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converting hay field to food forest  RSS feed

 
                    
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hi, im new here and to the idea of permaculture. there is some land up for sale im considering buying which is currently used to grow hay crop. im wondering how would one go about removing the hay and start building soil to plant veggies, fruit trees. its about 20 acres. do i even have to remove it and theres another way? any insight would be helpfull.
 
John Elliott
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What kind of hay? Is the field chemically treated with herbicides and pesticides? Is it grazed, or is the hay cut, baled, and removed?

The best answer (from your point of view) would be if it was an alfalfa field that had very little in the way of agricultural operations done except to cut and harvest it a few times a year. Even better if the animals are let in to graze it, because then the nutrients are retained to a greater degree. If that's the case, then the soil life should be pretty intact and you won't have to do much preparation to plant your trees.

I've seen pecan orchards that grow a clover crop as a ground cover and the clover provides some seasonal grazing for cattle. That's a fairly sustainable permaculture type system, save for the fact that you don't have a lot of species diversity. What could be done with that to make it even more sustainable would be to (1) add some diversity to the cover crop so that there will be something to graze all year, and (2) as pecan trees need to be taken out, you replace them with a diversity of tree species.
 
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