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Zone 6a - Kansas Starting a food forest. any tree and ground cover suggestions?

 
                                  
Posts: 10
Location: Chautauqua County KS
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I am starting!
40 beautiful acres I plan on escaping to in 3-5 years. I need to start the food forest now. In southeast KS, lots of big oaks. My food forest spot is around 200'x 300' in a grassy area now. If I can get some suggestions on initial ground cover planting and fruit/nut trees suitable for zone 6a, I would appreciate it very much. Or even some direction on reference books.
If there are any Permies in the SE KS area, I would love meetup, exchange schemes and dreams...

thanks
 
Paul Cereghino
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Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Buffalo!

congratulations
 
                    
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You have quite a few options.  Ground cover really depends on the status of your soil.  Clovers, alfalfa, sweet potato could be used around shrubs for a covering, field pea, vetch, and buckwheat are annuals but do wonders for your soil.  There are several nut trees to choose from: pecan, butternut, walnut, chestnut, hazelnut, shagbark hickory to name a few.  Fruits would include apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots, pears, cherry, and mulberry.  White mulberry contains 19% protein so is good for chicken forage.  It really depends on your goals on what you may want to use.  I live Mid-Missouri so our plant selections would be the same.
 
                    
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I forgot to mention that I have lupine seed I am going to plant a lot of it in areas.  It is a legume that has pretty flowers and gets about 4' tall.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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You might also consider recreating a small prairie on your place if your part of Kansas was prairie in the past.

http://www.kansasheritage.org/prairie/

"Renewing the Native Food Traditions of Bison Nation

This annotated list highlights certain food traditions of Bison Nation (the Great Plains) that could be restored concomitant with the restoration of free-ranging bison to large tracts of the short-grass plains and tall-grass prairies. The RAFT consortium offers this preliminary list to encourage more collaboration among conservation biologists, restoration ecologists, the Intertribal Bison Cooperative, wild foragers, hunters, chefs, nutrition educators and local food system activists. RAFT hopes that discussion of this inventory among diverse parties will eventually lead to more sustainable harvests of the unique, traditional foods of Bison Nation.

    * Download Renewing the Native Food Traditions of Bison Nation (PDF 8 pages, 770K)"

http://www.slowfoodutah.org/resources/view/147387/?topic=8804
 
                                  
Posts: 10
Location: Chautauqua County KS
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Thanks for the info! Just ordered "Edible Forest Gardens" and "Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles" Should take a while to digest all that.
My main concern is I believe the soil quality is poor. Hard packed and no thatch or ground cover from repreated burning. The grasses are being squeezed because of the lespadeza that is out of control. The locals tell me to spray it. I'd rather not. Goats could clean it up, but I'm not living on the land yet and it's 2 hours away, so I can't monitor it. I'm thinkin maybe mow it all short, cover with straw and mulch, let it sit over the winter and disk it up next spring, cover with straw and mulch again and plant the trees. Sadly, I'll have to surround this forest with a 6' fence, I'm in the heart of deer country...
 
                                  
Posts: 10
Location: Chautauqua County KS
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So I'm thinking I'll disk the food forest area and cover with straw this fall, disk again next spring, plant trees and a cover crop of soybean, hairy vetch, and alfalfa and keep it mown to add cover, compost and nitrogen to the soil. In a couple years, introduce bushes.
good idea?
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Lespedeza is a legume, so you probably have a lot of nitrogen in your soil.  It is also an excellent deer browse, so getting rid of it might reduce the deer pressure.  Quail will thrive on its seeds.

Lespedeza is also a very good firewood.  Second year growth yields about 11,000 pounds per acre!  If it has 'taken over', you probably have a lifetime supply of RMH fuel.

It is also a valuable, highly nutritious animal feed.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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