Urban food forest design in Belmont, Geelong

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by goshenw, May 12, 2015.

  1. goshenw

    goshenw Junior Member

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    I wanted to share this one, to let folks know how my urban food-forest project is going.

    I've detailed the process in my blog:
    "Now you’d think that having been here for several years now, we’d have a thriving mature food forest, ready to be a showcase for local permaculture! And yet, this has been one area that has received relatively little attention, until now…!
    So what’s held us back?​
    When we first started establishing this part of the garden, we lacked the experience to design it fully, and with so much else going on in the garden, it was relegated to near the end of a very long list.​

    Apart from a whole truckload of mulch to combat the couch grass (almost none of this area has been sprayed) it has received very few external inputs – no straw, no manure, no irrigation. Things were so dry in the summer, even the weeds wouldn’t grow!"



    But the rains have come, the ground is softening, the grass and weeds are growing; so time to get planting! The first few trees and support species go in this week, and the rest of the bare-rooted fruit trees will go in as I can get them in the next couple of months.

    On my blog you can see an example of the plants that are part of the 'Cherry Guild'.

    A few facts:

    Size: Around 115m[SUP]2[/SUP], we live on 1000 sqm.
    Number of trees: All up, there are 21 Fruit trees, a dozen support trees (it's a small urban space, remember).
    Support plants: Another 50 or so varieties of herbs, groundcovers and support plants.
    Budget: So far, I've spent somewhere around $300 over the past few years on trees, with another 10 or so to buy... so it starts adding up, but little else has been spent.

    If the site was any larger, I'd need to learn how to grow these trees myself. Which would be a good skill to learn anyway, but a lot of work when you're only planting a couple of citrus here, or a couple of apples over there...

    As it happens, the 'Permaculture Apprentice' website just posted on this topic, and it could be of interest to some:
    https://permacultureapprentice.com/...e-nursery-and-grow-1000s-of-trees-by-yourself


    So here's the design... although I am leaning towards doing designs on a computer now!
    So much easier to move things around if they're not quite in the right spot!

    [​IMG]

    I'll post updates as they come along...

    Cheers,
    Goshen
     

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  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Hi,'
    That looks fabulous!
     
  3. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Goshen,
    Your design looks great! Could you go into a little detail on your waterworks/earthworks?

    Thanks for the great link from Permaculture Apprentice!
     
  4. goshenw

    goshenw Junior Member

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    An image probably describes it best. On the lower LH corner of the design above, you can see just side part of the pond system in the photo below (pic taken a few years ago just after completion). The 'splash' pond (brick and rubber lined) is fed from roof overflow (2 different sources). Once full, the water flows into the middle 'soak pond'. As we don't have much gravity to work with - the soil has been mounded up with fruit trees... Once the soak is full (which takes about 20mm of rain once all the tanks are overflowing), the water travels around the outside of the mound to a small 'swale' - in the design also fed from the other direction from another water tank, as I've found that the swale very rarely fills.

    The idea obviously is to absorb a lot of extra water, but has been designed so the main planting areas can't get waterlogged... as once the swale is full it can overflow to the back of the property. The main tank overflow can also be switched back to stormwater when everything is just too wet.

    There's enough water with just a few downpours (mid spring to early summer) to get the trees through the fruiting period without needing any extra water.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks Goshen, very nice use of your water resources. Is there another roof to feed your 1000 liter tank? Do you keep any fish in the splash pond for mosquito control?
     
  6. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Looks like a great setup! I was told by an experienced nurseryman once, just grow the trees on their own rootstock, and keep them trimmed to the size you want. I've done that with several clippings from my neighbors' old apple trees and it's worked well, even in clay soil, because I have added tons and tons of mulch and granite sand over the years. If something really can't make it on its own roots, sometimes I move it and see if it does better, or I just yank it.
     
  7. goshenw

    goshenw Junior Member

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    No, I just fill this tank once (gravity fed from another tank) in winter for use next summer, with maybe a top-up if there's heaps of rain.
    Yes, there's fish (non eating types) in the pond of course. I'll get into some aquaculture one day... but that's a larger project that requires some thought.

    Cheers,
    Goshen
     

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