We have a garden in the shape of a mandala at the center of our farm. My sister Ellen and I built it in 2018 when we first started the company, and we created it by sheet mulching, a method of building garden beds up rather then tilling existing soil. We started with reclaimed cardboard that was otherwise headed to a landfill and laid the foundation of a 50-foot diameter circle. We then added several inches of wood chips, and then topped it with several inches of compost.
A "mandala" is a circle filled with repeating patterns, and is considered in spiritual communities to represent the universe. Mandalas are traditionally used in spiritual practices to create sacred spaces, focus the attention of the practitioner, and help obtain a meditative state. That is certainly what it does for us. We must stay present while working in it because it is easy to lose track of where you are and where you've been. Physically walking through the patterned hills, especially at the peak of summer when the sunflowers tower over us, can be a calming and healing experience.
Our mandala garden explodes with productivity. In addition to compost, another way we create a diverse soil microbiome (i.e. living soil) for our garden is by using a diverse mix of cover plantings. Different types of plants feed different types of microbial life, which in turn cycles a diverse set of nutrients. We grow a mix of legumes, flowers, vegetables, and grains along side our hemp plants. It makes for an enchanting experience.