Our vegetable gardens and food forest

Our gardens are split into three:

  1. The Winter Garden Food Forest – Intensively growing perennials with annual beds mixed in between

We have planted fruit and nut trees in this food forest, each one was planted with supporting perennials in guilds. It is quite near to the house and the trees are still young so we will continue to use the space between the trees for a winter kitchen garden using the Back to Eden garden method (wood chip gardening), it also includes 7 sunken beds and perennial vegetable beds, a green house and propagation area.

Photo above from 2019 and below from 2017 can you spot the difference?

The food forest

Photo above of the food forest in September 2017 and below in March 2017, can you spot the difference ?

food forest


2. The Horta  – annual kitchen vegetables planted right next to the house

Here we have converted a sloap into three mini terraces with 2 swales and flood ditches going through it. We have put in a small pond and intensively planted annuals and herbs here. This spot also stays warmer in the winter as it is protected by wind and there are huge rocks that warm up from the sunrise. This prevents it from getting frost so we can use this for an early crop of fruiting vegetables that would usually be burned by the first frost. However we are now using this area as a salad garden with various kales, spinaches, chards, perpetual spinages, lettuces and various perennial plants and herbs that can be included in salads. We found it is much easier to keep all salad plants together next to the house.

 

the horta
Photo above of the horta in September 2017 and below from March 2017

Showing people the test vegtable patch next to the stone house


3. Terrace 1 – Our first food forest.

Here in the first year we planted a lot of summer crops in larger beds, such as the three sisters (corn with pumpkin growing around and beans growing up the corn), sweet potatoes, beans, pumpkins and potatoes. We found that the soil is more dry up here and it is uphill from the water source, however the soil does hold water well. Now we have a two year old food forest in this terrace with over 200 different varieties of perennials

Terra 1 food forest
Above is the Terrace 1 food forest and an example of one of the many polycultures planted there, here is more than 200 different perennial edible plants, below is the same terrace in 2017 when we used the area to grow annual vegetables

Terrace 1

Photo above is Terrace one in August 2017 when it was used for annual vegetables and below is in March 2017

Terrace 1

4. The chicken food forest

Planted in October 2018 and including more than 100 perennial edible plants that chickens will enjoy to eat and will not destroy, for more information on this food forest please click here

Chicken food forest design
Drawing of the Chicken Food Forest. This shows the plants we planted during the October 2018 Food Forest Course with the spacing the plants will have in 5 years

5. The sheep and chicken food forest

Planted in 2018, this 100 square meter area is fenced off with over 150 tree and shrubs planted in swales. It includes a windbreak and plants and trees that will give us a yield but also sheep and chickens can enjoy and not destroy. We plan to integrate chickens in 2019 and sheep in 2021.

Chicken and sheep food forest
This was planted in November 2018 and has been designed with tree and shrubs that chickens and sheep can enjoy but not destroy

6. Reforestation area

This is a 1 hectare area we have fenced off and planted more than 40 species of trees and shrubs as part of our reforestation effort in November 2018, it is complete with a new lake, a windbreak and many wild fruit trees. We plan to integrate sheep into this in a few years to help keep the grass, weeds and low hanging branches down that can present a fire risk. Click here to read more

more than 100 trees of 40 different species planted for nature to attract wild life and offset carbon

7. Future areas to work with

  • More than 10 hectares for reforestation, Each year we plan to fence 1 hectare and fill it with trees.
  • 4 Lower terraces, these hold more water and we plan to convert these into food forests with space for summer vegetables
  • Citrus alley with the outdoor shower, a path where we have planted citrus trees that receive water from the out door shower
  • We plan to plant more diversity into our 2 hectares of cork forest
  • We plant to remove eucalyptus and mimosa trees for building and fire wood and reforest these areas with native trees.
  • We plan to create anover 5 hectares of food forests using different methods and for different purposes

Other areas we garden in:

Propagation area
This propagation area is covered with shade cloth in the summer and plastic in the winter.

Our cat sits by the small pond next to one of our grey water systems, we plan to transofrm this into a flood based terraced system that waters itself every time we shower

Billy Jean sits by the small pond waiting for frogs to play with. This is water from one of our grey water systems that cleans our shower and washing machine water. We plan to transform this into a flood based terraced system that waters itself every time we showerherb spiral

The herb spiral is one of the places we centralise herbs and it is auto watered by our grey water system that comes from our kitchen

 

We grow all types of herbs in various herb gardens we have around the land as well as mixing into the food forest
We grow all types of herbs in various herb gardens we have around the land as well as mixing into the food forest

 

One of the tents in the mimosa forest
One of the tents in the mimosa forest

 

In our first year we have harvested peppers, egg plant, various tomatoes, various chilly peppers, pumpkins, squashes, courgettes, corns, kales, spinaches, cabbages, strawberries
In our first year we have harvested peppers, egg plant, various tomatoes, various chilly peppers, pumpkins, squashes, courgettes, corns, kales, spinaches, cabbages, strawberries
We save our own seeds and have a ncie space for working with seeds in a shade house
We save our own seeds and have a nice space for working with seeds in a shade house
Sunflowers adding color to the food forest
Sunflowers adding colour to the food forest

Older photos from winter 2016/2017 (we bought the farm on 22nd November 2016)

Salad Harvest
We now have a daily harvest or various salads which we need to collect from around our gardens
Drip Irrigation
Laurence installing drip irrigation
Terrace 1
Planting vegetables on Terrace 1
Greenhouse
Abundance in our greenhouse
Cabbage
Cabbage harvest
Food Forest
Our new food forest has small trees so have filled the gaps with other perennials and annual beds

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Working n our of our vegetable patches at Keel yoga Farm
Working in one of our vegetable patches