Our goal is to not only utilize but improve all of the land we care for and we do that through permaculture and regenerative farming methods. We use our land for growing medicinal plants and herbs, vegetables and various fruits. The manure from our goats, poultry and rabbits are used in the creation of hugelkultur mounds around our property. We utilize manure for our many projects - it is key to what we do here. When we moved to Vermont in the winter of 2010, our backyard consisted of massive amounts of buckthorns and honeysuckle, in the middle of a planted lawn. We spent a great deal of time removing honeysuckle, and then started our first hugelkultur beds - grown right on top of lawn. No digging at all. It was that easy.
Image from "Permaculture a Beginner’s Guide by Graham Burnett"
The South Orchard was our first larger scale project in growing food. This was back in 2012 and we didn't know anything about permaculture, how to choose the right location for planting fruit trees, and just relied on the nursery to plant them in the best possible place in our yard. We had about 10 fruit trees and various other fruit bushes planted in the middle of lawn, in a very high wind area. Some were planted where water drained and sat. It took many years for the trees to fruit, and some still haven't despite our efforts to reengineer the surroundings, plant companion plants, etc. Ideally, fruit trees are planted in a sunny spot where they aren't getting blown nonstop by wind, storms, snow, etc. The most ideal location would be a "sun trap" where they can get plenty of sun, but are protected on three sides (almost like a curved protective overstory of taller trees around them). Plantings should be done so that you are mimicking the forest with different layers: the overstory tree layer (tall trees such as pines, oaks, maples or standard fruit trees), understory trees (such as dwarf/semi-dwarf apples, pears), shrub/bush layer (blueberry, raspberry), herbaceous layer (such as comfrey), the root layer (such as carrots), ground cover layer, and then climbing vines like grapes. Fruit trees should be planted with companion plants that help keep water in, that provide them with the right nutrients, and fix the soil in other ways (such as nitrogen fixing plants like comfrey). More soon!
Before (2010): Nothing but honeysuckle and wetland pasture.