I live at Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia, an intentional community and farm where we are practicing permaculture design. If you've never heard of this concept, follow http://www.permacultureactivist.net/intro/PcIntro.htm and prepare to be amazed and inspired. My husband and I both received our permaculture design certificates in February and we were anxious to get to work on some new projects.
This spring we were ready to start installing more garden beds in our yard, and rather than buying edging and pavers, we looked around for free materials on our very own property. Here is some of what we came up with.
Since our farm is also an intentional community, we had lots of help from nearly 100 spring break visitors over the course of a few weeks busting up old concrete slabs and moving dirt from place to place. Hauling wheelbarrow loads of dirt and moving these huge hunks of concrete, called "urbanite" by permaculturists, is no small task!
This one is a giant keyhole bed, so named because of the small entry into a large and versatile planting space:
Everything we planted here is either edible, attracts beneficial insects, or is useful as mulch or animal feed. Plants in both large beds include: apple, pear and fig trees; blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, strawberries, cranberries; mesclun salad mix, cabbages, collard greens, kale, lettuce, violets (did you know you can eat violet flowers and leaves?); comfrey, rosemary, lavender, poppies, and various flowering ground covers.
Close-ups of the comfrey in bloom and the mesclun mix seedlings:
We also decided to use glass bottles to finish off the ends of some existing beds. I simply dug a trench, then pounded the bottles in with a rubber mallet and filled in around them with soil. You can make all sorts of curved edges and shapes, plus they're pretty in the sunlight, they're free, and of course it's always better to reuse something than to send it away for recycling:
We moved the rabbit hutch, constructed entirely out of salvaged materials and scrap wood, right into a central part of the garden so we could feed weeds to the bunnies and make good use of their fertilizer:
Happy, well-fed bunnies!
And, finally, last year we tore the walls off of a rotting, unusable shed that is just a few yards from our back door and turned it into a greenhouse. It's now home to hundreds of sprouting seeds, soon to be yummy veggies and sweet-smelling herbs:
Thanks for looking, feedback and comments welcome! I'd especially love to meet any fellow craftster permies!