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Permaculture My Orchard

 
Marianne Cicala
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it's taken almost a year of ideas, rethinks etc. but i had the opportunity to trade with a guy for a day & his dozer so, it's begun.

There's a big hill (approx. 1 acre) that was left fallow for about 3 years. Bartered with a guy & his bulldozer for a day - y'day. A bog with 3 perfectly slopped sides was dug & damed at the top left of this hill - approx 30'at it's widest point, approx 8' deep; a sister frog pond to it's right, about 8' round, 3-4'deep which has an overflow into the larger pond. We'll put a pipe 3/4 of the way up on the big pond, will plug for flood use when/if needed. At the base of the hill, he leveled 1 area, 17'X72' to hold a hoop house, gentle berm/sloped up 3', then another 17X72 area for a second house, another up-slope, level area with a deep ditch for a hugel and repeated.

I know I need to ditch beside the hoop houses to catch water run-off - since this is at the bottom of the hill - I'll post pics and will apologize before hand as they're lousy on all counts, but today when i took the afters, it's snowing like crazy.
Thanks for any thoughts etc.
M
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pond area before
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pond after
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terraces - ponds are up to the right of this pic
 
Brenda Groth
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good luck with that..looks like a lot of work but glad you were able to make the trade..
 
Miles Flansburg
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Looks good Marianne, Keep us posted!
 
Marianne Cicala
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We've been busy and pretty sore, but things are moving along. The big pond got seeded and strawed today, the back of the dam is filled with strawberries and more straw, one of the berms is filled with vinca major and of course straw. Black raspberries and a celeste fig around the frog pond with a lot of bee balm to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Comfrey in the orchard and 1 of the 3 hugels is planted with beans, potatoes, german camomile and some extra spinach seeds. sounds like a ton, but hardly looks like we've made a dent.
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pond
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hugel
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berm of vinca
 
Miles Flansburg
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Looking forward to seeing this in the fall.
So is the pond filling up with rain/snowmelt or from a spring or what?
 
Marianne Cicala
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I'm looking forward to it looking something other than brown - hopefully in a few months. Pond is filling with rain water. The little "frog" pond is already full and frogs have started moving in as well. Feeling pretty lucky! thanks Miles
 
Marianne Cicala
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thought I'd post a couple new pics - ahhh, spring time. We couldn't be happier with how quickly things are blooming.
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big dam was planted with strawberries that are very happy
 
Marianne Cicala
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alst few pics
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smaller frog pond is completely full and occupied with tadpoles
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1st planted hugel was plugged with onions
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and with lady peas. really happy with the fast propogation.
 
Adam Klaus
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Nice earthmoving layout. One thought I had looking at your pictures was if you had considered applying Biodynamic soil sprays to the area? All that bare dirt and newly vegetated area would really benefit, in my experience, from a good microbial innoculation, such as the Pfeifer Biodynamic Field Spray. The Josephine Porter Institute (JPI) is in Virginia, and is the premier source for Biodynamic preparations. You can find them online; and if you have any questions about Biodynamics feel free to contact me.
Otherwise, good luck, you have a great project on your hands.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Thanks Adam - we've seeded a lot of clover and are about to plant veggies in most of the bare areas. Would love to add anything that would help. I'll certainly check them out. Really appreciate the suggestion.
M
 
Marianne Cicala
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Latest pics - couldn't be happier. 1st, what we harvested this a.m. MMmmmm~ and what's currently growing etc.
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Leeks, shallots, garlic & onions
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fresh picked & shucked peas
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Really happy hugel with pumpkins, peas, herbs, random tomatoes from the compost pile
 
Marianne Cicala
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swales & berries
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more than enough tomatoes on a swale
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blackberry bushes loaded!
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raspberries popping up everywhere
 
Miles Flansburg
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Wow Marianne ! Looks like you are proving that hugels work. Thanks for keeping us updated.
 
Victor Johanson
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Those raspberries look like wineberries to me.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Yeah Miles - way beyond my wildest dreams. We seeded the tops with sweet peas which we've already pulled (less then 55 days from seed to harvest) and the dirt below is jet black! Threw on some eggplant seeds y'day. Amazing how much faster veggies mature - without question, the dirt temp is higher on the hugel which was an enormous advantage with our unusually cool spring. fan for life and putting in more for fall crops!
 
Marianne Cicala
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I don't know how to combine my 2 posts on the farm, so I'll just add our current link to the true beginning of our permadventure.
http://www.permies.com/t/36307/forest-garden/Permaculture-Orchard
 
Marianne Cicala
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Adam Klaus wrote:Nice earthmoving layout. One thought I had looking at your pictures was if you had considered applying Biodynamic soil sprays to the area? All that bare dirt and newly vegetated area would really benefit, in my experience, from a good microbial innoculation, such as the Pfeifer Biodynamic Field Spray. The Josephine Porter Institute (JPI) is in Virginia, and is the premier source for Biodynamic preparations. You can find them online; and if you have any questions about Biodynamics feel free to contact me.
Otherwise, good luck, you have a great project on your hands.


Hey Adam,
I took your suggestion to heart and ran with it. Our farm is now "pending approval" for biodynamic certification. True Believer!!
thank you very much!
 
