A project to implement Permaculture Principles for a 1/4acre suburban block
Monday, September 10, 2012
Farm Stay at David Arnold's Murnong Permaculture Property
The All Season's Permaculture course has moved into Spring and we celebrated with a Farm Stay at David Arnold's place Murnong, at Violet Town.
Having now visited several Permaculture properties, what struck me about David's design was its clear Zones and forward thinking.
Consideration to succession planning was not obvious at first, but after spending the day walking the land with David, the complexity of his design became more evident.
He had made use of Peter Andrew's leaky wear system to create a miniature delta flood plain (while the drought is over), with nearby town run off, that runs through his property, much the same as at David Holmgren's place at Hepburn Springs.
Two elements of David Arnold's property got me really excited - the first being the emphasis on Agroforestry and the second his approach to grass or paddock spaces as microforests also to be managed through seasonal "pulsing".
David consideration of tree species for optimum yield - for both fruit and timbre has developed over years of working with re-forestation projects and also through the simple method of trial and error. This is an area which has scope beyond what we could cover over the weekend and hopefully down the track an agrofrestry course may follow this PDC!
At first glance of David's design, there appeared to be a lack of layering as is seen in the common design of food forests. However, as David spoke about the spacing of his orchard species, in relation to rain fall and soil type the picture above the surface of the soil began to make more sense.
This is a farm which is harvesting soil life and plant complexity in all forms. What appears to be grass is in fact a microforest of species for trapping and ultimately recycling micro-organisms and nutrients into the orchid and farm system as a whole. What is critical for this element of the system to work is timing the cutting of the grasses, allowing for enough growth to harvest the full potential of the plant life both above and below the ground.
Although not perfected, and still with a huge number of elements yet to be brought together, I admire David's ability to "Accept Feedback" and relate the land as a teacher.