Functions, systems & elements

Functions, systems & elements

This was a really good process to go through, consolidating ideas, thoughts and realities. Is an orchard good use of our space? We had loads of functions, but I chose to concentrate on the four key priorities. If in future years our climate changes and an orchard of vineyard is possible, we can change! The key functions I concentrated on were:

  • To produce some of our own food with a view to selling surplus or expanding in future – grow interesting things
  • To produce some of  our own fuel (but not at the cost of grazing space
  • To encourage/support wildlife
  • To improve soil and drainage
  • Get the kids involved / Family social space

Food Production

Element/System Input Yield
Annual Vegetable Plot Seeds, Compost, mulch, time, tools, space, knowledge, water, beneficial insects, pest control, sunlight, weed control, materials, fertilisers Food, compost, time outside, income, quick return, child involvement
Poly Tunnel/Greenhouse Seeds, plants, compost, mulch, water, pest control, fertilisers, materials, time, sunlight, wind shelter Food, compost, time outside, heat, extended season, income, quick return, child involvement
Fruit bushes/trees plants, compost, mulch, water, pest control, fertilisers, materials, time, sunlight, wind shelter, netting, membrane, beneficial insects Food, compost, time outside, year round interest, income, child involvement, beauty, absorb water, soil stabilisation
Livestock (Sheep & Pigs (girls want goats?) Shelter, food, forage, company, space, water, time, maintenance, medication, electric fencing Meat, wool, manure, child involvement, fun, income stream, heat
Fowl (Chickens & Ducks) Shelter, food, forage, grit, company, medication, time, fox protection Meat, eggs, amusement, slug/pest control, child involvement, feathers, compost, weeding, noise, heat, income stream

Produce Firewood

Element/System Input Yield
Established Woodland (High Tree & coppice(able) Knowledge, tools, access, log storage, sunlight, water, Firewood, mulch, bio-diversity, extracts water, garden materials, wind protection, year round interest, beauty, leaves, livestock protection
New planted coppice / Pollard Willow whips, hazel trees, space, tools, time, mulch, water, log storage, access, sunlight, animal protection Firewood, soil stabilisation, mulch, bio-diversity, extracts water, garden/craft materials, income stream, fodder, windbreak
Specimen Trees Trees, mulch, water, materials, time, sunlight, wind shelter, animal protection Firewood, animal shelter, water extraction, bio-diversity, soil stabilisation, beauty, year round interest

Encourage/Support Wildlife

Element/System Input Yield
Pond Labour, Equipment, Water, Plants, Pipework, Maintenance, Space, cow fencing  Water, Mulch, Compost, Habitat, Bio-diversity, Pest Control, Cleans water, animal feed, attracts/feeds birds, Interest, Beauty, Makes use of waterlogged area
Insect/Pollinator habitat Plants, Seeds, Bug Hotels, Wild areas, Stone Walls, Manure, Compost, space, sunlight, trees, native plants, water, grassland Beneficial insects, pest control, improved yields, bio-diversity
Wild areas Space, hedges, trees, grass, logs Beneficial insects, bio-diversity, windbreak, protection, wood/fuel

Improve soil and drainage

Element/System Input Yield
Trees Labour, Equipment, Water, Trees, Animal protection, Sunlight  Water Absorption, Deep roots permeate soil, leaf litter builds soil, firewood, interest, livestock protection, attracts wildlife
Pond Labour, Equipment, Water, Plants, Pipework, Maintenance, Space, cow fencing Water, Mulch, Compost, Habitat, Bio-diversity, Pest Control, Cleans water, animal feed, attracts/feeds birds, Interest, Beauty, Makes use of waterlogged area
Green Manures (not in pasture) Time, sunlight, seeds, labour Builds soil, gasses & minerals, roots knit weak soil, bio diversity, suppresses weeds
Livestock (Mob grazing) Animals, shelter, protection, water, feed, medication, electric fencing Meat, wool, manure, child involvement, fun, income stream, heat
Bio Fertilisers Containers, space for storage, equipment, materials/ingredients, kitchen waste Nutrients, minerals, increased cropping, stronger roots, fungi
Swales Labour, machinery, space Controlled water flow, planting space (edge)

Family /Social Space

Element/System Input Yield
Dog run Fencing, space, access, close to house, labour  Happy dog, healthy dog, child interaction, peace of mind
Entertainment area Shelter, heat, furniture, views, plants, access, scent Enjoyment of our achievements, outdoor living (for those rare balmy evenings), aesthetics
Dens / Inventing area Tools, space, shelter, access, seclusion, safe Happy kids, Healthy kids, skills, independence, pride, fun, social space
Attractive to look at Stone walls, plants, flowers, views, trees Aesthetics, food, compost, time outside, year round interest, income, child involvement, beauty, absorb water, soil stabilisation, bio-diversity
Animals Animals, shelter, protection, water, feed, medication, electric fencing Meat, wool, manure, child involvement, fun, income stream, heat

Next step, The Grand Plan…

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