We were commissioned in 2016 create a Permaculture Masterplan for Kowhai Grove, a project run by the Malcam Trust in Dunedin. Annika Korsten is directing the project, primarily as a base for student of the Hands On program that she runs, which introduces 16-24 year olds to farm and horticulture work. Annika envisages other groups getting involved with specific aspects of the project as it develops – contact her if you want to get involved!
Permaculture teacher Peta Hudson fascilitated gathering insights from previous program participants and we pulled this together with Annika’s ambitious vision for a thriving diverse organic horticulture centre.
Annika Korsten – Kowhai Grove, Taieri Plains, Otago
The area to be developed into an intensive organic market garden
A highly productive diverse permaculture orchard was called for on three sides of this new build in Tarras, Central Otago. We worked closely with the exact contours of the site to lay out orchard rows to fit the landscape while providing many functional solutions. Water runoff from the drive run may be fed into them for re-charging soil water. The linear beds are easy to mow along, provide space for planting support species for nitrogen fixing, accumulation of minerals, producing mulch and feeding beneficial insects.
Planting is zoned with summer fruits close to the house and Walnuts, chestnuts and Oaks further away. A clearing is created in the nut area for picnics. Rows are designed to ripen sequentially for ease of harvesting and to aid post harvest management. Kowhai and other natives are used alongside Italian Alder in the shelter planting. Nitrogen fixing Elaeagnus are integrated within the orchard.
The masterplan shows how the contour rows serve to screen the road and lead you from the house towards the old existing fruit trees.
The orchard site before planting, looking dry in high summer.
Contour swales are shaped in autumn.
Swales are finetuned by hand at planting time.
All trees are staked and trained at planting.
A curve of hazel nut trees form the back of the nut orchard picnic area.
Overview of the planted orchard.
Meanwhile over the other side of the house on a steep dry bank we installed swales and planted olives and berry fruits.
Olives planted in the swale.
We pruned these beautiful old fruit trees to improve fruit quality.
Blossom out at the end of the day.