100 Days of Science #100-- Permaculture Gardens

I had another experiment planned for our 100 days of science finale but a friend of mine asked if we'd like to tour a permaculture garden with her and a tour guide and we eagerly jumped at the chance.

In all honesty I had no idea what to expect and thought we were just going to see a community garden but really we learned so much more!!  If you have any sort of permaculture movement near you (and I bet if you Googled it you'd find you do!) it might be worth check out.

Revive the Roots is a non-profit organization out of Smithfield, Rhode Island that was started 9 years ago by a group of students that were graduating high school.  They had been studying permaculture and learning all about the benefits of community gardening and wanted to combine the two.  They convinced the town to lease them the land and give them a chance.  9 years later and they are still going strong.

Like me you may not have any idea what permaculture means.  In broad strokes it is farming using the tools of nature and creating an ecosystem that helps sustain itself.  They try not to use fossil fuels (no tractors/ farming equipment), no chemicals or pesticides, and rely a lot on the old methods and manners of farming back when man really had to rely on the land and nourish it for future generations.

To ward off pests plants are often planted in pairs with insect/ gopher resistant plants placed next to other plants that might normally attract lots of pests.

We saw purple passion flowers; not only do they smell great but they had medicinal value too.

We learned that gophers do not like tomatoes so they are often planted near foods that gophers do enjoy to try and ward them off.  Clover is cultivated near plants that enjoy nitrogen rich soil.

We started our tour in the greenhouse and learned how they make their own nutrient rich soil using roly poly or pill bugs and all the garden trimmings.

Our next stop was the community garden; they have raised beds for people that can't bend over for more traditional farming.  Each garden was a nice collection of flowers, vegetables, and herbs.

They have a small shed with a community lending little free library set into the side and it houses their cob oven where they have bread baking classes, pizza making classes, and so much more.  They have hopes to build a larger seating area and an open pit fire to make cauldron soup too.

Checking out the Cob oven made using all earthen supplies

They have sheep, chickens, ducks, and bees at too with hopes to get a few pigs since pigs are wonderful for turning up soil and getting fields ready for planting. They also help get rid of pesky plants like poison ivy... and as our guide pointed out they taste so darn good when they've reached the end of their usefulness too.

They are trying to bring back some of the older indigenous plants to this region too.  A few fruit trees fell out of fashion because they need to ripen on the tree and do not travel well from farm to store but they are hardy and easy to grow with little maintenance in our environment.  They also toy with grafting some plants together-- using the root systems of hardy New England trees to help grow crops that are typically hard to grow here.

Medlar trees-- hardy New England tree that ripens in October and tastes a bit like applesauce

The Asian pears were ready for picking and we got to try one; the boys were not so adventurous 

One of the newly grafted trees


Autumn Olives are supposed to be good for coughs and treating lung problems-- the birds love them too.

Rose hips
We bought and tried a container of husk cherries too; the boys were not a fan of the unusual taste and texture.

I just loved seeing the boys ask questions, and watching them soak up all this new knowledge!  We're hoping to get back there one day and put together a cob oven cooking demonstration with some of other homeschooling friends.

Others in this series:
58.  Exploding Snow and Water Baggies 
59.  Exploring Properties of Minerals
60.  Visiting the Hartford Science Museum
61- 63.  3 Difference Bridge Challenges
64.  Making Models of the Earth's Layers 
65.  Graham Cracker Plate Tectonics 
66.  Homemade Lava Lamps
67.  Movies We're Watching for Science
68.  Index Card Tower Challenge 
69.  Learning Botany at the Botanical Gardens
70.  Board Games for Science
71.  Homemade Frozen Yogurt Pops
72.  Starburst Rock Cycle 
73.  & 74.  Making Marshmallows Sink and Grow
75. Jumping Conversation Hearts
76-78.  Making Paper Airplanes 3 Different Ways 
79.  Learning About Hummingbirds
80.  Planting an Herb Garden
81.  Mushroom Spores
82.-84.  Penny Saturation Experiment
85.  Sink or Float?
86.  Disappearing and Re-Appearing Ink
87.  Sediment Layer Jars 
88.  Tie Dye Science 
89-91 DNA Experiments
92.  Making Homemade Butter
93.  Floating Marker Art
96-98 Making Pop Rock Candy and Pop Rock Candy Experiments
99.  Rocket Science 


  1. You taught this plant loving girl some things here for sure!!

    1. It was so neat; I honestly learned more than I could possibly absorb and remember. We are definitely hoping to get back there one day.

  2. Very informative post - thanks for sharing! #MMBC

  3. This post makes me miss my community farm. For years I belonged to one and we used to pick those packet tomatoes. My kids didn't like them either, but I loved them. I think they have a kind of nutty flavor.

    1. I thought they had a pretty unusual taste and didn't mind them; I was just surprised (and glad!) that my boys even tried them!

  4. Hi Mother of 3...saw your post on Tuesdays with a Twist! I would love to have you share your posts on Farm Fresh Tuesdays and you are also welcome to enter our Sweet Maple Giveaway!

    1. Your visit to the permaculture gardens looks like a wonderful learning experience!

    2. Thank you! We had a wonderful time.

  5. I've often thought I'd like to "borrow" someone's sheep or goats to do some cleaning out of our hedgerow.
    What a great field trip.

    1. Yes! They should have a rent-a - sheep/goat program going; it would be a great way to clear fields and rough terrain!

  6. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too!


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