Waffle Gardens

Waffle Garden. mid Rio Grande Times photo: Sue Brown

A thousand or more years ago, pueblo farmers in the Southwest were incorporating principles of permaculture in their farming techniques. This traditional practice uses berms and swales in a sunken garden. These waffle squares work especially well for deep rooted plants.

Twelve to 18 inch squares are laid out in a pattern which has a berm on all four sides. Since there is so much clay in our environment, the clay pulled up from the center part of the square forms the berm and is easily compacted. The berm can be three or four inches high and wide enough that you can step on it to compact it. The remaining soil in the center of the square will probably need compost.

Here are two diagrams to help you lay out a waffle garden.