S.O.S. Urban Farmers


Permaculture is a design system for self-reliant living that respect the essential nature of things. Where everything is connected to everything else. It is an ecological science and an global grassroot movement that build harmony through cooperation.



Care for the Earth. Care for People. Give away surplus.

Everything is connected to everything else. Make the
least change for the greatest effect.

Protracted and thoughtful observation rather than
prolonged and thoughtless action.

Relative location:
Components placed in the system are viewed, not in
isolation, but relative to the functional relationships and
time effeciency between all parts.

When cooperative species mature, abundance and
stability occurs. The functional connections between
diverse elements leads to sustainable systems creating
guilds that work together.

Biological resources:
Use on site resources, such as plants and animals,
to reproduce and build up over time to interact with
other elements. A resource is an energy storage which
assists yield.

Appropriate technology:
Consider the impact and apply sustainable energy usage in cooking, lighting, transportation, heating, water and utilities.


Energy recycling:
Yields from the system are designed to supply on site
needs and / or needs of local region. Make the least
change for the greatest possible effect by working with
nature rather than against it.

Natural succession:
Natural ecosystem's develop and change over time giving
rise to different plants and animals. Long term planning.

Maximize edge:
The edge is the area between two environents and is the
most diverse place in a system. It acts as a place energies
and materials accumulate.

Problem is the solution:
Turn constraints into resources. We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities.

Multiple functions:
Each element in a system is chosen and placed so it
performs as many functions as possible. The amount
of beneficial connections between diverse components
create stability.

Multiple elements:
All important functions are met in serveral ways as an insurance against the failure of one or more elements.
What is important is the complexity of functional
relationships that exist between elements not the
number of elements used.





"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of
a comfortable living from a small piece of land"

- Abraham Lincoln



"If you look the right way,
you can see that the
whole world is a garden.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden



Designing the Garden


Sector analysis


Pattern provide new ways to look at things as well as allowing us to organize our projects and thinking. This labyrinth inspired spiral pattern give me both a meditative pat to walk each day and allowing me to slow down my path to get to a certain area in the garden.


Creating Edge

There is more life on the edge where two systems overlap. Systems can then access the resources of both. Use the edge effect and other natural patterns observed to create the best effect. There are no straight lines in nature. If a pond has a shallow ledge it provides places for fish to breed, for plants to grow which can feed the fish. Also, with a wavy edge it can provide more edge for this habitat.




Garden planning 2012








Soil remediation using pine needle to increase acidity on the urban alkaline soil. This is my blueberry patch that would greatly benefit from it. I manage to acquired the needles from my friend and neighbor Lisa's yard. Her waste became my resources.




Planting Comfreys (Symphytum) as dynamic accumulator to keep soil fertility high. It will be used as compost activator or as mulch material. It is also a high protein fodders for my flock for chickens.



Adding Compost Tea to enrich the soil with nutrient and beneficial microbe. My recipe for compost tea is fresh worm casting, water, molasses and add oxygen by stirring a 5 gallons bucket for 10 mins. Rest for a 24hours and repeat the stirring. You can assign this task to a young child, it is a good exercise for them.



Winter Rye is best known for its ability to provide a cover crop that prevents erosion while also providing good weed suppression. Rye is very cold tolerant and is the hardiest and most disease resistant. Winter rye has an extensive fibrous root system, can scavenge nitrogen very effectively, and utilizes early spring moisture to grow very rapidly.




Planting Lab

I test out theory that I read in books or learned from classes in my garden. This is my green laboratory.




Companion planting: The Three Sisters


The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, which helps prevent weeds. The squash leaves act as a "living mulch", creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both and therefore together they provide a balanced diet.



Products from the garden


Smudge Stick made from the sage the grew abundantly in the garden. It is great to activate a new space when you move into a new home or office or just to have some natural incense in your room for meditation or relaxation. It is a great gift item too.


Job's Tears seeds can be made into decorative beads.





Creative Structure


Recycle urban artifact such as a discarded bicycle to be repurposed into a trellis.


Recycle urban artifact such as a ladder, chair and shopping cart to be repurposed into a trellis.





Reusing my neighbor's trash, a bunch of bamboo laid on the street on trash day and use it stake my chicken wire divider to prevent the chickens from eating all the garden's young seedlings.


Reusing dried branches as a barrier to hold falls leaves on a corner of the garden.



Girls, you are now cornered. No more hooligan behavior.



Habitat Gardening

Leave some are of your garden wild and natural, allows wildflowers and weeds to remain. Many beneficial insects, birds and butterflies are host specific, they will feed or lay eggs only on very specific plants that may not be the typical landscape selections. Reduce lawn area and plant hedgerows, meadows and lush border gardens. Encourage diversity and incorporate herbs into your flower beds and landscapes. Include a water elements like ponds, bird baths to encourage all the creature to enjoy and remain. Respect the intricate web of life in your backyard and be aware the complexity and the invisible interactions that are going on. Tread carefully and act responsibly.



Caterpillar of American Dagger Moth and Spotted Grapevine Beetle

Tomato hornworm parasite by wasp cocoon, American Goldfinch festing on sunflower, Painted Lady butterfly and a Mourning Dove.




Planter Boxes Gardening

In our urabn environmnet, we may be lacking of land space that have actual exposed soil but don't let the concrete pavement stop you from enjoy gardening. Start your own planters garden now. Below are some thematic ideas that might spark your interest.


Spring to Summer

basil - parsley - cilantro - spinach - mint - shallots -
chives- green garlic

tomato - peppers - mint - onion - cucumber - corn -
jalapeno - tomatillos - habaneros - poblanos - cilantro -

mint - chamomile - jasmin - bee balm - sage -
lemon verbena - hibiscus - rose

[Edible Flower/Salad]
nasturtium - zucchini blossoms - borage - Impatiens -
hibiscus - rose - purslane - frissee - red leaf - arugula

Summer to Fall

beans - carrots - bok choy - squash - broccoli - basil - chilies - napa cabbage - scallion - japanese eggplant - sugar snaps

[Ratatouille Box]
eggplant - peppers - zucchini - tomatoes - parsley, basil - escarole - shallots -rosemary

strawberries - black currants - chilies - mint - rhubarb - rosemary - basil


This project was developed by Ane Salerno, Kriste Ossmann, Maria Marasigan, Sonya Kharas and Tattfoo Tan under the guidance of Claudia Joseph









Here's The Dirt, A Gardening Book with a Sense of Humus, George Boggs Roscoe's (out of print)

Children's Gardens for Pleasure, Health and Education, Henry Griscom Parsons (out of print)

75 Exceptional Herbs For Your Garden, Jack Staub

Perennial Vegetables, Eric Toensmeier

Weedless Gardening, Lee Reich

Three Acres and Liberty, Bolton Hall (out of print)


Where I order my seeds: http://www.seedsofchange.com

Where I order my mycorrhizal fungi (beneficial fungi for root system): http://fungiperfecti.com/



Cob building: First Earth documentary DVD

Dirt The Movie, DVD



Sing Tao Daily