Pt.1 Using Permaculture Hedge Rows on My Land
My overall plan is to start a system of food production and then add to that system in a methodical way to not only produce a lot of food, but to do it efficiently and with little need for water and fertilizer.
As they say necessity is the mother of invention, and having to plant ASAP has lead me to a very interesting concept that I want to share with you this week.
A couple of months ago I planted Guadua Bamboo on my entry road to my house to create my own tunnel of bamboo while entering the property, but as I started adding other types of plants I realized I had created a watering nightmare because the territory I had used was vast and would require a full time worker to water all the different areas I had planted. It would look cool, but would challenge me greatly from an efficiency point of view.
This caused me to head back to the drawing board, because I was not interested in planting bamboo and incurring tons of management cost.
Last summer I had spent many nights up on my property during my Tipi experiment considering how I wanted the land to look and how I could make my own natural paradise.
One of those thoughts was it would be so cool to have 100ft bamboo forest that you drive through to your house. I implemented this plan in La Paz and on my property. But on my property I also created a management monster so I rethought it.
I decided to cut down a bunch of brush and small trees at my entrance and make a bamboo forest section that would serve as beautiful entry feature and consolidate most of my bamboo.
I cut the trees then cut them up into pieces laying the cuttings in rows to fertilize the ground as they break down and provide some moisture for the roots of growing bamboo I was going to plant.
Now Instead of using bamboo sporadically planted as a row of plants up my driveway, I would create a bamboo section at my entry and this would make it easier to water them provide the care they need until they get bigger.
In the future the bamboo can provide shade for the next section of plants I will add. It will still be a stunning entry feature and I will use the bamboo as a building material around my property.
Side note: I stumbled across an idea that you can attach a platform to live bamboo shoots and create a tree house of sorts within a bamboo forest. I am excited to try this out if I still remember to do it in 5 years when they grow tall. Imagine sitting 40ft above the ground on this platform relaxing among the bamboo, could be pretty cool.
When I was researching the bamboo move I started coming across plans dealing with food production on slopes using permaculture methods.
It was then that I had my “A ha” moment.
In front of my building site I have a drop off that goes down about 50 feet towards a flatter section of land that ends at the road.
I have already started planting Vetiver to stop any erosion in this area and that has been working very well. I am about to spread around new vetiver starts by using the maturing old ones to continue my plan of stabilizing the slope.
The Eureka moment came when I realized I could plant vetiver and all my fruit trees on this slope. It would still be very stable, the water running down it feed all the trees and I could get more out of it then just having vetiver stabilize the ground.
Basically, I could consolidate all my fruit into one smaller area instead of having lots of different areas elsewhere on the property dedicated to fruit tree zones.
Using Permaculture techniques you can create a system that not only mixes up different trees and plants that thrive together, you can create a symbiotic relationship that all components of the plant system benefit to facilitate higher yields and lower costs.
For me this was incredible because it took an idea that I had and made it ultra efficient and much better.
The idea is to plant down the side of hill by determining countour lines (using the simple method below), then plant vetiver along these lines to create hedgerows that I could then plant my fruit trees into thosehedge rows.
Here is the plan.
1. First step is using this technique to determine where the vetiver is planted. You walk along the slope creating countour lines that you will then plant with vetiver.
2. The next step will be to plant the Vetiver along the hill on these determined countour lines. Once those are in I can decide which trees will go where depending on height and need for nutrients.
I want to plant Coconut trees at the bottom to not block the view or the sun for the other hedgerows of plants that are shorter like Pineapple. Then I will plant Pineapple at the top, then Orange, lemon and Starfruit trees in the middle arranged same as below. Citrus trees don’t get too tall so they make a good middle layer.
Check out the plan in full effect below.
Permaculture encourages the use of certain beans because they can extract Nitrogen from the air and put in the ground and that fertilizes other plants nearby. I will definitely plant row of beans but have not decided what types yet.
I will also use Moringa trees to perform putting nitrogen into the ground too.
You can cut the vetiver and the Moringa and just throw them on the ground as fertilizer for the tree rows, pretty amazing right?