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Agroforestry Market Garden design preview

๐ŸŒณ A quick look at the design of our future agroforestry rows for an integrated market garden project we will be building in Florence in 2023. Please note that this is not a "strictly syntropic" agroforestry project.

๐Ÿ“œ This is still a draft, so any kind of feedback is super welcome - especially if it's critical and if it's based on personal experience! My experience with agroforestry systems is little and indirect, so I have studied, observed, visited several projects around Europe and consulted more experienced people such as Gennaro Cardone, Matteo Mazzola, Daniele Bucci, Matteo Siroli, and others.

๐ŸŒ Our general context: the total surface is 1ha, on alluvial, silt-sandy loam, pH 7.7, OM 3%, excellent exposure, with irrigation, in Florence (Italy). The rows are oriented from North-West to South-East.

๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฅ• The alleys between the agroforestry rows will contain vegetable bed blocks, as shown in the first two diagram. One of the images shows a section of the rows seen from the side. The others show the planting scheme of the different rows as seen from above.



๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฅ• The alleys between the agroforestry rows will contain vegetable bed blocks, as shown in the first two diagram. One of the images shows a section of the rows seen from the side. The others show the planting scheme of the different rows as seen from above.


๐Ÿ’๐ŸŽ Each row will have top and soft fruits, biomass (and nitrogen-fixation) shrubs, crop and support herbaceous plants. In between the fruit trees there will be emergent support trees, with the aim of creating shade and biomass for the rows and partially for the vegetable beds in between.


๐Ÿฅฌ๐Ÿฅ” During the first two years will also grow vegetables within the agroforestry rows; these will be acting as a placenta, preparing the soil and covering it as the perennials gradually take over. The planting scheme is only a snapshot in time, and it fails to convey the dynamic nature of some of these rows, in which some of the plants will be replaced by others as the succession progresses. For instance, in row G, globe and Jerusalem artichokes will be replaced when soil and light conditions will be suitable (in 4-5 years).


โ›… Each row has been designed to potentially be recreated in a slightly different climate and be managed in a slightly different way. The first few rows are suitable for temperate/oceanic climates, while the last ones contain species more adapted to hot, arid and Mediterranean climates.



๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŒพ The last section of the garden (rows Gs and G) is narrower, denser and more successional in its dynamics (inspired by syntropic principles). This was designed together with Gennaro Cardone. In the vegetable beds of this entire section there will likely also be support perennials such as Sambucus to provide extra biomass. The goal is to make this section increasingly more self-sufficient in terms of biomass and efficient in terms of shading and root interactions. We will compare this more syntropic-like system with the more traditional agroforestry systems adopted in the other rows. If (as expected) this G-section succeeds in being more sustainable, productive and less reliant on external inputs, we will also assess the management and potentially transform the rest of the garden in a similar way.


๐Ÿ‘‰ We will post regular updates on the design, installation and management of this system on our Italian Telegram channel: t.me/LivingSoilGardening. For those who don't have and don't want Telegram, you can still see all the contents at t.me/s/LivingSoilGardening

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