Permaculture Garden Produces 7000 Pounds of Organic Food Per Year on a Tenth of an Acre

Family grows 7000 pounds of organic food per year on a tenth of an acre, supplying 90 percent of their diet… They spend less than $2 per day per person on other kitchen staples and make over $20,000 a year selling excess produce

Fifteen minutes from downtown Los Angeles, just 100 feet away from a major freeway, a small city lot was transformed into a mini paradise.

A fifth acre lot, minus the house, garage and driveway, the family has converted the remaining tenth of an acre into a tiny food forest that produces 7000 pounds of food per year with no synthetic fertilizers.

What’s the secret to their abundance? Permaculture methods that mimic Mother Nature to create nutrient-and-bacteria-rich soil.

Conventional agriculture methods strip nutrients from the soil until the land becomes barren and desertified.

Permaculture not only does not strip the soil, it regenerates it, says permaculture guru Toby Hemenway.

When Jules Dervaes moved to his Pasadena home in the 1985, there was no soil, only adobe-like clay.

He and his family spent years bringing the earth back to life with rock dust, chicken and goat manure, fermented compost and effective microorganisms.

The Dervaes’s haven’t used organic NPK fertilizers since 2007, and have never used synthetic NPK.

They make the most of their small space with a modified version of square foot gardening they call square inch gardening.”

In square-inch gardening plants are packed as closely together as possible to prevent evaporation from the soil and save water.


The Darvaes believe soil should never be bare and exposed to the elements. They ignore the spacing recommendations on seed packages and sew them as close together as possible in symbiotic arrangements.

Read more at Return to Now…

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