 

The process was exhilarating and exhausting, and challenged us in unexpected ways; and there’s still so much work to do – and so much ragweed to pull. Luckily, most of the hard work will be done by the seeds, sun and rain… grow plants grow; grow roots grow; grow microbes grow.

Thank you, Zach, for your vision, hard work, hardy appetite, and patience with the 4 year old and 40 year olds. We are already looking forward to Phase 2! 

 🌱 💦 ☀️ 🌸 🐸 🦋 🍓 🏊‍♀️ 🔥 ⭕️ ✨💧🌳 #growdontmow 


Panorama from the back of the installation during the process of re-shaping.

Panorama from the back of the installation after project completion. We lay mulch to hold and protect cover crop seeds.

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