Pond Installation / Edible Water Garden

Monday, April 27, 2015

Yesterday I (Riley) attended a Permablitz at the home of Permaculture Designer and teacher Koreen Breenan, where I learned (hands-on) how to install a small pond, which will ultimately serve as an Edible water garden

First (on fairly level ground) we dug a kidney shaped hole, aproximately 4 foot wide and 9 foot long, with varying depths. (2 ft deep in the shallow end, gradually sloping–with a few terraces– into a deep end of 4 feet). Pond01

–We also created a (6 inch deep) wetland  along part of the bank, which will enventually be filled in with varoius Aquatic plants that will serve to cleanse and oxyginate the water as well as provide a habitat for frogs and other water loving creatures.

We then walked along the bottom of the pond to compact the soil. –In some places where the soil is mostly clay, this alone might be enough to seal the pond.  However, here in florida  the soil is very sandy and porous, so extra measures must be taken to ensure the pond will hold water.

pond03Pond05 Pond05

 To further seal the pond, we overlapped several pieces of salvaged carpet, and then topped that off with an old billboard tarp–making sure the tarp extended the entire perimeter by  2 ft to ensure we could properly weight it’s edges down to prevent it from shifting over time. (If you’re interested in a more natural means of sealing a pond, I recommend gleying.)


Having laid the carpet and tarp, we then used old logs to weight the tarp down and did an impromtu rain dance before calling it a day.  The next steps will be to mulch over the edges of the tarp and to create a spillway that will direct the flow of excess water and prevent flooding. This can be done with the use of a pipe, or by creating an earthen channel. (See the above link for simple steps on how to do this).

Once the pond is full of water, Koreen will introduce Gambusia fish (a.k.a. Mosquito Minnows).  –These little guys don’t require an air pump, and will serve to keep mosquito populations  down (they eat their larvae), while also providing a source of Nitrogen (their poop) for the edible, Aquatic plants Koreen will grow in the pond.


For more detailed information of creating an edble water garden, I recommend the visiting this site.


Placemaking 2015: Gulfport Community Garden

Mother Mana’s 2014 New Year’s Resolution was to help transform an empty, unused city lot in Gulfport, Florida into a beautiful, abundant space. –A space for growing food, kinship, culture, and greater self-sufficiency.

2014 has officially come and gone, and we are happy to report that our (collective) envisioned transformation of that vacant city lot is well underway; and the friendships and connections that have come about as a result of this project are greater and more rewarding than we could have ever imagined.

The garden”Before”

 Here’s what took place over the last year:

 January 2014, we placed an ad in the Gulfport Gabber inviting community members to gather and discuss the potentials of a community garden.

Several people attended the meeting and expressed an interest in creating a space that would foster community, and set Gulfport and South St. Pete on a path toward greater food security and self sufficiency.

georgeAfter this initial meeting, the group began meeting weekly to generate a list of specific goals, and get clear on a vision for the garden.  As a result of this work, Mother Mana was awarded two full scholarships to a  permaculture course taught by Koreen Brennan of Grow Permaculture.

During the 6 week course (which began March 2014), Mother Mana teamed up with fellow students Sara Perszyk & Lisa Fletcher to create a design and site map for the garden (based on the vision and list of goals agreed upon by the members of the community garden).


Upon completing the permaculture design course, Mother Mana brought the final design back to the other garden members, and since that time everyone has worked together as a team to make our collective vision a reality.

We began the first physical transformations of the space in September 2014, hosting a “work party” where community members came together to sheet mulch the property.  In October we began planting a small food forest in the Northwest corner of the property.

foodforest          muclh5

A few months later, Nick from MicroUrban Farms helped us ring in the new year by installing the garden’s first raised bed. (It’s 4 ft. wide, 8 ft. long, 18 inches deeps, and made of untreated, Farmed Cypress).    And January 17, 2015, garden members participated in Gulfport’s MLK Day of Service:

 sale    nick

Volunteers came together to mulch the garden, and also hosted a rummage sale which raised over $1,000 to be put toward monthly water bills, the growing of food, and education initiatives.. –Gulfport Grind generously donated coffee for the event, and Larson & Son Lanscape delivered a load of topsoil for our bed.

turnips      babies

January 25th we reaped our first turnip harvest from the garden’s small food forest, and also  transplanted starts of beans, peas, cauliflower, and broccoli into the raised bed.  And February 1st we started construction on the tool shed.  What a year!

GardenShyanne3 garden

(Please note that although Mother Mana was responsible for launching this placemaking project, the success and progress of the garden is the result of the dedication and hard work of ALL the garden’s members and volunteers, as well as those who have made donations and shown support for this project. )

  • To read in-depth blog entries chronicling the progress of the Gulfport Community Garden from 2014 to 2016, follow this link.


Soil Biology Workshop: Feb 8, 2014

AAAworkshopFebruary 8th 2014 Mother Mana teamed up with Molly and Jacob–of the The Living Soil Compost Lab– to host a hands-on workshop on Cultivating the Soil Foodweb.  20% of the proceeds were donated to the Gulfport Community Garden.



*What is the soil foodweb?

*Why the soil foodweb may or may not be present in your growing system.

*What the plants you want to grow need in order to be productive and disease free.

*What nutrient cycling and retention is.

*How various compost and mulching methods work and enhance soil biology.

*How to build an aerobic thermal compost pile to organic standards (hands-on).