User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27663
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Food Forests

Stubled across opabinia's excellent post on the subject in the Wildlife forum (probably posted pre-Permaculture forum). So I thought I'd bump it here:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1094&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

This being my first year planting them, I'd love to hear about other people's experiences. :wink:

p.s. It's raining for the first time in ages -- 2 wks. I can almost hear collective sighs of relief and pleasure out there in my garden. :flower:

User avatar
sprout
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: sunset zone 18-19

THis is exactly what I have been envisioning for the south side of my yard! There is actually a name for it, wow! I have young apricot, apple and plum trees along a fence which casts permanent shade during the winter months. So that's what I have to work with, anything specifically good or bad? I thought some berry bushes would be good along there and fill in the extra space with something useful. I am in inland southern California so we get really hot summers and frosty winters. Would thornless blackberries work? I don't want to plant anything with major thorns as there are little kids here. :)

User avatar
Sage Hermit
Green Thumb
Posts: 532
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:20 pm
Location: Finlaysen, MN Coniferous Forest

Yes I am doing that! I will try and make a list of my food forest for my region. :)

Show us what you are doing with yours please for my own interests. It would be great to have regional diagrams to look at.
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

Living vicariously...
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

I have a peach, and an apricot growing in the dripline of a walnut. And my best bed of tomatoes is there too.
I always wondered how they survived the black walnut... now I know.
Thanks.
The mulberry, unfortunately is right over the driveway, guess where the mulberries land?
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

No whining OL!

The driveway at my place is under a black walnut. Landlord parks on the safe side. I found out about the other side last fall.

Over 1k in damage to a brand new car. Now I can always spot a walnut.

Doh!
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Okay, you are right!

Ouch! walnuts would be worse. There is room to park on the other side of my house... right under the black walnut! At least I can pick which one I prefer... It is actually the same distance to the front door from either one.

I like standing on the bed of the truck and picking mulberries, but, I do have to park elsewhere or wash my truck alot.

And the tree is old, it was there long before that was a driveway, my fault!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

You know before that event it was a mystery how the walnuts got there, since none of the trees were walnuts!

After the damage I looked straight up, really far. That walnut is HUGE and TALL. 32 feet per second squared x tall tree = better hope you have a low deductible. :(
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27663
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I'm still working on the guild around my Enterprise apple tree:

• There is a giant Rumex crispus growing in the drip line. I couldn't dig it out without hurting the apple roots and the leaves have that sour lemon flavor. I've decided to let it stay and just cut the leaves for mulch when I'm not in the mood to eat them.
• There's also an existing clump of pink and white clover.
• Over the last couple of years, I've noticed the black-fruited deadly nightshade grow with abandon near the base of the tree. Taking the hint, this year, I'm going to grow hot peppers on the sunny side of the tree.
• On the shadier side, there is a low spot that always puddles after rain. I've corrugated cardboarded the area, and have created a wood shaving pile inoculated with spent oyster mushroom spawn as well as situated a CCBbox packed with spent oyster mushroom spawn mixed with moist straw and covered with straw. We'll see if this will form a successful outdoor mushroom patch.
• I've also planted some daffodils and Egyptian onion topsets along the drip line. Most of the ground in my garden is still pretty wet, especially due to 3 days of rain and the area around the apple tree is no different. The daffodil shoots coming out of the ground is yellowed and sickly. Considering, I'm amazed the Enterprise is doing so well, but maybe THAT's indicative of how dry things get during the summer drought and the early spring thaw conditions is not anything to be concerned about.

The trick with the Apple guild is you have to leave sufficient space to walk around the tree for tending and apple picking. And you do generally walk around the drip-line, where interacting guild is usually planted. Also, with a dwarf tree, the low-hanging branches limit what you can grow inside the drip-line.... :?

