Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Adding permaculture to young already planted orchard

 
Posts: 3
Location: SW Missouri
1
cattle trees chicken
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, this is my first post, I'm new and ignorant, please help !  If there is a thread already (probably is I just couldn't find it) about what to do when you have already planted and established fruit trees, although young, before you find out about permaculture, please point me to it :)

If there isn't, here is what I'm pondering.  

I have a very small orchard area of 12 trees.  I've got apple and peaches, soon a few cherry and plum will go into a couple new spots, and in place of a few of those that have died.  Since planting these trees in last couple years, I've now found out about things like swales, underplantings, etc etc.  I'm new at all of this, so I'm trying to soak all of it up and want to start incorporating permaculture principles in everything I am doing on our small farm.  

So what would be best for me to do now that the trees and the rows are already there?  I will be adding in some new ones, but the spots for them are established I'd guess you'd say.  

Also, what trees should I be looking at to put in my orchard as nitrogen fixers for my area?  Zone 6.  I was thinking in place of a couple of the trees that have died, I could possibly put some of those in as well?  

I've got lots of questions, and I thank you for any help you all can provide!  I look forward to trying to become a contributing member of the forum :)
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11352
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
738
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski does some wonderful things with edible and medicinal interplantings with trees:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwckFwPotAM
 
pioneer
Posts: 1157
Location: 4b
204
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would probably start by replacing whatever ground cover you currently have with nitrogen fixers like clovers.
 
Jay Cee
Posts: 3
Location: SW Missouri
1
cattle trees chicken
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the replies already.  Watched the video, these type of things are great.  I'll rewatch it with a notepad and write down species as he goes.  

Will look at the clover for the ground cover.  As well as comfrey is good for that too right?  
 
gardener
Posts: 6240
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
999
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jay Cee wrote:So, this is my first post, I'm new and ignorant, please help !  If there is a thread already (probably is I just couldn't find it) about what to do when you have already planted and established fruit trees, although young, before you find out about permaculture, please point me to it :)

If there isn't, here is what I'm pondering.  

I have a very small orchard area of 12 trees.  I've got apple and peaches, soon a few cherry and plum will go into a couple new spots, and in place of a few of those that have died.  Since planting these trees in last couple years, I've now found out about things like swales, underplantings, etc etc.  I'm new at all of this, so I'm trying to soak all of it up and want to start incorporating permaculture principles in everything I am doing on our small farm.  

So what would be best for me to do now that the trees and the rows are already there?  I will be adding in some new ones, but the spots for them are established I'd guess you'd say.  

Also, what trees should I be looking at to put in my orchard as nitrogen fixers for my area?  Zone 6.  I was thinking in place of a couple of the trees that have died, I could possibly put some of those in as well?  

I've got lots of questions, and I thank you for any help you all can provide!  I look forward to trying to become a contributing member of the forum :)



Welcome to permies!  

Where to start would be to first observe the water flow on your property in a rain event, this will show you where you need or want to put swales and berms in to a. slow the water so erosion doesn't occur, b. gather this water and let it soak into the soil or also move it slowly along to a gathering pond.
Understand that any trees already planted have root systems that extend at least 4 feet beyond their furthest reaching branch tips (the "drip line") and that you want to try and avoid disturbing those roots as much as possible.
Also understand that if you do disturb them (cutting is the normal problem but not a disaster) that you can stimulate new root growth fairly easily.

Trees don't go on the berm or in the swale, they go on the back side of the swale, this gives them solid soil to grow in and also provides water over a long period of time.
"Dirt works" usually are recommended to be done first, but if you are willing to make a meandering swale, you can put them in without a lot of issues for the already established trees or plants.
Nitrogen fixers are all the rage for most folks, as long as you have some in the areas under the trees, all will be good. but you also want fungi in the soil, especially mycorrhizal fungi because they help trees receive the needed nutrition. (see my soil series in the soil forum, access to them is at the top of the forum home page)

For nitrogen fixation in an orchard area, all the clovers are good, field peas, buckwheat, hairy vetch, etc.
Many of the medicinal herbs are also good companions for fruit trees, just pick the ones that will grow in partial shade if you want them fairly near the trunks, and don't rule out grasses, what you want are plants that will act like living mulch that you can cut and let lay as deteriorating  mulch later on.

Redhawk
 
Jay Cee
Posts: 3
Location: SW Missouri
1
cattle trees chicken
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, thank you for that response! answered some questions I didn't even realize I had ha!

Good to know about the earthworks. So not all is lost.
 
Posts: 6
Location: Maine
2
trees food preservation homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As Mr. Redhawk said, observe your water. Also take time to observe a multitude of other things such as what animals and birds are interacting with your system. Think about what creatures you want to attract and what creatures you prefer to stay away. Work to create naturally symbiotic relationships between plants, animals and humans.

Also, determine what the goals are for your orchard and land in general. For instance, I intend the grow a large percentage of my own fruits and vegetables. That’s goal one. I also want to create a pollinator friendly environment and build good soil health. In order to do this I’ve done a bunch of research to prepare for full implementation.

I’m incorporating poultry into my system because they will provide multiple functions. 1. Egg production 2. Poultry will aid in my compost process ( check out Edible Acres on YouTube, search for his chicken composting system, good stuff) 3. They will free range my orchard area and eat pests.

I’ll plant Siberian PeaShrub because it apparently fixes nitrogen and the poultry will enjoy the pea pods. I’ll plant seaberry because it fixes nitrogen and the berries have something like 15 times more vitamin C than oranges. Other things around my trees include chives, echinacea, catnip, daffodils and comfrey...

There’s lots of information to digest on this topic. Realize that full implementation may not occur in one season and that’s OK. It’s a process, some things will work others will not. Have fun with it.
 
I'm gonna teach you a lesson! Start by looking at this tiny ad:
September-October Homestead Skills Jamboree 2019
https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!