The Microfarm design is to show how I used small scale forest gardening to support more intensive growing of perennial and annual crops. I used the SADIMET framework and specifically, David Holmgren's principle, 'Design From Patterns To Details', using the sun as inspiration for the overall design to create approximately 35 growing beds.
The beds are laid out in the shape of the suns rays, each bed getting larger as they reach the end of the row. The beds are alternating perennial and annual rows, although this changed at the evaluation stage of the framework where I used the princple of Integrate Rather Than Segrate, to mix and match annual and perennial crops.
Each bed was to be named after a sabbat, giving me a daily reminder of my beliefs as a pagan. This design also gave me a lot excitement and joy supporting my wellbeing and others that visited Wishtree.
The Microfarm is one of the designs I did for Wishtree previously a LAND learner project. This design was in the evaluation stage and ready for tweaking but unfortunately had to be left at this stage due to personal circumstances.
The Microfarm is in a zone 1 area and is adjacent to zone 0 and other designs such as the allotment and the social. It is an example of what can be achieved on a smallholding scale.
The elements included here are, a mixed windbreak or hedge (this includes species such as ramanus rose, birch, hazel, willow and hawthorn), a polytunnel, humanure composting and general composting systems, and pond. We have also included ‘Space’ as an element and have allowed for a viewing area so the design pattern can be appreciated. A ditch lays between the Microfarm and Allotment. There is also an arch which acts as a portal between the ‘world’ of the Microfarm to the next adjoining space.
This design has evolved over a couple of years. It has been managed from rush, in the culm grassland area of Devon, to a perennial and annual based growing system. The design is layed out to mimic the rays of the sun with the pond being the ball of the sun. Each ray is a rotation of perennial and annual beds. This has been our most effective design, which we have taken the most lessons from.
The first two rays are made using coppiced and pollarded waste from the tree managment, the rest are the revised design, with planting in situ.
All beds will include support species for wildlife and for plant fertliser such as broom and comfrey. Edible flowers have been incorporated to the ends of each bed for colour, wildlife, edibility and for aesthetics, giving a spiritual lift.
The pond captures the water, adds thermal mass as well as provide wildlife habitat. It will also benefit any ducks we may include as part of pest management. The arch which birch, hops and willow will cover, is for that magical element and adds to the people care aspect of our designs.