Must see video of a super productive, suburban backyard vertical garden made with salvaged materials. Enlarge video to full screen. Get a pen and paper handy to take notes. Pause occasionally to catch details. As you’re watching with gaping mouth, keep in mind the plants are only ten weeks old. Love for Life is trying to encourage people to work together to create similar gardens and unplug from the system. Be sure to catch the song at the end near 46:35.

I’m seriously considering how to incorporate some of these ideas into our forest garden. I’ve never heard of anyone combining food forests and raised beds like this, but there’s no reason it can’t work. At this time we’re considering using recycled hardwood for raised beds at ground level with bamboo poles to train the plants and support fishing net to block insects. Due to the beds sitting directly on compacted clay, the raised beds will need small gaps between boards for drainage and fishing net lining the inside to hold the soil. Cost: ridiculously cheap. Benefits such as good health: priceless. Being able to quickly ramp up food production is huge. It will take years to build up our forest garden soil quality from clay subsoil to rich topsoil, whereas it’s much easier to create rich soil in raised beds. Hopefully we can eliminate the raised beds in 5-10 years and plant directly into rich topsoil.

Love for Life soil recipe:
Blue metal chips (blue-gray mudstone)
Organic manure (no hormones): goat, duck, chicken
Mushroom compost
Compost made of rotted foliage/food scraps
Sand
Bits of rotted bark
Volcanic rock dust
Coarse zeolite (aluminosilicate minerals absorb water and slowly release potassium)
Soft rock phosphates
Seaweed
Lucerne (alfalfa) pellets with triacontanol (natural growth stimulant)
Kaolinite (clay mineral)
Coarse diatomaceous earth (porous sedimentary rock)
Humates (humic acid/humus)
Fulvates (water-based organic electrolytes)
Microbes
VAM bacteria (vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae)
Thousands of worms
Clay
6” lucerne mulch (alfalfa hay) on top of 10”-12” soil mix

Rocks for lizards, frogs, etc.
Paths: thick layer of wood chips
Regular foliar spray of triacontanol and seaweed
Pollinate almost every day or get bees

YouTube
Arthur Love for Life YouTube channel
Love for Life.com.au


Comments

Love for Life: From Bare Earth to Abundance — 11 Comments

  1. Doc you amaze me. Finding such excellent items for your blog and ALL of them very, very informative. I have great respect for their labor. They HAVE created a source that IS abundant. Being of Irish blood, I’d still have to have some beef and a hog on the homestead but, other than that just about everything else with a few exceptions could be made at home. THIS one I’m creating a shortcut for. I want to share their story with others. Thanks Doc…..

    • Thanks. This video is one of my favorites. Every day now I’m trying to figure out how to benefit from their gardening methods. I sure wish they’d publish a detailed soil recipe. The list of materials is helpful, but without quantities it has limited use.

      Also note, I think it’s easier to make the beds on the ground. It wouldn’t take long to pound some stakes in the ground, nail on some boards and fill with planting mix. I might build one this coming week and see how it goes. That means stomping through mud to get it done…

      • Myself, I like their “real” raised beds because of the ease of getting to vegetables without kneeling or bending over plus, to me it’s just creating better soil by their method. You’re right about the soil recipe. That would have been helpful. I’m wondering if you used commercial bought lava from a garden shop and ran a roller/crusher over them “if” that would create small enough particles to be considered dust. I know that lava is great for using it in hydroponics because I used to make them using a tub that’s used to put dirty dishes in at a restaurant. They hold air which is good for the roots. You use a 4″ PVC and a fish pump. There’s a little work involved but, it works great. But, back to the lava; do you think that would work?

        • They say they’re trying to create volcanic soil. Some of the most productive land in the world is around volcanoes, so it’s a fascinating concept worth pursuing. I’m just not sure exactly how they’re doing it.

  2. I have to wait until after the 1st, due to bandwidth overages, darn it all. Between this video and the fantastic Keyhole type of gardening, our family should be in the green (haha) this time next year. Our soil is clay, like yours Owen. No nutrients except what we add to it. Fortunately we have horses for fertilizer. Last years garden was pitiful, although everything produced at least once.

    • I’m learning just like you. There are so many fascinating ideas I’d like to try.

      It’s far easier to add good material in a raised bed than build up the soil in the garden. In a matter of days we could build the wood frames (one here and there as space permits) and fill them. We may decide to wait until after the rainy season to start. We have to think this through carefully. We could soon be overrun with work and too much food at once.

      Horse stomachs don’t fully digest food like cows do and so you’ll get weed seeds in the manure. But if you compost it thoroughly then you should be okay.

      Keyhole gardens are for specific climates. You may not need to go to all that extra work. In most cases you could make a raised garden bed the same size in far less time and it would work fine.

  3. Love for Life: “Love For Life is committed to the creation of Do No Harm, Kin Domain communities across Earth. Kindoms, where we grow our own food and support one another away from the endless rules and obligations we currently struggle under.”

  4. Unfortunately they don’t provide detailed information about their soil mix. No volumes are given.

    Also, I’m trying to find out if they have an online store for their garden products.

    • You need to work that out for yourself based on your location, what you are growing and what is available locally as “importing” materials into your region would negate one of the key reasons for making such a garden.

      Also different plants really do need different soil mixes, that is why they were not getting equal success with all of their plants.

      • Agree. Good points. It would be fairly easy to change the mix in different beds to match plant requirements. That’s just one advantage of raised beds.

        Get everything locally if possible. However, I’m not against getting a few specialized items shipped in if they’re affordable and will greatly increase nutrition and/or production. I’m talking about something like special rock dust to add minerals to the soil. For instance, this video explains the benefits of using a broad spectrum of rock minerals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYV_HK0cTFc

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