I'll be moving into some property next spring and want to get started right away on my food forest and have been checking out alot of Geoff Lawton's videos and diagrams online as well as reading alot.
We plan on getting chickens right away as well so I'm planning to let them loose in this new area for a while - next step I'd like to put down a good amount of legumes, is there a certain variety or cheap seed to accomplish this in the first season? Fava beans? Bush beans? Peas? Do you go with something that is edible or are you just looking to fix nitrogen? I've already got 12 or so varieties of tree starts and looking to put things in thick to start out. Oh and this is a small area maybe 1/8 or less of an acre.
If you're planning on having chickens, legumes that will provide greens and seeds (peas) for them to eat would be a second function worth considering.
I planted some of these Admiral Field Peas in the early fall and they are about 3 feet tall and loaded with peas and still flowering. They got smashed down by a foot of wet snow last week but once it melted they just kept growing. I've been cutting them off at ground level and feeding them to the pigs, chickens and ducks. You could also wait for the peas to dry and then use them in soups or winter storage.
Clovers are also pretty good and chickens will eat them too. They would bring in the pollinators. They are durable and self seeding for the most part so if you want them in high traffic areas they can take a beating.
Of course you can't go wrong by mixing up a few varieties and seeing which ones do best for you.
Tetrelite intermediate ryegrass
Tetraploid perennial ryegrass
Common Flax Buckwheat
Tetraploid annual ryegrass
Japanese Millet in Spring and Summer or Ryegrain in Fall and winter
Red clover, OMRI listed coating
Strawberry clover, OMRI listed coating
Alfalfa, OMRI listed coating
Ladino clover, OMRI listed coating
Broadleaf Trefoil, OMRI listed coating