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Lend A Hand, Help The Bay, Learn At Upcoming Demonstration

The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy is offering a hands-on workshop covering edible landscapes on Oct. 27.

Do you have a green thumb? Are you interested in helping to protect the Chesapeake Bay?

If so, an upcoming workshop in Carney hosted by the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy might be for you.

Later this month, the group, also responsible for the Jennifer Branch Preservation Project, will install an "edible landscape" at the home of Carney resident Barbara Newton and anyone willing to help and wanting to learn is welcome to attend.

See the flyer for the Edible Landscapes workshop hosted by the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy attached to this article.

Gunpowder Valley Conservancy consulting architect and permaculture designer Patty Ceglia explained that an edible landscape installation is one way to help prevent stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

"[GVC's] whole mission is to preserve the Chesapeake by preventing stormwater runoff because it gets polluted on its way to the bay" Ceglia said. "So we're starting at the source: homeowner's yards. Everyone has a roof and everyone has a yard."

Installing an edible landscape is pretty simple, Ceglia said. First a trench, or swale, is dug to help hold excess water. Then, a bed is laid down parallel to the trench and planted with fruit or nut trees and other plants that help them to grow.

"We put in flowers and herbs—they attract beneficial insects which help to pollinate the fruit tree and to attract insects that kill pests ... we also select plants that pull minerals up from deep in the soil, fix nitrogen, repel mice and rabbits," Ceglia said.

"It’s totally functional, and it’s beautiful. The whole thing is designed like any landscape you’d design for your yard. Being attractive plus providing food. Each plant within the design has a function to support the fruit trees or berries."

Ceglia said that the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy can try to help anyone interested install some type of green solution for their yard—whether it's an edible landscape, rain garden or otherwise. 

"We do a lot of outreach, if someone expresses interest we’re usually able to help," she said. "We go and do a yard assessment. We look at their yard and their water problem and determine whether an edible landscape is the best solution."

Projects are partly funded by the non-profit group through grants—the upcoming workshop is funded by Constellation Energy—and partly paid for by homeowners.

"We go up to 1,000 dollars ... GVC will offer them up to $500. Most of the installations [so far] have cost around $250 dollars and the homeowner pays $125," Ceglia said. "Once we do the yard assessment, approve their yard. Then we give them lists of potential trees and plants to put in. We pick out the best location in the yard to harvest the stormwater."

"It’s not somebody’s whole yard it’s just a little demonstration garden. If somebody really likes the idea they can then extend it and do more."

The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy's free Edible Landscape workshop will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 27 at a home in Carney. For details and to register for the event, contact Gunpowder Valley Conservancy's Peggy Perry by Oct. 26. She can be reached at pperry@gunpowderfalls.org or 410-668-0118.

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