Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A note on Permaculture zones and problems here at the Food Forest.

Well, my wife and I have been talking, a lot, about where to put things on the property we know we will need in the future. You have seen me talk about zones before, here is some more in depth information.

Permaculture basics of design.

From Zone "0" to "5" as a series of concentric rings moving outwards. 0 being the most human intervention area to the least, or no intervention needed. From Zone 1 through 5, makes sure everything has a use, and can be next to its neighbor. Pay close attention to microclimates. Use edible flowers, dye flowers, etc.

Zone 0 - Human tolerant plants that help with air quality, work with humans. This is the area of the home, and everything we do here impacts the surrounding area.

Zone 1 & 2 - Here we plant the most we can for edible landscaping, polycultures, forest gardens, in order to have multiple yields of food. Do all you can to balance plants to allure beneficial insects and birds. Work with nature as much as possible.

Zone 1 would be Herbaceous items, comfreys, beets, herbs as well as root vegetables. Use currant and berry shrubs to make shady microclimates.

Zone 2, continue as zone 1, but now start in with dwarf fruit trees with more currants and berries & then taper as per zone 1. Start working in butterfly and beneficial insect attracting plants.

Zone 3 - Low tree layer. More Dwarf fruit trees, and start with ground covers such as strawberries, vetch, and so on. This would be the zone for corn, sunflowers and so on. 3 Sisters Garden here as well, vertical climbers on corn and sunflower are prime.

Zone 4 / 5 - Canopy Zone / Animal Barrier. Large Fruit and Nut trees. Vertical climbers on Large trees. Ground cover the zone as well. This is the area of least human influence needed. Large berry shrubs can outline this zone to make a barrier against deer and large mammals on the outer edge.

If you have an unusual shaped property like I do, it can make for rather difficult decisions for the placement of structures in the future. The things we need are a place for the chickens, a greenhouse, and a place to cook and dine with friends. Things we are looking forward to for the future include a goat area for milk & cheese, a workshop / art studio in addition to the other projects.

Currently, we are working on an area for outdoor cooking near the house. We found an area, but it will take a lot of moving things around and retrofitting which will be fun because we are going to make the area "Piratey" as the saying goes. The first project that will ensue is the cob oven which will be sculpted by yours truly. From there, the sky is the limit!

But this is the last time I am moving the debris! ;)

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