Marianne Cicala
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it's been a fast a furious 6 months from paper to dirt, but I wanted to share progress in converting our traditional orchard (rows of only fruit trees) to a slice of heaven with blooms, herbs, veggies, berry bushes and assorted ground fruit. Huge thanks to Andrew Millison with his direction and inspiration during my PDC & Advanced PDC & to our 2 interns Daniel & Andrew (yeah, different Andrew) for their hard work.
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Marianne Cicala
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more progress. The straw is on the pathways, the wood mulch is where baby berry bushes, perennials and herbs are and the darker area are for row crops.
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Marianne Cicala
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last 2
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Adrien Lapointe
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Looks good! I am looking forward to see more pictures later in the season.
 
Jesse Henderson
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Looks great!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Some pictures of our upper orchards and additional information. We are in zone 7B. We are USDA Certified Organic, which is quickly loosing it's charm, but that another topic. We do not use any additive, do not spray, add fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides. We companion plant like mad. For our trees, most have a crescent of narcissus or iris bulbs, all have comfrey and a variety of yarrow, alyssum, foxglove, coreopsis, daisies, helleborus, salvia and bee balm. We have a apples, peaches, plums, pineapple guava, jujubes, cherries (Korean bush and tree form) blueberries, figs, pomegranate, blacks, rasp, honeyberries, huckleberries, mulberries, kiwi, grapes, serviceberries, walnuts, pecans, pawpaw (natives near the water's edge) and just added olives.
In the upper orchard, we have 2 ponds - 1 "frog" pond which overflows into a larger pond for flood irrigation when needed. In that area we have strawberries, lavender, a few hugels, loads of herbs. For pest control we plant bee balm, a boat load of summer savory (the best!!!), lemon grass, marigolds and with the deep variety of stuff, it works just fine. We mulch with wood chips and straw. We have bloomers for pollinators for about 9 months a year beginning with camillias and helleborus, then witch hazel, forsythia, bulbs and so forth. The system work well - our cash crops like peas, beans, squashes, melons, lettuces, tomatoes etc is delicious and plentiful.
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Marianne Cicala
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Upper orchard
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Kevin Young
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I LOVE what you have done Marianne! So inspiring. Do you have more details on your blog? I am wondering about the logistics--time for planning, time and expenses for putting it all in, next steps, etc. I hope for updates detailing what worked, what didn't, how the investment is paying itself off, any unexpected happenings, etc.

Thanks for the great photos!
 
V.Ginger Borgeson
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Wow, Tremendous Job. Looks great. Are there any mulberry trees in that mix?
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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That looks AWESOME! I'm starting a very small scale fruit forest on my urban lot this year, but I'm hoping to go full scale on our family farm in the next few years. I may just use some of these designs as inspiration!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Hey Ginger - we do have mulberry trees, not in the orchards proper, but down by the chickens on the forest's edge. We're leaving that fruit for them.
Thanks so much Lucas and Kevin - I'll give more details as time allows. Here a link to my post when the terracing etc began early last year for the upper orchard.

http://www.permies.com/t/21857/hugelkultur/begins

really appreciate your taking the time to check this out~
M
 
Dan Boone
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Hey, you mentioned lemongrass ... are you growing it as an annual or is it surviving the winter for you?
 
Rita Jackson
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I am just planting some apple trees now (this week). What is the best spacing?
I also have animals hogs, cows and chickens. Once the trees are established is it ok to let the animals into the area?

Thank you!
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
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Very nice progress. Congratulations.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Hey Dan -
I wish lemon grass was a perennial, but it's an annual here; none the less, it still get well over 5 feet. We also use it as a chop & drop mulch as it's an accumulator as well as chopping and dropping in our mouths
Rita - we have a couple of apple trees that are going in our pig area. I understand from Sepp's writings that hogs will not damage fruit trees - only enjoy the fruit droppings. I don't know about cows, but I would be surprised if they would damage trees - saplings may be a different story. We use open wired "cage" that we put around the trunks of our trees - they are approx. 8 inches away from the trunks. Air flows easily and there is no danger of mucky disease since they do not inhibit the trees in any way. Deer like to rub the velvet off of their antlers on saplings around here, which would badly damage young trees.
In our upper orchard that happily is not a conversion of a traditional row of trees, there's well over 30 feet between trees and they are planted randomly with a variety of perennials, herbs, nuts in the mix.
thanks!
M
 
Marianne Cicala
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Thank you Stefan - you are an inspiration!
M
 
Dan Boone
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Marianne Cicala wrote:Hey Dan -
I wish lemon grass was a perennial, but it's an annual here; none the less, it still get well over 5 feet. We also use it as a chop & drop mulch as it's an accumulator as well as chopping and dropping in our mouths


Thanks, Marianne! I thought it must be annual only based on my research, but I'm in my first season of growing a bit that I found in a sale bin at an Asian grocery, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking some miracle method of keeping it alive overwinter in zone 7.
 
Marianne Cicala
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We had such an awesome day, that I wanted to post some current pics. Today's harvest and our summer crops settling us
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Marianne Cicala
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here are some more~
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Marianne Cicala
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this is the last I'll ask your indulgence on~
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Adrien Lapointe
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wow! potatoes and zucchinis already!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Gotta love the south Adrien
 
This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. Now it's a tiny ad:

The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers:
http://richsoil.com/cards


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