Welcome to our 20 Week Online Learning Experience - as far as we know the very first of its kind !
Module 1 - What are Polycultures?
"What exactly is polyculture?" is the question we kick off the course with. We look at the history of polyculture and why it is both relevant and desirable to pursue and present the core qualities that we believe make a polyculture.
Module 2 - Organizing Polycultures
With a relatively complex matter such as polyculture, it's vital to be able to provide some clarity on what we are dealing with . In module 2 we lay out a category system for polyculture that breaks it down into 3 main categories; Infrastructure, Support and Productive. We go through each category and discover how polyculture can be used in wide variety of applications in the landscape.
Weeks 3 - 4
Module 3 - Understanding Plants
In order to make the best plant selection decisions you should have a good understanding of a plant's needs and behaviour. In weeks 3 and 4 we learn how to understand plants and how they relate to each other, other organisms in the ecosystem, and the soils around them. We end the module delving into the power of ecological succession.
Weeks 5 - 8
Module 4 - How to Design Polycultures
Weeks 5 - 8 we present an organised and structured approach to surveying your location, and introduce a range of techniques and practices used within polyculture design to discover how to choose plants that are compatible with one another and wildlife. We cover design methods that help simplify the process and learn how to design for broad scale application of polyculture.
Weeks 9 - 10
Module 5 - Working with the Wild
Working with the wild is the key to success in providing food and other resources while enhancing biodiversity. During weeks 9-10 we introduce you to our wild allies and the role they play in our productive landscapes supporting crop productivity, controlling pests and providing fertility, and how we can encourage them to live and breed in our landscapes.
Module 6 - Annual Polyculture Profiles
In week 11 we learn how to grow vegetables and herbs in polycultures and take a close look at some tried and tested annual polycultures that we have been growing on our site for over 10 years.
Module 7 - Perennial Polyculture Profiles
Week 12 is dedicated to profiling examples of perennial polycultures for infrastructure, support and production. Each polyculture is profiled in detail with species lists, diagrams, photos and planting plans along with information on how the polyculture can be expected to perform.
Weeks 13 - 14
Module 8 - Site Design
During weeks 13 - 14 we go step by step through the design process and learn how to get the thoughts from your mind growing in the ground. We'll cover base mapping, species selection, integrating habitat for wildlife, making fertility and irrigation budgets for your plant selections, and the vital step of planning for the implementation and management of the design.
Weeks 15 - 16
Module 9 - Implementation - Site Preparation
In weeks 15 - 16 we get into the hows of on-the-ground surveying, making earthworks (including ponds) and establishing access and irrigation for your polyculture landscape. We also cover how to prepare the ground for planting out a variety of polyculture layouts that include hedging, swale plantings , forest gardens, agroforestry systems and raised bed market gardens.
Weeks 17 - 19
Module 10 - Implement - Planting out and aftercare
With your polycultures in the ground and growing, in weeks 16 -19 we turn our attention to how to manage and maintain the landscape. We'll share with you our management plans from having worked with polycultures for over 15 years including pruning, weeding, how to properly irrigate your gardens, control pests and diseases, and take care of your habitat to provide abundant harvest and a haven for wildlife.