Friday, 28 September 2018

Broadscale Regenerative Design, Entomology Surveys and Micro climate - Week 23 - The Polyculture Project

I'm a  few weeks behind on the blog as I've busy on designs and preparing for our upcoming Design and Build a Forest Garden Course:1-4 Nov . Better late than never I hear, so here is an update from the project.



We said goodbye to Ezekiel this week, at age 19 he is youngest person to have participated in the study. Thank's for your help Ezekiel, it was pleasure hosting you here. Here's Ezekiel coming back from a trek up in the mountains where we found a skull of a stag.



The Bio nursery 


We're coming to the final weeks of the polyculture study and market garden work for this year and our attention starts to turn towards the nursery. 



In the nursery we aim to offer our customers not just plants but plant communities that can form healthy ecosystems for farms and gardens and that provide nutritious food while enhancing biodiversity. We grow and distribute the majority of the beautiful and interesting plants you can find in our nursery often collecting seeds native to the Balkan region as well as exotic species from all over the world. We nurture the plants in our forest gardens and rear them on various types of biological composts made on site. We use polyculture planting schemes in the nursery to repel pests and ensure pathogen-free plants. We don't use commercial chemicals or practice any methods harmful to the environment and as a result, our plants are more resilient and better prepared for a life outside the nursery setting. We strive to keep the bulk of our stock 100% biological but some of our plants are sourced from partner nurseries, in particular the fruit and nut cultivars. 


You can find our range of plants and seeds for permaculture and forest gardens here. We delivery to all over Europe and start deliveries in Late Nov - Late March. We have a limited supply so it's best to order now and reserve your plants



Broadscale Regenerative Design - Bostan Bair 80ha  


Last week I made a site visit to Bostan Bair, Catherine Zanev's 80 ha site to continue the regenerative  design of this property. The below photo is taken on the ridge of a hill that runs across the center of the property and is looking south to the lowland area of the site. The site is currently composed of an organic cherry orchard, a silvopastoral field for free ranging poultry, a silvoarable field for growing poultry feed, cultivated fields for growing  Einkorn wheat - Triticum boeoticum, a legacy plum orchard and steep ridge that runs across the center of the site populated with wild native trees shrubs and herbs. The old plum orchard and cultivated fields will be transitioned over to more agroforesty in the coming years.  


Myself and Georgi Pavlov made a concept design for the property in 2015 that you can see below. Some changes have been made to the concept design including the addition of a certified organic cherry orchard designed by  The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL).




The organic cherry orchard was planted in the spring of 2017 and includes various cultivars of cherry on dwarf root stock planted in rows with legume cover grown in the alleys.  



This silvopastoral system includes rows  Corylus avellana - Hazelnut Prunus cerasus - Sour Cherry with Caragana arborescens - Siberian Pea Tree with 10 m wide  alleys for free ranging poultry. I'm designing the poultry system at the moment. 




Here you can see Caragana arborescens - Siberian Pea Tree  in the foreground with the Corylus avellana - Hazelnut  and Prunus cerasus - Sour Cherry behind. These were planted this year and drip irrigation lines are currently being installed.

Here is a panoramic view from the hill that runs along the center of the property. It's a beautiful location. 




Entomology Survey 


Christopher  Kirby-Lambert has been back to complete the final invertebrate survey of the year.  Chris a self employed ecological surveyor, has been looking at the range of the invertebrates we have in the garden mainly focusing on bees and beetles. We're hoping Chris will help us establish a methodology for a multi year survey to shed some light on how our garden practices are influencing biodiversity.  You can see the results from last season's survey here and check out Chris's website here.


Thank you to everyone that has already donated to our polyculture study crowdfunder. Your donations are what make it possible for us to fund these surveys. You can find our more about our crowd funder here.


The Market Garden


It's amazing how much difference a micro climate can have on a plants growth. In this case I'm referring to a slightly depressed area of our market garden where 5 m in distance and 50 cm in elevation makes all the difference. These Paulownia tomentosa - Foxglove Tree trees were all planted at the same time (2 years ago) The tree in the foreground is positioned approx 50 cm higher than the tree at the end of the row. and approx. 5 m away. The tree at the end of the row is planted around the lowest section on this garden and as such the cold air tends to sink in this area before draining away into the fields below.


 The tree at the end in the depression is regularly hit by frosts in the early spring and late autumn and the stress from this reduces it's growth rate significantly.  You can see quite how drastic the effect is when you compare the trunk width of the trees. The photo was taken at the same height of each plant and at equal distance from the camera lens. 


   
If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands on experience join us this Spring. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers and making a small wildlife pond. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

We offer a diversity of plants and seeds for permaculture and forest gardens  including a range of fruit and nut cultivars. We Deliver all over Europe from Nov - March. Give a happy plant a happy home :) 


The Bionursery


http://www.thepolycultureproject.com/store/c2/Grow_your_Own_Polyculture_.html



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