EVALUATION AND SITE ANALYSIS 3: PLANNING AREAS

This article is part of Erkki’s Permaculture Diploma Portfolio. 

Previous articles about the site:

If you have read through the previous 3 articles about the site (see above) and 60 DEGREES NORTH, 23 EAST you should have a pretty good picture of where we are and what has happened so far (until January 2021). In this article I will analyse the site from one more perspective: what are the different planning areas we should look at either as a part of the master design or as separate designs. Here below I will give a short description of each, including elements and functions, what we have done and possible plans we have already contemplated.

PA = Planning Area

PA1: Around the House

This is the area around the house and the garden to SE mainly including the area that was originally young deciduous forest (similar to PA9). It is Zone 1 and 2 with a bit of Zone 5. Much of this area was radically changed due to digging the foundation, building the house and making the road up to the house from the SE. Part of it was not dug and that is partly now preserved in Zone 5. Partly in 2019 but mostly in 2020 we started some garden work in this area. The dug area is very clayey so some soil and compost has been brought there for planting plants.

Planning where to build in June 2014.
ElementsFunctionsWhereComment
The House (zone 0)Living etcBuilt 2016-2018
Garden bed boxesHerbs and greens for the kitchenIn front of the house (S)2020
Garden bed boxes & PergolaGrape vines and herbs East side of house in front of office window2020
Perennial gardenOrnamentals, Medicinal plants, Tree crops, HerbsOn the slope south of the house and along the road and parking area (upper yard). Started 2019-2020
Zone 5 woodBeuty, wildlifePreserved young wood
Water tanksWater catchment from the roofHouse cornersFunctional 2019
Zone 5 south of the house. Actually there is a Juglans regia planted in 2019 in the middle of the photo. September 2020. Photo taken from the incoming road behind the curve.

PA2: The Social Space

I call it the social space because it already includes the Summer Kitchen, Sauna, Campfire place and Dry toilet so it is the area that will be most used when there are more people visiting us either family, friends or other groups for courses and workshops. It is also where most logistics happen as the Upper yard is mainly for people entering the House but the Lower yard is connected to all the storage functions mentioned here.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
Summer KitchenMeeting, eating outsideIn forest patchBuilt 2015-17
Saunasauna, temporary accommodation SW of road next to the forestBuilt 2020-21
Dry toilettoiletinside the forestBuilt 2015
Camp firesocialon the fieldoccasionally used but not yet prepared
Storage buildingStorage of equipment (garden, bees etc)Lower yardBuilt 2019-20
Earth CellarFood storageLower yard, northBuilt 2020
Firewood shedStorage of firewoodLower yard, northBuilt 2019
Road to the house (lower yard) from Westaccess to storage area and houseBuilt in 2019
Inside the forest patchstoring garden pots etcInside the forest patch
Side of the roadstoring construction material and stuff going to landfillbetween road and forest patch
The road to the lower yard NE of house was made in December 2019. The area for the storage building was levelled at the same time and the hole for the earth cellar dug.
The sauna on the left, summer kitchen on the right, storage building in the middle, the house behind the storage building. Photo taken in January 2021 from the camp fire.

PA3: Garden

When we first came here we were in observation mode and didn’t want to do anything before we had observed for a year. However we did feel that it was obvious where the garden would be. What is now the triangle between the forest patch in NW, the young forest in NE and the road to the S is well protected from winds from NW to East. We put 2 beehives there and built the first raised beds already the first summer in 2014.

Making the first hügelkultur raised bed in June 2014.
June 2014: Marja filling the raised bed boxes. Behind them 2 hügelkultur raised beds and the beehives beside the forest patch.
ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
Raised bedsPerennial guilds: herbs, perennial vegetables etc. Usually annuals in the first years. north side of roadfirst ones started 2014
Fruit treesShade, fruit, part of the guildsnorth side of the roadPlanted 2015 onwards
Geodetic greenhouseTomato, greens etc and grapesBuilt in early 2020
Compost binsMainly for household compost north part of PA3Composting system to be redesigned
Composted animal manure pileFrom the organic farmer who leases our fields: nutrient returnSW of PA3Tarps under and on pile
Annuals production areaannual vegetables productionsouth of roadfenced in 2020 agains deer & rabbits
Wellwater for the house and – if needed – the gardenSE in PA3A small shed to be built around the well
Pile of strawbalesExtra from building the house: approximately. 200 balessouthUnder tarps
40′ sea containerstorage of stuff from our previous home and office. westto be removed
Overview of the Garden and Apiary in June 2015. Building site has been cleared in the background.
The garden in August 2020.
January 2021

