i live in washington state (sw washington - chehelis for reference), I have recently purchased a 20 acre site that was logged about 3 years ago and again a year ago. the site has a stream in a stable gorge that divides the site in half (30ft gap). the property is boarded on one side by a river (the stream empties into the river). the site has been replanted with young firs which are between 12" - 36" tall currently. its a great site with 100 year old trees along the river and stream banks (60ft buffers along the banks that were left after logging).
i plan to build a small cabin on the site as my primary off grid residence in the next 6 weeks as i begin to work on the land and hopefully improve its natural features. it is my goal to develop this site into a food forest. i want to introduce other types of wood trees and fruit producing trees into the mix of firs i have already. i will also like to begin planning and placing perhaps half a dozen small cabins around the site to provide some income as rentals and a river side retreat while i put in garden beds for growing food for a csa. this is a long term project with many phases and stages, but i wanted to give you some idea of my vision to set up my question i have been struggling with but can't seem to find a clear answer that also enlightens my understanding.
my question at large is this:
given that my site is in the heart of miles of fir forests, do i risk poor health or poor growth of my introduced fruit trees because of the nearly homogeneous nature of the fir forest around me for miles? are there things to keep in mind or be mindful of when developing a blended food forest of this type. i have seen a few examples of isolated ecosystems, but have never been able to get enough background on how they were created (often the creators are long since passed on). my concern is that although i will be careful not to plant anything invasive or that will attract unwanted pests to the nearby forests (dept of natural resources will make sure of that as well), i do not have any practical experience developing such a concept on 20 acres. i have developed gardens on 3 acres, but it was in a suburb community with mixed species of trees everywhere.
are there any books on this specific type of experiment? perhaps i am over thinking it, bet since some of these trees will not mature for decades, i will like to think about it in that kind of time scale as it relates to the health of what i am planting. the site is south facing, gets great sun, yet has some interesting microclimates due to the trees around the entire sight and the stream and river banks. i have about 12 acres of open (recently planted areas covered in 4 ft woodland growth, there are edible mushrooms and other things from nettles, to berries to other old world native edibles. the river and stream have salmon runs but they are not heavy runs every year.
please offer some ideas and thoughts on the up and down sides of planting a food forest of adoptable fruit and wood trees in an area with mainly one type of forest. thanks for your ideas and suggestions.
Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Location: Ohio, Zone 6a
The first book that comes to my mind is Sepp Holzer's Permaculture (Chelsea Green Publishing). His farm is in an area that has historically been (and still neighbored by) spruce monoculture, and he has great success with fruit trees. Even if a slightly different climate than yours (he's in Austria), it's a fantastic book that gives the how and why of what he's done with the land.