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Starting a Meditteranean Food Forest in the Meditteranean

Laurie McCoy


Joined: Jan 31, 2011
Posts: 4
Hi Guys

I'm looking for tips on creating a Meditteranean food forest. Im hoping to start planting one in Southern Catalonia next year. Land is mainly made up of sandy soil which is currently home to pines, olives and almonds. Pretty "standard" stuff for this part of Spain. Don't want to use too much water of course. Any ideas?


Thank You
ronan Watters


Joined: Oct 24, 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Ireland
Hopefully this will get some replies this time around. I am about to buy some land in the same area as the original poster and have some questions about food forests. The overall site is 2.4 hectares and is open along the northside to occasionally quite cold winds. I will need to close off some of that for windbreak and privacy. So i am thinking of a food forest. The site is 70 meters above sea level and would be USA zone 9 I think.

The specific part of the land is about a 50 meter stretch along the side of a flat 1 hectare terrace with well over a hundred almond trees that have been neglected for the last 6 years. At either end there are some olives and a fig tree.

I suspect some of the almonds won´t make a comeback after watering and pruning but I have so many that's not a big deal. They are spaced in about a 5x5 meter grid. Peaches and cherry and stone fruit are whats generally grown in the wider area. Though the land next door is all olive´s and there is about 85 olive trees on the land. I haven´t worked out the full design for the land yet but as this area will need to be closed off and is at the edge of the property away from the house. I think I can block off a strip along this 50 meters to start developing a food forest that would also act as a windbreak, that wouldn´t have any negative impacts on the full plan for the land as it develops.

Even if some of the Almond trees don´t last in the long run I am wondering if they can play the role of nurse trees for younger trees? and now best to manage that? It´s only the start of March but already it is occasionally hitting 23C for part of the day even though it can drop a bit a night. The almonds that are there now may provide much need shade when the full summer sun comes.

In terms of trees that i think at the moment i would like would be a range of any fruit I can get and for nuts, Hazelnuts and walnuts.

Any suggestions for specific guilds to develop around them?

In terms of nitrogen fixers there are lots of candidates it´s partially about seeing on what i can source locally. Anyone have there own favourites that would suit the climate?

Any ideas, or feedback?


thanks
Laurie McCoy


Joined: Jan 31, 2011
Posts: 4
Hi Ronan,

I guess it's just you and me on here for the time being! As regards your nitrogen fixers the most obvious (long term one) would be carob. You can also use this as a fodder crop etc.
Terri Matthews


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 382
Location: Eastern Kansas
    
    3
I have American Plum on my own sandy soil. It is, alas, native to this continent so you will probably not be able to get any. It is a smallish, bushy plum that forms thickets.

I also have asparagus established, though even here it does best by a stream. I have no idea if you could get it established where you are or not.

A real winner for me has been daffodils. They take advantage of the winter and spring moisture, and by the time it gets dry for the summer the daffodils are already dormant. Unfortunatly daffodils are not edible! They are pretty, though.

Those are my 3 successes: the other plants pretty much died. I am in the Central USA, and most of the soil is clay and so I am just seeing what will live at this point. Though, since the plums are still alive I am going to try out one apricot tree this year: if it lives I will plant more.

I have also found my land to be good for catching bee swarms, though not at all good for keeping them there. They never seem to have enough food, and the mice population is really bad. So, I have removed my hives and I am setting up small, portable hives called nucs. When a swarm moves in I will take it home that very night, after the foragers have returned to sleep.
Delphine Drory


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 1
No, it isn't just the two of you ! I'm in Morocco, and been thinking years about a food forest. Hopefully earthworks will begin in a couple of months...

My pioneers will be Tagasaste (Tree Lucerne - Chamaecytisus Palmensis - native from the Canary Islands), Vetiver (on the swales bank), Cedrus atlantica, moringa stenopetala, and members of eleagnus and hippophae families. Hope that helps ?

I can't digest vegetal proteins (some almond is ok), and my husband has Chron's disease. So the ecosystem will be turned very much to an omnivore/carvivore kind of diet. Lots of fodder trees (tagasaste, morus alba, moringa st.) for the sheep, plus pasture designed for bees and sheep, some grain cultivated for a wild array of birds... (guinea fowl, ducks, pigeon, partridge, quail - no chicken, i'm not located in Asia!)
Bees... Rabbits...
Almonds and Apricots... Figs and Pomegranate...
A vast amount of insectary plants, since my husband could sniff essential oils all day long...and they're pest reppellents too...
Xisca Nicolas


Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 897
Location: La Palma Canary Zone 11
    
    7
I am also in a mediterranean climate.

Tagasaste is good for pionnering and as poles for tomatoes or passion fruit! You can trimm a lot for mulch.

Almond trees and fig trees are an obvious choice yes...
Along with pomegranate and olive trees.
Moringa and vetiver are great and necessary!
think about cajanus cajan as a short term legume tree. Well, carob has been mentionned. 10 years before fruits, and put several once, because you will have male trees, not only females...

I have put crataegus azarolus (mind you, no wind to get fruits!)
zyziphus jujuba is very important, use also as a living fence with spines.
Also, I can mention the dyospiros kaki! Great fruit and likes the mediterranean climate.
Also arbutus unedo... it can also cope with 400mm
I have put morus nigra, better fruit than alba...
Then there is the japan nispero (sorry I do not have the translation...)

