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Zone 3 Small Scale Permaculture Semi Commercial Orchard in Alley Cropping Systems

 
paul barker
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We are based in a Mediterranean arid climate bordering the Klein Karro in southern Africa.

We have about 5ha of un-ittigated Kikuyu (Penesetum) and Kweek (Cynodon) old pastures that we would like to convert to long term afroforestry with timber, nut and fruit baring trees, with alley crops in-between the tree rows. The layout is on contour, double row fruit and nut plantings with a tree spacing of 3-5m and 9-15m for perennial pasture (Themidia, Meicago, trifolium, Bromus) and/or medicinal/essential oil and/or winter (grains & pulses) and summer (fruits, grains & pulses) cropping systems.

Here in lies the challenges in our thinking pattern when it comes to, Kiuyu and Kweek which are really hard to get rid of and will create long term management issues for trees, will reduce crop yields, not to mention the cost of continued mechanical removal. We do not have sufficient material to solarize or sheet mulch the system, as it is to large. We WILL NOT use herbicides as we are in conversion to certified organic and it is ineffective in any way. Pigs would work well, but the soil is to hard this time of year and we have to start planting from June this year, but pigs will become a permanent feature in the system. So we are left with only option of tillage. ripping out, discing, drag harrowing and so on to get out of these hardy, creeping, deep rooted grasses.


Is there any advice that can be offered here?

We have a bulldozer on site to rip, level, push swales and make the access roads in May. Followed by cover cropping with a broad diversity of annual, prolific seeding and perennial legumes, non-invasive grasses and beneficial herbs are to be applied to the soil surface and drag-harrowed in.

We are not convinced about about drip irrigation on nut & fruit trees as a long term irrigation strategy but are planning on using it for the pioneer infrastructure, perennial medicinals and summer crops. Trees may be started on drip irrigation, but will have micro-jet sprinklers as the primary irrigation source after the swales. This will be laid on just after cover cropping and mulching at the end of May in preparation for the planting season which extends from June - August

Are there any thoughts here?

Tree to be planted include Stone Fruit with low chill requirements (Almond, apricot, nectarine, peach & prune), Pome fruit with low chill requirements (Apple, pear & quince) and Nut trees (Pecan & Walnut). Swales, tree alleys, perennial plantings and pioneer infrastructure will be totally mulched (material depending).

Legume inter-plants include Tagasaste, Virgillia, Sesbania & Acacia, with grazing cut and drop systems between tree lines and pasture behind fencing so animals will form hedges. we plan to plant over 500 fruit and nut trees with over 1'000 support & pioneer infrastructure trees this season.

So there it is in short, any feedback would be appreciated, thank you
 
Cj Sloane
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greenfella Hatfield wrote:
Here in lies the challenges in our thinking pattern when it comes to, Kiuyu and Kweek which are really hard to get rid of and will create long term management issues for trees, will reduce crop yields, not to mention the cost of continued mechanical removal. ...

Tree to be planted include Stone Fruit with low chill requirements (Almond, apricot, nectarine, peach & prune), Pome fruit with low chill requirements (Apple, pear & quince) and Nut trees (Pecan & Walnut). Swales, tree alleys, perennial plantings and pioneer infrastructure will be totally mulched (material depending).


I think if you set up your trees properly (on swales with the appropriate guild) the weeds shouldn't hinder the trees.
Swale.jpg
[Thumbnail for Swale.jpg]
 
paul barker
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really inspired by the 2'000year old food forest and greening the desert design of date palm over story and hope in time to get sufficient planting material to establish dates over the fruit three plantings.. on the initial greening the desert site, geoff lawton planted legumes above the swales and dates below, the arrangement of softer fruit stacked to vegetables on drip then another legume, swales dates below and so on, hence the use of on-contour swales and not the key-line system....
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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