Augusta Creek Permaculture Farmstead & Forest Garden
In 2015, we established a 2.2 acre farmstead and forest garden in Southwest Michigan. We incorporated many permaculture concepts, traditional land management ideas, and edible landscape designs into the forest garden to be able to produce our food and medicine in way that is beautiful, sustainable, and integrated into the natural world. Some of the keys features of the Augusta Creek Permaculture site are detailed below.
Edible and Medicinal Plants
One of the most important features of the forest garden are the edible and medicinal plants that grow there. Growing our own food and medicine empowers us because it allows us to control the quality of the plants that we are putting in and on our bodies. We are able to increase soil fertility and manage pests in natural, non-toxic ways that are safe for us and for our environment. Additionally, by integrating many perennial and self-seeding plants we are setting up systems for food and medicine production that are less labor and resource intensive than conventional methods and also require less time and money to operate.
We raise Nigerian dwarf goats on our farmstead. They are small, friendly breed that we really enjoy having around. They are great at eating away brush and keeping unwanted plants at bay. Since being on the farmstead they have helped to control overgrown areas and even eat plants like poison ivy and black raspberry that can be troublesome for humans to try to manage. They are also good milkers and make great pets. We love our goats!
Flowers have been an important component of our site since we started developing the property. They are a lovely addition to any garden simply because of their beauty, lovely smell, and the pop of color that they provide. However, flowers are also very useful in a forest garden design. They attract beneficial insects to help with fruit tree pollination and to aid in controlling the population of undesirable insects. Many of them are edible and have medicinal properties as well.
We are definitely moving towards integrating lots of perennials and self-seeding plants into the forest garden as we have mentioned. However, while the garden is young there are lower yields from these types of plants because many of them take a few years to start producing. While we wait, we have implemented beds for annual vegetables so we are getting lots of fresh produce right away.