Permaculture

Food Forest Chook Tractor Move

Time was well overdue to move the chook tractor that prepares the soil and helps to establish our food forest. Zaia promised to help and I knew that i just had to get in and do it or another week would go past. The tractor is usually moved at around four to five weeks which has given the chickens enough time to dig through the soil and have killed most of the weed seeds and to have killed the living grass. Immediately after moving the tractor to the next area to be prepared we plant out the space where it had been sitting.

Tom Kendall moves his food forest chook tractor at Maungaraeeda.

The chook tractor in its new space extending the edge of the Food Forest.

The objective of this process is to grow fruit trees in an environment suitable for tree growth. The basis of which is a fungal orientated ecosystem which needs a forest floor free of grass and building up with decaying organic matter with a fungal focus. “A Forest Lives on a Fallen Forest”.

I select a fruit tree, today’s tree is a Wampi , and place it near the center of the space  and then fill the whole area with as many support species as I can. I always focus on legumes using about 6-8 species and then add what I call my carbon plants which are easy fast growing woody plants that will drop lots of leaves and will decompose quite quickly when “Chop and Dropped”. Then I add colour and aroma to deter bugs, this being flowers and whatever herbs that are easy to grow and propagate .

Tom Kendall Uses chickens to prepare the soil for a food forest at Maungaraeeda.

The planted out niche where the chook tractor had been standing.

I managed to get well underway with this process expecting Zaia to arrive and help as promised and then the morning tea “cooee” was heard. I arrived inside to find a very yummy banana cake and cream waiting for me so I was easily very forgiving for Zaia’s absence since she was making food for me. A banana cake made with our own banana flour and bananas. She is a legend!

Oh and the chooks are very happy getting to scratch through a new piece of ground.

Tom

©2016 Tom Kendall; diyfoodandhealth.com, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, simplicity, permaculture, self reliance and homesteading, food forest, chicken tractor.

2 replies »

    • Hi Richie, thanks for the reply and your question. I could tell you what species I use however most species are going to be climate and site specific so my selection may not suit your situation. Where did I start selecting from, well I will try whatever legumes I see in my travels that I think may work. There are probably 1/3 of my choices that haven’t worked as they just didn’t suit even though I really thought that they would.So I am always looking for more that might fit the niches in the system. These niches are not only size but also time as the nitrogen fixers are really sacrificial plants and many only last for a short time. The carbon plants will depend on your climate as well. Lantana grow extremely well in this subtropical space so I look for plants that are nicer to work with. Lantana is quite abrasive when younger and always likes to poke me in the eye, otherwise I would use it. Its a great soil builder. So I look for plants that are of a similar makeup. Mugwort and a type of basil that we call Tulsi though I’m not certain that it truly is, are my main plants of choice and they seem to be giving great results.

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