Patrick is fascinated with alternative gardening techniques. A Hugelkultur is a large raised growing bed that retains water and therefore requires minimal irrigation. It also provides itself with nutrients over the course of several years. Both of these attributes are made possible by the use of large pieces of fresh timber in the core of the growing bed. Patrick began by harvesting a few small bay trees for this purpose. He decided on a North-East/South-West orientation, to optimize sunlight exposure on all sides of the bed. After digging a trench, he placed the largest sections of wood in it. After piling on progressively smaller pieces of wood, and filling the voids with the sod, he added alternating layers of manure, compost, and soil. With the help of apprentices, he planted alternating sections of corn and potatoes, which grew tall and glorious in the summer sun.
Ollas are handmade, unglazed clay pots that are semi-porous and can be used for irrigation. The ollas buried in the North Street garden bed about 12” in diameter at their widest and about 18” tall. The ollas are filled with water in lieu of surface watering. This method of irrigation is more efficient than surface watering because it directs the water beneath the surface to the roots where it is needed rather than saturating the surface first where much of the water is lost to evaporation. The plants themselves regulate the amount of water used by drawing water out of the pots as they need it.