How to Convert a Conventional Orchard into a Perma-Orchard
Tuesday, 19th November 2013

Here is a magnificently abundant orchard that demonstrates the importance of polycultures and diversity.

Stefan Sobkowiak from Miracle Farm in Cazaville, Quebec, shows us around his organic permaculture orchard.

He had always followed organic methods in his apple orchard, but found after several years that his organic monoculture wasn't working sufficiently.

So Stefan ripped out most of the apple trees and replanted with a range of varieties of apple, pears, peaches, plums, cherries and much more.

Following permaculture principles and forest gardening layering (stacking), Miracle Farm now has over 100 cultivars of fruit, across trees, vines and bushes. The ground level plants such as beans, fix nitrogen for the fruit trees as well as attracting insects that prey on those eating the fruit above and the vines use the trees to grow up.

Stefan doesn't use fertilisers and doesn't need to because nature works for him. Insects and birds get rid of pests and mixed planting prevents disease. A bug can be in an apple tree, with predators below and the next apple tree which is three along is not even the same cultivar.

Visitors to the farm are delighted and surprised at the delicious tastes of the fruit, and Stefan's goal is to bring back the wow in food that grocery stores have taken away. Miracle Farm share their surplus with visitors but also nature, because it is thanks to nature the orchard is so bountiful. 

Stefan hopes he can get enough people to see that it is possible, it is viable and it makes sense to grow in such a way.

For more information visit

Further resources

A greenhouse that thinks it's a mini forest garden

Planting a forest garden on a roof in the city centre

Video: The 2000 year old food forest

How to Make a Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield for a special price of £12.70 from our Green Shopping site


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