The focus for June was to ramp up our nursery operations to make sure we were ready with the required saplings for the bio fence by the time the showers come in. The team had to go all in on bringing the count up to 13000 saplings. We are happy to report that the monsoon came late but just in time for us to be ready. The team also had the foresight to make sure the digging and manuring of the pits were all done beforehand so that once the first few showers are in, we just have to plant.
By the end of July, planting for about 60% of the bio fencing is done. Our team has done lots of iterations to come up with a neat 2 m wide, 4 layered bio fence that is designed to detect the wildlife infringement on the food production areas. The philosophy we are following is simple, the bio fence is basically what we grow for the wildlife rather than for us. So they don’t have an added incentive to come in.
We also have three new residents at the collective – Brownie, Chase and Marshall. True to all things Beforest, we have gone local with our dogs as well. Brownie is an indie, Chase is a Kanni (Indian sighthound), and Marshall is a Kombai (Indian boar hound). They are adapting really well to the estate. Another big initiative we started at the collective is the cow shed. This is important for us as it marks our acceptance of bovines in the landscape. We need them mostly for the preparation of manure and also they are great at maintaining the grasslands. Once our cow shed is ready, we will be bringing in two bulls and two cows that a few members have graciously volunteered to give us.
In early June, we started on a mega project of desilting an old lake within the property. This silt is atleast four to five decades of run down topsoil from the hills above and we naturally expected it to be extremely rich in organic matter. Over the next one month we were able to create about 20Mlt of storage capacity in the lake. Within just 3 showers the lake was filled to the brim allowing us to experiment with a small patch of paddy and ragi.
In addition to water storage, our team came up with a very interesting idea of using the silt excavated to create a 2ft layer on previously non-arable sheetrock and use that as a bund for trapping water and also a veggie bed to hold it in place. These simple multi use bunds have comfortably given us atleast 3 to 4 acres of cultivable area which was previously just sheetrock. It is still an experiment but make sure you compliment the sta on their ingenuity if you happen to visit us.
The permaculture team in HQ also put in extra hours to finish the concept plan for the Hyderabad collective phase 1 and 2. This concept plan broadly identifies the housing clusters, the earth works required, the food production areas and the wilderness areas. In the coming months we will be filling in the details in each of these conceptual zones like the exact path in the housing clusters, the plots, what grows where in the mixed zones etc etc. Watch this space for more.
The phase 2 of the Hyderabad collective has opened up and if you did not have the chance to come to a decision in phase 1, worry not, you can come in now. Feel free to reach out on email@example.com or login into our virtual office.