From the Adrian Dominican Sisters' Permaculture Office
We are excited to welcome Jamie Casanova, who will spend the remainder of the season working with the Permaculture Department. She has been such a wonderful addition, bringing a great attitude and aptitude for permaculture, along with the knowledge and experience she gained as a graduate of the floriculture program at the Lenawee Intermediate School District Tech Center. Don't be shy. Say hi if you can catch her inside!

In keeping with permaculture principles, we've been obtaining yields from our gentle gardens, but also looking ahead to prepare our soils for next season. As part of our preparation, we created the kitchen garden to help integrate rather than segregate food to table. This new garden can be found near the raised bed gardens.

We began building raised beds by digging sunken pathways on contour to help increase moisture retention. The sod that we dug out was piled on top of the beds to increase organic matter. We soaked cardboard in water and used it as "sheet mulch" over the sod. This soggy cardboard, in addition to helping us produce no waste, will jump-start the decomposition processes and discourage the grass weeds from growing through. We added a 1- to 2-inch layer of wood chips, sprayed it with water, and added another layer of compost. For a finishing touch, white clover and a fall manure cover crop mix will be seeded in these raised mounds and covered with leaves.

We are excited to introduce diversity with a spring planting of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, radishes, lettuces, and spinach, which will be used in the kitchens next season!
Species Spotlight: Skirret

Skirret (pronounced SKUR-ret),
sium sisarum , is a root vegetable native to China. A medium-sized perennial, skirret does well in most soils. Planted in both our community garden and in the edible food forest, skirret is now displaying its delicate little white flowers, which look similar to flowers of other members of the Apiaceae family, such as carrots, parsnips, parsley, and celery. Skirret has slender, long, and sweet-tasting white roots, which can be dug from November to March or left in the ground to continue growing.

A great plant for permaculture, skirret not only offers delicious roots and flowers to attract insect pest predators but also propagates readily by root cuttings. We look forward to spreading the cheer of skirret for years to come! 

For more information:
Upcoming Events
  • The Environmental Documentary Series at Siena Heights University, directed by Thomas Wassmer, Associate Professor of Biology, runs every Wednesday from 6:30-9:00 p.m. in the Science Building, Room 131. The event is free and open to the public. For a schedule of the entire program, click here.
  • Seed-saving workshop, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, September 21, at the Bedford Branch of the Monroe County Library System, Bedford, Michigan. 
  • "How Does our Garden Grow: Summer Update," a virtual tour of the Permaculture Gardens, will be offered from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 26, in the Rose Room at the Dominican Life Center. We will discuss this season's harvests, why we should care so much about soil, and next steps for the Permaculture Gardens.
  • Guided Tour of the Permaculture Gardens. All are invited to join Siena Heights students from the industrial ecology and sustainability course for this tour offered from 9:00-9:50 a.m. Monday, October 9. We will meet at Charlotte's Web Community Garden. Please contact Elaine Johnson at 517-266-3599 by Monday, October 2, if you would like to join the tour and prefer golf cart accommodations.

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