Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
Six Rivers Charter School pocket orchard
Four engineering students are commissioned by a local high school to help prepare their outdoor space for an orchard. After assessing the site and meeting with the client,the primarily objective was determined to be the preparation of the garden space for the high school seniors landscaping project the following semester.
As part of the environmental resource engineering major at Humboldt State University students must take ENGR 215, environmental design. For our semester's (Fall 2019) design projects our client was Six Rivers Charter High School in Arcata, California.
The clients primary focus developing their outdoor space into a garden-based learning area, as well as an aesthetically pleasing space for teacher who would want host their class outside. Our group, the Greengineers (Jessica Sheffield, Austin Payne, Taylor Goodwin, and Justin Hawkins) was tasked with preparing the a large terrace for an orchard.
Problem statement and criteria
The 1600 sq. foot space had three major issues
- The terrain was not level, potential safety hazard for a class of thirty students.
- The south east corner was open leading to erosion undermining general slope stability.
- The soil health was severely compromised by compaction and the addition of low-quality fill dirt to fill the terrace.
Through client feedback we were able to generate the set of design criteria below
|Safety||Students must not receive more than a superficial injury from area.||8|
|Education||Must be an educational space for agriculture and landscaping high school classes||8|
|Maintenance||No maintenance required over summer and students must be able to maintain landscape throughout school year.||7|
|Accessibility||Path of egress must sustain up to 40 people including highschool students and adults. Space must be simple to navigate.||7|
|Durability||Must sustain heavy rain, 30-40 people within the space, able to withstand local fauna and student interaction.||6|
|Cost||Must not exceed $400.00.||5|
|Aesthetics||Must maintain or exceed schools aethetic standard.||5|
Description of final project
By tapping into our client's network, extensive correspondence, and generous donations we were able to bring down our actual cost from 1451$ to 0$
|Quantity||Material||Source||Cost ($)||Actual ($)|
|20 cubic yards.||Fill-Dirt||Sun Valley Farms||350.00||0.00|
|10 cubic yards||Top Soil||Bayside Farm||350.00||0.00|
|8 ft.||Gabion Wall||Hilfecker Retaining Walls||326.00||0.00|
|6||Fruit Tree||Miller Farms Nursery||425.00||0.00|
Gabion Wall Installation
Maintenance is most crucial during the first year during which the trees are establishing themselves. Once established ambient participation will be sufficient for the orchard with occasional soil enriching encouraged. Six Rivers Charter High School Landscaping Class is expected too carry out most of the maintenance with occasional supplement maintenance provided during the first summer.
- Inspect Irrigation (Most crucial during first year)a monthly task
- Trim back plant growth between trees
- Harvest Fruit
- Prune trees to appropriate size
- Inspect Gabion Wall for Structural
- Spread Cover Crop seed to promote soil fertility
- Every 10-20 years
- Consider replacing gabion wall
Discussion and next steps
- Irrigation needs to be installed before summer so the tree can establish themselves.
- Fencing atop the gabion wall is recommended due to the steep drop off on the other side.
- Trellis could installed along fence to provide additional growing space for food plants.
- The removal of the eucalyptus tree shading out the space is strongly encouraged.