Many of us dream of self-sufficient and growing most of our food and having a supply of fresh, organic food in our gardens. Not an impossible dream, as one family proves.
The Dervaes family grows 7,000 pounds of organic food annually on just one-tenth of an acre which not only takes care of 90 percent of their vegetarian diet but also provides a good income. Food wise, the family spends about $2 per person on other kitchen staples per day. Their permaculture garden is extremely efficient and productive and they make over $20,000 annually from extra produce sold in Los Angeles, just fifteen minutes away.
When Dervaes moved to his Pasadena home in 1985 there was no soil, only adobe-like clay, pretty much useless for growing anything. The family spent years regenerating the soil with rock dust, chicken and goat manure, fermented compost and active microbes – permaculture that mimics Mother Nature regenerating the soil.
With a method called ‘square inch gardening’ they made use of every inch of the limited space available, packing the plants as close together as possible to save water and prevent evaporation from the soil.
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