Scroll through the list below to read about the Benicia and Vallejo gardens that are featured on this year’s tour, and to learn about special offerings at some of the gardens!
The Curious Garden
Mature front yard food forest has mostly fruit trees and native plants that attract pollinators year-round. It has a laundry-to-landscape greywater system.
The garden is designed for a young family, including space to enjoy the outdoors and hidden forts. It also has a very steep hill, which presents its own unique issues.
Giardino su una Collina (Garden on a Hill)
A 2-year-old food forest and pollinator garden installed in 2020 that includes a swale that captures roof water and mediterranean trees and plants mixed with native pollinating and nectar plants to attract bees and butterflies. This site is home to a Monarch Waystation that grows a variety of plants to support Western Monarch Butterflies. The Monarch Milkweed Project and monarch education will be highlighted, milkweed seeds and maybe milkweed plants available for a donation.
A 7-year-old established food forest with two swales that are dug out and refreshed every 2-3 years, laundry-to-landscape greywater to fruit trees, and chickens. The drip irrigation system was removed 2 years ago and the garden is thriving! Annual beds are hand-watered once a week during the growing season. Greyhawk Grove is a “high-traffic-survival-of-the-fittest-have-three-young-children garden”. There may be lemonade and baked goods for sale by children, as well as products from the garden to give away (dried calendula, lavender, herbs, eggs, fruit, etc.).
Living and Learning
Established front yard food forest that replaced a lawn in 2016 with 2 swales, a laundry-to-landscape greywater system and a diverse group of plants and fruit trees that has now expanded throughout the property. Small spaces for relaxing and enjoying are throughout the garden. One of the food forest keepers is a teacher and will be present to share knowledge about growing and preserving tomatoes.
Food forest garden and greywater system installed as part of Sustainable Solano’s Permaculture Design Certificate course, with students transforming the front lawn with rain-capturing swales and planted berms and converting the sprinkler system to drip irrigation. The side yard is watered by a laundry-to-landscape greywater system and also includes edible plants and native pollinators. This home has its own redwood grove, and certain plants were selected that do well in the unique conditions created by redwoods. The food forest keepers are using that knowledge to add other plants to the garden that will thrive alongside the redwoods.
Wild Cherry Way
Southern slope food forest focused on pollinators, shrubs and native plants. It also includes fruit trees, perennial and edible plants, swales and a laundry-to-landscape greywater system. Food is Free Solano and the Solano Gleaning Initiative will be highlighted.
Colibri Ochoa (Hummingbird Ochoa)
Front yard food forest garden has a laundry-to-landscape greywater system, a swale, repurposed logs to create planting areas and a variety of plants to provide food for people and pollinators. On the day of the tour there will be a Spanish translator.
Sustainable Solano partnered with two other organizations to install this garden in 2021 and begin to provide resources in Spanish. Planting Justice partnered with Sustainable Solano on a Spanish-speaking installation. They offer permaculture services and also have an organic nursery in Oakland that sells rare and heirloom varieties. Club Stride translated an educational program about Patio Sostenibles and created a food forest video in Spanish, Entrevista de Patio Sostenible. Both organizations are doing incredible work to reduce inequities. Check out their websites to find out more on how to support their work.
Enchanted Cottage Garden
Front yard lawn replaced in May 2017 with 2 swales, above-ground rainwater collection and a variety of fruit trees, grapes, herbs, and year-round pollinator plants mixed with annual vegetables. There is a path through it with seating for anyone who walks by. The food forest concept extends to the back garden. This yard has inspired several neighbors to transform their landscapes. Produce from the garden is used in the food forest keeper’s small home-based restaurant and they donate excess produce.
Loma Vista Farm
Food forest garden that provides a beautiful demonstration to the public at Loma Vista Farm on how to plant their own yard in a variety of fruit trees, perennial vegetables, herbs, native plants and pollinator plants.
The food forest tour will be on the same day as Loma Vista Farm’s annual Spring Open House, making it an extra special day to visit. Plants that the students have grown will be available in the greenhouse for sale, animal feeding will be available, as well as entertainment, such as a puppet show. For more information check out: Lomavistafarm.org.
Morningside Botanical Bounty Resilient Neighborhood
Four gardens on one block were installed collaboratively through the Resilient Neighborhoods Program to show how a neighborhood can be an example of a resilient urban ecosystem that mimics nature.
Highlights: hugelkultur mound, 2 laundry-to-landscape greywater systems, fruit trees, swales, drip irrigation, bee-friendly plants, herb spiral, native plants, shade trees and a little free library. Native plant information will be available.
Compact urban yard with an artistic style and creative use of repurposed items, rainwater barrel, laundry-to-landscape greywater and guild planting worked into an existing landscape. This food forest keeper recognizes the benefits of “weeds in the garden” and is enthusiastic about compost, worm bins and building healthy soil.
Terraza Dominicana (St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School)
SPSV Food Forest comprises six planting guilds, each with a central tree and underplanting on a steep hillside. It is used as a living laboratory for students to explore soil health, water conservation and pollination. The food forest highlights design features to address erosion control as well as techniques using repurposed materials for terracing a hillside. The site will highlight local food that is available in Vallejo, and Scott Dodson, the owner of Bee Tribe Honey Farms, will be educating about bees and hive maintenance and selling his raw honey.
Vallejo Unity Garden (Vallejo Project)
This garden was inspired through collaboration with Sustainable Solano. Vallejo Project youth leaders attended Sustainable Solano workshops and became an organizational partner. This is a newly established garden with the beginning of a food forest with fruiting trees, eight chickens, a worm bin and a compost system. Over the last six months the soil has been nourished with fava beans and other nitrogen-fixing plants and the garden has been a training ground for mulching. This garden is a Vallejo Project-supported venture to build youth resiliency and forge a relationship between transitional families and youth to sustain the community for years to come.
We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of our funders. The first seven food forest gardens were made possible through funding from the Benicia Sustainability Commission; the Solano County Water Agency continues to support the Sustainable Backyard Program throughout the county. Solano Sustainable Backyard Program short videos: Waterwise and Building Gardens and Community. Occasionally we combine funding from other programs to make larger projects possible.