Been working on SWOC analysis for the Orchard design. Found a little online toolkit that was based on SWOT (Threats as opposed to Challenges – a little old school, and a little more negative language, but forgivable).
Basic principle are that Strengths and Weaknesses are internal, and Opportunities and Threats (or Challenges) come form external sources.
On the whole there are more positives I could think of than negatives (I could have probably gone on but there’s more analysis and tools to try out) and the nifty little ‘weighting’ tool meant that everything was aggregated into a single score – a positive “30”
As a result of using this analysis tool, I have made a decision to put more research into the bugs and diseases that could affect the trees, into the design. Although there’s lots of strengths and opportunities the threats are significant because they could take out entire trees / harvests. They’re scored mainly at 4/9 because they’re possible but I don’t know how likely they are. I’ve also decided to get more advice on the types of apple to grow as there might be more resistant varieties.
The other decision based on the analysis relates to rootstock – because deer get into the field, I’ve decided to go for a vigorous full size tree which will have a 6′ trunk full grown, to give it clearance form the ground and resilience against the deer, to an extent.
NB: not being presumptuous about Abi’s Mum keeping an eye on the field – doesn’t mean doing the work, just if a tree falls over she’s likely to see it before us! (just in case you’re reading H!)