I think my next move is to plant a few other things not too far outside the drip line so that the roots will meet in the middle -- the hot peppers will be part of that planting, but I want to get some perennials and self-seeding annuals.... Maybe borage and dill. I have yarrow growing just a little away from the immediate apple tree area. I can still use the greens for mulch and I guess I can encourage them to spread towards the apple tree. :wink:

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27663
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Do you think this photo is any indication to support my theory that hot peppers are good companion/guild plant for the apple tree? 8)

My overwintered Jalapeno is being taken over by apple seedlings :shock::
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6640.jpg[/img]

(These are seeds out of Pink Lady apples)

ronbre
Cool Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 11:34 pm
Location: Michigan

well I'm working on my 2nd try at food forests, the first ones were lovely ..but i lost much of my property to two separate incidents..one was a housefire that moved my house and gardens and drainfield, ruining much of our property,and then 4 years later we gave a huge chunk of our land to our son for his house, completely bulldozing my entire rasied bed food forest gardens as well as a beautiful 1 acre stand of woods.

so, in the past two years I've been basically starting over on the food forests..

all but one tree i moved died, so i've been in a 2 year process of buying new fruit and nut trees and planting them..most of my perennials lived and so the divisions have repopulated the property, and i've managed to buy or move or root cuttings of a lot of shrubs, vines and ground covers.

mulch is my hugest problem, I just don't have enough..my previous gardens were mulched a foot thick, but i don't have the sources I had before the housefire..and my husband's head injury is so bad that he isn't much of a help anymore..so i do it mostly all myself (some help from a son that works like 67 hours a week)

I now have planted walnut, bl walnut, butternut, 2 sweet chestnut, 6 hazelnut, two hickory, 2 pecan and 1 almond as well as 4 wild plum, 6 pear, 10 apple, 2 sweet cherry, 2 sour cherry, 1 plum and 1 fruit cocktail, 3 peach, 4 elderberry, 9 bluebery, dozens of raspberry (black, gold and red), blackberry, rhubarb, asparagus, horseradish, jer artichokes, mult onions, and gobs and gobs of annual vegetables , a few acres of perennial flowers, grape vines by the dozen..etc..but as i said, much of it is in the baby stage right now..and NO MULCH..anyone have any Mulch and live near me in Michigan?? some of the gardens have been mulched a little at a time, but the new gardens are pitifully bare.

even using shredded junk mail..

anyway..that's my story
Brenda

Bloom where you are planted
https://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Wow, Brenda, a housefire for you too? Mine burned in April 2008!

Fortunately the mulberry right outside the living room wall, was spared, although the aquariums against that wall were melted.

Reading your food forest list makes me hungry!

Let's see, all I have is 3 wild mulberries (that I have identified, based on fruit drop), elderberries, black berries, raspberries, my elderberry clump by the drive way, and my deep in the woods elderberry, blackberry, and raspberry area that self planted. The Pawpaw area which is wild. And about 5-6 black walnuts right in the yard, and one in the garden. Then the Peach and Apricot trees, and strawberries that I planted. I have 11 english walnuts rooting, and 2 baby peach trees still in cups. Oh and 2 grapevines, that I need to get into the ground. Wild grapevines are all over my garden fence, so I suppose that is a great spot for domesticated grapes too?

I have poke Sallet, Mullein, and borage that roam around the yard, as the mood strikes them... ha ha. They appear in the oddest place.

Ladies, I have alot of chives, and Egyptian onions, would these be good to plant with the fruit trees? I have a small wooden bed built up around the fruit trees, that I add fertilizers, etc to for the trees. I normally just stick some annual flowers in there. I also have some hen and chicks in a pot needing a place to grow, and ivy, would any of these work at the base of the trees?
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
soil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1855
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:40 am
Location: N. California

nice link, i love my food forest. so beautiful, so efficient, so much food!
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

ronbre
Cool Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 11:34 pm
Location: Michigan

yes the chives would be wonderful around the fruit trees, not only will they build up the soil but they will repel a few critters as well..and bring in pollinators..and taste good.

they are a very good choice..i have them under several of my fruit trees
Brenda

Bloom where you are planted
https://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27663
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Agreed. :) I've been planting Allium cernuum (native Nodding Onion) as well as garlic and Egyptian onions, multiplier onions. HOWEVER, don't do what I did -- think about where you'll need to walk while pruning and harvesting. Walking around with a pair of loppers in hand, with eyes glued to the branches does not make for carefully stepping among the alliums. I've trampled quite a few. :roll:

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

The small boxed beds, are more for looks than anything. The fruit trees were planted for years, and the boxes added later. The true roots are not actually in the boxes. I do fill them with some dirt, and have planted annuals there, just to look pretty, and remind me to water the trees during drought times. I think I will go ahead and plant my flowers, they are already up and growing, and need transplanting, then when the chives and topsets are ready, I will plant them there for next year!

