Monday, 5 August 2013

Organic Cherry Farming

I have been asked to join the design team for a 11.9 hectare farming project here in Bulgaria. The project is most unusual in that it will be a fusion of three very different types of systems on one adjoined piece of land.  These are : a conventional cherry orchard, an organic cherry orchard designed by  The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)  and a forest garden with cherry featuring as the dominant upper anopy specie. My role is to design the forest garden area ,as well as looking into the rainwater harvesting potential of the site.

The Site - Looking South

This project presents a great opportunity to compare, yields, costs, labour requirements and the ecological impact of the different systems. 

I am very fortunate to have 1yr to make the essential observations on the site that will provide me with the necessary information to come up with a solid design.

Satellite image of the Site - Boundaries represented by Green Line

My design for the Forest Garden will include
  • Site Survey - Existing vegetation, Land History, Water flow, Seasonal observations 
  • Irrigation plan - Swale placement, pond placement (if required), irrigation schedule.
  • Fertility plan - Compost, Biomass plants, fertility crops, vermicomposting, Humanure   
  • Planting plan - Productive perennial guild designs, Productive annual guild designs, Plant list (species, cultivars and source of plants), Wildlife guild designs.  
  • Yield forecast - Forecasts for yields Year 1, Year 5, Year 10, Year 25     
  • Management plan - Maintenance schedule, Harvesting schedule,  Estimated labor (hrs per week)       
  • Implementation plan - Order of works schedule. 
  • Costs report - a breakdown of the estimated costs for implementation (land works, materials, plants, tools, labor)
  • Base map.
  • Design proposal map 
I will be recording the development of the design process on this blog. 

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

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