Establishing a la Putt Myra

How do you turn an existing piece of land into a forest garden in the best way? This issue is still one of the biggest we are grappling with in the forestry horticulture. Of course, there is not a single answer to the question, but every place has their circumstances and their clients to create solutions that can look completely different. Nonetheless, the successful establishment of the foundation to give plants the right amount water, proper amount nutrition and protection against pests, kyla, wind or whatever it is that threatens each individual plant. Here I present the establishment of the techniques that we use to Putt Myra forest garden. Because of the scale that we work in, this is impossible for us to supply large amounts of organic matter and establish a comprehensive örtskikt at one time under the trees and bushes in every area of ​​forest garden, as many forest horticulturists smaller scale makes.

Forest Garden attracts pests

Output Location for us was an old dike, namely grassland, we started converting to woodland garden in spring 2011. As I described earlier vole enjoy fish in water in this environment and with our plantings and earthworks we improved the conditions for these pests more. The more goodies we planted, the more we retired to our other pests like rabbits, deer and elk. It all culminated winter 2017/2018 when we lost several hundred trees and shrubs. Since then, we really had to think about and now we have landed in the establishment of technology seems very promising so far.

Access to water is a basic requirement

The basic idea behind the technology is that we focus our efforts on the plants we really want is to survive by giving them optimal water-related conditions and maximum protection during adolescence. Our irrigation system, I have already described in a detail Posts and it is the prerequisite for us to get independent and viable plants in the future will form a reasonably self-regulating, edible ecosystem. Using hoses, we can reach nearly every plant throughout the more than 1 have large forest garden and also in the record drought of summer 2018 was establishment of everything we planted very successful.

Effective protective barriers

Water in itself is no guarantee for good establishment of the plants. As we painfully wise have experienced, it is equally important to protect them effectively in the early years. The single greatest contribution we have made to date in the area of ​​protection was to fence in the entire timber garden with wildlife fencing, a project we undertook in autumn 2018. with just over 600 m fence, we have farmed in an area of ​​just over 2 have and thus have the opportunity to expand our plantations further in the future. The fence works great for keeping deer and elk outside the forest garden, but unfortunately, the protection inferior to the hares that can jump through the larger, upper stitches when there is a lot of snow on the ground (Last winter we had periodically a snow depth of 80 cm). Probably we will need to supplement with dense network in the future.

Game fence around Putt Myra forest garden
Game The fence has become indispensable to protect our increasingly coveted plantations.

During the establishment Sorkskydd

The wildlife fence is of course no protection from our main opponent, the reed. The passive restraints which involves vole benefit enemies, has certainly had some positive effect, but have certainly not solved the problem. Therefore, we have now gone over to plant trees and shrubs that may be desirable for vole (which are many) in nätkorgar we manufacture of fine mesh putsnät. We have for several years been experimenting with sorknät, but all previous attempts failed completely. The non-galvanized grid that we used only rusted away in a season, putting no protection even during the first winter. Chicken- and chicken wire does not seem to be sufficiently dense or stable to keep vole away and also there was the stinging losses during the first winter. Finally I found a interesting study from Spain where researchers tried to find vole- and mussäkra way as acorns directly in the forest. They built nätkorgar galvanized putsnät and followed up plantations seven years after sowing. My fear with this kind of mesh basket was that they would keep for a long time and risk damaging the roots, or at least inhibit the growth of trees. The Spanish researchers excavations show that even the galvanized grid breaks down over time and especially to the roots simply splits up the network without suffering any damage. The important thing is that the stitches are not too large. Plaster network that can be found in the building trade, the mesh size 19 etc., and it may already be too large to keep vole away. Better, then, to invest in networks with mesh size 12,7 mm. It's a little harder to find, but guaranteed effective against voles.

As I mentioned, was also last winter and snowy vole would thus have had good conditions to ravage quite undisturbed in the thick snow cover. Now it seems not to have been a good vole year directly, but again we lost some trees that were planted before nätkorgarnas entry. Of the 50's trees and shrubs we planted in nätkorgar contrast, all survived the winter. Nätkorgarna is round or square, and has a mesh bottom. The top edge of the baskets stand up 5-10 cm above the soil surface, facilitating watering and placement of cover material.

