Perennial vegetable legend Stephen Barstow presents in Holyoke October 1st


The great Stephen Barstow will be in Holyoke, all the way from Norway. Stephen is one of the world’s great experts on perennial vegetables for cold climates. He holds the world record for most biodiverse salad with 537 varieties in a single salad from his garden! Stephen’s book Around the World in 80 Plants describes his global travels collecting crops that will produce in his Norwegian fijord garden. Stephen will discuss his garden, favorite crops, and tips for eating fresh perennial vegetables all winter long. Entrance fee is only $5. Copies of Around the World in 80 Plants will be available for sale and signing.

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave Holyoke MA, Kitteredge Center, Room 205, 6-8pm.




Polyculture: Pawpaw Alley

Site Overview

Site description and conditions: This bed is a narrow alley situated on the north side of the house and property, with limited space and sun. It is generally the entrance point to the backyard on tours. Soil was initially gravel and sand fill, now rich. Pawpaw canopy with herbaceous species below.

Goals (key products, uses, functions): Pawpaw with productive understory; Demonstrate how polycultures work on tours.

Intensity and Management: Low to medium

Infrastructure: Irrigation line in place.


Species list (click for more info)

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Ground bean (Amphicarpaea bracteata)

Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla)

Ramps (Allium tricoccum)


Other useful info

Video on pollinating pawpaws


Garden Mapping Project


We’re experimenting with a new endeavor this year. With so many visitors of varying interests and expertise coming to Paradise Lot, we thought it might be useful to have a more versatile way for them to experience the tour and access information about the history and progress of the site design. To that end, we plan to install Polyculture Info Stakes in various locations around the site. Each stake will have a QR code that connects to a page on this site describing the polyculture in detail, including design goals and constraints, list of species, infrastructure, and hopefully updates as the beds evolve. We also hope that this will provide a kind of virtual tour for those who cannot access Paradise Lot in person. This is a pilot initiative, so we’ll be advancing a bed at a time and soliciting feedback as we go. Keep an eye out for more updates on this project.

Garden Work Day September 8th


Our first Passiflora incarnata is blooming! We’ll hopefully have quite a few more by our next Garden Work Day on Sunday, September 8 from 9am to noon. Join us to learn by doing, exchanging a few hours of your help for hands-on learning and some delicious samples. Our fall fruits will be starting to come in, and there will be Activities may include: sheet mulching, weeding, planting, composting, harvesting. Participation is limited; Please RSVP at the Eventbrite link below so that we know how many people to expect and can notify you in the event of changes or inclement weather. We always look forward to our garden work days and appreciate the opportunity to connect with other permaculture enthusiasts in our community. We hope to see you there!



Garden work day July 14

Hello all,

Our next garden work day will be Sunday July 14 from 9am-12pm. Tasks will include weeding and some greenhouse projects. What will we eat? Mostly a great diversity of delicious berries. We’ll get to check out cover crops 2 weeks, 1 month, and 2 months old and see how they look. Register here.

Photo: Daniel up in the mulberry tree enjoying some fresh fruit. unnamed.jpg


Garden Work Day Sunday June 9, 9am-noon

Hello all,

We have a work day this coming Sunday. You can register here.

What will we do? Seasonal tasks like: digging up some old hazelnuts and cover cropping the bed to prepare for a great new polyculture next year; transplanting; and mulching. We’ll also be introducing our new system for keeping records on the design, history, and management of each garden bed, which can be tricky in food forest type systems.

What’s ready to eat? Trees with edible leaves like fragrant spring tree and edible-leaf goji, milkweed broccoli (outstanding), and lots of fresh-dug tubers of Chinese yam (see photo above), plus other spring perennial and self-seeding vegetables.

Hope to see you then.

Eric, Roxy, and the team


Garden work day Sunday May 19

Hello all,

Our next garden work day is Sunday, May 19. Free as always but space is limited, register here. Projects will include installing a yamberry trellis, opening up the greenhouse for spring, and planting, weeding and transplanting. Also we will be hand-pollinating pawpaws if you’d like to learn how to do that.

Foods to sample will likely include sea kale broccoli, perhaps asparagus and milkweed shoots, mioga ginger shoots, edible-leaf goji and more.

Here’s a photo of sea kale “broccolettas” coming in nicely. We eat the flowerbud, long tender stem, and accompanying young leaves. Quite delicious.IMG-1859.JPG