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Food Forest Plants for (Seasonally) Wet Sites

 
gardener
Posts: 986
Location: Western Washington
256
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I get asked all the time about possibilities for sites that are not quite wetlands, but that are saturated in the winter time. Conventional wisdom holds that these places are too wet to grow food, but I know it can be done. Here are some plants that I have heard of and/or seen used on wet sites. Please feel free to add to it, or tell me what your experience has been with them.

Note: This is for sites where earthworks can’t be done for one reason or another, and the site has to be used as-is.

American Persimmon
Mayhaw
Pacific Crabapple (as a rootstock for other apples)
Willow (basketry, medicine, rooting hormone)
Aronia
Quince (as rootstock for quince and other fruits)
Black Walnut
Heartnut

I have seen people plant in mounds (berms) with some success, though even with plants on them these tend to erode over time. Building hugelbeds in the forest garden seems to wick away excess moisture and improve fertility.
 
pollinator
Posts: 477
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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My place has a lot of these conditions!  I have a lot of drainage ditches that I clean out into mounds to plant into.
Plum trees have been the best fruit for really wet sites, even with some standing water in the winter they seem to survive.  Elderberry are also pretty good there.  Hawthorn is also good there and can be used as a rootstock for many pears.
Apples and pears seem to be ok a foot or two up a mound.  Any mound will settle over time though so it will need added to if there is not any higher ground within 15 feet to get roots growing into.

 
James Landreth
gardener
Posts: 986
Location: Western Washington
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I'm wondering about Elderberry as well, now that I think about it. I know that black can thrive in wet conditions, but I've only seen our native blue on dry lands
 
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
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A lot of blueberry species seem to love wet soil.
 
Why should I lose weight? They make bigger overalls. And they sure don't make overalls for tiny ads:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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