The original look of the property immediately around the house
The intention with this property in Alstonville, NSW, Australia, is to reduce lawn and landscaping management by using the space and effort to produce organic food for the owner’s consumption as well as to produce an excess for the local Farmers’ Market.
The system will be developed using specific opportunities for appropriate design to develop select areas over about 5 acres of a 40-acre property. Much of the property on the outer zones is forest, environmental management and grazing.
The first part of the project is to turn lawn and landscape areas immediately around the house into long term productive systems. This will include raised bed areas for vegetables and annual production and multiple mini food forest areas that will include fruit trees, ground covers, in-ground crops, shrubs and support species.
The outer zones for habitat and grazing
The total project includes a contour dam of about 300 sq mts surface area, approximately 500 sq mts of swales, seedling propagation house, 100 chickens for meat and egg production and we are investigating a larger dam opportunity for fish, habitat and water management. The contour dam will take advantage of highway and hillside run off to collect water in a ‘high dam’ opportunity that can be gravity fed to the ‘front lawn’ vegetable gardens and the food forest areas.
See the photos of the initial stages of transformation of this property during the month of November 2012 and stay tuned to this site for progress reports.
Preparing the frames for the beds
Filling the frames with earth and high mineral fertiliser
Rows of beds covered with compost and ready for planting
The finished beds, first planting out then mulching spaces designed for ride on
mower maintenance until interspaces become consumed by further
planting over time.
More garden beds prepared for mini food forest
Planting ‘blueberry patch’ and strawberries
Clearing 50 ornamentals for fruit tree planting
Ornamental shrubs removed to be replaced by food forest
Replacing 50 shrubs with 50 fruit trees
‘Transforming high maintenance into high production’
This ends November update. Now begins December developments with earthworks, swales, berms, contour dam and roads.
Checking topsoil depth and saving for top-dressing dam wall
Setting out the levels and stripping topsoil
Striping topsoil to get to clay layer
Early veggies just 3 weeks after planting – ‘fast forward food’
Clay pit on site will provide clay for dam lining
Happy owners excited earthworks have begun
Contour dam takes, shape this will hold more than 100,000
gallons or half a million litres of ridge top water.
200m long swale will collect water into contour dam on ridge
12 tack-hoe compacts dam wall
Contour dam 15m long x 8m wide x 4m deep, lined with clay from site.
The finished Dam
Here follows pictures for January 2013.
Here follows pictures for February 2013.
Growth is often accelerated on swales. The diversity of plants supports the
diversity of soil microorganisms and promotes fertility.
‘Food for all’ in just a few weeks.
The front lawn becomes an organic supermarket.
Owners Bev and Tony enjoying their permaculture paradise
A fabulously full dam
Paul Taylor is an absolute soil wizard. Why not get connect with Paul on his