Tag Archives: permaculture

A tour of the island’s edible landscapes

There are no neat rows in Chuck Estin’s vegetable garden, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a complex system at work.

“It’s a big gimish, I know,” Estin said, pointing to the sprawling mass of green near his front door. Resembling a forest floor more than a vegetable garden, the dozen plants in the 30-square-foot plot were chosen for their ability to cooperate while producing food.

A Japanese fuki plant produces edible stems and broad leaves that fall, decay and enrich the soil for quince and pawpaw, a Kentucky transplant with a custard-like fruit. Strong-smelling mint repels unwanted insects and ground cover of alpine strawberries holds weeds at bay. Yellow calendula flowers dotting the plot attract pollinating bees that help the mini-ecosystem thrive.

The rest of Estin’s Lynwood Center yard, which amounts to about a fifth of an acre, is layered with 108 different kinds of food and flower-producers.

“We get pretty much all the vegetables and fruit we eat from right here,” he said.

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