Gardens & Permaculture Zones

Gardens & Permaculture Zones

The gardens at Polcum Springs provide fresh organically grown produce for those that live here.  We garden year-round with a focus on terraced perennial polycultures mixed with intensive annual beds.  We draw inspiration from permaculture, biodyamics and biointensive gardening.  We save heirloom seed, make compost, compost tea and host earthworms!

In Permaculture, a zone one garden is the homestead-kitchen garden that produces most of the fresh produce and herbs for the dinner table.  Water use, mulch, frequency of harvest, and human energy is more intensive in zone one. Part of our strategy to keep our human footprint compact and efficient is to fit as much food production into zone one as possible.  This includes a hoophouse, chickens, and intensive annual beds surrounding the common house.  Following permaculture design principles, our zone one gardens receive most of the human energy and visitation.

The zone two food forest surrounds the common house with dozens of fruit and nut trees, berries, grapes, artichokes, flowers, and other perennials.

Zone three production is where broad-scale production happens, with a focus on calorie crops and staples.  The small south-facing meadow above the common house is where less-intensive crops such as squash, maize, garlic, potatoes, sorghum, sunflowers and other grain crops are grown.  The spring-fed pond and swales provide groundwater management strategies appropriate to zone three.  There is plenty of room to expand production in zone three.

Zones four and five are comprised of 200 acres of mixed coniferous forest and grasslands: nature’s garden!  Here we carefully wildcraft greens, acorns, pol’-cum (baynuts), mushrooms, and wild game.