The site is located in the country outside of city limits making it susceptible to the harsh Iowa winds, as compared with the micro-climate in the city. We are in a Zone 5 plant hardiness. The strongest winds generally prevail out of the southeast and northwest. Storms usually come in from the east. In Fairfield, the average frost dates vary between the 5-10 of May. Chilling hours for Iowa is 1200. The table below shows min. and max. temperature, heating and cooling degree days, and monthly precipitation for Fairfield, Iowa.
Most of the Land on the Hoffman property slope towards the east and the north. There is one south-facing slope, which slopes down towards the pond. There is good drainage throughout the land, because of these slopes.
All water flows down the slopes into the ponds, located on the east of the house. All the gutters are on the North side of the house, which allows only one exit for water to flow. From here water is directed to towards swales located on this north side of the house. During a heavy rains the pond tends to overflow, and water flows further down slope towards the east. Chemical run-off is not a problem on the property. A sewage line is located on the south east of the property between the wooden cottage and the tractor shed. There is large erosion problem as most of the topsoil that was on the property in found on the bottom of the slope.
Access and Circulation
Activity nodes are found mainly I the garage and the east of the house in the recreational area. The shed on the south end stores garden tools, a tractor and a bull dozer. There is one entrance and exit to property, which is from the west. However, the material of the road tends to erode very fast.
Vegetation and Wildlife
The property consists of a variety of different types of plants, shrubs and tree. On the north side of the property, there is a wind break made up of mainly pine and ash trees. There are a few walnut trees and northern pecan. On the side of the house there is already a fruit orchard, which consists of apple, pear, paw-paw (which needs some tending to), cherry and northern persimmon. Most of the property is covered with grass. The pond supports a large ecosystem attracting insects and bugs, as well as frogs.
Around the property there are many microclimates. Along the South end property there are tow buildings, which create a micro-climate and act as a wind break. On the main house there is also more micro-climates, on the south and the west walls. The wind break on the north side of the property also serve as micro-climate, along with the pond which reflects the light. Other buildings on the west side of the property serve as a wind break to the fruit orchard. Due to the slope of the land towards the east, there is accumulation of cold of air and frost pockets. Rainfall is mainly during the winter months. Average precipitation per is 3inches. The entire property is exposed to the sun.
Buildings and Infrastructure
There are 5 buildings on the property. They include the main house, a shed, a boiler room, and two other guest houses. The east of the house has a slab of concrete, where 5ft snow drift can be found. Sewer lines are found on the south east side of the property, between the guest house and shed. Fences border the north, south and east boundaries of the property. Water faucet is located on the south for watering the fruit orchard.
Zones of Use
The property in about 7.5 acres housed between two corn fields on the north and south of the property. The west side of the property is exposed to dust and noise pollution. North side is well protected by a wind break.
Soil Fertility and Management
The soil has not been tested, however there seems to be good drainage. There is only 2 inces of topsoil on the property, however one can find 4ft of topsoil, which has been eroded, below the slopes.
Aesthetics/Experience of Place
Overall the property is lush and green. The ecosystem is healthy, but could also bee improved. The secluded feeling allows for a tranquil and peaceful setting, with an undisturbed ecosystem.
In conclusion, the soil quality needs drastic improvement in order for the client to have a vegetable garden. New swales have to be built, wind breaks added, and fruit trees tended to. We need to setup guilds and construct a food forest. Although situated in between two cornfields this land has great potential to be a thriving oasis, plant, insect, and animal species alike. It will be like Unity in Diversity.
Figure Below shows Base Map, Flow Analysis, and Sector Analysis
Assessment 12 & 13
Inputs from the community:
- Using vegetable scraps from Annapurna for compost and sheet mulch to build soil fertility.
- Woodchips from town can be used on walking paths in the garden
- Leaves from the MUM campus can be used for mulch and to create a worm bin.
- Community support where young students can assist on the property.
- Horse manure from a nearby farmer to enhance soil fertility.
- Wood from forest and leaves
- Support local economy and buy trees for the property.
- Use MUM cured compost to start the garden.
- Glass for the green house can be found in town first before it is bought.
- Demonstration of permaculture workshops on site, by MUM students and faculty.
- Assistance from neighbors ( farmers) to use tractors for earth works.
- Use local materials such as wood from the Amish people.
- Enhanced community synergy
- Diversity in ecosystems: Fruit orchard, new vegetable garden, pond fish and plants, and rain garden.
- Community work and knowledge meetings; as this site will be a living example of permaculture principles.