Readers' Choice: Simply Lush

By pairing plants and animals that help each other grow, this permaculture garden creates a self-sustaining system.

| May/June 2009

  • Penny and James don't baby their garden crops. They plant carefully chosen native species and let nature do the rest.
    Photo By Paul Bousquet

Cofounders of the Permaculture Institute of Northern California, Penny Livingston-Stark and James Stark practiced what they preached in their 1-acre garden in Point Reyes (the couple has since moved). Filled with wild garden patches, ducks, chickens, nuts, berries and fruit trees, Penny and James’ permaculture garden worked with nature by pairing plants and animals that help each other grow, creating a self-sustaining system.

Three things we love about this garden: 
1. Every plant in this garden works hard. A tree can help shade the west side of the house, provide food and habitat for wildlife and build the soil.
2. Worms feed the ducks and recycle food scraps and old newspapers to keep the soil aerated and healthy. Bees in a hive cantilevered over a rainwater-catchment pond pollinate plants and provide honey. Chickens weed, fertilize, rototill, eat insects and provide eggs.
3. Penny and James don’t require transportation energy to get food; the majority of their diet is sourced from their backyard food forest.

Read the original Simply Lush article.



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