Environmental Leadership Center
Warren Wilson College
Campus Box 6323
P.O. Box 9000
Asheville, NC 28815-9000
Please refer comments or questions about this website to Ellen Querin.
Why We Use It:
By utilizing permaculture principles in our landscape design we are incorporating a combination of science, observation of the land, and natural occurring elements to create a beautiful and functional landscape. Plants used in permaculture are wildlife friendly, providing food and habitat, while preserving biodiversity by including a wide array of plants. Permaculture design also has great social and economic benefits because the plants utilized are edible by humans or beneficial for medicinal uses. Also, it the goal of the permaculture landscapes to be constantly moving toward a self-sustaining state. It is able to do this because it mimics the natural ecosystem and thus greatly reduces needed input.
How We Use It:
The EcoDorm garden promotes a healthy ecosystem through awareness of each organism’s individual contribution to the success of the whole garden. In this way, the garden provides a variety of foods, healthy soil, diverse insect life, and a lush environment. Landscapers maintain perennials, including fruit and nut trees, berries, and herbs. Each season annuals are planted, allowing for summer tomatoes and peppers, fall squash and pumpkins, winter kale and cabbage, and spring lettuce…among many more edible delights!
Pests, such as rabbits, moles, the tomato hornworm, cabbage looper and gypsy moth are problems in growing annuals. However, permaculture calls for companion planting and plant diversity that works as a natural deterrent to plants. The “beneficial border” is chocked full of flowers and cover crops that work to both improve soil quality and attract beneficial insects that compete with the pests. Occasionally, organic pesticides are sprayed, but only in dire circumstances.
Soil quality is also a major challenge at the EcoDorm. When it was started little more than four years ago the soil was little more than red clay. Through constant layering and cover crops, the soil is always covered, allowing it to build up and be healthy. In addition, compost is maintained by landscapers who incorporate it into the soil, along with poultry fertilizer (with fixes nitrogen), and leaf mold. This combination of layers allows for optimal soil nutrition, another principle of permaculture.