Scroll through the list below to read about the Vacaville gardens that are featured on this year’s Demonstration Food Forest Tour!
Gardens will be open from 10 am-1 pm Saturday, June 3. You can pick up your itinerary for this self-guided tour at the Vacaville Farmers Market from 9-11 am.
Blooming Beneficial Biome
This Food Forest Keeper was inspired to transform her lawn into a garden full of healthy soil with microbial diversity, having installed a swale and berm and started the transformation when SuSol selected the site for a demonstration food forest. The garden thrives with a diversity of plants that support one another and manure, worm castings and compost inoculation to nurture the soil, without additional amendments and inputs.
Plants share nutrients courtesy of the underworld super highway delivery system of microorganisms and mycorrhizal fungi. Plants feed microorganisms excess simple sugars in this interdependent environment, who then co-labor to source and deliver what each plant requires. Each row has a diversity of vegetables and beneficials that serve to confuse bugs and disease. It should not be necessary to adopt a rigid practice of crop rotation with this integrated method of planting.
See amaranth, asparagus, beets, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsnips, Swiss chard, spinach, strawberries, peach, apple, pear, cherry, nectaplum, apple, microclover, blooming beneficials and more on less than a tenth of an acre. The Food Forest Keeper has before and after posters and a reference binder of almost every plant.
This garden has eight thriving fruit trees in a small front yard, as well as a plethora of herbaceous and shrub plants. The vegetation is watered through a combination of swales that collect rainwater, greywater from the laundry, and (rarely utilized) drip irrigation. The yard has, like any good forest should, taken on a life and energy of its own, constantly changing and morphing year over year, but never failing to provide the residents, neighbors, and several local food banks with fruits and vegetables.
Vacaville’s Westgate Wonderland Neighborhood
(These next three gardens are within walking distance of each other)
This four-year-old front yard garden welcomes the neighborhood to pick as they please. The yard extends to the backyard with pollinator plants intermixed with edibles, chickens, repurposed items, a native sedge field and so much more. This yard integrates systems to benefit the whole property.
Our Shepherd’s Heart
This front yard garden was installed in May 2021 with the focus on growing food and a desire to share with neighbors. A large swale in the front wraps around the yard and supports fruit trees and pollinators.
This small, beautiful, low maintenance front yard garden offers easy access to culinary herbs and three fruit tree guilds supported with yarrow, comfrey and borage.
Homeowners Mike and Sherry participated in SuSol’s DIY Sustainable Design course after working with SuSol to create a demonstration food forest garden and laundry-to-landscape greywater system at the family home that has housed four generations (Healthy Futures, also on this year’s tour). With that inspriation and guidance, Mike and Sherry now have converted their front and back yards, turning lawn into an edible garden filled with pollinator plants that includes swales to capture rainwater, an herb spiral, espalied apple and pear trees and drip irrigation. The garden now yields enough fruit and vegetables to share with neighbors.
Tour their yard to see how you can apply these principles at home!
We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of our funders. 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.