PERMACULTURE and the creation of Living Soil

Greenhouse siteFrom the outset, Groundswell envisioned a community garden surrounding the Community Greenhouse. In 2010 work began on this project and the principles of permaculture were a great fit. Permaculture is a holistic approach to design allowing the creation of a sustainable and regenerative system which is based on science yet guided by ethics. Theories on design surrounding; shelter, energy, waste, water and food production are applied as proactive long term solutions to satisfy our basic needs. The design of this garden was established through a Permaculture Design Course, given by Verge Permaculture, in April 2013. This course took place over two parts, where the principles of design and agricultural techniques were taught and later implemented on the site by hard-working volunteers. Read more and video ↓

Our first and most significant form of permaculture adoption on the site is the way we have built up soil. Considering the silt and rock aggregate that forms the substrate in the garden enclosure, serious remediation of the soil was required to support any growth. By excavating our garden beds and layering viable planting mediums like mulch, top soil, compost, and further incorporating mycorrhizal fungi, blood and bone meal, worm castings and of course love and joy we were able to begin planting our food forest thereafter. To further build soil fertility, we have adopted a longer-term plan where cover crops are planted and mowed before maturation, leaving the degrading roots and decomposing biomass on the surface to further contribute to the volume of viable soil. As of autumn 2013 we have established a foundation for our food forest, where our incorporation of trees, shrubs, companion planting and cover cropping have resulted in a low maintenance yet highly productive variety of edible crops.
Groundswell’s Permaculture Garden incorporates rainwater harvesting, where 5000 square feet of roof collection area is stored underground. This rainwater supplies our drip-line system and our passive land gradient irrigation. As part of this passive irrigation system, water will flow through our wetland feature – not only serving to filter the water but will also be a showpiece for wetland ecology education and experimentation. As a result of the gradient based irrigation system, water will disperse evenly throughout our food forest, providing enough water to reduce or forego manual watering.

The gardens are available for rent for special occasions or for tours for different size groups.

Greenhouse   Greenhouse

One of Groundswell Community Greenhouse and Gardens most notable triumphs is the award-winning Community Greenhouse in Invermere and its surrounding permaculture garden. The facility is a living demonstrations of:

  • Production of organic, wholesome and local foods
  • Renewable energy technology
  • Harvesting, conservation and recycling of water
  • Soil creation and conservation
  • Reduction and recycling of waste
  • Green building techniques and materials
  • Natural spaces that benefit insects, birds, plant diversity and people

Greenhouse site   Greenhouse site