Novato | Permaculture Farm & Cottages
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Owner Nancy introduces the 3 distinct ‘districts’ of Green Gage Farm.
As you circle the driveway off Gage Lane, you’ll see the lattice gazebo, barn and three single units. Two larger residences are at the top of the horseshoe-shaped driveway. In addition to the residential structures which serve as vacation rental cottages, the ‘Shop,’ the ‘Library,’ a green house, laundry room, spa and patio cabanas make up what is considered the ‘village,’ intended to host most of the people activities – including daily care of vegetables; the plantings in the village are on people-paths, so they are virtually impossible to neglect. These gardens are watered by hand or on drip irrigation with well-water and are in an annual planting rotation.
The cottages are situated closely together around several semi-private gardens: an enclosed ‘Picket Garden,’ the ‘Rose Lawn,’ the ‘Beer Garden,’ and then ‘Compost Alley,’ next to the horseshoe pit, where we hold classes co-sponsored by Zero Water Marin and the County Public Works in spring and fall. Behind the buildings is the Back-40 (in this case 40 feet, rather than 40 acres) that hosts the ‘orchard’ in which two intentionally constructed bio-swales guide the rain water through a variety of fruit and nut trees. Gravity irrigation through a cobbled watercourse weaves through the entire orchard as an alternative to a pre-existing underground storm water culvert. The watercourse is used in the summer months to drain the hot tub and swimming pool occasionally.
A culvert under the barn driveway continues the watercourse through the large field that covers the lower acre, descending onto a large pond that sits on top of the water table that we pull our well water from. Under the persimmon tree in the highest corner on a plateau, we are hosting a temporary California Native plant nursery that is slated to become the habitat for WildCare’s new home, once the property (between McGinnis Park and Silviera Ranch) has been secured for the non-profit group. This nursery is tended by a group of volunteers led by Charlotte Holst-Torgovitsky, who is also the instructor of our compost classes.
And finally, in the lowest corner of the farm, we have large ‘hugelkultur’ berms composed of our greenwaste (tree limbs, brush, woodchips, manure) on which we do vertical farming in accordance with permaculture practices.