On half an acre, Peter Brandis tests several things.
First his daily use garden which receive the sum of his experiments. He started with lasagna, one technique that comes from permaculture but in his opinion, it is a soil creation technique, not really a soil improving one, moreover, in his climate, evaporation is higher than rainfall and it was drying out the bed. Since this technique didn't suit his objectives and his climate, he switched to several techniques. Now the technique he uses on his squared garden beds is "no dig" with a minimum soil disturbance. He only uses a broad fork to aerate the soil. With the years of improving the soil, the 1x1m beds have a rich dark, deep soil with a perfect grainy texture.
See his video below on soil fertility in order to find out how he harvest to preserve it and the efficiency of the square beds.
The pathways in this part of the garden are also designed to increase the mycellium development using an easily available nitrogen resource.
Find out more on this natural fertiliser and the garden pathways in another video below.
The chicken coop, the goose garden have areas dedicated to grow plants that can feed them, either temporarily protected and then opened for the animals to freely foraged or simply in a nearby bed for him to pick and feed easily. The idea is also to provide a variety of plants to ensure a complete and healthy diet and avoid using additional grains as supplement.
See an experiment he started which is to create an forest foraging system for the chickens, returning them to their original environment and reducing the manual labour to take care of them. See also related video below.
His edible perennial garden is also another experiment. Entirely dedicated to this type of plants, he tries to see how much sustainance can be achieved from such a garden. It is motivated also because such plants should entail a lot less maintenance than the annual based veggie patch. He is planting trees there too in order to provide shade as these last years the weather has been hotter and sunnier in the valley.
Finally there is also a market garden space conducted following bio-intensive methods of which he sells the production.
The whole garden is grouped around the house in a practical implementation of the permaculture zoning principle, enabling more efficient and shorter movements.
All in all, in a very tight area, there are a lot of very interesting ideas, starting from main principles (deisgn, soil fertility,...etc.) to little practical tips. You will for sure come back from it inspired and having learnt something!
VIDEOS MADE ON-SITE