I was invited to help design an organic multi cropping system including vegetables, fruits and small animals as market garden farm on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital Amman.
The land will be divided into parcels from growing vegetables and salad greens on raised beds, surrounded with rows of mixed fruit trees and legumes creating shade, fertility, windbreak and products.
Small animal systems including chickens and rabbits will be tractored, producing proteins and fertility to be used in the designated compost area.
The farm is already being used as a conventional farm growing thyme and the owners would like to show an example of a permaculture economically viable diverse system.
The increase in demand for organic and healthy fruits and vegetables in the Jordanian market has encouraged more and more land owners to look into permaculture and agroecology as an option.
The land will be divided into three main production systems that are linked to each other.
- Vegetable and Herb Production on Raised Beds.
- Fruit and Tree Crops in Food Forest Systems.
- Animal Production Integrated with the Vegetable and Fruit Production Systems.
Other potential income generating systems could include compost making, organic nursery and demonstration, education and farm tourism.
We propose dividing the land into 10 parcels, each parcel will be surrounded by food forests and has access through a dirt road to allow the tractor to the fields when and if needed.
Parcels will range in size with biggest being just less than 2 donums and the smallest being half a donum. A lot of the parcels are already divided by terraces and trees present on site.
There is an existing water pond connected to the water canal positioned at the highest point in the land, this will gravity feed water towards the growing fields and food forests but a water pump will be needed to increase pressures.
Growing vegetables in the 10 parcels would be on raised beds prepared on contour manually.
One of the parcels, (Parcel A in the design), is the flattest parcel in the land and could host several Growing Tunnels to be used as winter growing systems.
The raised beds would be 1.2m wide and with foot paths 0.6m wide. The best irrigation method to us in this climate would be drip irrigation to minimize evaporation and localize water usage where its needs. 3 lines on each bed would be ideal.
Lines of drip irrigation will also be needed to water all trees and shrubs in the food forest area and the fruit tree strips that will surround the parcels and cactus plants surrounding the farm.
A diversity of productive trees and plants modelled on the natural design and resilience of a forest.
This well thought and designed ecosystem is a soil creative multidimensional multispecies tree system. With interactive diversity, we design it to lead to fertility in the soil and abundance in productivity.
Once established, it requires very low maintenance and there are examples throughout the world of communities maintaining food forests for centuries. In Morocco, there are 2000 years old food forests, in Vietnam 300 years old food forests are common and in India they sustainably feed some of the largest and most dense populations on earth. Part of the design is the integration of this food forest system between crop parcels and slopes where vegetable production is not possible
- 16 000 m of drip irrigation is needed for the development of all the parcels, to be used on raised beds for vegetable growing.
- 5 000 m of drip irrigation to be used on trees in food forests and fruit tree strips surrounding vegetable parcels.
- 900 m of drip irrigation for cactus planted around the perimeter of the farm as living productive fence.
- 1,200 m of 4inch pipe will be needed to deliver water to the parcels and to other fruit growing systems.
- Hand tools and some small size hand driven equipment will be needed to speed up the work.
- Plastic growing tunnels will be needed for growing vegetables and herbs in the summer. One nursery growing tunnel will also be needed to grow seedlings and trees.
- A pickup truck will be a useful addition to work on gathering organic matter from around the area for the use in compost making.
- Packing and sorting shed will be needed.
Fish, Chicken, Rabbit, Quail, Pigeon, and Goats could all be integrated in the system.
Animal Housing could be established for keeping small animals near the entrance or where the accommodation will be put in. Goats could be housed a bit further down near the fence.
The benefits of having animals will be great for the fertility of the land, where the manure will be used directly in making compost and biofertilizers.
Fish could be kept in the water pond for increasing the fertility and create a new income through the sales of fresh organic fish which is not easily found in the market.
Chickens assist in pest control, weed management and improving of soil fertility. An extra harvest of eggs and meat is an extra source of income to be shown as a result of integrating animals and gardens.
Chickens could also be part of the composting operation, through processing food scrap mixed with cow manure and dry grass. A chicken compost system could be easily integrated in the garden to provide constant fertility and organic matter that builds soil.
Composting and Nursery:
A 2.5 donum parcel was designated to be a compost and nursery area. This parcel is easily accessable from the the entrance of the farm to unload any organic matter collected from outside the farm for compost making. It is also positioned at a higher point compared to the rest of the land which means compost moving and spreading around the farm would be very easy and doesn’t need a lot of energy.
On that parcel a plastic hot house nursery will be established to produce vegetable seedlings for the use in the farm. This could also serve as a profit making vegetable nursery to sell seedlings and young trees to the public.
Winter indoors growing:
Another option for growing vegetables in winter would be in pots inside hot houses like the below picture.
This could work for some species that are winter grown such as leek, spring onion, kale, spinach, cabbages and some herbs.
This advantages for this method is minimal management while the high cost of establishment and minimal soil and fertility building are the main disadvantages.
General plan for site attached below:
If you would like to know more about the work we do or if you have any inquiries and you think we can be of any help please do get in touch.