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Welch - USA

This farm is a classic transition from conventional corn and bean farming to tree crops and perennial harvests. Priorities in the design included increased infiltration of water, eliminating field erosion, and planting on contour for multiple and seasonal harvests. The rich soils are many times on steep slopes which require constant cover to protect them from erosion. Areas that are cultivated are planted on contour with cover crops and mulching. Water collection from steel roofing and hardscapes is diverted to growing areas through swales and underground drain tile. On the large slope field south of the residence is the main cropping area for fruit trees and shrubs. Site preparation included 1.5 miles of swales on contour to collect water during the heavy rains and long-term hydration of the soils. This immediately stopped any erosion in the adjacent ravines from field runoff. The berms that are on contour are planted with tree crops. Fruits and nuts on the north face with grape trellises on the top.  As the distance between the swales varies, pruning shrubs were placed in wider spaces. The swales are also used as the main access route to and within the growing areas.  Within this ecosystem, there is extreme deer browsing pressure on any new planting area. A large deer fence was installed on the perimeter of the South field. Although this cuts across the swales and is a hardline feature on a curvilinear landscape, the ecological features are unaffected as the strategy for planting continues inside and outside the fence. Hardy and deer tolerant trees and shrubs are planted on the exterior while the more fragile and “deer tasty” trees and shrubs are protected in the fencing. The residence gardens and orchard space are also fenced to an eight-foot height on a ten-foot post spacing. The multi-sloped roof of the barn holds solar panels and protects the woodshop, office, and equipment storage while collecting thousands of gallons of water with each rainfall. 


Climate:  Cold Temperate 
Annual Precipitation:   27 inches
Country: USA
Function:  Sustainable Homestead
Size:    50 acres

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