Well a huge few days here at the permaculture forest. Absolutely huge. On Thursday we finished off the terrace area below the tennis court which now needs just a final leveling and loosening before we plant out the first crop of potatoes. On Friday the first swale went in. It was a bit nerve racking, but the technique we used worked really well and it lets you get both the swale base and the crucial point where the ditch meets the mound dead level. The way it works is that a tracked excavator with a tilt bucket digs the swale from the side with the ditch ending up the width of the bucket (1.4 metres in our case). Young Jay the driver actually outperformed his more experienced boss mainly because he was just more attentive and keen to get it perfect. Tomorrow he comes back and we'll put in the next two swales. Apart from a short dip of about 7 cm due the aforementioned boss being a bit overeager, the base of the first one varies by about 3 cm. Not bad at all!
Yesterday (Saturday) and today we had a crowd of helpers up for a permablitz and planted about 700 trees on the western and southern boundaries. Di just got a landcare grant supplying 2500 trees which is awesome - pretty much enough to plant out the entire boundary and zone 5 area. This weekend we planted casuarina stricta (about 100), casuarina cunninghamiana (about 100 - tall & moisture tolerant), eucalyptus strezleckii (50 - tall), acacia melonoxylon (50 - tall), acacia dealbata (50 - medium), acacia stricta (50 - low), pomidennis aspuca (50 - medium), oleria argophylla (50 - medium), goodenia ovata (50 - low & moisture tolerant), coprosma ovata (50 - low & moisture tolerant), bursaria spinosa (50 - low, dry tolerant), and gahnia seibuiuei (50 - low). Whew! We'll get a photo of a sketch of the planting spacing and placing we used. Basically lower plants give the wind the initial lift which then is lifted further by the casuarina stricta followed by the cunninghamian, the blackwoods, and in wet spots the eucalypts. The big trees were all spaced 3 metres apart and placed so that the will grow into a fairly enven wind break. All we have to do know is keep them wet and make sure rabbits and the grass doesn't do them in!
In goes swale numero uno!
What a beauty!
Chucking a trench in through the dam wall for one of the swales we're doing tomorrow.
Part of the permablitz crew raking, degrassing and planting comfrey root cuttings into both sides of the swale mound.
And this is Cam's pond which he directed the driver to put in pretty much on the fly. It's already full and is a great example of the use of levels and spillways. Very beautiful and an option for pumping from in future.
The tree planters taking some well-earned lunch.