project::forest hut

Forest Hut, our farm, was the first property that we designed using Permaculture design principles. The implementation of the design is an iterative & ongoing process.

Through this post, I intend to share some key aspects of Forest Hut farm design & its implementation progress.

location::velvandi valley, northern western ghats
area::4.25 acres

When we purchased the property back in 2017, it was exploited & degraded.  But we loved it – its orientation & location suited our needs. Also, we wanted to take up a property that needed healing to make the journey fulfilling.

Forest Hut in 2017 with contour lines – Except for a guild of non-native accacia trees, there was not much vegetation. Also, topsoil was totally gone.

This place was going to be our new home soon. It was imperative for us, as a family, to have clarity on how we were going to live a new way of life. That clarity was defined through S.M.A.R.T objectives.

The site analysis & assessment exercise  provides data points like contours, macro & micro climate, existing features, access, soil properties, energy (sun, water, wind) flows, views to preserve, high flood lines, forest fires, etc.

Permaculture Design Process – simplified representation

Combining the objectives with the site analysis & assessment allowed us to come up with a zone layout. A zone layout is a macro design.

Zone Layout – a primary energy-conserving placement pattern

Once we know how the energies are entering our property, we can place elements to harvest those energies to our advantage.

Post zoning, 2 concept design options were created. We decided to go with following one.

Concept Design I

The concept design had various elements. We created element specific designs wherever appropriate. For example; we created detailed plant map for zone 4/5 using Miyawaki method. Similarly, we had a very innovative design for our kitchen garden beds.

Implementation Updates

The first year, 2017-18, we did earthworks for terracing, secured river bank with vetiver & had couple of green manure (jute & legumes) cycles to build soil organic matter.

In 2018 monsoon, we started planting native trees – in zone 4/5, we planted tree saplings of 100+ native species totalling to 3000+ in numbers. I’m glad that we started tree plantation early in the game.

Post monsoon, we started building our kitchen garden & food forest.

Mar 2019 – Earthworks for terraces on contour & zone 4/5 plantation are visible.

Every monsoon, we continue to plant more trees, as the shade of previously planted trees provide micro climate for young ones – succession planning.

Mar 2022 – On the path of recovery.

And, we also introduced new elements as we felt appropriate – working on cob oven, cob house & a bamboo veranda has been specifically fulfilling.

Here is the most recent one.

Oct 2022

Forest Hut farm photos

zone 0 – natural building inspired from vernacular architecture.

zone 0 – backyard cob oven in service

zone 1 – kitchen garden’s upper terrace West view

zone 1 – kitchen garden’s upper terrace East view

zone 2 – section of food forest

zone 3 – field #1 having paddy

zone 3 – field #2 having turmeric

Open well – lowest part of the property for better recharging

East pond – water accumulate here before leaving the farm & it helps recharge the open well downstream.

West pond – Spill over going to bamboo swells.

7 Reasons to have wilderness in your farm

27 thoughts on “project::forest hut

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  1. I consider myself fortunate that I had the privilege of witnessing this transformative work on an ongoing basis! This has been trully inspiring and fulfilling experience. As a bordering farmer i have all the benefits from sharing moments of joy and uncertainties, besides fruits and vegetables! Dhruv, Shree, Nishita and Maulik are undoubtedly my best buddies .. a gift of life! Cheers to their efforts and salute to their dreams! Amen!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi
      I had learnt about your project from Seematai. My wife Archana visited it yesterday. I find this very interesting. Would love to visit you soon.
      Best wishes.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have had the privilege of seeing and being at your space transforming, regenerating, living, breathing and smiling…making of your home and the natural environment nishita, dhruv, shree and Maulik. I wish I could spend more time with you all..thank you seema for your home next door as and for the friendship…thank all of you for how you nurture and share.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is superb. The way you guys have visualised and designed the entire farm/forest is commendable. Your passion clearly reflects through your hardwork and dedication in crafting the entire property. Will certainly come to visit once

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This place is amazing sir…As I know it from beginning, Every time I visited here it looks different with some added greenery. This place is very close to nature. I can imagine the efforts you and your family taken to develop such a beautiful property. See you soon sir !!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We have been to Maulik’s house twice, amount of hard work & dedication they as a family put, just unbelievable. Love to visit again. True nature lover.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. It’s a master work by Maulikkumar and family….its inspiring to live with the nature and creator’s world instead of living in our own…..thanks for sharing the journey..would love to visit and feel the nature. Once again great work✨️👏👏👏🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks Maulik dada for sharing your beautiful journey! I’m privileged to witness minute level preparation and spend some time with you all! It’s your hard work, commitment and dedication! Its inspiring! Love to be at your place! Always! 💚

    Liked by 1 person

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