Hello everyone im moving for the first time since i started getting into permaculture and sustainability and I have a fantastic opportunity. Basically I've decided that instead of living in the house with my family i want to live on the property in a tipi and grow as much food as possible while i go to school. It's getting close to rainy season here so Im in the planning and building process so i can get the most out of the rain. basically my plan is to get a ton of mulch, hay, logs and branches on the property. Spread the mulch around everywhere. Make some Holzer style raised beds, do some terracing with swales and start planting erosion control plants, dynamic accumulators, shrubs, and cover crops. Here are the problems, my family has overwatered the zone, theres some palms and bay trees which block some sun and theres a really harsh ivy around. (ill post pics at the end) Basically I would like to know what cover crops you think would be best to break through this soil and give it nice leaf litter and if theres anything you would do that im not doing.
Sorry if the annotations on these images are less than masterfully done.
Great project! Tell us more about what is in the area at the moment? It looks pretty vegetated and lush. Is that only because of the amount of water that's been used?
In our similar climate to yours here in South Australia, I think raised beds are not as effective in the summer time as sunken or ground level beds. But perhaps in your more shaded environment the water loss won't be an issue. I haven't tried hugelkultur either, and I imagine that would help with water availability.
Lucerne/alfalfa will do a good job of getting some roots down deep which will lighten the soil and add nitrogen. It goes well in our climate but I don't know how it would do in shade. Plant it now. Comfrey might be a better option, but wait til spring to plant it. You can definitely trim bay trees to let a bit more light in, they are pretty slow growing but won't mind a good trim.
Try a few techniques and see what works best! Love to hear your results.