It actually feels like I started helping in the Songaia garden a week ago but it has actually been just over a month now. During this time I have learned so much about permaculture and while I have only made a dent in the subject, I already feel much more versed in the garden lingo that Patricia and the Piglets throw around.
Caroline’s niche is definitely in the carrot beds where she could spend all day thinning and eating carrots. Hence the nickname Carrotline that Laura came up with.
Laura’s niche is behind the camera; she loves documenting day-to-day tasks, achievements, and laughs so that we can share our experience with others.
Patricia’s niche is unique in that she can adapt and exist happily in any part of the garden almost like bindweed (but unlike bindweed, we love Patricia).
Katie probably exists most happily with the goats and the food forest; she takes a lot of care in properly maintaining these parts of the garden.
Kathleen and Helen excel in planting new beds all throughout the garden, which is why I see their niche in planting.
Douglas’s niche is with the compost as he is very meticulous to make sure process is carried out efficiently and properly, not to mention he is full of interesting facts about science in compost.
Finally we have Brent and we all know his niche is with the worms, he is very invested in making sure the worms are properly taken care of.
One of our ongoing projects in the Songaia garden is the formation of the west food forest, the stretch of land spanning the west side of the garden right next to Lost Lake Road. For the past few weeks we have been taking a truckload of mulch down there to spread out for weed suppression. I am starting to think that this is my very own niche in the garden. I am not really sure why, seeing that it is hard, repetitive work. I think I like the fact that it is a challenge for me. It makes it very rewarding when you are done because you can actually see your progress and see what you accomplished.
One subject that has resurfaced from my 10th grade biology class is the concept of an organism’s niche, a habitat the supplies the factors necessary for the existence for and organism or a species. The more time I spend with the Songaia Piglets, I see that just as the plants, everyone has their own niche in the garden, a place where they excel the most and makes them happy.
Unlike most things in the garden where you have to wait to see a result, mulching gives you an instant visual result that leaves me very satisfied. I don’t know how long this will be my niche, I still have a lot to learn about gardening and a lot of projects to carry out. However, for the time being, I am perfectly happy loading up the old 80’s Ford pick-up with a pile of much and spreading it in the food forest first thing in the morning.
by Madeline Johnston, Garden Intern 2013
Garden bloggers are community members, volunteers and interns at Songaia.