permaculture design project summer 2013 liberty highlands farm

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Liberty Highlands Farm

Permaculture design project

summer 2013Liberty Highlands FarmVision for Property To combine the best of current and past agricultural techniques in creating a functioning, self-sustaining farm. The farm will provide for all of the familys needs while maximizing fertility and abundance.

Soil generally silty loam2View of the Farm

Soil generally silty loam3Sun, Wind & Soil Aspects

Soil generally silty loam4Key ChallengesEnsure livestock are easily watered Ensure livestock have appropriate shadeThe property owners also work with cereals, which require less shadeStrong westerly windsSize of land

WaterSwale design on contour with hugelkultur; connecting ponds for the purpose of water retentiondryland saturation and livestock hydrationEmphasis on holding water high on the landscape, and for the purpose of food forest growth.Keyline in the south west corner, where steep slopes reside

Access / CirculationCurrent access is generally sufficientGateways will be required between pastures. Linear food forests will provide some pasture borders, with 3-4 entryways between pastures.

Vegetation and WildlifeMob grazing to promote natural grassland, planting of food forest for animal feed, human consumption, and possible sales. Encourage natural wildlife, but also need more observation to design for a diversion crop (or discouraging border such as Maximillian Sunflower).

MicroclimateCreating cooler microclimates in shaded areas to cool animals, and provide shade for crops such as canola. Ponds also provide housing to new species and aquaculture (arrow root, cattail, water lilies, amphibians, fish, insects). Use arid microclimates where crop appropriate, such as for grape vineyards.

Buildings and InfrastructureNatural hedging on North edge using Korean Nut Pine to eventually produce a high value edible cropNatural edging also along west edge requires more filling to keep animals in. This west edge also serves as a wind break. This will be Osage Orange and Black Locust.Design solution to challenge of watering in the fields is resolved by ponds that have pump sources to troughs. These will be gravity fed or windmill powered whenever possible.

Zones of UseZone 1 includes the kitchen garden.Zones 1 and 2 merge in the orchard nearest the home. Frequency of travel to zones 3-4 (food forests and pasture) to maintain grazing and to harvest. Edible trees are planted on the margin to increase productivity in zone 4. Zone 5 forests still exist on east and south areas of property. These can be utilized for fire wood and mushroom growth as needed.

Soil Fertility and ManagementMob grazing provides an opportunity to increase and protect soil fertility: cattle take in longer grasses, sheep follow and eat grass into the ground, hogs root the soil, and chickens follow with scratching. This way, the manure replenishes soil and gives old seeds an opportunity to germinate. This method prevents over-grazing. The food forest plantings and water retention in the form of swales and ponds also replenishes the soil. Crop rotation will continue in a Modified Norfolk Rotation system. Propagate Comfrey on a half-acre plot to add nutrients and mulchAesthetics/Experience of PlaceCurrently the Hills land is solely pasture, and livestock are managed with electric netting. Over time, with this design, natural vegetation will replace fencing and boundary fence will be significantly enhanced. Machinery will also be replaced with animal tillage, providing the aesthetics of a farm on the European countryside.

Ideas for Various ZonesZONES 1-2:

Currently carries: Peaches, grapes, raspberries, apples, elderberry, blueberry, diverse native understory, day lilly, some annuals, perennial herbs, canola, Jerusalem artichoke, gooseberries, currants, Russian sage, yarrow, among others.

To consider: Goumis, Medlar (semi-dwarf), Cherry, Comfrey, Paw Paw, Asian Pear, Plum, Maximillian Sunflower possibly on border.

Ideas for Various Zones (continued)Linear Food Forests ZONE 3-4:

Canopy: Apple, Cherry, Crabapple, Hazelnut (runners), Kentucky Coffee Tree, Paw Paw, Pear, Plum, Linden (coppiced), Osage Orange, Black Locust (Coppiced)Shrub Layer: Blackberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Raspberry, Siberian Pea Shrub, elderberryHerbaceous Layer: Arugula, Chamomile, Chives, Comfrey, Stinging nettle, Dill, Fennel, Canola, Ground Plumb Milk Vetch (Endangered), lemon balmGround Cover between rows: Already carries great diversity, but would like to add plantain and chicory.Korean Nut Pine on northern edge zoneTimelineFirst 1-2 years:Get the hedges started, and install one-two swale and pond systems as an experimental plot. Plant boundary fence, which will take 5-10 years to mature growth Plant Korean Nut Pine, which takes 10-15 years to mature growthLearn and experiment with root stock and grafting; find a mentor in the area that can assist with gathering trees on site.

Years 3-5:Install rest of swale and pond system on landscape.Linear food forest plants can also be plantedContinue to add perennial vegetable to garden

As time goes on, continue to observe, plant, and harvest from the system.

Liberty Highlands FarmLet freedom range!!