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30. Turkey Nest Gardens

THIS FOUNDATION GARDEN CONSTRUCT has evolved to be highly productive + water efficient + is ergonomic for people + animal movements. TO FOLLOW our Methods of Production you can Start HERE and Follow Links BELOW to SEE the integration of Grazing Animals with Gardening. Suitable Methods of Production for Birds and Mammals and Gardeners.

Turkey Nest Constructs for Vine Crops are shaped to enhance early tap root development with trickle irrigation. Top of Nest is concave to provide rapid access for water from a 9 litre can. Sides of Nest are trenched to hold water from hose. Applied water is soaking downwards and roots follow. Evaporation is reduced as applied water is soaking deep into the nest. When a full vine canopy is developed spray irrigation will be used if required – otherwise all applied water is directed for deep soil storage.

SEE PHOTO 2: Until vine starts to flower 9 litres of water per day is sufficient water until vine is about 8 weeks old (variable according to rainfall). Unused water is stored in base of nest.

AS of 15/11/23 Applied water from a can increased from 9 litres per day to 27 litres per day per vine. Pumpkins are in flower with fruit forming. Only 50mm of rainfall here last 6 months so vines are currently thriving on deep moisture stores from minimal applied water over last 6 weeks (water from can = 400 litres appx up to 15/11/23) . AS of 18/11/23 applied “first big trickle soak” of 200 litres to each Turkey Nest which will be followed up each day with 27 litres per day until next “big soak” or big rainfall event.  

Over Winter each nest may be circumference planted with Daikon Radish or Living Fallows for Spring Mulch. Woody Mulch is the ideal bottom layer of a Nest. Then as big and as wide as you can make it. You FEED the NEST with cuttings and leaves plus all other suitable organic nutrients to make fertile HOT SPOTS.

WATER Application Rates: Large Vines each need about 600 mm rainfall equivalent over a 5-6 month growing season. Each Turkey Nest is within about 20 square metres so that equals 12,000 litres of water per vine. IN THE EVENT of NO RAIN we CAN REDUCE the Water Requirements of a Vine with Trickle Irrigation – however yield may reduce ??? 

NOTE: This Turkey Nest is one component of a complete management system. Its unique size and shape has evolved to incorporate sheep (or chickens) at selected times during the year. EG: Sheep may have access to the entire garden and paddock in April/May once vine crops are harvested. OR sheep are periodically contained in portable sheep yards. Each Nest is contained within 8 portable panels.  

turkey nest garden

PHOTO 1: Profile of a Turkey Nest from Photo 2 Below. Well suited to loam and sandy soil. You feed the Nest with Woody Mulch and Leaves plus anything else suitable. You can start a Nest with an excavated pit + backfill it with charcoal and/or “no waste kitchen waste” or offal etc…. In between growing seasons you move soil inwards to form the mound.

Over time it develops a deep porous plug beneath it. This plug (appx ONE CUBIC METRE) will potentially absorb up to 70% Water by Volume.  As the vine matures water may be increased as needed. Water from can is applied into concave top section. Water may also be added via base of nest. A single pumpkin vine will send out surface feeder roots that can cover 20 square metres plus. When vine is full size you can use spray irrigation to water the topsoil under the vine. Vines create canopies that cover and shade surface feeder roots. TURKEY NEST UNIT is about 20 square metres of surface area. Spring/Summer rainfall average is 400mm. HOWEVER it may be a Dry Summer ???  Vines typically need 600 mm rainfall equivalent on 20 square metres over 5 months = 12,000 litre of water.  Each vine can produce 20 x 5 kg pumpkins appx.

turkey nest garden

PHOTO 2: Profile from above is based on this constructed nest. It started 4 years ago with a cow hide from Photo 5. DATE of PHOTO: Mid-October when Vine is about 4 weeks old.  

PHOTO 3: Panoramic of Turkey Nest Gardens. SEE HOW SHEEP are moved through this garden section by following THIS LINK to Metrics for Garden Sheep. This is within a Paddock of Old Man Saltbush that may be cut as woody mulch for Turkey Nests.

Turkey Nest Gardens

PHOTO 4: Turkey Nest prepared for Spring with a circumference planting of Chinese Cabbage. Date of Photo: July 2021

Turkey Nest Gardens

PHOTO 5: Turkey Nest with a Cow Hide and a Circumference Planting of Fava Beans. Mulch is then stacked on cow hide. Date of Photo: July 2021

Turkey Nest Gardens

PHOTO 6: Turkey Nests all in a row. Nest in foreground is planted to a Circle of Fava Beans with blanket cover of White Haifa Clover as a Long Term Living Fallow. Date of Photo:August 2021


PHOTO 7: Turkey Nests from Photo (3) with Pumpkins in almost fruit set. Over last 6 months Rainfall TOTAL = 111mm which is Ultra Dry. Water application has now been increased to 200 litres per vine every 3-5 days according to rainfall. If vines start to wilt water is applied. DATE of Photo: Last Day of Spring 30/11/23 now Ready for Summer

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