From Orchard to Food Forest

Our orchard was my first dive into permaculture installation. I started with a plan, a working drawing, which I made during my Permaculture Design Course with Andrew Millison of Oregon State University.


The Orchard

We began by digging down to hardpan. That let me know how much decent soil I had to work with. I then used flags to define the walkways. This garden has a gentle slope so I curved the paths to interrupt any runoff and topsoil loss — works like magic.

Carved Beds

We began by laying out the pathways, heaping that soil onto what would become planting beds and tree guilds.

The Icing

The paths were covered with straw, then guilds and rows were planted. Since it was summer, a drip-line was installed to help ensure that the plants would thrive.

One Year Later

The change in such a short time is mind bending. We focused on companion planning, including perennial and annual herbs, berry bushes, annual veggies, perennial and annual pollinators, and plants for beneficial insects.


Marianne Cicala