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paul barker

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since Sep 06, 2011
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Recent posts by paul barker

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....
9 years ago
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
9 years ago
Hey  Marloe

Enjoy your dream, if I was not in paradise myself I would be jealous.....

Linda Woodrow is great, but seriously complicated guilds and all.

Get Uncle Bills "Intro to Permaculture" and if you get more serious the "Permaculture Designers Manual"

Rosemary Morrows "Earth User Guide to Permaculture" is very good.

Bert Lancaster "Water Harvesting Volume 2" is excellent.

PA Yoemans "Water for every farm" essential reading if you plan on dams

Look out for a BBC documentary called "A farm for the Future" it has many ideas that will apply for you there.

Ticks are a pain, I have to be very careful with my cows as we have RED WATER here, it can kill then quick quick, so be vigilant and know what to treat them with.... I try to use Homeopathic, but not gona let my cows die so I use what I can even drugs and antibiotics when needed.

Attending a permaculture design course PDC is the best way, Berg en Dal offers the best in the country, but closer to use is Ewald Viljeon, who is a master teacher, make the effort to learn your craft well, a book can only show you a sliver of what a PDC does.......

Expand as you need to, there is no rush......

Start at the kitchen door with you intensive garden, then your food forest and small animal systems, once you have those running try larger animals. Use good fences and electric for pigs, cow and horses (not a big love of mine, but get a draught horse if you get anything please)....

Forestry and fungi will be your friends, many medicinal plants grow well there.... Trees: Curtisia dentata, Ocotea bullata, Warbirgia salutaris, Cassine transvalensis
Bulbs: Siphonochillus aethiopicus, Modia whetiea

Vervet monkies and or baboons many just drive you to tears, if they are there you may have to fence your garden in and concentrate on long term forestry and nut production.
Trees: Sweet Chestnut 90kg yield, Pecan 40kg yield, Macadamia?

I dont have a lot of time to check up on this site as farming keeps one really busy, but ask away if you want and I will try answer....

Enjoy the challenge and keep the momentum..........
9 years ago

Best source of organic or open pollinated seed I have found is from BALL STRAATHOF, they are big yes, but family owned and offer great service.

For cover crops AGRICOL in Silverton offer a great service, also family and worker owned company.
For great service GROW WILD in Kayalami has a wonderful variety and helpful advice, you may find Tina a permie working there on the week ends.

In Mamalodi at the Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre and permie garden opposite Mamelodi Hospital, you will find Oom David tending his plants in the community garden, pioneer plants can be sourced there.

If you by in bulk DOONHOLM out near Mnandi will do herbs et al.

SAMGRO in Wellington will post you plugs and small plants overnight.....

Have fun and keep the momentum..........

Greenfella: develiping a farm for the future
9 years ago