Permaculture design turns the orchard into a living productive ecosystem, where fruit trees are part of a polyculture that includes many other species that act as a support, enhancing their growth and productivity. The design of an orchard takes into account the topography of the site, the specific characteristics of the soil and microclimate and aims to achieve an abundant harvest through the restoration of the soil and the natural functions of the local ecosystem.
The design of a mixed orchard provides for:
- optimal water management
- protecting crops from severe weather and natural disasters
- restoring and maintaining soil fertility
- ensuring natural plant protection and adequate pollination
As the system matures, it becomes more and more self-regulating and the inputs needed to manage it become smaller and smaller. So the yield is getting bigger and bigger. The plan for the development of such an orchard always responds to the needs and capabilities of the people managing it and can be adapted to different scales, from small orchards for domestic use to large commercial orchards.
On the New Guinea farm, the conversion of a conventional olive grove into a mixed orchard that includes 22 species of fruit trees and some nitrogen-fixing tree species that act as supportive trees is underway. In the orchard, different techniques of water retention and soil fertility enhancement are applied, while beehives and a small mobile chicken breeding unit will soon be integrated into the system!