Geoff Lawton wrote:Hi organick McCoy
initially you are in a spacial race with the weeds if you win the race the gain the potentially productive space with very little need for maintenance work. I love to ridiculously over stack new systems and have a surplus chop and drop mulch to feed the soil.
The first major return of surplus I think we should concentrate on and aim at in food forest establishment is organic matter, fast carbon pathways of return by design.
Once establishment starts to evolve refined sophisticated placements can be selected to occupy very specific niches.
Time gains are a prize if soils are being created as a by product of our actions.
Brenda Groth wrote:I know you are dealing with existing trees, but some permaculture food forest books suggest even planting a nitrogen fixer in the SAME HOLE. So I guess that they would also be suggesting that they are ok really close..obviously.
I would say it depends on the tree and it's adult size. If it is a very large tree such as the black walnut, for one thing the sun will reach quite deeply below it esp in spring and fall, so as long as any plants that require sun get it, it shouldn't really matter. ..unless of course it doesn't work with the juglone.
As for shorter trees or suckering trees there may be a need to space wider..esp if it makes harvesting difficult. If the understory doesn't interefere with harvest and doesn't grow up into the original tree, to where it will damage the branches, close should be OK.
perennials that die down to the ground in the fall can be nearly anywhere, be careful of thorney bushes with trees you'll be harvesting from, maybe just use them as a hedge beyond the dripline.