Myrrhis Agroforestry is an innovative and experimental project with the intention to develop new techniques within the field of integrated small farming. We work with growing nuts, fruits, berries, perennial vegetables and herbs, and annual market garden, with integrated animals for the Danish climate and local conditions.
The project is 1 hectare long term leased land started in 2017. In addition to the 1 hectare, we have 3 hectares which is primarily for grazing larger animals like our horses and sheep. We work with rotational grazing to better the pasture conditions, especially building humus and biodiversity.
Regeneration is what we work with. We want to not just sustain this piece of land but rebuild to create something that is better. We take soil tests regularly to measure especially the organic matter of the soil, to document the restoration process. We use natural ecological systems as our model, which is why we integrate trees, shrubs, herbaceous vegetation, grass, and of course animals into one piece of land, so it can function as an ecosystem- a food producing ecosystem.
Myrrhis Agroforestry is an attempt at creating an example of how a small economically viable regenerative farm can look. With this project we hope to harvest and share experience with a small-scale agroforestry system with integrated trees, vegetables, and animals. There is a focus on local supply, resilience, and economy. We want to connect people and where their food comes from again. We focus on production at the same time as ecological regeneration, rather than separating production and ecology, nature and culture, we aim to combine the two as an answer to todays and tomorrows ecological, economical and social challenges.
Our plant nursery has a focus on propagation of perennial vegetables, berry bushes and fruit and nut trees sold to private customers. Our focus is seed propagation to increase genetic diversity in our cultivated gardens and landscapes. This diversity gives the possibility for adaptation to local conditions, pests and diseases, and a changing climate. Our assortment is constantly developing and changes year to year, please write us if you have questions. We are open Fridays from April through June.
Alley Cropping Market Garden
Our market garden consists of approximately 1000m2 and is divided in 4 alleys between tree rows. Each alley has 8 no-dig permanent beds 20m long. Most of this area is dedicated to a Self-Harvest (U-Pick) type CSA. This is a good model for us as we get income before the season starts, and the customers live close to the farm, so they have a good connection to their food. Subscribers harvest when it fits them, and after our guidance. This way families get fresh food, and saves us the harvest time and the packaging and waste which typically comes along with vegetable production. Customers come with their own baskets and harvest what suits them!
2019 was the first season and due to the success of that season we are looking forward to continuing this model in 2020. In addition to the Self-Harvest concept, we grow some specialty crops for our local acclaimed Michelin-guide Restaurant Moment.
Pastured Meat Rabbits
We graze the grass strips between our fruit and nut trees with rabbits. Each breeding female has a mobile house or ‘Rabbitat’ which consist of an enclosed box ‘burrow’ and 6m2 grazing area. Depending on the season, they are moved 1-2 times a day, sometimes up to 3 times. The rabbits therefore do the job of mowing the grass between the trees, so we don’t have to, and the rabbits constantly get the best quality grass and herbs. Each female gets 2 litters a year, and the offspring are slaughtered for our local customers after 3-4 months, where they live entirely on pasture. Breeding females get apples, second quality rootcrops and a bit of hay in winter. We are proud to not feed grain or medicine!
Our wonderful flock of 30 hens are regularly moved through the whole area with trees and grass during the growing season. Here they enjoy the green grass, herbs and insects as well as occasional fruits and berries.
The chickens fulfill a very important role in our project as they provide not only nutrient dense grass-fed eggs, but also help in improving the quality of our soil. The benefits to having the chickens in an area it is very clear on the growth of the pasture afterwards. They are extremely good at boosting plant growth, and therefore restarting the positive feedback loop of soil-building via plant roots and microbes. We use them also to disturb areas, so as to seed new species into the pasture. For a few months in winter, the flock is stationary in one of the garden areas, which will be grown the following season.
Fruits and Nuts
Tree rows are planted with a 14m distance between the rows of production trees. Nut trees include chestnuts, walnuts, heartnuts and hazelnuts. Fruit trees include primarily apple, pear, plum, quince, mulberry and cornelian cherry (Cornus mas). The beds under the tree rows are dedicated to perennial vegetables such as hosta, daylily, spinach dock, sweet cicely, Turkish rocket, or perennial herbs for tea such as mint and anis hyssop. This way the area directly under the trees is utilized for production of other high quality products for sale locally.
In addition, having a strip of perennial vegetation is good habitat for birds, insects and biodiversity generally, which is lacking in annual production systems. The perennial tree strips are dual purpose production and biodiversity additions. We are testing the marketability of different perennial vegetables, and their potential for larger scale growing.
Breeding and selection
In addition to the production tree rows we grow many individuals of selection and breeding trees. We enjoy the process of finding new and exciting varieties of fruit and nut trees. We also like pushing the envelope a bit by experimenting and attempting to grow some crops which are not yet considered viable in Denmark (apricot, peaches, almonds, American persimmons, and pawpaws). In addition to trees we also work with some perennial vegetables, such as perennial kale.