Establish the paths, and the orchard with follow…

1304 holistic orchard paths - 01

We want the Holistic Orchard site at Milkwood Farm to be super productive, beautiful and also accessible – we’re establishing this orchard on a slope just below the Tiny House (and irrigating it with grey water) so we’ll be visiting it regularly.

And as I’ve mentioned, well designed paths can define and enhance a forest garden. And also make it much easier and more pleasurable to establish the whole thing. Which means you’re more likely to see the full establishment phase through, and end up with a glorious home orchard…  

Holistic Orchard site, before the first pig tractor pass

Aug 2012 – Holistic Orchard site, before the first pig tractor pass

...and after the first pig tractor pass

Sept 2012 – …and after the first pig tractor pass

Nov 2012 - Site sown with green manures, and ready for the second pig tractor pass

Nov 2012 – Site sown with green manures, and ready for the second pig tractor pass

Increasing fertility with compost towers on the site (will be used for later tree planting)

Increasing fertility with compost towers on the site (will be used for later tree planting)

And creating a gazillion cuttings for future plantings

And creating a gazillion cuttings for future plantings

Forest Garden intern Kelly making short work of the deadwood (a legacy from before our occupation) so we can move it off the site

Forest Garden intern Kelly making short work of the deadwood (a legacy from before our occupation) so we can move it off the site

Paths defined! All dug on contour for ease of access and mini-swale capabilities

Nov 2012 – Paths defined! All dug on contour for ease of access and mini-swale capabilities

Feb 2013 - site after second pig tractor pass

Feb 2013 – site after second pig tractor pass

Pig tractor in progress - building fertility, upending grass rootballs and creating happy pigs

Pig tractor in progress – building fertility, upending grass rootballs and creating happy pigs

Buckwheat planted as green manure on each section after pig tractor has passed through

Buckwheat planted as green manure on each section after pig tractor has passed through

And even a bit of quinoa popping up here and there

And even a bit of quinoa popping up here and there

Mar 2013 - site fully pig tractored and green manured... now in holding pattern till winter planting...

Mar 2013 – site fully pig tractored and green manured… now in holding pattern till winter planting…

Having useful, on-contour paths established from the outset in this space will have lots of practical short and long term benefits for this site….

- The paths have provided a practical, on-contour framework to move the pig tractor sections around in relevance to, which has been a great help.

- Designed paths also mean that we can access the site efficiently as we now actively design it, without creating needless compaction over the area by tramping back and forth.

- Paths also provide both physical and conceptual edges to the site. And we like edges in permaculture design!

We’re looking forward to realising this site as a super high production space (partly because of its access to reliable irrigation via grey water, even in drought). We want to pack this space with food producing trees. And now the paths are sorted, we’re well on our way…

Big thanks to Dan Harris for designing the bones of the Holistic Orchard and to Mino and Kel for their hard work making it happen…

>> More posts about edible forest gardens, perennials and associated goodness

1304 holistic orchard paths - 01

8 Comments

  1. Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Kirsten. We just spend all out time fighting with the kiuyu in our orchard. Will a pic tractor get rid of kik? It’s awful…

    • Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink | Reply

      I rekon it would… it’s got some pretty starchy roots that the pigs would get into… but you’d want to sow green manures and other alternatives thickly afterwards to keep it at bay…

  2. Many Rivers Permaculture
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Really beautiful photos and update. Everything you folks are doing is really inspiring :)
    I am chompin’ at the bit to get started on three small sites to put in forest gardens for research purposes.

    Definitely sharing this! Keep up the great work and please keep the updates coming.
    -Paul Lion

  3. Many Rivers Permaculture
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, is the buckwheat going to seed or being taken care of in some form before going to seed? I’ve heard it can be troublesome (persistent). Or is that planned in?

    Thanks

    • Posted April 9, 2013 at 5:14 am | Permalink | Reply

      in this case the buckwheat is going to seed, as we need all the non-grass cover we can get in this site – when we plant it as green manure int he market garden it gets dug in before it seeds – different use for different scenarios :)

      • Many Rivers Permaculture
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        Cool! Thanks for the info, Kirsten. I’ll be following along :)

  4. Posted April 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful photo. I hope you guys are rewarded with bountiful harvests after all the care and preparation you have put into the site. Imagine what it will look like in 2 years. So exciting for you!

  5. Soph
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Looks great. Fascinated to here more about compost towers …

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