Oudeberg Permaculture Farm
Oudeberg Permaculture Farm is located in the Ouberg Mountains 20 km outside Montagu in the Klien Karoo. The farm is located in a Montaine Fynbos Biome and has a Mediterranean Climate, with dry hot summers and cool wet winters. The temperatures are relatively moderate and thankfully the area does not experience heavy frost in winter, allowing a wider diversity of plants to be grown. The Farm encompasses the entire watershed above it and has been organic for the last 8 years so no toxins flow into the farm from above. The average annual rainfall is in the region of 400mm which combined with the keypoint location of the farm has resulted in good water sources. There are many springs on the farm and strong boreholes with a perennial stream flowing off the mountain flowing through production areas of the farm. A government road runs through the farm ensuring easy access.
The farm is a 600-hectare ex-livestock operation that is undergoing transformation into a full 5 Zone Commercial Permaculture Farm since September 2014.
Kent Tahir Cooper and Larissa Green have been making fast progress in implementing the mainframe design pattern which is integrated into the primary valleys that run off the main ridge of the Ouberg. There are 7 hectares of valley terraces that have been swaled and contour ripped to set the framework for an agroecological regenerative approach to transforming the existing lucerne production into a diverse tree-based production system focusing on main crops such as Nuts, Citrus, Pome and Stone Fruits, Olives, Medicinal Plants, Super Foods, Bio-oils, Lucerne, Pasture, etc…
Livestock plays a vital role in building soil fertility and managing vegetation health in dryland ecosystems and we have Nguni and Dexter Cattle managing our Agroforestry systems and veld, with smaller animals such as pigs and poultry integrated into the inner homesteading zones. For many years we ran Awassi Dairy sheep in the Agroforestry systems, which we have now replaced with Dexter Cattle for milk.
The Homestead is surrounded by highly diverse Food Forests, Vegetable and Main Crop production systems, nurseries, workshops, a classroom and accommodation for students and visitors to the project.
The surrounding veld is managed by Cattle in rotation grazing through the seasons.
Oudeberg Zone 1 Kitchen garden going into its 3rd month… The house retrofit with compost toilet were the first focus…
Chicken Tractors play a major role in managing pests and building soils in vegetable production systems and Food Forests.
Our herd of stud cattle manages the surrounding veld recovery, keep the pasture soils regenerating and provide large volumes of manure for composting. We have Stud Nguni and stud Dexter Cattle. The Dexters are for milk production. Both breeds are very hardy and adaptable.
The farm produces a wide diversity of vegetables from its Zone 1 annual production systems. High seasonality means summer and winter vegetable ecosystems are vastly different.
Regenerative Water Harvesting Earthworks in place in Agroforestry system of Fig, Apple, Olive, Pomegranate and mixed Lucerne/fodder grass pasture.
Contour based Agroforestry, with Almond and Pomegranate on Retrofitted Lucerne Fields
Pasture within Agroforestry is managed by livestock in electric fenced rotation/mob-grazing patterning.
A previousl heavily eroded area restored and swaled, full of water that would previously eroded the area further. These swales to infiltrate run-off from farm roads and upslope to prevent erosion and hydrate the land and begin the process of restoring the water and mineral cycle to support timber systems.
The Farm is completely self-reliant in lucerne for bailing, which we use for feeding livestock in winter, mulch, compost, etc. We also graze our livestock directly on the lucerne pasture, which we rotate between grazing and baling.
Oudeberg Homestead Zones 1, 2 and 3 surrounded by Zone 5
Mobile electric fenced poultry tractor preparing land in young food forest.
The dry hot summers are ideal for growing vegetables as the gardens are east facing with trees and a big ridge protecting the plants from the hot western sun in the afternoon.
We have a bumper harvest of apricots, most of which are been dried with the kitchen so busy as Larissa makes yummy chutneys and preserves to tide us through the year…We have plums, almonds, apples, pear, quince and olives on the horizon. Abundance…
Our Nguni Stud herd helps us manage the lucerne fields in a rotation system using electric fencing. They also provide dung for the systems, veld management and we sell the progeny as stud animals for farmers to add to their breeding program. We have now introduced 2 Dexter Cows to replace our Awassi Sheep to enable self-reliance in dairy.