Monday, July 27, 2009

A food forest sprouts...

The food forest has unfurled its leaves and let down its roots! A bunch of the participants from our last PDC courses (and now friends!) came over on the weekend with loved ones and kiddies and set to work - at the end of the day we sat back and admired a whole beautiful new system of fruit trees and herbs and berry patches, and ...

...this bit's a secret surprise for K+C when they come back from Uganda but I'm pretty sure with the rainy season and a solar power supply for their internet over there they ain't checking this too much - the water will come off the greenhouse and chookhouse roofs and gurgle and chuckle down a beautiful rocky creek bed, under a bridge made of railway sleepers and into a lovely pond, alive with frogs tadpoles hiding under lilypads. There are soakage points in the creek beside fruit trees, and the pond overflows into a mulch pit disguised as a path that waters another fruit tree. Any overflow then goes into the swale at the top of the native garden, and once that's full, heads off to the stormwater drain. Wonderful function, and very beautiful form!

Planting those little asparagus octopuses, for more perennial crops:

Jill asleep on the garlic in the middle of it all:

Wetting newspaper to cover soil with and mulch over to stop grass poking through, until the groundcovers grow and thicken and the grass can't get in:

Ro carting rocks for the dry creek bed:

Cam teaching folks the practical aspects of harvesting water, permaculture-wise: designing the interactions between water flows and water storages, using levels and systems such as mulch pits to soak water into the soil at the roots of trees where it's needed and safe from evaporation, and also to have the capability to send it off-site in heavy rain events. And not just the design but the practical how-to of cutting and joining pvc pipes etc:

Getting all the water levels right to spill from one soakage to the next with a laser level:

Ro getting set up to use the circular saw on sleepers for the raspberry patch:

Planting in support species under an apricot tree in the smoky light of the dying day:

The shrub layer is mainly red, black and white currants, delicious! There is a mix of different groundcovers, some will send roots deep down to draw nutrient up for the fruit trees to access more easily, others will fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. Some will attract beneficial insects (bees for pollination, native wasps to eat pests), others  are delicious herbs and greens for medicinal and culinary use.

How lovely, to create a luscious forest in one's own backyard!


  1. Oh - i so want to live around the corner from you! It is so hard to read and look at photos! Wonderful wonderful wonderful - I live vicariously for now till my bump ends and baby begins and the spring comes to these misty hills...

  2. Ha ha, it was very fun! Still toodling around planting in last things and playing with rocks, it feels very lovely and special...

  3. Hello again - just thought I would let you know I tagged you - not sure if you are into that - I am not really but did it anyway - see what you think!