Work Now, Plan Later?

Sounds like a recipe for disaster. But the further we got into the permaculture mini-course, the harder it became for us to wrap our minds around a whole-farm design. And it would/will take a lot longer to complete than we originally considered. So while we have come to agreement on our purpose/vision and a general idea of where are zones and resources are, we needed to come up with some immediate action items to address – in particular – the elderberry cuttings that desperately need to be planted in permanent beds.

Marking Flags
**Marking Flags

So, we chose a zone 2-3 area behind the barns that we’d been eyeing for a while, and laid out the access road and as many 60′ long 6′ beds with 6′ alleys (12′ spacing is common for elderberries) and preferable for better air flow, since the planting area is surrounded by trees/buildings. We’ll adjust, and maybe do some test plantings to see if we can narrow that space in the future. Currently grass in the alleys, we’ll be switching that to some other beneficial plants like rye or clover. We don’t have enough elderberry varieties or cuttings yet to fill all the beds, so we’ll be filling in with potatoes. And interplanting the elderberries with TBD plants to maximize use of the space. Of course, lots of compost or wood chips on top, and after being rototilled once (tomorrow!), these beds – along with all the rest on the farm – will be no-till, topped up with compost and other organic supplements.

Certified Organic? Not likely, due to to the cost and hoops you have to jump through to be certified, but definitely in principle. We’re applying principles of no-till, cover cropping, permaculture, regenerative agriculture and a lot of common sense on our farm, in order to produce the tastiest and most nutritious food for us and our community. Well actually, that’s the simplified version of our Plan. So we’re moving in the right direction even though we don’t have all the future steps defined. We’ll discuss and learn and adjust as needed – “agile farming”, to my software developer friends – using best practices in order to produce the healthy, quality products we’re planning to produce. Got questions? Ask away.

** These marking flags were our best recent purchase. They’re very helpful for laying out proposed beds/paths on the ground, making paper designs easy to visualize.

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