I decided to go ahead and plant the irises in the area of the elderberries, in this way, it will look more like an intentional growth and not so much like weeds growing there. Boy are the elderberries getting loaded with buds! They won't be in the walking area but in the general area of the elderberries, besides it is the sunniest location that I have. I think that will be pretty, especially if they ever decide to all bloom together.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

ronbre
Cool Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 11:34 pm
Location: Michigan

speakinig of elderberries (my favorite) i just found two beautiful variegated ones at SV nursery..and ordered them..one is goldedged and looks a lot like my aegopodium leaf wise..and the other is white..i also have a black lace one from a couple of years ago..as well as 3 others.

i went crazy at that nursery today..got 4 goumi and 2 paw paw and 1 mtn ash and a large fruit hawthorn and 2 service berry besides the elderberries..also got 3 mulberries from another nursery today.

these should finish out my superguild forest garden out back..can't wait for them to come !!!! just hope our drought is over by then, it is sprinkling right now
Brenda

Bloom where you are planted
https://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27663
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Whoa that's a LOT of shrubs and trees!! :lol:
Sounds wonderful! :D Take it easy planting them though. :wink:

My kids started picking mulberries today. They're actually not *quite* as ripe as they could be, but still tart tasty. There are more ripe ones in the upper branches and the robins are busy feeding their fledglings.

Our cultivated strawberries started to ripen over a week now, but our much awaited native wild strawberries are finally starting to ripen. We had a handful today, some not dead ripe but OH the flavor is excellent -- "Not sweet, but yummy!"

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

those are hit an miss, aren't they. I got some good wild ones, but most are just starchy.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

ronbre
Cool Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 11:34 pm
Location: Michigan

well i did do something that doesn't seem to be obvious in most of the food forests, but a few, i planted lawn paths all around them. As I had a good bit of access to plastic edgeing I have put a lot of plastic edging in my gardens to separate the lawn paths from the planting areas..so as to keep the grass out. I have a terrible quack grass problem here in Michigan...as well as a gross lack of mulch available.

As since the fire most of my food forest trees are very tiny babies, I'm just getting a start on the guilds around them. I have a walnut guild for the 3 walnuts that hopefully will still be alive this year, no leaves on them yet this spring. if they survive there is a Juglone barrier guild going between them and the fruit tree guild and chestnut guild..

these form a superguild in a 40 x 60 area, and there is a woods north of the superguild and there will be a water garden guild to the east of the entire mess.

I also have a small area of ash trees with some wild raspberries in an area south of this superguild..and it will eventually need to be worked on as well as the are north of the pond and south of the woods .

I can only do so much in one year..i started the superguild last year with the planting of the walnuts, and the berry hedges (blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry) and the other nut trees, chestnut, hazelnut, pecan and others) and also had some perennial vegetables already growing in this area as well as some herbs, and flowers and shrubs.

This year this area got 3 pear, 3 apple, 2 cherry, lots more perennial and annuals and i have on order a lot more shrubs and trees..and will be adding divisions and cuttings from my other gardens.

in the organic garden thread there is a list of the annual vegetables and herbs that I have planted so far this year.
Brenda

Bloom where you are planted
https://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27663
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Here's my new addition to the apple guild. As I mentioned above, I decided to go with the theory that peppers -- particularly hot peppers -- are good companion/plant association member to Apples. So I made this Hay Flake Pepper Bed just beyond the drip line of my Enterprise Apple tree:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7024.jpg[/img]

Pepper varieties planted here are: Aji Dulce, Quadrato d'asti Giallo, Q d'a Rosso, Tepin, Royal Black, Q d'a Rosso (DV), Jalapeno (Jr.), Cubanelle Banana, Fish, Anaheim NM, Jalapeno M, Czechoslovakian Black, Giant Orange Bell.

There are some daffodils that were already here along the center of the bed, and the grey ceramic pot cover contains Koshihikari Rice with a couple of goldfish for mosquito control (I need to thin that to a single rice plant).

Return to “Permaculture Forum”