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Final dispatch from Rob as New House Members take over the Garden

February 10, 2009

(*This is now the redirect from —if you are looking for pre-2009 info on the Garden at La Casa Collectiva you can find links to earlier posts further down on this page.)

In February 2009, I met with some of the new housemates at La Casa to chat about the garden there, discuss permaculture, etc. This is when the energy really shifted around the garden, with people like Ronna, JP, and others really stepping up to make things happen in terms of annual vegetable production and whatnot. I handed off the below blank map and note about the configuration of the perrenials just before this blog was started (see next post). This content, and all the material before it, was added years after the blog was initiated.

This is a blank map that can be used to draw sketched of garden plans upon. Though it is not very clear from this map, the perennials (in particular the trees) had been planted in a horseshoe configuration, with the open end pointed south so that the sun would not be blocked by the trees. The Asian Pear on the South side was an mistake/exception to this design.

The concept of a sun trap has been used in this garden, although not strictly. The idea is that, in general, the tall perennial components of the garden are arranged in the shape of a “U” with the open part of the U facing south. In this way, the perennials serve to create a few walls around the garden, protecting it from wind, and providing some privacy, plus a nearby source of mulch (tree leaves) etc. while leaving the south side open for good light penetration from the sun. Additionally, the La Casa Garden has some warmer climate perennials planted near the house, specifically a timber bamboo and a black-cane bamboo, which are otherwise impossible to grow in Illinois – they can survive in the warm microclimate by the house. The plebian drawing above shows the suntrap wrapping around the back of the house whereas the one at La Casa passes in front of the house, so that when people look out the southern windows of the house, they see shrubs and trees just outside the window.

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