Perennial polycultures aim to grow useful plants together in a way that minimizes competition and maximizes cooperation. They include functional species to fix nitrogen, to serve as groundcover, and to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. Perennial crops providing fruit, nuts, and vegetables anchor such designs. This workshop will review best practices for perennial polyculture design, introduce a palette of species suited to Maine, and allow participants to design sample polycultures.
Climate change is already impacting gardens, but how we garden can also impact climate change for good or for ill. We will look at projected changes to Maine’s climate and those gardening strategies we can employ to adapt to the new “normal.” We will also look at how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our gardens, from fertilizers to rototilling, and techniques to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in our soils and in living perennial biomass.
Eric Toensmeier is the author of Paradise Lot, Perennial Vegetables, and The Carbon Farming Solution, and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. He served as a Senior Fellow for Project Drawdown, for whom he authored the recent publication Farming Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis. Eric’s home garden in Massachusetts is a highly diverse edible landscape on a tenth of an acre.