After the permaculture ethics, one of the first things we cover with new interns is sector analysis.
Sector analysis is a great way to start talking about sun angles and seasonal patterns. Many people are totally unaware of the differences between summer and winter sunrise and sunset angles.
It is especially important to understand winter midday sun angles if you want to embrace passive solar design. For example, we increased the size of our kitchen window in order to get more winter sunlight into the previously dark and cold room.
It’s also important to know summer midday sun angles in order to exclude the sun from overheating your home or for solar water heating for a swimming pool. We placed these PV panels to maximise summer sun energy as a dedicated summer domestic water heater. (We use a wood stove “wetback” to heat our water in winter.)
Another major natural factor we deal with here is wind. One of the first things we did when we arrived 2 and 1/2 years ago was put up wind protection before we planted an orchard.
The netting is a short-term solution while the harekeke (flax) is the long-term solution to protect the trees from the prevailing northwest winds. It is hard to over-emphasise the importance of wind protection for fruit trees.
Sector analysis helps our interns to understand the big picture of our farm and the holistic design and management plans we have developed along the lines of regenerative agriculture.