Every year I strive to improve the infrastructure and systems at Mezzacello. Being that there are five distinct zones of improvement and sustainability on this urban farm that’s a lot of work. This year I worked on systems in the garden. But this isn’t a yearly thing it’s a multi year program and I’m finally working on phase 2 of the lasagna garden.
As a reminder for those who might be new to Mezzacello, The five zones are comprised of: the house where the humans live. The formal gardens. The potager gardens. The aquatic pond and it’s systems. And the livestock area. Each zone actually supports and extends every other system. There is no frivolous or unsupported system or zone at Mezzacello. Everything has dual purpose.
A prime example of this are the chickens and the ducks. They serve as a food source, as a source of feathers, as a source of eggs, as a source of more chickens and ducks, a food waste management system, a source of manure, and as biological rototillers and pest deterrent systems. As I go about setting new beds in the potager garden, all of my efforts are to model and build infrastructure for humans to grow, tend and harvest plants, and for chickens and ducks to work the soil pre-planting and for ducks to search for pests during the growing season after the initial tender starts have become bigger plants. Ducks will eat all the tender shoots. It’s in their nature. Chickens eat everything regardless. Know your workforce.
in addition to building the structure to make getting to the plants easier for humans chickens, and ducks, this system also allows for comprehensive lasagna gardenning beds with slightly raised lips around each bed that allows for compost and carbon sources, manure and mulch to heap up and hold water better and more efficiently.
There’s a price and a benefit to running a farm this way. It would be faster and cheaper to just use city water and oil-based fertilizer in the short term. But the motto at Mezzacello is twofold: poor boys have poor ways and farming is gambling in Mother Nature and ‘s House And the house always wins. To be sustainable your best bet is to play by her rules. You can try to cheat and use artificial systems to Make it easy but you’re going to pay for that in the end. Might as well get a system that Mother Nature approves of and find a way to live within those means.