Beyond farming, Mazi Farm is an R&D (research and development) hub where we test various innovative organic regenerative farming techniques.
Organic Fertilisation & Fertigation
Our objective is to ensure good tree growth and production whilst ensuring the farm creates resilience, builds natural fertility and does not become dependent on fertilisation.
We also aim to produce as much fertiliser as possible on-farm. This ideal will not be reached in the short term since degraded soils have high fertiliser needs before reaching minimum soil fertility.
Furthermore, the dry spring conditions and limited irrigation water availability mean we must be very technical with our fertilisation strategies.
We use a diverse set of techniques:
Soil mineral rebalancing based on soil analysis
Compost and zeolite applications
Farm-produced liquid biofertiliser
Solid organic NPK fertiliser
Liquid organic NPK fertiliser
Foliar applied micronutrients
Animal integration and manure
Cover crops are the foundation of our soil management thanks to the multiple ecosystem services they produce: nitrogen fixation, enhance soil microbiology, soil decompaction, soil protection, insect habitat, etc. Overall, soil organic matter is the foundation of healthy soils and healthy plants. Cover crops are our main tool 'pump' organic matter (carbon) into our soils and greatly enhance our land's fertility.
Farming on hilly terrain prevents us from planting cover crops by tilling the soil. We have developed a strategy to establish a variety of grasses and legumes by 'overseeding' our tree interlines (grassy areas between our tree rows) in winter. This also allows us to maximise the biodiversity of our interlines by conserving the many native species that thrive here.
Fruit and nut polyculture integrated with support species
Although monocultures are efficient, nature works with diversity. To ensure we maximise the potential of our agroecosystem, we have planted our tree lines with different productive species organised according to their light/shade needs.
Additionally, we have planted 'support species' in between the fruit trees, which have the function of producing biomass/woochips, sheltering young trees from the wind and enhancing soil fertility. They are pollarded or coppiced regularly to ativate nutrient cycles and to ensure they do not compete for light and nutrients with our productive trees.
Hedges and windbreaks
Winds in the Greek islands desiccate soils and carry salt that produces sodium and chloride toxicities in plants. Hedges and windbreaks are the ecological framework of a farm, creating the conditions to protect our productive trees.
Since the development of our fast growing windbreaks, we have seen a dramatic improvement in plant health and growth.
Furthermore, biodiversity hedges with a diverse set of native species have been planted to provide habitat for beneficial insect and predator populations, increasing biodiversity.