Permaculture Orchard Central Otago

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.

Permaculture 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.

orchard site before

The orchard site before planting, looking dry in high summer.

shaping orchard swales

Contour swales are shaped in autumn.

Brett Shaping Swales

Swales are finetuned by hand at planting time.

planting watering training

All trees are staked and trained at planting.

planting nut orchard

A curve of hazel nut trees form the back of the nut orchard picnic area.

Tarras orchard planted

Overview of the planted orchard.

contour swales olives

Meanwhile over the other side of the house on a steep dry bank we installed swales and planted olives and berry fruits.

olives contour swale

Olives planted in the swale.

old fruit trees pruned

We pruned these beautiful old fruit trees to improve fruit quality.

plum blossom

Blossom out at the end of the day.


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