I am looking for pistacia vera, but I have found only a variety that needs more water... So, I am still looking for trees... And I have planted the wild one, pistacia atlantica (you can graft P. vera on it)

The Argan should be tried only if (appart from getting it...) you have some humidity in the air, as they need the oceanic fog in their original country in Morocco. So I dropped the idea...

Then I will also put acacia, the problem is to select the right acacia... according to water needs and invading power they have...

Thnik about the marula from South Africa too, they resist drought. South Africa is Mediterranean, and also western Australia, so it is great to look for seeds there.

Where you can water, put avocado tree, it is a very good food! And some citrus trees... The mango can cope with little water but really needs heat, so mine are not so healthy, though I can eat some fruits. Think about the walnut tree, as they resist drought more than I thought (Internet info, I do not have it)

I also have neem, chicle and yellow zapote, pouteria campechiana, that are quite water wise (grow in Mexico).

Last but not least, prickly pears are a necessity! Opuntia - Great fruits, medicinal, edible young "rackets", fence, fire retardant, and great compost (gives same amount of carbon as wheat for 4 times less water!)


Xisca - Canary - Look at pics! Dry subtropical Mediterranean - My project
However loud I tell it, this is never a truth, only my experience...
Elia Charalambides


Joined: Jun 13, 2011
Posts: 72
Location: Boston
    
    4
The great big black book(Permaculture Designer's Manual) is a nice resource for ideas for this as I think it was originally basing many of its examples on a Mediterannean climate type area of Australia.

In my family's land in Greece there are
Olives
Figs
Almonds
Walnuts
Pomegranites
Grapes
Oaks
Cypress Trees as well as an extremely tall and narrow deciduous tree variety that only grown near water sources. It seems to be absolutely loved by birds as a nesting site. Can't remember its name for the life of me.
Plane Trees:If you have the water I highly recommend these trees because they cast phenomenal shade and are an amazing overstory tree. Though they do make tons of spiky seed pods kind of like Chestnuts.
Eucalyptus

I would like to add a form of Acacia since they seem to be stellar for erosion control, can be planted in sandy areas, fix nitrogen, provide nectar for bees, don't mind droughts and love the heat. Only downside is their enormous spines.

Help me develop a design kit for permaculture enthusiasts: http://legendofthegreek.com/permaculture-planning-pack/
Xisca Nicolas


Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 897
Location: La Palma Canary Zone 11
    
    7
Acacia types are not all very thorny but I lack information to precise more the species.... (I am looking myself at it).

an extremely tall and narrow deciduous tree variety that only grown near water sources


Poplar?

I insist on 1 plant in my list, suitable only for frost free places and sunny location, the VETIVER.
www.vetiver.org
Elia Charalambides


Joined: Jun 13, 2011
Posts: 72
Location: Boston
    
    4
AHA! Yes the Poplar! Thank you.
geraint britton


Joined: Sep 18, 2012
Posts: 1
How about pecans and chinaberries (Melia azadarach) - similar to Neem, but hardier for me here in central italy in a sheltered position. Or stone pines - seem to recall forests of them around Cadaques 20 years ago. I find the wild asparagus thrives in my olive grove, a fairly dry place, where I'm trying to diversify beyond olives/almonds and walnuts (and some fairly stunted apples, pears and plums). At 400m asl, I thought I could try some chestnuts, but getting improved hybrids here is very difficult - maybe its best to try to find some reliable older local variety....oh, saffron; there's some people near Prades in french Catalonia cultivating it a lot - tastier than daffodils!
Helder Valente


Joined: Mar 11, 2013
Posts: 15
    
    1
Hi

...maybe this videos can help...









All the best to you all and keep up the great work

Permahug

Helder

sublimart.blogspot.pt
wayne stephen
steward

Joined: Mar 11, 2012
Posts: 1186
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
    
  46
In your herbaceous layer how about growing the ingredients for traditional mediteranean zatar . Herbs such as marjoram , thyme to mix with your olive oil. Also sumac - shrub layer. Can you grow lemons ? Add lemon zest and you have a great zatar .


Permaculture is CPR for the planet !


joe pacelli


Joined: Oct 27, 2010
Posts: 65
    
  16
Laurie McCoy wrote:Hi Guys

I'm looking for tips on creating a Meditteranean food forest. Im hoping to start planting one in Southern Catalonia next year. Land is mainly made up of sandy soil which is currently home to pines, olives and almonds. Pretty "standard" stuff for this part of Spain. Don't want to use too much water of course. Any ideas?


Thank You


I would think olives, date palms (with an understory of bananas) would be a great start. Lemons, oranges, all the great acidic fruits.

Don't forget about Carob Trees, which produce a natural diabetic-safe version of chocolate.

Build swales on contour to sink water into the landscape evenly. Do a soil test and if you have more than 15% clay, consider some water features.

Great grow zone.


Located in zone 8a, eastern north carolina (coastal plain)
Xisca Nicolas


Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 897
Location: La Palma Canary Zone 11
    
    7
joe pacelli wrote:Don't forget about Carob Trees, which produce a natural diabetic-safe version of chocolate.


Cocoa is not a problem, only the sugar in chocolate!
I eat cocoa with bananas or dried fruits.... or pure with coco butter... never thought it was possible to eat unsweetened chocolate, but I do!

And carob is sweeter than cocoa... and no way, the taste is different.

Yes carob is full of nutrients, forget about comparing it!
 
 
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