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Polyculture Trial – Apple Polyculture vs Monoculture

Polyculture Trial – Apple Polyculture vs Monoculture

How Do they Compare in Terms of Costs, Soil Health, Biodiversity, Production and Time?

I’m so looking forward to the spring to meet our Polyculture Study crew and get back into the gardens. This season we’ll be shifting our focus to perennial polyculture experiments and forest garden yields.

During the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a new perennial polyculture trial that we’re aiming to start this April. It’s a long term comparative study looking at the input and outputs of growing an Apple tree in polyculture vs monoculture.

Thank you Simon Leupi for your feedback and suggestions on the study design, and to Chris Mallorie for discussing the trial with me, and working on the organic fertility and pesticide protocol.

During this post, I’ll present the trial garden and trial design, cover what we will record, and take a look at some of the shortcomings of the study.

So, let’s start with a look at the garden where we’ll be growing the trials.

Trial Garden Overview

Location: Shipka, Bulgaria, Southeast Europe

Köppen Climate Classification – Dfc borderline Cfb

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b (conservative) – 7a (risky)

Latitude: 42°

Elevation: 565 m

Average Annual Rainfall: 610 mm

Prevailing Wind: NW & NE

Garden Area – 352m2

Garden Location on our Project Map – See here

We’ll be growing four trials on the plot as seen in the below image. We chose this plot as each trial will more or less experience equal environmental conditions. There is a very mild slope on the site from N – S and no slope W-E.

The plant we chose to feature in the trial is Apple – Malus pumila ‘Red Cap’

Here’s some info on this cultivar

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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