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02. The Long Yard Garden

Foundation Designs within The Long Yard Garden

Our Long Yard Food Garden is 100 metres long x 9 metres wide with 6 distinctive garden sections featuring (1) “reflective shade hedges” + (2) “bio-char burrows” + (3) “saltbush heaths” + (4) “poultry habitat” + (5) “fruit trees” + (6) “living fallows”.

Most recent installation of a “constructed canopy-log-garden” and “turkey nest gardens” are the most water efficient methods of garden food crop production developed here after 15 years of research. Calculating and optimising water is integral to understanding productive gardening and grazing.

This garden grows all of its own mulch from both annual and perennial “living fallows” and “hedges of saltbush”. Chickens, turkeys and lambs are periodically integrated within the gardens to manage groundcovers and import nutrients. Once grasses are eliminated work is reduced and production increases. Original Soil was shallow sandy loam with a yellow clay sub-soil, former cultivation country – some of the poorest soil around Jimbour and Australia.  

PHOTO 1 BELOW: (1) Soil moisture loss via evaporation is almost eliminated (2) Shredders thrive here – insects that start the breakdown of leaf litter (3) Saltbush absorbs atmospheric moisture that enters at night (4) Earthworms will be attracted to the cool topsoil (5) The entire unit can breathe and absorb rain. (6) Roots of certain plants are better suited for the thick mulch under the slabs – tomatoes capsicum & vine crops (6) You can lean over to access all parts of the unit (7) Instant forest floor and canopy effect with plants growing above (8) Saltbush Mulch is protein rich plant food (9) Move slabs to suit the crop EG Mint and Parsley. (10) Saltbush is an accumulator of potassium, phosphorous and other trace elements.

New Hedge Garden

Outside the Long Yard within a 5000 square metre Paddock of Old Man Saltbush is a New Hedge Garden. Its shape has been modified to provide ease of access for people + sheep + chickens. Hedges are grown from Pitaya Cactus + Leucaena + Vetiver Grass. Low Labour Cost Hedge Gardens may be made to any scale for commercial operations. FIND via LINK ABOVE.  

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 1: Beneath this canopy of slabs is a thick layer of mulch cut from Old Man Salt Bush. Fresh cut mulch is visible to left. Capsicum is emerging in the centre from between the slabs. These 6-week-old capsicums will soon start to yield fruit up until the first frost in May or June. Date of Photo: 01/02/21

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 2: Same Slab Canopy from Photo 1 with Hedge of Old Man Saltbush in centre of Long Yard Garden. TIME: 6am with rising sunlight reflected from hedge aligned North South. Date of Photo 10/02/21

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 3: Panoramic view of The Long Yard Garden which is aligned North South with Slab Canopy at Northern End. 6am shadow from 1.2 metre tall hedge on left (East Side) Bright reflected light from Hedge on Right (which is the Centre Hedge of Three Hedges) Date of Photo 10/02/21

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 4: Inside the Hedges – Centre Bio-Pad of Old Man Saltbush cut and laid as a walkway. Hedges of Saltbush are contained with double rows of logs. Deep cut with mattock is made periodically next to Hedge Logs to sever Saltbush Roots. Dark soil is a result of incremental applications of bio-char with ever increasing Soil Organic Matter from Living Fallows. Date of Photo 01/01/21

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 5: Late Afternoon view of The Hedges in Long Yard Garden from Southern End. 5pm shadow from hedge on West Side/Right side. Bright reflected light from Hedge on Left. Date of Photo 10/02/21

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 6: Centre Hedge with a single cucumber vine (also seen in PHOTO AVOVE) that covers about 15 square metres. This vine was grown into a Living Fallow of Arrowleaf Clover that died off in October. Estimated yield will be about 100 cucumbers – surplus will be made into Cucumber Kim-Chi for Winter. Date of Photo 01/02/21

Surface Water Evaporation Rates vary from 1 metre in Tasmania to 4 metres in parts of Western Australia. Rainfall here in this garden is 600mm per annum average – yet our evaporation rate is 2.4 metres per annum.

Moisture Holding Capacity of Soil varies according to soil type. Sand has the lowest capacity. Heavy silts and clay have the highest. You will find most cultivated farming in Australia on high moisture holding capacity country.

Soil Fertility is a process, as is improving moisture holding capacity.

This garden GROWS ITS OWN MULCH as part of the garden’s natural fertility process – to conserve energy – reduce costs – increase production – hold more water. Now, this garden soil is now much darker than the original light sand from five years ago.

The Non-Irrigated Corn Test

500 years ago, on The Americas – it was observed – that where ever corn grew – great civilizations arose. You may already know – can YOU grow non-irrigated corn on your Little Piece of Australia?

