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Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens


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The orchard lies below the house and vegetable garden on a steep south facing slope.

The slope presents many problems. A north facing slope, with solar access for the plants, would have been better, but this is the least of our problems. The strong south, west and easterly winds have really proven troublesome. To redress this we've planted 'nursery' trees such as acacia pycnantha and tagasaste which we prune annually. This releases nitrogen into the soil and keeps the trees as bushes between two and three metres high. To supplement the wind breaking effect and to bring pollinating agents into the orchard we have planted a variety of exotic and native low bushes and ground covers.

Sun traps have been erected around three of the citrus trees, with great success, although the slope made it difficult to erect suitably sized traps. We used recycled permapine poles and pine offcuts from a local sawmill which we sourced for free. The trees that are protected are now twice the size of the other citrus trees and bear well.

There are about 50 fruiting trees in the orchard. The apples haven't grown much at all, as the kangaroos find them each year and prune them for us! To eliminate this pesky problem we have enclosed each tree with a cyclone fence about two metres from the trunk. This is too close for the roos to jump over and too far away for them to reach over to nibble the tree. So far they are proving effective.

All the trees and plants in the orchard are on drip irrigation, with two drippers per tree and one per plant. The trees are fertilised with compost from our heap and clivus multrum and proprietry organic pellets. The trees that have grown the best and fruit most prolifically are the self sown apricots and plums! The persimmons benefit from being downslope from the final greywater pond which also collects run-off water from the drive.

Our intention is to increase the productivity of our existing trees before planting more. To this end we've cut paths along the steep slope to facilitate ease of movement and orchard management - we can now access half of the orchard with a wheelbarrow. We can only dig the hard clay soil in winter with ease, so the pathway project is a winter task.

The fruit trees are mulched: this year we used tree trimmings that we mulched using our new mulcher, but in previous years we've used wool dags from a local shearing shed and spoiled hay. We don't like using hay that hasn't been through the guinea pig or poultry cages as it contains too many weed seeds.

Coming soon - a map of our orchard and plant list.




photos of the ever changing view of the coast from our living room window
Our ever-changing view!
Moonset ~ Roll Cloud ~ Sunset

permaculture ethics
care for earth,
care for people,
return surplus,
reduce consumption

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Copyright © Beverley Paine 2002-14. Article from this website may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this entire notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained from the author in order to reprint this article in a published work or to offer it for sale in any form. Please visit Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens for more original content by Beverley Paine.