Goodwater Montessori Garden Design and Layout
The Goodwater Montessori Garden was designed by Kirby Fry, president of Earth Repair Corps. The garden terraces were laid out, precisely, using our knowledge of key line geometry. There were no GPS involved here, it’s all laser level and tape measure work and it turned out great. It was a fun site to lay out because it was relatively level, giving us the opportunity to do what we like best. That is, nice clean straight lines that also function as a soil and water conservation pattern. I had the honor of shaping this site with an excavator. The results are stunning and the school is very happy with the outcome.
The basins are 78 inches wide, 6-8 inches deep, and the berms average 9 feet wide. The terraces measured at 600 linear feet in total length. The structures are all parallel and square to the fence. Three of the terraces have check dams that are integrated with the spillways in the center of the lower three structures. Instead of excavating the terraces and then installing the check dams later, this time we left the check dams un-excavated so that they remained vegetated. The berms of these conservation terraces are not compacted and have the tilth of a very nice raised garden bed, perfect for planting into. I see amazing growth of trees on berms constructed in this way. I dug about 1000 feet of trench with the excavator to install a water line for the garden irrigation. The trench was also filled with the excavator.
Now we are catching sediment and soaking in thousands of gallons of runoff into the soil during each heavy rainfall event. The berms were covered in mulch and seed to protect the bare soil and protect the newly planted trees. Earth Repair Corps arranged a Permablitz for the school that was attended by over 100 volunteers who came to plant trees, spread mulch, spread seeds, install an 8 ft fence, built picnic tables, built a stage, built raised box garden beds, and install irrigation all in one weekend! This was a massive team effort. Our liaisons at Goodwater Montessori, Randie Piscitello and Heather Pencil, did a great job organizing this event and fundraising.
It is always an honor to be able to help and an inspiration to see the community come together. The students of the school got to experience the building of an orchard and now they will manage it. I believe this type of garden is a model for conservation landscaping in central Texas. Not only has this garden achieved soil and water conservation, but its also growing wholesome clean food that the children will grow to appreciate. They will carry this learning experience with them for the rest of their lives. I hope they come back to visit the Goodwater Montessori Garden in years to come.
The installation of the garden was so successful that the Mayor of Georgetown, Texas declared April 22, of 2019 in Georgetown as Goodwater Montessori Day! The final photo shows this proclamation.
Photo Credits: Randie Piscitello
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