January 2nd-4th : A Weekend Food Forest Course with a focus on design, the layers, implementation and management
In this two-day course, plus Friday evening open lecture, we will be establishing and expanding food forest systems at 5ª Natureza as part of the overall sustainability and food production system at the farm. The farm has extensive apple and tamarillo orchards currently which shows the unique climate of the farm. Consequently those orchards will help us to look at conventional systems and how to improve them especially the tamarillo orchard and the edible landscaping around the house. We will also take on a more extensive development in another part of the farm as to see the whole process of establishing a food forest. It’s not just about plants as we will also look at the following aspects of a permaculture development:
soil fertility and soil food repair with inoculants
management of existing vegetation including chop and drop techniques
earthworks for planting space and water retention
irrigation systems for increased productivity
integrated pest management
access for material and people flow
animal integration of free range or on a rotational basis
The aim of the course for the farm is to implement a diverse food forest that would supply nutritious varied food (fruit, berries, nut, edible cover
crops/flowers perennial vegetables and also some medicinal or culinary herbs), in order to obtain yield from several layers. A diversity of crops is sought, both temperate and subtropical ones, even some that are less familiar for most people but the island and this farm have a great climate for these lesser known plants. Thus we will demonstrate tree planting to give the farm the bio-diversity it desires so that the apple orchards also thrive from this form of resilience through diversity.
We will also plant the lower levels of the design through establishing guilds to compliment the anchor plantings. Guilds are often established at low-cost when plant propagation techniques are known and we wish to share this knowledge with yourselves. Furthermore, we will also be looking at some of the older trees on site that will be our demonstration point for pruning trees, an important management technique within the forest garden.
Overall the course will be broken down into four sections essentially with some parts lending better to the theory and some to the hands on. They can be seen in the following mindmap which will serve as the basic structure of the course. This allows us to look at the older systems and frames the establishment of new food forests on site. Creative human interaction is always part of permaculture thus you will be learning directly through the body of how to design holistically and with a diversity of layers, to establish thoroughly and to manage systematically for thrivability over the long-term.
Hands-on will include the following:
soil food web repair
tree mulching and system establishment
plant propagation: cuttings, layering, root division, seed treatment
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