Avocanoes at Zaytuna Farm

Near Geoff and Nadia Lawton’s house at Zaytuna Farm, there are a number of Avocanoes…

What on earth is an Avocanoe?

Geoff and I came up with the concept of Avocanoes a little while ago. At the time, we were looking for a secure position to plant a number of expensive avocado trees. This location had a few requirements;

1. It had to be close to people for regular care.
2. Close to water supply.
3. And it must be close to material for budding and grafting of avocados by the plant nursery staff. Avocado trees are only able to partially pollinate due to dichogamy in their flowering, which makes them difficult to grow from seed. Some seedlings can take up to 10 years to bear fruit.
4. Most importantly avocados require well-drained soil otherwise they can develop a root problem named Phytophthora.


Given these requirements it was decided that Zone Two was the most appropriate place. Zone Two is often utilised for animals needing daily attention but it is frequently used for orchard trees.

And this is where the idea of Avocanoes was born. On top of the volcano-like mounds was a great place to plant avocado trees. The height of the mounds gives good drainage and air flow which results in healthy growing conditions of the avocadoes. Rocks from the farm where placed on the mound slopes and compost place in between the rocks. A ground cover of nitrogen fixing pinto peanut was placed in between the rocks to outgrow any pioneer plants, improve soil fertility and health. Comfrey was place on the top of the mound to keep the pito away from the avocado trunk and to improve soil. So there you have the explanation of the mystery of Avocanoes.

Geoff explains the Avocanoe structures in this great clip below.

The cultivate ecosystems of the permaculture design process is low energy input, long lasting and having an abundance of production. LET’S keep it practical.

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  1. Fantastic video! But, what are the steps exactly to creating the mound? The mound needs to be 4 feet high. So do I create a mound of dirt 4 feet high, cover it in rocks, then inter-plant the rocks with a perennial ground cover, mulch the top of the mound and plant more legume e.g. comfrey. ? The land has a history of cattle/sheep so is quite degraded, heavily clay (sticky when wet/hard when dry). So, say I dug in a hole 4 feet deep from this landscape, using the same dirt to create a mound? Plenty of rocks through the land also. Or is the mound best made of compost? Cheers.

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