Gardening and Ecology PLANTS Beehives, strategic pollinator habitat, and companion planting are all components of a diverse pollinator population that directly impacts the production and beauty of the garden. Bernheim plants no more than three fruit trees of the same variety to minimize the spread of common diseases. INSECTS Integrated pest management through the incorporation of beneficial insects in the garden and greenhouse minimizes pest damage on vegetables while increasing the overall diversity of the garden and allowing the natural ebb and flow of insect cycles. SOIL In a natural environment, many unseen forces are at work within microbial communities that are critical to a healthy ecosystem. With the application of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, these communities are severely diminished, crippling the soil ecology. In the edible garden, we not only prohibit such strategies, but we actively repopulate microbial communities to bring our soil back in balance with natural cycles. Repopulating symbiotic communities provides increased nutrient uptake, accessibility to water, and disease resistance which are core functions of a healthy soil microbiome. Using natural mulch, we protect and encourage the soil community, minimize evaporation, and reduce nutrient runoff similar to the functions of leaf litter in a forest. ENVIRONMENT By utilizing vertical space, we mimic the canopy layer of a forest, providing shade to tender plants that are inhibited by our hot summers. WATER Water is naturally captured and stored in the edible garden using solar pumps to irrigate the garden. Any excess water overflows into a wetland that sends the water back into the forest. This is considered a closed-loop system that mimics water flow through a natural environment.