If not, how much applied water do you need? Do you know what it takes to prepare a corn patch on hostile dirt? How much water will you need?


Living Fallows Defined

(a) plants with specific functions – planted to protect the topsoil from radiated heat/moisture loss and wind.

Living Fallows are groundcover species that outcompete non-desired groundcovers – especially grasses – while increasing Organic Matter in the soil.

(b) a tree or grid of trees planted to provide filtered sunlight for pastures and/or any selected crop.

(c) pastures, meadows and selected grasses for orchards and tree plantations.

Living Fallows are periodically integrated with fowl and/or grazing herbivores to make work in the garden easier and more productive.

Hedge Climax & Function

When Saltbush Hedges are fully grown at 2 to 3 metres in height – direct sunlight in the middle of the day is limited to about 4 hours per day – with almost constant reflected sunlight for the remainder of the day. HEDGES MAY BE SUITABLE for Hydroponics?

The Hedge Section was originally planted with Summer Vine Crops in mind – other suitable crops are capsicum and tomato. Crops of Winter Vegetables are being planted for 2021 Winter.

Things we do not know: How much frost protection will the full-size hedges provide? These hedges are 20 metres long and 4 metres apart. Will it possible to extend the growing season of frost sensitive plants. How much protection will the hedges provide for salad crops in Summer?

Biological Science supports the conclusion that THIS may soon be a FROST-FREE ZONE however it is still yet to be proven and is variable according to severity of Winter.

Future GFC Editions

Photosynthesis Puts Organic Matter (Carbon & Nitrogen) into the Soil that converts to humus AKA soluble plant food. Increase Your Dirt’s Water Holding Capacity with Humus by Increasing Photosynthesis.

Provided you have the moisture – you can rely upon constant plant growth – verses bare fallow ground – to increase your soils water holding capacity.

This GFC PDF Series brings everything at work in The Long Yard Garden together via Chronological Photo Displays that reveal the lifecycles of plants and timelines of animal movements through the garden over the course of Four Seasons.

Living Fallow Plants

Peanuts – Lucerne – Butterfly Pea – White Haifa Clover – Arrow Leaf Clover Plantain – Chicory – Sorghum – Millet – Oats – plus more under development

“Life Cycles of Plants” is an integral component of the GFC Series. Reveals the timelines of planting according to season and function of each species. Brings everything together via Chronological Photo Displays collected over the last few years.

Bare exposed earth is in a state of constant decline as both carbon and nitrogen escape back into the atmosphere. To reverse this natural process – you need the right plant species at the right moment in time – mix of annuals & perennials.

It is then a balancing act between available moisture – plant growth – animal interactions – imported nutrients – management.

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 7: Meat Chickens working through Winter Crop of Oats. These chickens will eat their own body weight every week in quality green pick (if available) – they will also trample this crop if it is stalky. Add water to crop after grazing and it will regrow. Residual roots are part of the process of building Soil Organic Matter.

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 8: South End of Long Yard under development. As this Turkey Tractor is moved forward – tussock grasses are removed with a mattock. Objective is to remove dominant tall grasses with turkeys and sheep. Plan is to plant a wide double hedge of Old Man Salt Bush for seed + mulch + cover for opportunity crops in the future. Date of Photo: March 2021

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 7: Meat Chickens working through Winter Crop of Oats. These chickens will eat their own body weight every week in quality green pick (if available) – they will also trample this crop if it is stalky. Add water to crop after grazing and it will regrow. Residual roots are part of the process of building Soil Organic Matter.

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 9: Sheep grazing amongst Mustard Crop same section from Photo 8. Winter crops like Mustard + Daikon + Oats + Barley + Canary are part of the groundcover conversion process. Portable sheep yards in use in background. Date of Photo: June 2019

All content is based on work in progress at The Long Yard Garden at “Janahn Forest” Jimbour Q 190 km West of Noosa on The Western Fall of The Great Divide – 8 km East of Jimbour – part of The Condamine Flood Plain that Flows to Storm Boy Country in South Australia.

The Long Yard Garden was established August 2014. Its original design was based on moving portable sheep yards along a single fence line. It is now enclosed by parallel fencing to provide ease of management for animals that are periodically moved through the garden.

It will take about 2 more years until garden is fully grown and completed – periodic updates will be provided via email until completion of the garden.

The Long Yard Garden

PHOTO 10: English Oak cut off at 1.5 metres in late January 2021. Oak respond to pollarding exceptionally well – makes them grow better. This Oak is part of another Paddock where we are establishing Pitaya Pipe Organ Cactus in the (eventual) shade of this Oak. Date of Photo: 01/04/21

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