Following the Permaculture design principles we are working towards a high degree of self sufficiency in our food supply.
We have created several orchards, a big vegetable garden, a field garden for the staple crops, two chicken runs and a duck pen. The gardens and orchards are in a constant change of 'design and redesign' to suit our changing needs and to improve on ‘mistakes’.
Before thinking of growing food we had to realise that we needed to grow soil in the first place, and we need to continue to do so.
Our vegetable gardens supply us with yummy and nutritious vegetables all year round. We have two vegetable gardens, one close to the house, which is in a north facing bowl and a much larger field garden on almost flat land .Here we grow the staple crops like shell out beans, potatoes, kumara, pumpkin and corn as well as garlic and strawberries.
Our fruit trees are producing well and provide us with plums, peaches,
elderberry, apples, pears, figs, olives, tamarillos, guavas, bananas, persimmon, feijoa and citrus fruit. After having lost quite some fruit trees after long wet winters we are now planting a few new fruit trees every year, in different locations on our five acres. The aim here is to make sure that when we loose fruit trees in one spot we still have other trees in another. With these fickle climatic conditions is hard to know what to plan for.
We currently have mainly Australorp X chickens, our rooster is a Black Orpington rooster called 'Mucki" (German for Mr Muscle), a friendly and gentle giant of a rooster. The Australorp are a bigger bird, a dual purpose chicken good for meat and eggs. We have two runs and move the chickens from one into the other, once the ground starts to look like it needs a break and time to recover. We find the taste of these eggs unbeatable, just delicious.
We love our ducks and have them roam in the orchards (ideally), as they eat the slugs and snails. In the past we have lost a lot of ducklings to numerous predators and also the fact that duck are poor mothers. Currently we have one old Buff Orbington duck and 4 Apple yard X (some wild creatures left their genetic mark) ducks. They seem to be taking the pest control job serious and are fun to observe.
Our protein needs are further met with the occasional beef from animals in our communal care.