#7 The Raven Hollow Garden

Subdivision: San Francisco Hills Road
Owner/ Designer: Carolyn Stice
Garden Type or Features: Permaculture demonstration garden: historic farm environment, food growing, children’s gardening, chickens, food preservation, fruit orchard.

Artists in the Garden:  Bunny and Leland Bowen

Description:  Caroline, a full-time teacher and mother, is a motivated gardener who aims to implement the latest in gardening practices while maintaining ties to the past best practices for preserving water and the integrity of the soil – i.e., permaculture. Carolyn practices the concepts of no-till soil and organic gardening, utilizes in-ground trashcan root cellar storage bins for potatoes and carrots, and has a happy family of colorful chickens that lay eggs for family food with enough left over to sell. The teen children garden with their mother and have enjoyed the pleasures of a farm upbringing.

Caroline, her husband, and two daughters purchased this historic 3.5-acre farm property six years ago when the previous owner sub-divided a larger parcel of land. The house was built in the 1960s.  Carolyn’s family was attracted to this property because of its seclusion and abundance of wildlife.  The organic garden was started to learn about growing food efficiently in our arid environment.  The garden incorporates a selection of dynamic composting systems including straw bale gardening and the lasagna method of layering soil with yard materials and alfalfa.  The composting methods help the soil retain moisture and feed the plants.    

There are two sources of irrigation water on the property — an artisanal spring that naturally waters the apple, chokecherry, and other large deciduous trees that surround the property, and a fresh water well from which water is pumped through an automated irrigation system to water the vegetable and flower beds. Carolyn is in the process of replacing her traditional round irrigation tubing with flat “T’ tape that provides slower release and less evaporation. 

This garden was on the tour last year, but many people were not able to visit it in the afternoon due to heavy rains. The family loved interacting with the tour visitors last year and jumped at the chance to showcase their demonstration rural garden once again.