The more organic matter in the soil the better it retains moisture. Each 1% of organic matter in the soil will retain 168,000 litres per hectare. That’s of course hard to visualise. What it means is 4 cubic meters for a standard 10 pole allotment or 14 kilos per square meter. So 5% organic matter in the soil will hold 70 kilos of water per square meter. Substantially more than the body weight of a model like Kate Moss.
Alex has created a garden about 50 metres long and about 8-10 meters wide along the West side of a factory unit. It has created a great microclimate on 2 terraces and after 5 years it’s already quiet prolific with an effective forest garden / permaculture mix of fruit trees, bushes, eleagnus to fix nitrogen and also to provide fruits, asparagus and some prominent cordons of japanese wineberry
As part of the Woodland Garden project we have been constructing a hedge on the outside to discourage deer by being prickly, pungent (the rosemary) while being as ornamental and edible as possible so that it would form an integral edge into our 5 metre woodland garden ribbon.
Sheet Mulching is a technique useful in converting grass or flower beds into productive ground. We are using it as a technique for building our forest garden by using it as part of the sequence towards perennial planting. Basically you cover the ground with something organic and rottable that the weeds can’t get through. Old Carpets and rugs made from natural fibres like cotton and wool are good as is cardboard.
One of the principles of permaculture is stacking – three dimensional planting. So this means that are going to use fruit trees as the basis of our design., In between the trees, we plan to plant fruit bushes in between the fruit trees – ultimately they want to be sited at the drip line of the fruit tree canopy and below that we will plant a range of perennial vegetable and mulch crops – chard, comfrey, sweet potatoes etc.
So I’ve decided to go in a snake about 4 -5 meters wide which will start from the fence at the bottom of the lower pool, come up to the Mulberry and sweep round through the plum to go back to the boundary just up from the slope to the exising birch and then go up the boundary and round, inside the fallen willow to the shed. I’ll put a half standard Blenheim Orange tree there so that there will be three large trees in that area with lower bush trees between there and the other birch to allow evening Sun in to reach the house.
A quick overview of why plants can benefit from a cold snap. It’s kind of like a board game where the aim is to accumulate degree days. So one degree day is one day spent below a given temperature which varies from plant to plant. 1 day at 6 degrees below is worth 3 days at 2 degrees below. When the critical number is reached then the plants will move onto the next phase in the cycle. This tends to be a feature of long day plants.
We’ve decided build a forest garden area between our house and the open field. Putting in the rainwater reservoirs f involved removing a row of Apple Trees. So the plan is to replace these and try and build a stacked tract of ground that has fruit trees embedded in fruit bushes with a ground cover of comfrey, sweet potatoes, legumes and some leaf vegetables.