Tag Archives: forest garden

Establish the paths, and the orchard with follow…

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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…   Continue reading

A visit to Melliodora with David Holmgren

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Recently Nick was lucky enough to hang out with David Holmgren for a couple of days at Melliodora, the superb small-acre permaculture site that David has established with his partner Su Dennett  in Hepburn Springs, Victoria.

Being in the thick of a super-productive, comfortable and energy efficient permaculture system at harvest time was inspiring, to say the least. To add to that, the purpose of the visit was for Dave Jacke to spend time with David and Su while he was in Australia. You can imagine the intensely wonderful conversations that went down!  Continue reading

Edible Forest Gardens author Dave Jacke is coming to Australia

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Milkwood are proud to announce Dave Jacke is coming to Australia in March to share his extensive knowledge in designing both urban and rural regenerative food, fiber and community systems, using forest ecologies as a model.

This is a special chance to learn from a world leading permaculturalist and forest ecology designer, thinker and teacher.

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Dave Jacke’s Advanced Permaculture Design courses and his Forest Garden Design Intensives are somewhat legendary in the USA. However, in Australia he’s better known as the primary author of Edible Forest Gardens, a set of award winning books which encapsulate the theory and design of food forest garden systems.

Setting out strategies for designing food forest gardens for backyards, rooftops, homesteads and small farms, Edible Forest Gardens vol I & II are quoted as being the books that “will define the intellectual territory of its subject for at least a generation…” Continue reading

Micro Forest Garden – installation

Following on from designing a microforest garden recently, it was time to realise the design! Harris led the charge, helped by forest garden interns Minoru and Kelly, as well as all the students of the forest garden design course.

This micro forest garden was to be established on a very compacted piece of ground that had formerly been a road. Yikes. As with many plantings on this crazy patch of land of ours (read: everywhere except the creekflat), it was time to get out the crowbar to dig the holes… but it all turned out splendidly! Continue reading

Making a Caterpillar Necklace

So we have these great fuzzy caterpillars in the forest garden who occasionally get together and go journeying in a long, fuzzy line.

We happened to be in the forest garden during one such sojourn, and Nick decided to do a bit of caterpillar-wrangling… Continue reading

Forest Gardens, Hugelkultur and cold-climate Coconuts

Recently Harris (who heads the Forest Garden projects at Milkwood), has been in Chile teaching, designing and implementing forest garden systems. We thought you’d like to take a peek at some Chilean permaculture action?

Given our Gondwana connection, there are many correlations between Chile and Australia in terms of plant species (similar nitrogen fixers, for a start) so Harris has been gleaning all sorts of amazing indigenous, on-the-ground knowledge that will translate to Australian shores in terms of forest garden polycultures and creating abundance in poor soils… Continue reading

Stop-gap fruit tree planting: bring on the cultivated beds

This winter I was determined, nay, rabid, about finally purchasing all the apple trees we would need to have a steady supply of appley goodness in 4 years time at Milkwood Farm. We’ll have heaps of time to plant them all out to their vaguely appointed destinations before bud-burst, I thought.

However, what with moving into the Tinyhouse, various on-farm mini dramas, a tangle of other priorities and the unfortunate passage of time, guess what happened. Yep, it’s nearly blossom-o-clock, and our fabulous fruit trees are all still bare-rooted, sitting in a bag of sawdust. But there is a solution. Continue reading

Pig boards: the pastured pig fancier’s best friend

Time to move the pigs. They’ve done a great job tractoring and manuring up in the suntrap, in readiness for groundcover plantings. Now we need their help down below the swale, to help prep ground for the new forest garden.

Time for the biggest adventure the pigs’ lives on their own trotters – all the way down the hill and around the corner. Will a bucket of feed be enough to entice them to go the right way? What if they make a break for it? Just in case, time to make some pig boards, the pig fancier’s best friend… Continue reading

Soil building toolkit: Comfrey

Right about now is a good time to dig up bits of comfrey root and redistribute it wherever you need, but do not yet have, good soil. Garden path edges, forest garden path edges, places where you want to plant fruit trees next year, and so on.

Comfrey is the ultimate multitasking plant. It shades the ground from late spring through to autumn. Its deep roots break up the soil and draw up minerals to the surface. Its leaves can activate compost piles, become liquid fertilizer, and knit bones as well. We need more of it! Continue reading

Making DIY steps down the side of the forest garden

It’s pretty amazing what a bunch of logs, a lot of gumption, some wheelbarrows and a couple of days digging can do. What was once a slippery slope becomes a lovely place to be – what a huge difference a home-made set of steps can make!

The core edible forest garden of Milkwood Farm is on sloping ground, and ends up against the chicken’s strawyard. And dividing the two, up until recently, has been a steep and slippery dirt track. But Trevor decided to change that, so he called our available on-farm crew together, and they set about transforming the space. Continue reading

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