Tag Archives: el manzano

Redesigning a Forest Garden at El Manzano

In October last year we ran a design and implementation forest gardening course at El Manzano Eco-School. Our project was a forgotten forest garden that was installed in 2013 during a Bioconstruyendo event at El Manzano, known as “La Nave” or “The Ship”. In some respects the garden was well designed. The canopy density of the fruit trees was appropriate and it had some defined paths. However, the paths were too thin to allow ease of access and there was no connection of the garden with the nearby kitchen and classroom, nor a space to do work. It needed a redesign. We applied a 6 stage design process – evaluation, goal setting, site analysis, conceptual design, detailed design and implementation.

En Octubre el año pasado, realizamos una curso de diseño y implementación de Bosque Comestibles en Ecoescuela El Manzano. Nuestra proyecto era un bosque comestible olvidado que fue instalado en 2013 durante el concurso Bioconstruyendo, conocido como ¨La Nave¨. En muchas maneras era bien diseñado: los frutales tenia espacio adecuado y algunas caminos era bien definido. Sin embargo, los caminos era demasiado delgado para usar una carretilla y la jardin no tiene conecion con la concina o sala de classes cerca, ni espacio para trabajo. Se nesecita re-diseño. Nosotros utilisamos una processo de diseño con 6 pasos – evaluación, Definition of objectivos, analysis del sitio, Diseño conceptual, Diseño detallado y implementación.

El Nave antes de rediseño


With the group of students on the course we undertook an Evaluation of the previous design. The team at El Manzano explained that the first implementation of The Nave had been too ambitious, generating a lot of labor needs for irrigation and also for weeding. It also didn´t draw people in as it was hard to move around in and disconnected from the surrounding space. They also wanted the space to become a social area that students or visitors could enjoy with flowers, aromatic herbs and fruit. The students then undertook an analysis of the site to determine what we were working with. A summary of these, according to a scale of permanence is provided below.

A summary of the site analysis

Site Analysis of ¨La Nave¨

  1. Climate – temperate climate, sun access to the north, cold winds from the east and south
  2. Form of the landscape – Central Valley of Chile, depositional sand landscape, generally flat site with some mounds to the east and north
  3. Water – Little access to tap water, biofilter waterway and soak area to the west of the site
  4. Access and Circulation – poor access to the site, thin and undefined pathways, poor connection to CoCo / plaza / baños seco
  5. Vegetacion and Wildlife – 10 tree species occur on site including Robinia pseudoacacia, Poplars, Fiejoas, Figs and Quillayes. Herbs such as comfrey are well established and there is lots of grass and blackberry present on site. Wildlife in the area includes insects, butterflies, small birds and dogs
  6. Microclimates – A few areas have protection from the winds due to created mounds, near the biofilter the soil is much wetter compared with the east of the site.
  7. Buildings and Infrastructure – There is a fence along the eastern edge of the site, there is no water or power infrastructure on the site
  8. Zones and Patchs – 7 distinct patches are present on the site along a gradient away from the biofilter and moving from the more established trees at the south to the site in the North
  9. Soil – sandy with vegetable cover, some organic matter present, more organic matter present closer to the biofilter
  10. Aesthetics – the site feels abandoned, it has no real aesthetic  theme and few flowers.


Con el grupo de estudiantes en el curso, hicimos una evaluación del proyecto y diseña previo. El equipo de El Manzano explicaron que la primera implimentacion de la nave fue demasiado ambiciouso, generando mucho trabajo reigando y desmalezando. Tambien, no fue sufficiente para traer la gente adentro la jardin porque esta disconectado de la otra facilidades. Tambien, como nuevo objectivos, el equipo quieraron un espacio mas bonito para la gente con mas flores, hierbas aromatico y frutas. Despues, las estudiantes hizo una analysis del sitio. Una resumen es adjunto abajo.

sito analysis cummary of la nave

Analysis del sitio de ¨La Nave¨

  1. Clima – templado, acceso de sol al norte, vientos frio del este y sur
  2. Forma de la paisaje – Valle central de Chile, paisaje depositional, generalmente plano con algunas lomos a la este y norte
  3. Agua – poco accesso al agua de llave, biofiltro en al oeste del sitio tiene un suelo mojado.
  4. Acceso y Circulación – mal aceso al sitio, caminos delgado y con poco definition, mal conección al coco/plaza y baños seco.
  5. Vegetación y Vida Silvestre – 10 especias del arbole son presente en el sito incluyendo Robinia pseudoacacia, Alamos, Fiejoas, Higueras y Quillayes. Hierbas como comfrey son estabilecido y hay mucho pasto y mora. Vida silvestre incluyes insectos, mariposas, pajaros chico y perros.
  6. Microclimas – Algunas areas tiene un poco de protecion del viento por los lomos del sitio. Cerca el biofiltro el suelo es mas mojado que el este del sitio.
  7. Edeficios y Infrastructura – Hay una cerco al este del sitio, no hay agua no electricidad en el sitio.
  8. Zonas y Parches – Hay 7 parches  distincto en un gradiente desde cerca al biofiltro y lejo del biofiltro. Tambien hay un gradiente desde los arboles mas estabicido en el sur del sitio.
  9. Suelo – Arenoso con curbertura vegetal, materia organica presente, mas materia organica lo mas cerca del biofiltro.
  10. Esteticos – el sitio sientes abandonado, no tienes un estetico tematico y poco flores.

