Current as of 2021-10-02 14:41:21 -0500
The farm as it is doesn’t have a lot of fertility. We believe this is not because of lack of rainfall or some other environmental factor but because of bad agricultural practices that were used for many decades. We want to actively fix this and increase the production of biomass tenfold.
We consider everything to be some sort of crop. Some plants are enablers, can be forage or are forage directly.
Trees for shade and humus
We do want to have a lot of additional trees for different purposes while respecting and caring for the existing oak trees in our forest.
Our tree planting effort is primarily meant to:
- provide more shade
- provide more degradeable biomass for conversion into humus
As a consequence - not as an objective - we look forward to a harvest of:
- nuts and fruits
Because our primary objective is shade and biomass we are looking to plant something that grows very fast. Varieties of the species Paulownia elongata are amongst the fastest growing trees. The very big leafs help as well with our objective.
There is a number of companies providing hybrid species that are sterile and thus are interesting for our purposes because there is no risk of having an invasive species on the land.
We don’t want to use Paulownia exclusively. They are meant to be an enabler species so that other plants can grow better later on. We do want to plant fruit and nut trees in areas where that makes more sense. Eventually many of the Paulownias will be harvested for timber while other trees are supposed to be standing for a very long time.
The tree provider publishes this chart:
After one year we might have trees between 2 m and 4 m tall. That would allow us to keep the sheep below the trees and at some point the cows can also begin grazing below the trees. According to the tree provider we should give them two years before allowing cows into the area. Obviously the growth rate depends on many factors and we will have to watch it.
The Paulownia trees can later be harvested for timber or for biomass. In the case of timber we want to preserve the full useful length of the trunk while for biomass a log length of 2,50 m is desired.
We need to consider the timber harvest at the time of planting as felling huge trees can create a problem - we don’t want to destroy other trees or infrastructure.
Seeding and harvest plan
Follow this link.
Although the general idea is to have a lot of grass paddocks for grazing (those mimic the clearings in a forest) some areas will be used for other plants that are not grasses. We don’t plant the same species every year - we rotate. We also don’t use big machinery but try to employ the help of animals or use small-scale machines for the work.
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