The project is an experimental agricultural project that seeks to produce a diversity of healthy foods using regenerative farming practises. The farm is situated in the Overberg in the Western Cape. 295 hectares of the farm is dedicated to nature reserve while 7 hectares are committed to farming practises. The first phase of the project is a 0.6 hectare integrated fruit orchard and alley cropping system composed of over 40 varieties of fruit trees and mixed grain, cover and fodder cropping practises. The orchard design draws from a variety of inspirations including permaculture design, food forest systems, agro-ecology, agroforestry and keyline design.
The project began with a think tank of seasoned and passionate farmers, environmentalists and designers hosted by Six Kingdoms in May 2016. Subsequent design and planning sessions developed on the ideas generated during the think tank.
The first fruit trees were planted in orchard section of the farm in August 2017 and Honeybush and Rosemary and Lavender hedgerows were planted in late May 2018. The next phase of the project is planting beneficial understory species to support the fruit trees with a variety of functions from nutrient accumulation to pest deterrence.
Key design principles and strategies incorporated into the orchard system are:
– Diverse cropping systems
– Cover cropping and soil management practise
– Low-till to no-till farming
– Regenerative farming and ‘carbon farming’ practises
A rough timeline of the farm design and implementation process can be found below:
May 2016- Think tank and design development, initial soil, water and site analysis
June 2016- Cover cropping of site
October 2016- Flattening of cover crop
June-December 2016- Iterative design sessions
February-March 2017- 2nd soil analysis and over-story (fruit tree) species selection
May 2017- Soil preparations – power harrowing, chisel ploughing, biochar and compost application, cover cropping
August 2017- Tree Planting
September-February 2018- Tree maintenance and observation
February 2018- Annual planning meeting for 2018
May 2018- Chisel ploughing of keyline structures and hedgerow planting lines
May 2019- Hedgerow planting
For past project updates and more information click here