Zonas y parches identificado por los estudiantes

Zone and patch identification

Moving from this site analysis, each group developed a concept design that was presented back to the group for comment.

Despues esta analysis, cada grupo hizo un diseño conceptual y despues presentaron estos al grupo.

Concept Design for La Nave showing defined Patches and design themes

Diseño conceptual demonstrando camino, accesso y diseño de parches

Concept design showing access, hedges, vegetation architecture and patch design

In discussion with the El Manzano team, we looked at the common themes amongst the designs and generated a summary design to define our implmentation step.

En discusiones con el equipo el manzano, buscamos los temas comun entre los diseños y yo hice un diseño conceptual de resumen

Concept design showing general access and requirements to connect the garden to the surrounding elements such as kitchen, classroom, etc

Phased design overlay showing the initial work priorities required to create the mainframe of the design.

With our main objectives for our first phase of the design outlined and a conceptual idea of the pathways that the garden required. We set about clearing the site and defining the pathways.

Pathway development and coco connection

Using the new access pathways


With the mainframe defined, we knew that we had space for about 10 fruit trees. These were planted with rings of mulch which were  planted with beneficial herbs in an expanding nuclei pattern which would allow us to develop the garden as succession progresses and as more water resources become available. Detailed design work was undertaken with the species available working out the needs and products of each species and how they could best fit together to minimise competition and maximise additive yields using mutual support guilds

Estudiantes construyendo un camino de aceso

Forming the primary paths

Con el mainframe definidos, sabemos que el espacio fue suffieinte por 10 arboles frutales. Plantamos estos plantas en el primer parche con una anillo de mulch y compost, plantado con hierbas beneficial en una patrone de nucleos expansivos, que va a darnos la capacidad a expandar la plantas herbal cuando hay mas recursos de agua son presente. Diseño detallado fue cumplido con las especias disponible, determinando los nesecidades y productos de cada especia y determinando como se puede cada mejor juntas para minimizar competencia y maximizar rendimiento addititivo con gremios del apoyo mutual.

Fruit tree underplanted with beneficial herbs

Creating mulched pathways around the fruit trees

Well defined access area with seating space

  In addition to these fruit tree planting, at the entrance to the Nave we planted a number of bushes and herbs that would serve as a visual barrier, drawing the eye into the garden and blocking views of hte composting toilets. As these plants establish, outdoor rooms will be felt in the garden.

Session de curso sobre plantando arboles, plantas y mas

En addicion a los arboles frutales, a la entrada a la nave plantamos arbustos y hierbas que va a forma una barrera visual y traer el ojo al jardin y tambien bloquear la vista a los baños secos. Cuando los plantas se establicieron, salas de vida de aire libra va a ser apparente en el jardin forestal.


It was a great course and a wonderful feeling to see new students implementing their new knowledge and also seeing how quickly we changed the feel of the space with a little work and planting. As the space develops it will be great to undertake an evaluation of the implementation work and make changes to the subsequent patches and phases of La Nave. It Sails Again.

Fue un curso incrible y un sentido incrible a ver las estudiantes nuevas implementando su conocimineto nuevo y  tambien para ver que rapido tranformamos el espacio con un poco de trabajo. Con la desarollo del espacio va a ser fantastico a evaluar nuestra trabajo de implementation y planificar el trabajo en los proximo parches y fases de La Nave. Se Reflota!

Equipo de aprendices           Student team

Tagged , ,

Exploring Forest Gardens in Chile – Upcoming Courses

Greetings from Chile. Today we have some very exciting news. We will be teaching with our Collegues at the El Manzano Eco-School in the Bio-Bio region of Chile this April.


Students survey the forest garden site

We previously worked with the team at El Manzano in 2012 when we delivered a 5 day design and implementation course. The course had over 40 students and was an amazing experience of collaborative design, Forest Garden Theory and implementation practice. Check out a profile of the design here and in the portfolio.

Students implementing irrigation canals alongside the pathways of the Forest Garden at El Manzano

Students implementing irrigation canals alongside the pathways of the Forest Garden at El Manzano

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,