A free, two-day event this weekend in the Eastside will give people who grow their own fruits and vegetables a chance to practice techniques that could make their gardens more productive and sustainable.
Aptly named PermaBlitz, the event is a 16-hour re-design of a community garden using principles of permaculture, a philosophy of land use aimed at conserving water and other natural resources.Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas volunteers will build berms for planting, dig swales to catch rainwater, and plant fruit trees, berry bushes, and vegetables.
Located in a corner of the large Pittman-Sullivan Park, the garden is tended by neighbors and sponsored by Green Spaces Alliance, a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve green spaces in urban areas, which include unique physical and cultural landmarks of our region.
“A permaculture design works with nature, not against it,” says Angela Hartsell, community gardens program manager for Green Spaces. “Creating a swale next to a planting berm captures water from the slope so there’s more water available to the plants, for example.”
Other techniques involve multipurpose plants and growing plants in multiple layers. Speakers will discuss several practices and volunteers will apply them.
“People learn a lot better when they’re doing what they’re hearing,” Hartsell said. “It cements the information in their brain.”
Here’s a rundown of the four “work(ing)shops” about permaculture this weekend (March 7 and 8). Organizer's note: start times are approximate.
Saturday, 9-10 a.m
Troy Dorman, Tetra Tech Engineers
The local watershed
Saturday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Bryan Hummel, natural resource specialist for Joint Base San Antonio
Sunday, 9-10 a.m.
Nadia Gaona, San Antonio Permaculture Group
Plant selection and plant guilds
Sunday, 2:30- 3:30 p.m.
Michelle Gorham, Green Spaces Alliance
Volunteers will be moving soil and mulch, and digging lots of holes, says Hartsell. She suggests wearing close-toed shoes and bringing a water bottle; Green Spaces will provide gloves and tools.