Food forest.....

Trying2keepitReal

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Anyone ever consider (or try) to start a food forest at your home instead (or in addition to when starting) the traditional garden? I did plant some squash around trees this year at our home and they grew but didn't fruit. I am hoping to read up more on food forests this winter and see how I can start to transition my yard into a food giving space. We don't use our yard as we did when the kids were younger and look at the 3 acres as having so much potential. I just need to figure out what to plant where.
 

flowerbug

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that is a common permaculture topic, so yes i've thought of it but i really like growing annual garden vegetables so i don't have the space for it as much as i'd like. the back part of our lot is not easy to get at right now so it doesn't get used for anything other than being brush hogged once in a while.

commonly what is done is to plant your fruit trees (and fodder trees if you want stuff for feeding animals or growing some legume/nitrogen fixing trees) and then while they are small you keep on with your annual and other crops in the spaces in between until the shading starts to limit production. you can do other things too like understory bushes for fruits and vining plants too, but i seriously have a hard time enough as it is with the wild grapes here so the idea of vining and climbing plants in fruit or nut trees just doesn't quite work for me (and don't get me started with poison ivy either)...

:) so, yes, always thinking about what is possible, but often just content now with dealing with what we have because our set up is not at all what i would want it to be if it were just me here and i was the owner. for now i just help out and do what the owner (Mom) wants done so permaculture concepts are only here or there and around some edges and not really fully incorporated (nor were they when the place was built and sited).
 

Trying2keepitReal

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I am interested, but I get overwhelmed by permaculture concepts. I'm not convinced they are a great solution, but they still appeal to me. A garden that doesn't look like a garden is less likely to be raided/vandalized, IMO
I definitely get overwhelmed too, just trying to plan it out makes me crazy! I am thinking if I do a couple types of plants a spring season then maybe one day it will be a step in the right direction.

I agree to having it all intermixed among "normal" trees would causes attraction, or at least I hope
 

baymule

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Stop stressing over planting according to plan, and just go plant it. The concept is rather Willy-nilly with no “orderly plan” to it. Leave the outside trees as a hedge to block the view or plant a rose hedge with a variety that will give you rose hips.

I don’t think much of the idea of planting things in a clump. What idiot thinks it’s a good idea to plant grape vines and other fruit bearing vines next to a tree so the vines can grow up the tree? Where does that put the fruit? Up at the top of the tree canopy to feed the birds and not you.

Nope. For me, berries and grapes, etc. go on a trellis where I can easily harvest the fruits of my labors.

There is a lot of good ideas in the permaculture community and some not so good. You just have to sort it out, apply what works for you.

At our place in Lindale, I enthusiastically built a hugel culture mound. It never did do well. I followed the “instructions” but the real beneficiaries of it were the sheep. It grew some good grass and weeds. Plus the lambs loved racing up and down the mound. LOL

What worked better was digging a trench, laying branches and logs in it, for a sort of swale to help stop water run off and planting next to it.
 

Trying2keepitReal

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Stop stressing over planting according to plan, and just go plant it. The concept is rather Willy-nilly with no “orderly plan” to it. Leave the outside trees as a hedge to block the view or plant a rose hedge with a variety that will give you rose hips.
I agree with this, and I think where the struggle comes from. I never thought of rose hips! Thank you, one more thing to add onto my list.

I think my biggest struggle at this point, is deciding what to plant where (shade, partial shade, sun) and how much soil amending I will need to do. I would rather find plants that will fix any soil needs as they go, but I think I will have a summer of work ahead of me.
 

baymule

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Plants, for the most part, need sunshine. Watching my sheep is educational for me. Pretty green grass grows under the few trees that are in the pasture, but they don’t eat it until there is nothing left. All I can figure is that the shaded grass does not have the nutrients that the full sun grass does.

I’d recommend clearing an area for fruit and nut trees, then planting it in clovers. Clover fixes nitrogen in the soil. After it goes to seed and dies back, mow it and plant beans or peas. Southerners love peas, northerners call them cow peas. They would be worth planting for the nitrogen and the vines, to mow and add humus to the soil.
 

Trying2keepitReal

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Plants, for the most part, need sunshine. Watching my sheep is educational for me. Pretty green grass grows under the few trees that are in the pasture, but they don’t eat it until there is nothing left. All I can figure is that the shaded grass does not have the nutrients that the full sun grass does.

I’d recommend clearing an area for fruit and nut trees, then planting it in clovers. Clover fixes nitrogen in the soil. After it goes to seed and dies back, mow it and plant beans or peas. Southerners love peas, northerners call them cow peas. They would be worth planting for the nitrogen and the vines, to mow and add humus to the soil.
Thank you. Great advice for my starting point, I appreciate it.
 

Mini Horses

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Why not fence it, add a goat, a sheep...have milk/meat, cute lawnmowers, free fertilizer.

I'm only wanting to plant what I actually want to eat. Even veggies. We read all this cockamamy stuff and somehow "feel the need". Why? I'm with Bay, if I work for it, I want to reach for it. Then, who'd want to buy a place with "stuff" everywhere, willy-nilly?
 
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