PA4: The Clay Hill

What I call the clay hill is largely a result of making the willow sewage water system The rows of willows are visible in the aerial photo in the NW part of the area. A 8m x 30m basin was dug out in 2017 and then filled again with the same earth. Nevertheless a huge amount of clay soil was left over. That was formed into a slight slope in the middle of the area and 3 higher mounds in SW of the area in January 2020. Our children’s sailing boat project has been stored in the south point of the area for a couple of years.

The clay mounds were made in early January 2020 (no snow that winter).It looked pretty horrible.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
The willow sewage water systemManaging our sewage water from the house, circulating nutrients into wood (willow) that can be used elsewhere. Provides nutrient containing irrigation water for plantings. 8mx30m area on the northIncludes a septic well and a pumping well to the east of the willows.
Bordering woods area against the old spruce foresttransitional area from field to forest, biodiversityeastConsists of willow, aspen, alder, birch. Some tree plantings in between.
Storage of old stock and building materialOld stock that was collected in 2015. SEMost of the useful material has been used by now. Area should be cleared in 2021.
Clay slope in the middleThe area was seeded with a meadow and pollinator plant blend in 2020. middle of areaVery clayey with no original top soil left.
Plum mounds along the roadThe mounds were covered with forrest topsoil and rotten tree roots and wood in 2020 and and mainly plum trees were plantedalong the road
South tip of the areaThis part is quite low and wet, could be a pondThe sailing boat should go in 2021.

PA5: The Windbreak

A windbreak on the north border of the site was an obvious part of the design from the start and we started planting trees there already in 2014. The first trees were Alnus glutinosa seedlings we had dug up close to where we lived at the time in Espoo. Those are now (summer 2020) 3-4 meters tall. The planting project has continued every year and now there is quite a variety of trees, bushes and shrubs. Here the main purpose of planting trees is the windbreak and biodiversity effect, only partly as side effect about getting an edible yield.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
WindbreakWindbreak, biodiversity, wildlife north border of the siteplantings started 2014-15 and ongoing. Part of the forest garden project.
Piles of sawdust and bark chipsstorage of mulching material that is used for planting treesalong the road
Iso-orvokkiniitty signa signon the side of our junction

PA6: Along the Road

The road to the house was built in March 2016. The topsoil was removed and levelled on the south side of the road resulting in a slightly raised area with double top soil. The area has been planted with various trees, bushes and shrubs since 2016. Here the focus has been mostly on plants that yield an edible crop.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
Trees and bushesgive a yieldalong the roadPart of the forest garden project.
Small clay pondthe clay for the house, biodiversitythe south endMight be consolidated with the eventual big pond
Moundsome plantings, wild raspberrybeside the pond Part of the forest garden project.
RaspberryRaspbery cultivationbetween the mound and the roadcovered with tarp in late summer 2020 to prepare for planting raspberry in 2021
Building the road in March 2016. Topsoil was removed.

PA7: The Pond

I call this are the Pond because it is the lowest lying field we have and in wet seasons it is quite wet. Our plan is to dig a big pond there. It will be a major transformation of the area so it needs to be planned properly.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
The PondWater catchment and storage for irrigation, biodiversity and wildlife, recreation (a part will be suitable for swimming). In the mid/east side of PA7Part of the pond will be shallow for biodiversity, part deeper for recreation and fish.
MoundsDigging the pond will result in huge amounts of clay that needs to be landscaped around and near to the pond. The mounds can be planted with trees, bushes and shrubs. Yield, biodiversity, wildlife, recreation. around the pondThe placement of the soil must be carefully planned before digging begins. Topsoil must be taken separate so the mounds can be covered with it.
Connection to ditchA ditch runs between PA/+PA8 and the leased field to the SW. It can bring water to the pond and extra water can flow out into the ditch and further to the wetland on the other side of the road. SW of the pond The ditch dries out in the summer.

