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Food Forest Examples

jesse markowitz


Joined: Apr 09, 2012
Posts: 31
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
    
    1
I'm reading David Jacke's Edible Food Forests, and I am really enjoying it so far. So far the most helpful section has been the case studies of people's attempts at their own food forests. The author will walk you through what the grower wanted to do, the property's issues that the grower had to accommodate for, how things progressed, and what the author thinks can be improved within the system. Most importantly, there were plenty of pictures to illustrate lots of the concepts explained. Seeing everything really helped me grasp concepts in a much more complete way.

I was wondering, could we do that here? I think if a few people could show a couple of pictures and give a bit of a visual tour of what they're doing, what's going well, what some issues are, that could help lots of us.

Thanks!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I would especially like to see food forest examples from difficult climates, especially droughty climates. Most examples seem to be from moist temperate areas or moist subtropics to tropics. It seems like food forests could potentially exist wherever trees grow.......


Idle dreamer

L. Jones


Joined: Apr 29, 2012
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
jesse markowitz wrote:The author will walk you through what the grower wanted to do, the property's issues that the grower had to accommodate for, how things progressed, and what the author thinks can be improved within the system.


Hmmm. That would be a lot more compelling (to me) if the author's proposed improvements had actually been tried, and results reported. I find that all sorts of plants and animals ignore what books say they should be doing...it's easy to write how you think things would be better if you don't actually have to try it out and see if it works, especially if it's not in the place you are personally familiar with.

Which is a good reason to do as you suggest, and report actual results here, at least.

My chickens, for instance, never read the books that said they would not fly over a fence they could see through, and had to be caged from the top as well as on all sides. Before the hawks put an end to free-ranging, some chickens had read the book and would go back to the tractor/coop at night, and others just perched someplace inconvenient yet raccoon accessible. I don't recall that the hawks had read the books either. For my local hawks (mostly red-tails) trees are a nice place to perch and stoop from, not protection for the chickens. Meanwhile, our wimpy eastern coyotes can be heard singing from time to time, but were never implicated in chicken losses, while raccoons, skunks, and foxes helped the hawks pare the flock down.

Muddling towards a more permanent agriculture. Not after a guru or a religion, just a functional garden.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Jesse, that's quite a book, eh? I am in agreement with you that there are not many concrete examples of food forests out there yet to learn from. I am having to make up my own plant list for my location here in central FL. I've attached it, and it may be somewhat helpful for others in Zone 9, but not necessarily. If it's a location with very poor sandy soil, 2 months of extreme heat and little rain in the spring, followed by 5 months of extreme heat and lots of rain, followed by mild fall and winter with moderate rain, then it would probably be a very helpful list. I don't have any pics to show but I can summarize my efforts so far, and I'd be more than happy to answer any specific questions. I've been revising my plant list daily as I research the details about potential plants.

I'm realizing that it's all about mulch in the beginning. I have to mulch everything I'm planting this time of year to protect it from the Sahara desert like conditions. And apply a lot of water too, which isn't too difficult here having our own well. We're supposed to start into the monsoon season around the end of May, and that will be nice when it gets here. I've decided I will have a traditional organic annual garden in my zone 1 area near the back porch, and I'm planting only perennials and self-seeding annuals in the food forest proper. I've figured out that any "weed" that wants to come set up a homestead in my food forest, outside of the mulch immediately around my mulched plants, is more than welcome. I need ground cover and shade. I'm using pigeon pea, lambs quarters, and soon, comfrey to carry the bulk of the mulch, nutrient accumulator, nitrogen fixer, nurse plant roles, in addition to the opportunistic early succession annuals that are moving in from the forest surrounding our property. I have identified a lot of plants that I will be planting, but I need to wait until fall because it will be easier for them to get established in the milder weather. It's interesting - some of the food forest plants will prefer summer and others will prefer winter. But, I'm trying to design this so that we will be harvesting lots of things every month of the year.

Hope that helps. What part of the country is your location?


[Download Garbarino food forest.pdf] Download



Certifiable food forest gardener, free gardening advice offered and accepted. Permaculture is the intersection of environmentalsim and agriculture.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Nice list, Nick!

I'm developing a corner of my kitchen garden as a little food forest experiment, and including several perennials in the rest of the kitchen garden though I want to reserve most of it for annual food plants.

