Tree alleys and swales

New pasture

There’s still a bit of
vegetable garden and several perennials to be put to bed, but I figured I
could play hooky and take another stab at the newest pasture.  Having Joey’s and Kayla’s help really made the work go quickly.

Digging swales

I’ve changed my mind
several times about how this pasture will be designed — it seems that
every book I read prompts me to try something new.  At the moment,
I’m thinking of a swale running right down the middle of the pasture, on
contour, since this area is very dry for our property due to the slope
and is far enough away from our water systems that it’s unlikely to get
irrigated.  A pear and four semi-dwarf apples will fit on the mound
downhill from the swale, with black locusts left at intervals in
between and comfrey stuck in the ground beyond the eventual spread of
the trees’ roots.

Protecting a pasture treeWhat
I haven’t quite decided is fencing.  I’m now thinking of splurging
and turning this tree alley into its own little paddock (well, two
paddocks — one on each side of the coop).  The alley design would
mean we’d eventually have to buy more panels to finish the pasture, but
it would simplify grazing management around the young trees — I could
let in chickens just for a day or two and keep out larger animals entirely if we do get pigs or sheep.

Meanwhile, a tree alley would also make human access much easier.  My previous design of using trellis material to protect baby pasture trees
results in lots of weeds since I tend to ignore the hard-to-get-to
zones.  Most of last year’s persimmons are growing strong despite
the weeds, but I’ll bet they would have been taller with more care.

Tree alleys might mean that I won’t have the cash to completely fence
this pasture for another year, but that would probably make Mark
happy.  He’s willing to let me get a new kind of livestock if I
really want to, but I can tell he wouldn’t mind waiting indefinitely for
that day to come.  I’m impatient, but like the idea of building a
complicated system that will be simple to maintain, even if it means the
project takes a little longer.

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