Meet Sylvia Holmes
I’m a garden activist, water harvester and mulch and swale advocate. It all started because I took a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in 2010. And I’ve been using it ever since. It changed the way I see everything.
With permaculture you plant in such a way that you can go away for 10 years and then come back and there are still healthy plants. So you are making something that is self-sufficient.
That’s tricky in Southern California because we have long dry summers. Being able to capture water is very helpful. One tool to help design water capture earth works is an A-frame level.
Right after earning my PDC, my sister and I made an A-frame level out of used broom handles and a lovely little decorative bob that she had. The first chance I got to use it was at Throop Learning Garden.
When I am in the garden I’m thinking about the interconnectedness of all of the biology under the surface of the soil. That’s the main reason I don’t pull weeds out by the roots. That would disturb the life of the soil."
In 2011 I took the A-frame to Throop, met members of Transition Pasadena and helped figure out where there was a level line in the site of the future garden. That line was made into a level swale (a ditch that captures water). Now when I work in the garden I enjoy seeing that swale still working all these years later. I’m connected to the garden.
Mulch is another method of conserving water. It acts like a sponge in the garden. I like to use mulch in the garden, especially when I’m dealing with weeds. I don’t usually pull weeds unless it’s something invasive like bermuda grass. I just cut the weed and cover it with cardboard and mulch. The cardboard blocks the light, killing the weed roots, and the mulch conserves water and adds nutrients to the area.
When I am in the garden I’m thinking about the interconnectedness of all of the biology under the surface of the soil. That’s the main reason I don’t pull weeds out by the roots. That would disturb the life of the soil.
With Transition Pasadena I’m working on building resilience in my hometown. The Throop Learning Garden is an eye-opening model because it is free food growing right next to the sidewalk. Just imagine if free food were growing along all of the sidewalks in Pasadena!