Perennial and biennial edible plants in this garden:

Apple
Elderberry
Pomegranate
Artichoke
French Sorrel
Hog Peanut (might be an annual, I find conflicting info)
Groundnut
Tiger Lily
Wild Violet
Canna
Nodding Onion
Garlic Chives
Chives
Mint
Oregano
Thyme
Parsley
Elephant Garlic
Garlic
Daylily
Sweet potato
Collards
Native American Spanish Onion (can't find notation about proper name for these)
Egyptian Onion
Hardy Yam

A little food forest corner:


jesse markowitz


Joined: Apr 09, 2012
Posts: 31
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
    
    1
That would be a lot more compelling (to me) if the author's proposed improvements had actually been tried, and results reported.


Agreed. And I think that's something we can do here. Someone posts their newish forest garden, tells us what's working, what's not, and we can all offer advice. Then that person goes out, tries something new, and shows us the results. I would love to see stuff like that.

I'm realizing that it's all about mulch in the beginning. I have to mulch everything I'm planting this time of year to protect it from the Sahara desert like conditions.


Funny. I'm mulching everything as well, even though I'm in a pretty different region (Finger Lakes- Zone 6, Clay). That reminds me in Gaia's Garden when Toby talks about every water technique helping no matter the situation. I think that's true. I've had mulch down since October and am shocked with the results so far. The soil was so clay-ey last year I could make 4 inch ribbons with the soil. Now it practically feels like topsoil.

Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
You're welcome Tyler. That's a good list you have there for Zone 7-8. I hope you get more rain this year. They said on the news tonight that the La Nina is officially over, so maybe you will.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
One technique that I find useful in the early stages of planting a food forest is the application of aerobic compost tea. It really helps activate the mulch as I'm sure all you organic gardeners are aware. Here's my favorite two recipes:

For fungi production, and to decrease pH, add one liter of finished black composted cow manure to 4 gallons of dechlorinated water in a 5 gallon bucket. Pond water is even better. Add 2 tablespoons of molasses, 1000 mg vitamin C and a pinch of epsom salt. Bubble with an aquarium pump for 24-72 hours, depending on temperature until a good head of foam is formed (that's the fungi). Decant into another 5 gallon bucket, and discard the sludge on your compost pile, or some mulch. Strain with an aquarium fish net. Add strained tea to 25 gallons of dechlorinated water in a 30 gallon trash can. Mix well and foliar feed with a watering can. Don't use an air stone - it breaks up the fungi. Don't use a pump sprayer, the pressure kills the microbes. Molded oatmeal and/or leaf mold can be used in addition to the compost to make lots of fungi.

For bacteria production, and to increase pH, I use the same recipe but with the addition of 1 pound of fish puree, made with my bass-o-matic (my blender that my wife said I can keep "just for the garden"). This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of epsom salt to help breakdown the fish. I leave out the oatmeal and/or leaf mold when producing bacteria. This recipe makes a wonderful liquid fertilizer, but fair warning - it is quite "aromatic" and maybe not a good idea if the neighbors are real close.

I've seen aerobic compost tea made on a much larger scale, but I do not plan to go there because I want my food forest doing all that sort of work for me, hopefully not too long after it is established.

Anyone got any good tea recipes?
Lacy VanCam


Joined: Sep 23, 2011
Posts: 42
Hey everyone.
My family and I are working on making our urban lot into a food forest. You can see our progress, and our choice of plants (we are in hardiness zone 7a). After the initail inputs, our work load is mostly mulching and harvesting.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Lacy VC wrote: You can see our progress, and our choice of plants (we are in hardiness zone 7a).


Would love to see that.

Lacy VanCam


Joined: Sep 23, 2011
Posts: 42
Sorry I meant to leave a link. http://vancampenurbanhomestead.wordpress.com/, sorry about that.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Beautiful!

Lacy VanCam


Joined: Sep 23, 2011
Posts: 42
Thanks, we were very inspired by Robert Hart, a british guy who created a food forest, he has passed away, but there is a great video of him in his garden on Youtube. He tells you how he did it, and how he maintained it. It is awesome, I might have it posted on the blog, but it would have been maybe last summer.
Ben Walter


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
    
    1
Anyone got any good tea recipes?


I essentially do a similar recipe to yours, except I buy fish emulsion when I add it. I heard a great idea of cutting a section of bamboo in half length-wise, and fill it with cooked oatmeal. You then put the bamboo pieces together and wrap them together with rubber bands or twine. You drive this into the soil in a nearby healthy-looking forest, leave it until it's colonized and add it to your compost tea. I'm sure this would be better for fungal-based teas. You could also try this in a good nearby pasture for a bacterial-based tea?

A great book on this subject is Teaming with Microbes I think there is a free downloadable version.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2012/04/food-forest-gardens-fruit-tree-updates.html

here is a link to my updated blog regarding a few of our fruit trees.

