Posted by Clea Chandmal over 12 years ago
In the food forest here, all soil is held in place and fertility enhanced by a biodiverse ground cover that includes two varieties of legumes. we do not weed. Weeds include medicinal bhrami, nitrogen fixing mimosa and fern.
Several chicken roam free in here. Not only do they add to fertility but also catch and eat small snakes!.
All leaf litter is left to decompose. All edges of terraces/swale mounds are planted with fibrous rooted plants - either vetiver, pineapple, pandanas (in the shade) or fodder grass (sunny positions) to prevent collapse.
The shrublayer is cardamon, ginger, galangal and patchouli mainly, together with young spice trees such as cinamon, mace and clove.
The next layer is banana, citruses and guava. The canopy is mango, coconut and areca nut. On the stems of the canopy trees grow vanilla, peppercorn and /or passion fruit.
A biodiverse live mulch and canopy cover allows the soil to stay moist condusive for beneficial soil bourne organisms. In addition, roots prevent soil compactation and fallen leaves add to fertility when they rot.
Biodiversity here ensures various root depths and root architecture. This samples and brings nutrients from different soil strata to the canopy. Thus, when leaves and fruit fall and rot, in addition to the specific nutrient composition of the leaves and fruit themselves (of each species) the topsoil gains minerals from the various levels of soil. In this way, the nutrient composotion of the top soil gets only better year after year.
Not only does a polyculture reduce the spread of pathogenic organisms (by being low in the number of suseptible individuals) it also provides a wide nutrient soil composition which increases plant resistance to pathogen attack. Further, the several active beneficial soil organisms in a soil covered with a live mulch outcompetes pathogenic organisms.
We also have several raised bed vegetable patches. Vegetables are also grown in succesion in the Fukuoka way of harvesting one as the other grows in the same space. This saves a lot of water, time and space.
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