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Group getting a demonstration on a terrace.

Terrace understory and interplanting with tons of grapes growing in the nut and tree orchard.

and productive even though there were some weeds showing. Tilling destroys microorganisms in the soil, with this method the soil is left to do its work naturally. Using mulch everywhere reduc-

es watering and keeps down weeds. Krameterhof and Holzerhof used dried grass as mulch in most cases. Mulches need to break down to compost within one year – therefore, no wood chips. Wood chips were used for mushroom culture on the farms. Mother Nature is messy. The group

learned that we need not work so hard to get productive crops. Our practice of constantly trying to kill the last weed and keeping everything neat and tidy simply isn’t necessary. This is great – less work for more productivity! Working with Mother Nature Grafting. Grafting tender fruits onto native plant stock such as pears

12 • Spring 2016

Earth cellars provide natural storage.

on hawthorne was another technique used. Abundant crops were seen on these “piggybacked” trees. This prac- tice works because both plants are from the same family – Rosaceae. Apples, pears, quinces, apricots, plums, cher- ries, peaches and almonds can all be grafted on root stock from hawthorne or rowan (mountain ash) trees. These hardy root stocks are already growing well in the area and are left untouched by both rabbits and deer. Encouraging insects and bees.

Insect hotels were erected in many parts of the farms. These encouraged pollinating insects such as mason bees who work in cooler temperatures before the honey bees wake up. These elaborate solitary bee hotels were made by the home owners. Hives should be used as much as

possible as bees are necessary for any fruit and vegetable production. The

Dried grass mulch ready for use.

farms had many hives enabling bees to perform their role in the pollination cycle and from which property owners were able to gather and sell honey. Earth cellars for storage. Dug into

a hillside and covered with soil and grasses, these provide storage for many products over the winter. With proper ventilation and gravel flooring, the inside temperature is kept constant, just above freezing. There were several on the farm; one was even used to cure dry ham. Root cellars used to be common on many farms here. Maybe it’s time to bring them back. Interplanting and understory

planting techniques – mixing it up. All of the terraces built on the moun- tainsides were planted with multiple species of trees, fruit trees, vines and an understory planting of nut trees, fruit shrubs and herbs. The plantings were very healthy and working with each

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