It looks out directly after planting. The mesh basket is in place and using a lot of water, we get a good contact between the soil outside and inside the cage.

Nätkorgarna protects However, in the first instance against water voles and to defend the trees even against vole and any hares that cuts through the wildlife fence, we have supplemented with ordinary plastic protection.

Tree Protection as additional protection against gnawing
Extra everything: Wildlife fence, net basket and trunk protector should protect this great fruity hawthorn bush.

Vole protection in the long term

The question, however, is what happens when nätkorgarna broken down by 5-10 years? Voles managed to kill several 7 old trees in our orchards, so it needed protection even after the first establishment years. Something we discovered during the winter 2017/2018 was that the trees and bushes that were planted in the original grove-like environment of the forest garden's northern part remained completely spared from vole infestation. The only significant difference we could note between the old dike and grove environment where soil genomväxthet. The grove is filled with the vole unpalatable woody roots including spruce, tall, aspen and birch. water vole, moving mostly underground, therefore find it difficult to find the fruit trees candy roots. To get through the turf, however, almost frictionless. The grass roots are not only lättuggade without even the staple food of vole. This will make the coveted fruit trees and berry bushes are easy prey for vole.

In this part of the forest garden has water- and vole never caused problems.

Our conclusion from this observation is that we must increase the proportion of woody roots into the soil as soon as possible. Therefore, we have between our major crops like walnuts, hazelnuts, apples, pear, cherry and so on started to plant amounts (hundreds) with small trees as we know vole does not like. We buy them from nurseries for a pittance, and plant them especially in the fall to avoid watering during the first months. We plant them 1-2 m from the main crops and puts them in the areas where we have not yet begun to plant edible crops to prepare the ground for future plantings. What we have invested most in the alder (Alnus glutinosa), but also silver maple (Acer saccharinum), Caragana arborescens (Caragana arborescens) and in drier positions hybrid larch (Larix x marschlinsii) we have planted dozens of. As a bonus, we get loads of other benefits in addition genomrotningen of the soil profile: the plants are acceleratorväxter which accelerate the succession process by creating more hardwood similar conditions both above and below ground. They create a favorable microclimate and make the soil more fertile, not least by kvävefixerarnas contribution.

A little hard to see, but here we have planted alders and let volunteer gråalar stand to accelerate grassland conversion to hardwood. When the accelerator plants take up too much space, we will remove them.

In addition to the purchased plants allows us now all self-sown trees and shrubs that do not directly compete with our main crops remain. Earlier we cut them down, and saw them as "weeds", but now we have realized that they help to fill the soil profile with woody roots, and that in all cases roughly offsets successionen to the right direction. Only when there is excessive competition for light, water or smoke space amträden / accelerator plants, whether planted or volunteer.

Our hope is that we thus can speed up the succession process to one of the vole repellent hardwood like environment when nätkorgarna has lost its protective function for 5-10 years.

In the next post: How we build nätkorgarna.

3 thoughts on “Establishing a la Putt Myra”

  • Inspiring reading and memorable. Looking forward to hearing how it went.

    Have long sniffed the woodland garden, but most focused on anual crops. But after reading your latest book: Forest Garden, har det blivit mitt stora intresse som jag håller på med när jag kopplar av från odlandet 🙂

    Tack för fin bok och blogg!

  • Så smart!

    Vi har också förlorat några träd och buskar i vinter och borde kanske prova metoden med en massa småplantor. Vi trodde att det faktum att vi har lånefår på somrarna som flyttas runt mellan småträden (med solcellsdrivet elstängsel för att hålla dem på plats) skulle avskräcka sorkarna genom sitt trampande och det kort-betade gräset. Det fungerade ganska bra första året, men nu verkar det som om de bara har lärt sig att gräva djupare gångar – possibly suggesting that the Earth has become luckrad of planned and repeated pickling.

    If you can put a chicken run between neighboring fields (or were now voles will from migrant) and his woodland garden, I also think it would deter most. They seem completely stay away from hens proximity with us.

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