I have only a very few full size fruit trees in guilds that are doing well, but then I have these nearly full size fruit trees in the photos that are taking off. I also have dozens and dozens of baby fruit trees and hundreds of fruit bearing bushes and vines, but in this update I only chose to talk about a few pears and a few others.

I am in zone 4b in North central Michigan. We have had a horrid spring here where it was in the 80's in February and then in the 20's overnight in March and April, the fruit trees all budded out very very early and then all the blossoms froze.

In my gardens this year I either have or have ordered 6 pear, 10 cherry, 10 apple, 1 medlar, 1 black walnut, 1 carpathian walnut, 1 butternut, 6 hazelnut, 2 hickory nut, 1 plum 4 wild plum 3 mulberry, 4 elderberry, 2 american persimmon, 1 fruit cocktail tree, 3 peach, 1 hardy almond, 2 sweet chestnut, 10 blueberry, 3 serviceberry, 2 juneberry, 2 honeyberry, 3 gooseberry, gobs of different kinds of raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, goumi and olive, hawthorne, buffalo berry, seaberry, goji, aronia, as well as a number of others (really too numerous to mention here)..All are planted in food forest guilds..as they mature and as the spring growth begins to show I'll try to take more photos.


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Lacy VanCam


Joined: Sep 23, 2011
Posts: 42
Your garden (for lack of a better term) sounds amazing! We are working on a small scale because we live on a small urban lot. I am working on getting us on a acreage, but it is going to take some time. When we do eventually get it, we plan to scale up what we are doing in town.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Ben, yes I too have the book Teaming With Microbes, and agree it's THE book on soil microbiology. I bet our garden libraries have considerable overlap. Since our soil here is so severely acidic, I'll be mainly making compost and fish based teas to grow bacteria and raise pH, and mainly just for my annual vegetable beds, close to the back porch. As for our food forest, I'm looking forward to the day when nature does most of the work. That'll be at least 2 or 3 years, though. Speaking of, how's that comfrey coming along? I'm using dog fennel, which moved in on it's own when the previous owners cleared this lot, as my nutrient accumulator/mulch plant, but it's all getting pretty low. Might have to go to town for some Black Kow. We definitely will make a point of dropping in on you when we're on the east side of the peninsula. Take care.
Joshua Finch


Joined: Apr 23, 2012
Posts: 57
Location: Espoo, Finland
    
    1
Jacke's EFG books were what drew me deeply into the permaculture thought process two years ago. I still have the books sitting next to me and flip through them regularly.

I was stunned- in a good way- when the first garden they tour, Charlie's Garden, happened to be right over in Greensboro. We are about 20-25 miles west of his garden. Once I saw that, I knew for a fact that this was something we could do. Our largest obstacles so far have been dealing with our very poor soil (we are lucky to have free comprehensive soil testing from the state), our near drought weather (combined with asphalt shingles which has kept us from spending money on rainwater harvesting until we figure something out- like a sand filter), the grass that we are finally getting under control, and finally poison ivy. We have a privacy fence around our entire back yard which is a wonderful perch for all the birds. Which then turns into a perfect location for poison ivy to germinate and annoy us.

You can see our progress at finchj9b.tumblr.com .. My tumblr layout, which I'm not too fond of, has our newest posts first and the oldest way at the bottom (continuous scrolling, so when it hangs up it is just loading more). I have a ton of other photographs that have not made it onto the web. So if there is something you want to see, send me a message here and I'll put it up if I have a shot of it.

Edit- had to fix the url
Ben Walter


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
    
    1
Nick -

I'm planning on sending out the comfrey tomorrow. You're more than welcome to stop in when you're over this way.

Joshua -

Great pics! I definitely did not read the whole thing but it looks great. Are you in NC?
Joshua Finch


Joined: Apr 23, 2012
Posts: 57
Location: Espoo, Finland
    
    1
Ben,

Thank you for the compliments. We've made our share of mistakes, and continue to do so. But we are finally over the "paralysis of analysis" mode that most people tend to get into when first jumping into permaculture. (Here is a fun rant on paralysis of analysis in regards to cameras, but applies to permaculture as well imo).

And yes, we are in NC. I'll be here until June 17 when I emigrate to Finland. But my parents will be keeping on, so I'm really just getting the garden off the ground while I'm here.
jesse markowitz


Joined: Apr 09, 2012
Posts: 31
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
    
    1
I heard Paul talking about going to Europe in a podcast. He spent some time listing off a bunch of places he'd want to see.

That made me think of this topic again. Can we also compile a list of good large scale permaculture sights to see, but for the US?

