February 15, 2014

Forest Garden

We've started work on the first terrace of the future Forest Garden.

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We had planned to plant about fifty trees this Spring, seeing as we now have the water for them. However, that turned out to be a little ambitious, just because of the work involved in setting up the system we want. So, for right now we have settled for one row of the forest garden.

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We used the pigs to cut a terrace into the hill. We have then built up the rock retaining wall on the south side and added a bunch of tree branches and manure to build up the organic material. Besides increasing fertility of the soil, this also acts as a huge water battery. The organic content stores water really well and will keep the area moist long after it has been watered.

We then made a wide swale on the north (uphill) side of the terrace. This will help water filter into the soil of the terrace in heavy rains. It also serves as a pathway for us. We’ll be installing a deep water irrigation system to get the trees started.

The big tree holes (nine of them) are on the edge of the swale. Around each tree spot, we will also be planting bushes and vines and other perennials. It’ll take a couple of years to really get going, but we’ll expand on the area each year, making terraces down the hill. The idea of having a large scale forest garden is super exciting.

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