There’s no better time than now to start developing your plans for a permaculture orchard. They are perfect if you want to make money with less work than a traditional farm and live sustainably.
Permaculture orchards take some work initially, but the reward is a piece of land filled with a variety of trees, shrubs, smaller plants, and animals that work harmoniously to bring in revenue. The goal is to mimic a natural ecosystem within the orchard to maintain an eco-friendly and profitable environment.
You don’t need a large plot of land to develop a permaculture orchard — all you need is the right mixture of organisms.
Here are 10 tips for developing a permaculture orchard.
1. Choose a Good Location
As with any planting, you want to choose a good location. Make sure it’s a place that is easily accessible, gets ample sunlight, avoids erosion, and can handle a variety of foliage.
You’ll likely be visiting your orchard often for tasks like pruning and watering, so ensure you have all the resources you need to develop it in that locale.
2. Plant the Right Size
It’s vital to consider the size of your orchard before you begin planting. If you have limited space, you can only grow certain types of trees, shrubbery, and vegetables that will fit and not get crowded.
Additionally, only plant what you can manage. Not having enough help to take care of your trees will result in a loss of money and plants.
3. Amend Your Soil
The key to productive trees is healthy soil. Before you begin planting, check the soil quality, and take necessary measures to improve and strengthen it to prevent erosion.
When choosing an amendment, decide on the soil type you have and add organic materials to boost the soil’s ability to retain moisture, improve structural integrity, or allow for better drainage.
4. Have a Variety
Variety adds biodiversity, which in turn creates the natural environment that is necessary for a permaculture orchard. Some trees need a pollinator to produce fruit, while others are self-pollinating.
Having a variety of trees and other vegetation brings in more money since you’ll be able to sell additional items. For the best results, make sure that whatever you plant can thrive in your climate.
5. Add Vegetables and Nitrogen-Fixing Plants
Perennial vegetables come in many forms, and it should be relatively easy to find one or more that successfully grow in your region.
Nitrogen-fixing plants are another great additive. They help keep your soil rich year after year, making it sustainable. Trees and crops depend on nitrogen to grow to their full potential.
6. Attract Beneficial Insects
You’ll likely attract insects with a permaculture garden — so plant vegetation that draws beneficial ones. Pollination is essential for any crop to grow, so insects that do the work for you make it thrive.
Nectar-rich plants are always a good option, but herbs and other profitable plants work as well.
7. Deter Pests With Plants
Just as you can attract beneficial insects with plants, you can deter invaders as well, and pest maintenance is crucial if you want a healthy orchard. The permaculture orchard likely will bring in unwanted guests like rabbits, deer, and insects that munch on your trees.
Plants like chives, basil, dill, fennel, and mint all help deter pests, and you can use them later for mulch.
8. Grow Mushrooms
Mushrooms add yet another profitable crop. They’re easy to grow and maintain.
Soil greatly benefits from mushrooms, as they add nutrients and boost the earth’s integrity for the rest of the vegetation in your orchard. Mushrooms will thrive because you’re creating a perfect environment for them with the trees and shrubbery.
9. Integrate Livestock
Livestock integration can be beneficial for your permaculture orchard. Animals can deter pests and are a natural weed removal system.
You can add many types of animals like chickens, goats, cows, pigs, or even bees.
10. Ensure It Has 7 Layers
Finally, ensure your permaculture orchard has multiple layers — ideally seven. The seven layers include:
- Ground cover
The more layers you have, the more like a natural ecosystem it will be, which furthers sustainability.
Are You Ready to Develop a Permaculture Orchard?
The key to a productive orchard is to have various plants and the patience to keep up with them. With these tips, you should be well on your way to creating your own sustainable ecosystem, full of profitable vegetation and animals.