For getting personal views of large scale permaculture, it seems like the only thing Paul would recommend would be the Bullock Brother's farm (from what I can tell). But what about in the midwest, or on the east coast? It'd be nice to have a list of a few places that (A) wanted visitors and (B) had some great examples of permaculture for people to see. I think it'd be great if we could make a list that has at least least one site in every state, if that is possible.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Jesse,

Why don't you start a list? You can put our food forest on the list for Florida. I'd be glad to walk through it and discuss permaculture with anyone interested. Maybe just post an update to the list from time to time?
jesse markowitz


Joined: Apr 09, 2012
Posts: 31
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
    
    1
Sounds good. If I can compile enough I'll post it.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Jesse,

That would be great. I think there's a lot of interest out there, and a need to filled. As of today, my previous food forest plant list that I posted about a week ago had been downloaded 93 times. When I google "food forest plant list" it comes up third. I have attached my latest revision, which provides more information about our food forest and our permaculture techniques. Feel free to use this as part of your list if you want to (as a link or whatever).


[Download Garbarino food forest.pdf] Download

Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Hi Jesse,

Nice idea. Always great to see how others are doing it and how they understand it is best done with their particular challenges.

I have pics of my Food Forest here on my blog... http://edenparadigm.com/

Actually I think the easiest would be to go to site navigation and check out the individual posts under the Forests and Food Forest Category. There are many things I cover on my blog... all to do with sustainable living.

Chelle

Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Here's a video tour of our young forest garden in zone 5, central ontario

forest garden tour part 1

And a blog post and video tour of our hugelkultur forest garden

hugel forest


http://www.greenshireecofarms.com
Zone 5a in Central Ontario, Canada
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
I'm hoping to be able to update my photos on here for this spring and am praying that the 26 degrees they are forcasting for this Sunday doesn't kill all of our fruit buds again this year. So far nut much photographed but I'll share 2 for this spring.

the first photo is a photo of what WAS sold as a fruit cocktail tree..but only one of the grafts lived so it is a ? tree, but we have blossoms and the mason bees have been working them so there is hope as well. Also there are other fruit trees in this bed area as well but they are also ?'s as they came up from roots of stumps of fruit trees that died at the grafts..so I'm not sure what we'll get from those if anything..but they are also in bloom.

this bed is in an ornamental garden in front of my living room window where I have bird feeders year around (on my blog you can see deer feeding here in the front yard). This bed contains a real mix of things but there are common lilacs, purple leaf smoke bush, hosta, roses both climbing and landscape with huge hips, hibiscus, iris both bearded and siberian, sweet peas, peonies, hydranges, lychnis, sweet william, daylillies, etc.etc. etc.

It will be fun to see what ripens on these trees as they come into fruit.

Photo number 2 is a baby North Star Dwarf cherry tree, I planted 2 but the top part of the other died and I'm not sure if it will come back. I have a lot of other cherries on the property but this little baby is showing me some fruit blossoms for the first time this year (maybe a few last year but they froze). This is planted on the North side of our house where the other photo is on the south. This has a lot of different things planted around it but also includes hostas and lilacs, goatsbeard, privit, red leaf barberry, spireas, ferns, monkshood, siberian and bearded iris, mint, violets, strawberries, pachysanddra, vinca, roses, alberta spruce, honeysuckles, autumn olive, and much much more.

Hoping for a nice crop of cherries this year (I have sweet, sour, bush, ornamental and wild cherries on the property as well as chokecherries which make a lovely jelly). This tree is on a slight slope away from the house and is partially protected by a hedge of black spruce and overhung by a huge paperbark maple tree.

Hope to get more food forest photos soon, but in Michigan here, we are still just starting to have buds opening...and most of the perennials are still just little sprouts.



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Ed Waters


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 101
http://www.flickr.com/photos/45254254@N02/8730313022/in/photostream

We have a couple of areas where we are trying to get a forest garden cranking. The comfrey is pretty obvious. In this sections there are 5 apple trees, around 80 currants, paw paws, siberean pea shrubs, spice bushes, new jersey tea, elderberries. On the right under the hawthorns, are gooseberries, nodding onions, some wild garlic, angelica and sweet cicely.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45254254@N02/8729194043/in/photostream

This is actually Good King Henry. We are growing it as a field crop right now, but will start moving it to some shade areas this year.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
I walked around and took some baby pictures of my trees in the food forest gardens today and posted some on my blog (computer was giving me fits so I didn't get as many posted as I would have liked to but it will give you some idea of what is growing here)

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2013/05/may-17-2013-blossoms-and-baby-trees-in.html
 
 
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