We designed and started planting an Agroforestry scheme in a 10 acre, south facing field last winter and will finish this winter.
The avenues are 4.5 metres wide and the cropping area is 24 metres. To the west end there is a thick, tall copse, which gives fabulous shelter and the ‘edge’ area produces fantastic crops. The long term plan is to extend this effect across the whole field. We have designed the scheme very much with our markets and outlets in mind.
So we will have a greater range of top fruit (mainly apples,) soft fruit and nuts to sell. At the same time to enhance our production of vegetables in the area between the avenues of trees and shrubs. These avenues will be productive, give shelter and bring in biodiversity. Between the apple trees we planted nitrogen fixing trees.
Unfortunately the hot and dry conditions of last summer meant we lost some of these nitrogen fixers. We used ‘tree mats’ but it is definitely better to mulch the whole strip for at least a metre each side of the trees. Once the trees are well established we will remove the mulch and establish a wildflower mix.