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Paul continues his call with Jennie in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.

Jennie wants an apple food forest, to which Paul suggests having no more than 1/10 trees being apple or any other species exceeding 10% population.  The rest of the forest can be comprised of black locust, walnut, black walnut (off to one side due to allelopathic roots), apricot, plum, etc.  25% of the trees should be nitrogen-fixing, and 40% or more should be taprooted.  However, taproots are destroyed whenever you transplant them, so the best way around that is to start a lot of trees from seed in the area you want them to grow.  Only 1 in 20 of those seeds will make it to adulthood, so plant like crazy.

On the other side of the berms, Paul suggests planting Willow, Poplar, and Cottonwood to make a willow feeder system with a nearby outhouse for them to feed off of.  Best placed close to the berms so that they get extra water running off them.  Seeing as the property has a septic tank and drain field, it’d be good to grow a whole bunch of grass over them so that they keep watered and fertilised year round for use as mulch.  

When you build the hugelkultur beds, do so near the trees so that any nutrients or water that comes off of them goes straight down to them.  When planting trees, it’s better to plant $0.10 trees in a $10 hole than the other way around – make the hole much larger than it needs to be, mix in compost with the soil, and find some organic alfalfa meal, regular hay and alfalfa hay to mix in as well.  Just keep the amount of alfalfa in the mix to around 5-10%, else it’ll be too rich for the tree.

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lean With Cleaners You Can Eat by Raven Ranson

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