The property is beautiful; twinkling lights, footpaths and grapevine-shaded chicken coops give Sugagreen it’s aesthetic appeal, while the permaculture (agriculture that’s good for the earth and mostly off the grid) is the motor that runs this self-“oiled” machine.
Caretaker and certified permaculture designer, Adriane Hovey and her mentor James Loomis, the gardening expert for Catalyst Magazine, built the aquaponics element to the urban farm. Aquaculture doesn’t need land, which is helpful to the Earth because of all of the soil erosion, and is self-contained ecosystem that produces plants. The symbiotic relationship between fish and plants is what makes this method intriguing. Here’s how it works:
Hovey says their chickens are a big part of their permaculture. Rather than traditional composting, she says she will throw food scraps and eggshells onto the earth where the chickens roam. She says the chickens peck and scratch and naturally grind the scraps into the dirt, which, along with their fertilizer, creates rich soil that she uses to feed and grow her plants. She also uses the ground eggshells to make facial spa masks, chalk, and to naturally repel snails and other bugs from climbing up plants and bending them over (The shells scrape their sensitive bodies).
But unless the snails are climbing on the plants, Hovey says they and many other bugs are actually good for the garden. The soil microbiology loves the snail trails. Ladybugs are also important players, because these vicious predators eat The small bugs that lay eggs in and eat your plants. She says it’s important not to use pesticide, even organic pesticide, because you want a healthy ecosystem of insects to Feed and protect your garden.
Hovey also said it’s important to use the lasagna mulch method when you’re preparing a planting bed to enrich the soil and prevent weeds. You can learn how to do that, plus everything you read here and more in one of their community workshops. You can find out when those are happening on their Facebook page.
The people who make Sugagreen a Hub add their talents to make this green space a place of true community. For example, Rocky Lavoie contributes her musical talents on the ground’s stage, made of all Upcycled material, and also teaches yoga once a week in the space’s studio. and Artists for Agriculture help design garden elements and hang art for sale on the walls. Everyone is welcome, so contact Hobey through Facebook if you’d like to get involved, or even rent their studio space.
You can watch me spending a whole morning at Sugagreen at KUTV.com.