Backyard Farming Forum

Simo's Block
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Author:  Simo [ Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Simo's Block

Here are some pictures of my 5 acres in Bullsbrook Western Australia, my plan is to produce as much of my food from this area of land as I can. We average 700mm of rain annually, we sit on top of a 255m hill and the prevailing winds are westerly in winter bringing rain on cold fronts and easterly during the morning in summer bringing hot wind from the inland with a switch to cooling westerlies in the afternoon.

The soil is gravely loam with a small amount of clay which is quite fertile when compared to the poor soil types that dominate most of WA, technically I think the soil type is Dwellingup type II. When cultivated in can hold quite a lot of moisture and is therefore very good for winter grain crops and pasture.

This is the back paddock which we crop with oaten and meadow hay as summer fodder for a couple of horses and in the future maybe something my wife will let me eat. I plan to fence off the bottom 8th and plant Tagasaste (Lucerne tree) to be used as green summer fodder and to add nitrogen to the soil.
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This is the front paddock. I am going to fence off the driveway and crop lupins here to again add nitrogen to the soil, use and stored feed for animals and maybe make my own fish food. The paddock will not be sprayed to suppress the other grasses as livestock will graze here while the crop in the back paddock grows over winter. Eventually I will plant an extensive orchard in this paddock as it is down hill from my water source.
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This is where my first small orchard is, from front to back there is lemon, Tahitian lime, Newall orange, and a fig. This is going to be added to in winter and irrigated.
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Author:  Simo [ Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

The two big rainwater tanks here total 300,000L and are filled form the house and shed roofs, we are not connected to scheme water and because we are higher than the local weir we are not likely to be. Should be enough for a veg patch and a small orchard but I will need a dam or bore if I want the large orchard I am planning.
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The small tank here is going to be the FT for my larger planned AP setup, the frame behind is for the bigger chook pen and will be expaned down the hill threefold as a frame for hanging shadcloth over the GBs of the larger system.
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Author:  Simo [ Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Back of chook shed showing raised nesting box access. Blue bit is kids cubby house
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Franklin the rooster
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Franklin, Winston Clucky, Merideth Grey and Blacky Chan
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Author:  chillidude [ Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Looks great Simo - lotta work ahead of you, but the location has a lot of potential - nice one !

Author:  Simo [ Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Shed, 7.5m X 12m or about 4 car bays.
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Hay from last season
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Mobile tree watering and firefighter
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Author:  earthbound [ Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Oooooooooohhhh yyyeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh...

Thats a nice patch of land... PLenty of options there .

Author:  dufflight [ Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Nice bit of land there. About the size I would like to play with one day. I'd throw in a lot of trees along the fences. You can run black pipe along a fence and put out drippers to the trees. And the slop of the land will help a lot with that. A dam up high is another good idea if there is water there. You have a good spot for permaculture and water harvesting. Land around here is flat so it limits utilizing the geography.

Author:  Simo [ Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Yeah I plan to irrigate using gravity fed drippers down hill from the tanks but unfortunately because we are literally top of the hill there is no spot for a high dam. What I may do is put a dam at the bottom of the back paddock, as it has the largest catchment area, and use a windmill to pump to a tank on top of the hill and gravity irrigate from there. A block half way down the valley with a dam at the top of the slope would have been better as far as a permaculture set up goes but still we get nice views, can't have it all.

Author:  earthbound [ Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Hey Simo, have you watched the DVD on water harvesting by Geoff Lawton? ... ng_dvd.htm

That, and his food forest DVD

Gave me some great information about swales and harvesting water, and how to really make the most of the water flowing across your landscapes, your property looks ideal for a few for this style of set up.

The food forest DVD I found exceptionally interesting, he showed how to design and plant a self sustaining food forest by using swales for water collection and then plants for everything else. Using many varieties of nitrogen fixing plants the idea went something like; to begin with you have 95% of your plants that are just for mulch, nitrogen fixing etc, with only 5% of plants that are useful fruit trees in amongst the other pioneer species. Within 7-10 years, 95% of your land is now good fruit trees, and 5% nitrogen fixers, and all you have had to do is wander around every few months and trim back and chop and drop your pioneer species. Trimming back nitrogen fixers above ground means they automatically drop excess root growth underground along with their nitrogen rich root nodules, making them available to other plants..

In the DVD he visits some fairly old permaculture food forests that had been grown this way as well as 8-10 year old forests.

Theres a little sneak preview video on the link above.

Author:  Simo [ Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Wow that swale idea just blows my mind so simple and effective yet never heard of it before, I think I might check those DVDs out. Cheers EB

Author:  mitch [ Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Very nice Simo.

Can't wait 'til I get a block like that. I'd definitely use the swales and food forest ideas. It's just getting the right plants. Especially the pioneer species. I've noticed there isn't a lot of places / stores that specialise in that sort of stuff so it is a bit of a challenge to find it all.

Does anyone know of any good permaculture plant suppliers in perth or australia? I know Ross Mars grows a few here in perth but I can't remember what.

Further to what EB said. The first 5% of fruit trees that you plant out are the ones that take the longest time to fruit. Such as nuts.

A good tip. One that I should have paid attention to earlier on. Is to wait before getting poultry or animals. Wait until the food forest and fodder systems etc are all up and running before purchasing any animals. I made the mistake of getting chickens and allowing them to roam freely throughout my orchard to early. And they ate a lot of my young plants. Particularly my pioneer and nitrogen fixing crops. It seems almost all of them double as animal fodder. :bash: Which is good once they're established. :)

Author:  veggie boy [ Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Mitch - places like greenharvest sell a lot of the stuff, but of course quaranteen restrictions mean that they don't send most of the stuff to WA. Forums like this are the best for getting plants from people in your local area (for free), but you would still want to have a supplier for your green manure seeds and stuff like that. I'd expect there would definitely be a place in WA - Joel would know one I'd say.

Author:  earthbound [ Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

Theres a permaculture plant and seed company in Geraldton that has some interesting stuff well suited to W.A. soils.

Author:  earthbound [ Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

And for more variety don't forget that eden seeds sell a wide range of legumes.
Click "Legumes/Green Manure" at the top..

Author:  Simo [ Mon May 24, 2010 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Simo's Block

I have been making some wicking beds for the dirt vegie garden so i thougfht I would post some pics.

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