Dynamic agroforestry for allotment gardeners

Blooming gardens
Blooming gardens
Photo: Naturefund

Our step by step instructions will show you how to create your own dynamic agroforestry using the example of a fruit plot of 3x 3m.

A fruit plot for the allotment - 3 x 3m

Required material: spade, measuring tape, plants, compost.

Additionally useful: impregnated biochar, earth bucket from the forest, from a hedge or a good bed.

1. Select a location

A good location is the basis for a thriving dynamic agroforestry. Important is the relationship between light and shadow. If the plot is much exposed to the blazing sun, you have to plan this with the plants and set shade. If the plot is always in the shade, then plants that need a lot of sun will suffer. The wind also plays a big role right at the beginning. If it blows often and strongly, then young plants must be protected and new plants placed in the lee of other plants.

You should get an impression of the environment. Does much more thrive around the parcel or is it a wasteland? Is there a road right next to my location and are there few plants in the area? Or is the plot in nature and there are many bees, earthworms and other animals that are good for my plants?

Finally, you should measure the plot. If you create a grid, it's easier to plan. If necessary, you can just walk steps, our plans are always created in 33 x 33cm large fields.

2. Create planting plan

The three principles in the dynamic agroforestry are diversity, density and intersection.

Diversity does not just extend to the types of plants. One must also properly combine the plants in terms of their extent above and below (roots) of the earth.

The principle of density refers above all to placing the plants close to each other. So they can benefit from each other and the whole thing becomes more than the sum of its parts. It is important to put plants together that harmonize well with each other.

The section shows the dynamics in the agroforestry. Through targeted intervention, biomass is produced, hidden plants get more light again and the dynamic agroforestry can be controlled. The biomass and the mulch material necessarily remain in the system.

In addition to the three principles, there are still a few useful plants that are ideally planned and thus further strengthen the entire system:

  • Soil improvers - Plants like lupine, broom, pea, and bean bind nitrogen in the soil. Plants with deep roots that loosen the soil in lower layers and carry water upwards. As well as plants that grow fast and above all supply a lot of mulch material.
  • Repellent - plants that displace pests, for example, by their (local) severe odor.
  • Companion Plants - These strengthen the growth and health of neighboring plants by providing density, moisture, shade and protection.
  • Nurse plants - fast-growing plants, which protects a sensitive not so fast-growing kind from wind.

With this knowledge, you can create your own planting plan. Of course we also have prefabricated Naturefund planting plans available for you.

Just choose according to your destination:

Planting plan of dynamic agroforestry flower garden

Planting plan dynamic agroforestry herb garden

Planting plan dynamic agroforestry orchard

3. Prepare planting holes and explore soil

Deep holes are required for a good start. This gives you a little more work when digging, but saves later dragging the watering can. As orientation for trees about 1x1x1m, for shrubs 50x50x50cm and for plants a little less, depending on size.

So you get to know the soil better, can sort out stones and obstacles and the roots find plenty of loose and nutritious soil for a quick start.

It is important to pick up the upper 20cm of the floor separately. In the upper layer is a different microclimate and other organisms than in the ground below. Therefore, it is essential to apply this floor again as the topmost layer at the end.

The soil quality can be roughly divided into 3 categories: 1. full black, with humus and smells good; 2. rocky and sandy; 3. sticky and loamy. The best soil is the first, with the other one should be trained accordingly more mulch (compost). Earthworms are always a good indicator of good soil.

4. Prepare soil

Mix the topsoil and remaining excavated soil with compost. If present, you should mix in impregnated plant biochar. We will soon provide you with detailed instructions on how to make the planting carbon. It is important that the coal is impregnated.

Submix effective microorganisms. You can either buy them or get them from the surrounding area. Purchasers have the disadvantage that they are usually not adapted to the new location. As a result, the organisms can not develop optimally or are even displaced. Better and cheaper is a bucket of soil from a good bed of environment, forest soil or the earth from a hedge nearby.

You can use a planting stake directly at the beginning of filling, or when the hole is already half full again.

The topsoil (the top 20cm) should be dug over the entire area of ​​the 3x3m plot and mixed with compost or impregnated biochar.

5. Plant target species

Now it starts - trees, shrubs and everything else is going to be planted.

First, start with the largest plants. Their distance from each other is important and must not be too small, otherwise they hinder each other. In the second step, the remaining plants are distributed and planted on the plot, the planting plan gives assistance. Finally, the seeds are scattered and lightly pressed.

In the dynamic agroforestry the soil is always covered with mulch. Mulch material is biomass such as plant cut, not yet decomposed compost or horse manure with straw. This is also distributed around the plants at the beginning. Here is: leave 5-10cm space to the trunk of the plants.

It should not be used bark mulch, this is too sour. And also no material from coniferous trees. Optimal is material from deciduous trees such as leaves, thin branches or grass clippings. Even straw from the farm works well, all biomass, which decomposes well.

Alternatively, you can also use small animal litter from the construction or animal market. Here you should pay attention to wood chips such as poplar, ash, beech (deciduous trees) or hemp.

Trees need a lot of water at the beginning. Layer the soil towards the trunk, like a small cone, and then pull a casting ring around it. The trunk should not stand in the water. The ring around is ideal for watering roots.

Watering is an important topic in the first 14 days. The soil should always be moist, mulch material helps a lot here. Is the soil dry, according to after-water.

6. Cut the plants

After some time you have to cut the plants. We will give here especially for the allotment still a detailed instruction.

Those who can not wait, also our general page on the dynamic Agroforst you will find extensive instructions on how to proceed.

Cut in the dynamic agroforestry

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