PA8: The Forest Garden

In this part of the field the elevation slowly increases towards the east and the area is better suitable for planting trees. The north part of PA8 is wet and in that sense connected to PA7. The water is pushed from the forest into the east part of PA8 from where it flows west. On the other hand PA8 is shaded in the east side by our neighbours windbreak spruce row to SE and our young forest to the east. The later can be thinned somewhat but the shadiness can not be eliminated.

We have already planted mainly hazelnut along the ditch (SW) in 2 rows (2019-20) and in a row along the contour line towards NE (visible on the aerial photo). Towards the east there are several Juglans sp. and Castanea already planted.

The starting point for the forest garden is permanent lay which is cut once. August 2020.s.
ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
Rows of hazelnutYield, experimenting with hazelnut cultivarsalong ditch and contour lineother species have been planted among the hazelnuts for diversity
wet part in the north sidewater flow to the pond, biodiversity, experiments with plants that tolerate wet soilnorth parta ditch could be landscaped to enhance water flow to the pond
shady area in the eastbiodiversity, wildlife, create a ”lehto” of deciduous treesSE partcould be planted with biodiversity and wildlife promoting deciduous trees
Eastern end of the forest garden area in October 2020.
Several Juglans species and hybrids have been planted since 2015.
Hazelnut cultivars, Sorbus sp (sweet rowan) and some other species along the ditch to SW.

PA9: The Young Forest

The young forest area around and to the south of our house was clear logged in the early 1990’s and grows now birch, grey alder, aspen, rowan, hazelnut and Salix sp. The norther part where we built the house is dominated by birch while towards the south it turns more into aspen, alder and rowan. The area is a slope facing SW in north part where our house is turning west in the south end.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
Young forestBiodiversity, firewood, wildlifeWe have planted some trees
The young forest – SE part in March 2016.
Planting an elm Ulmus glabra among birch north of house in June 2018.
Spring starts with the blue anemone, Anemone hepatica , followed by the wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa. April 2020.
Lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis takes over after the anemone have bloomed earlier. June 2014.
Bracken Pteridium pinetorum growing as undercover in the young forest, June 2014

PA10: The Forest

The forest at Iso-orvokkiniitty varies from relatively young birch and spruce dominated mixed forest in the southern part to older spruce dominated area in the middle turning into a spruce dominated forest with some pine and birch in the north (Zone 5). In between on the north side of the trickle is a 0,4 hectare old hazelnut grove (lighter area on the map). Apart from the dominating spruce, birch and pine there grows alder, aspen, willow Salix caprea, rowan, hazelnut and oak. I have already planted some other tree species in the forest, so far mainly European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Siberian larch (Larix sibirica). We grow mushrooms on logs in the forest which is why some parts are in zone 2. We have logged trees here and there for firewood, mushroom logs and for the purpose of clearing some trees from the hazelnut grove or around oaks.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
Older spruce forestShade for mushroom growing, firewood, construction material. The dry toilet. Most of the SW side of the forest
Younger mixed forestFirewood, mushroom logsMost of the NE side of the forest
Hazelnut groveFirewood and mushroom logs (birch, alder, pine) and experimenting with wild hazelnutsouth of trickle
Mixed forest in northZone 5North partAnyway too far for firewood

PA11: Forest Patch behind the Field (south)

We seldom go here as it is behind the field which we lease out. The area seems to be former field because ditches are still visible.

ElementsFunctionsWhereComments
Young mixed deciduous forestfirewood, mushroom logsbehind the field.should be thinned out so good potential for firewood

Systems, elements and functions

I copied all the elements and functions from the above tables and tried to comply them in one understandable graphic using Miro. I grouped them in systems and started connecting elements to functions. Not quite done yet and I think it demands a separate chapter. Before that – in the next chapter – I will do an input – output analysis for the whole site. It might reveal still some more aspects that have not come to light yet.

  • first posted 14.2.2021

Vastaa