Students of Santa Barbara City College’s environmental and horticulture studies classes are seeing the fruits of their labor through their own permaculture garden, an ecological niche created on a former plot of turf on West Campus. In permaculture gardening, sustainable landscaping regenerates soil health while simultaneously producing food, explained Jackson Hayes, garden coordinator.
“One of my favorites of these practices is called companion planting, where certain plants that mutually benefit each other are placed next to one another to create a sort of symbiosis,” Hayes said, adding that the “three sisters” beans, corn, and squash design is a classic example. “The corn is planted first, and the stalks provide a natural ‘trellis’ for the beans to grow on; the beans then fix nitrogen from the air, feeding the corn. The squash fills out the rest of the area, and its large, spiky leaves keep moisture in the soil and ward off potential pests.”