The complete design of Ängsvägen
The complete design of Ängsvägen has some problematic parts because this site is in many places so steep that it is not appropriate to grow anything in these areas. This means that the location of zone two is less energy efficient than desired, which the owners are well aware of.
Zone one is used daily in the summer. There are seating groups and smaller cultivation areas.
Zone two consists of two parts. Part one is a smaller cultivation area for herbs and some berry bushes with close access to the kitchen. The plot’s main cultivation area, part two, is located on the meadow in the south-western part of the plot.
Zone three consists of three parts; the first is the food forest, the other is wood storage and kitchen compost, and the third part consists of the animal areas.
Zone four is kept natural with some large pine trees and some smaller trees with oak, rowan, and juniper, among others.
There is no zone five on the plot. On the other hand, there is a smaller forest northwest of the plot, but it is difficult to reach because of a tall cliff between the plot and the forest.
Zone 1 of the complete design
In the newly built greenhouse, tomatoes, chilli, and cucumbers can be grown. Grapes are also suitable. Once established, they will be able to climb the roof and not only provide plenty of tasty grapes but also much-needed shade during hot summer days.
At the pergola between the greenhouse and the entrance of the house, it is good to cultivate a more durable variety of grapes which, in the long run, provide shade.
At the second pergola on the short side of the house, a couple of plants of climbing thorn free blackberries would be ideal. Here, too, the shade is valuable during hot summer days, especially considering that the master bedroom is located beyond this south wall.
The cultivation beds should be elevated according to the sketch, considering that there is a lot of rock near the surface of the soil. To continue to build good soil, mulching is appropriate, provided that a snail barrier can be created.
In this zone, it is suitable to grow what is needed on a daily basis; such as lettuce, sugar peas, spinach, dill, parsley, carrots, radishes, and strawberries.
There is already seating on the wooden deck in front of the house. Depending on how the family wants to organize its cultivation in the greenhouse, seating can also be created inside of it. On the northwest side of the house, there is a shaded seating area for hot days.
Due to the rugged nature of the plot, zone two of the complete design is divided into two different areas. The smaller part is located on the back of the house where the ground mainly consists of rocky hills. This is a good spot for small cultivation areas for drought-resistant plants – for example, different types of herbs. Despite the harsh environment, there are advantages here – the cliffs radiate heat to create an unusually warm microclimate, and the area is close to the kitchen.
The other part is on the meadow at the bottom of the plot. Here, the ground is too water-retaining, therefore raised beds are also suitable here. Here too, a snail barrier is preferred. Much of the material for the construction of the beds can be found in the wooded part of the plot and in the surroundings. The proposal below is for one four-year crop rotation spread over eight beds – that is, two beds per cultivation group. Between the beds, white clover can be grown, both to attract pollinating insects, and to be used as mulching material in the cultivation beds.
On the other side of the small road that runs along the meadow, raspberries can be grown in double rows. Possibly, a protective hedge can be planted between the raspberries and the road to provide privacy.
Bordering the lower parking area, a more substantial trellis for growing climbing peas and beans is ideal. The trellis also creates a protected spot, perfect for a sitting area.
Suggested crop rotation
Year 1 – Plants that nourish
The first year, legumes are grown, which feed the soil with the help of their nitrogen-fixing bacteria. At the beginning of the season, you can add grass clippings or liquid manure. When you harvest the peas and beans, the haulm is left behind to eventually become humus.
Year 2 – Plants that require a lot of nutrition
In the second year, natural fertilizer is supplied for the cultivation of nutritionally demanding plants such as cabbage, celery, leek, squash, and pumpkin.
Year 3 – Moderate nutrition
The third year, a little natural fertilizer is added for the cultivation of plants that are not as nutritionally demanding. Some can even get worse properties due to too much nutrition. Suitable plants are onions, lettuce, root vegetables (except potatoes), parsley, and dill.
Year 4 – Little nutrition
In the fourth year potatoes or artichokes are grown. No fertilizer needs to be added. However, one can happily plant some leguminous plants – like peas – between the rows.
Zone 3 of the complete design
In the upper part of zone three, it is good to build a small so-called “food forest”. Some existing trees need to be removed to let the sunlight in and to leave room for fruit trees and berry bushes. Even part of the plot’s beautiful rhododendron shrubs needs to be removed – or at least moved. The lower part of the forest area is left in the existing condition for shade and protection for ducks and chickens. In the border area between the lower forest part and the meadow, there is room for different kinds of berries.
Shrubs and trees that can be grown along the proposed swales are:
⇾ Five different kinds of apple trees; a summer apple, an autumn apple, and three different winter apples
⇾ Three different kinds of plum trees
⇾ Two different kinds of peach trees
⇾ Two different kinds of pear trees
⇾ Five American blueberry bushes of at least two different varieties
⇾ Two red currants and two red gooseberry bushes up in the “food forest”
⇾ Four rhubarbs, four currant bushes of different varieties and two different kinds of gooseberries in
the area at the bottom of the meadow Under the large oak, another sitting area can be created by levelling the ground. The area is both inviting and provides shade. Complementing the area with six rosehip bushes increases the feeling of space. It gives the added bonus of useful and flavourful rosehips.
In the middle part of the forest area both chicken- and duck coops are built, which are fenced in. Beside each animal house, a smaller space is fenced with a higher net with a netted roof is made to protect against foxes and birds of prey. With such a solution, the animals can be outside at night during the warm season.
Garden waste that the animals can eat; such as haulm of different kinds, can be more easily carried here from the gardens both above and below the animals by creating a path with simple steps between the different parts of the plot.
Zone four of the complete design is rarely used due to the fact that the soil is not suitable for cultivation. Along the northwestern boundary of the plot, there are only rock hills.
In the forest areas south and southeast of the small guest house, there is a smaller area with wild blueberries, and along the entire driveway, both wild strawberries and blueberries grow.
The complete design
As I explained earlier on, permaculture divides up a plot in several different areas; so-called zones, to optimize energy consumption. The zoning is done based on how often you visit the different parts of the plot. To give a practical idea of what this means, I will go through …