For Oklahoma City resident and local Green Realtor, Michelle Hines, having a permaculture yard is a way of life for her and her family, not just a system they have in place. “It means taking care of my family, being self-sufficient and caring for the Earth—and it’s something any homeowner can do.”
Hines estimates her yard at about a quarter of an acre. They’ve been in the home less than two years, and during that time, have slowly begun removing what is not edible. “We knew when we decided to build raised beds and start removing the grass that we wanted a predominantly edible landscape,” she says. “It has truly been a process of trial and error as we find out what works, and what doesn’t.”
She says it’s important for homeowners to do their homework before embarking on the permaculture adventure. Hines recommends learning what works for the particular plot of land for your particular ecosystem, know what plants can be grouped together, and most importantly, start small by planting what you really like to eat. “Don’t plant 100 plants if you’ve never gardened before.”
Although starting a permaculture yard can be overwhelming, and certainly time consuming, William Collins, owner of Urban Lawn and Garden, also recommends starting small, then expanding as desired. Space, he says, is dependent upon how much you want to grow. “You can do as little as a potted tomato plant, or convert your entire backyard. A good rule is to think about how much time you have to spend working your garden.”
Collins says starting a garden is simple, but the soil is key. “Oklahoma does not traditionally have good soil so a raised bed performs better because you bring in better soil.” Rather than starting from seed, he recommends getting plans from local nurseries, as they often do better if they are already established. To determine what to plant and when, Oklahoma State University has an online planting guide that is “a great source for veggies that do well in Oklahoma.”
While Hines is a big supporter of composting, and even recently installed a worm compost bin, Urban Lawn and Garden offers Compost Tea, an aqueous solution of highly concentrated microorganisms found in compost. “Compost is placed in a ‘tea’ bag inside the water being aerated, then we feed the microorganisms with kelp, fish hydrosolate, malt extract or molasses, and humic acid,” he explains. “After 24 hours, the tea is ready to be applied to any plants you may have.” By applying compost tea, he says we are putting the biology into the soil that produces food for the plants naturally.
What her family doesn’t eat, Hines shares with neighbors, friends or local shelters in need of food or cans/dehydrates/freezes for use when the fruit/vegetable is out of season. “Permaculture is a great way to connect with nature, interact with neighbors and care for our planet.”
To contact GREEN Realtor Michelle Hines, email Michelle@buygreenokc.com or visit buygreenokc.com.
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To contact Urban Lawn and Garden, email UrbanLawnandGarden@gmail.com or visit Urban-Harvest.com. See ad on page 21.