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Creating a forest farm - thoughts, ideas, suggestions

 
Posts: 29
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hello! I've been reading for too long, so i finally logged in and posted! glad to be here!

i'm Amedeo, 30yrs old, I left any job i ever had, felt them not good enough, with great will I moved in the abandoned land that my gone grandparents gifted me with.
I'm living in their ruins fixing the house, i've recently found a job in an orchard trees nursery since i have this desire of creating a paradise food forest to build harmony, beauty and aboundance for me and others, i'd like to start a business producing all sorts of vegetables, then fruit, eggs, nuts... then why not mushrums, wooden cabins and god knows what else (if i'll be strong, clever and perseverant enough)

My aim is to live a rich life thanks to nature, serve families with a variety of fresh and natural food full of taste and love. I'll try to have many species, focusing on taste and resilience.

THE PLACE

i'm in central Italy,close to Rome, 30km far from the west coast.

I own 3 hectars of deep good clay soil, almost flat, but not too much. ph 6.4, o.m. 2.4%, plenty of elements.
it tends to be waterlogged in winter, especially in flattest points, and it is dry in the hot summers. it's pretty heavy and tends to compaction.
as said: wet and mild winters, hot dry summers. USDA 9 - 800mm average annual rain.
the plot has a rectangular shape, 200x100mt.
high sun exposure (especially from W-SW)
a deep well(100mt), that was already available, can pump infinite water all year long. that's why my area is producing kiwis for all the world almost. yet i'm afraid that this(monoculture) is a bad way to manage aboundance and the future may be unpredictable.water has ph around 8.5 and i should test it yet.
The place exposed to winds from all sides since around there are just flat conventional farms

House, storage and well are pretty much in the center of the field, that is divided in two quadrants: North and South

Everything amazing so far and you wish you were me right!? ... Well, the southern quadrant has 2 f*****ng huge electric poles right in the middle(35 mt tall), they are not even quiet, you can ear the electricity passing... I should find a way to cover them with some fast and tall tree, suggestions?

OBSERVATIONS BECOMING PART OF THE PROJECT

i spotted weed growing amazingly on any sort of mound, it states that wherever drainage is good, fertility is great, thus, mound planting/raised beds/mild swales will be my way of working
i will work on contour. raise the ground make sense, but never too much, summers are really dry

THE DESIGN

let's explain the project: a cross between a forest farm and a forest garden, i want to farm, but i want to feel in a forest/woodland. any pattern, clearing, house, animals etc. will be integrated in the forest itself.

in order to feel in a woodland rather than in agricoltural land i'm using these patterns:
-rows are not straight, but in slightly concentric circles(that follows the contour pattern)
-rows are 1.10mt thick and densely planted, i'll try to space trees enough and add a lot of herbaceous and ground cover
-main rows (featuring trees) are 5mt far from each other, one is almost dense of trees and shrubs, and the other has trees scattered far apart, in order to create visual "mess" and light infiltration to produce annual vegetables underneat(market garden style probably or better syntropyc style).
-between 2 trees rows, there is space for 2 more beds
-pathways should be kept green and alive, I'll try to learn how to manage them in this way, I'm not sure to be able

The photo shows contour line as well as rows of trees, notice that in the end they will be much more rounded, no straight lines

If you have any suggestion on these or other points, i will appreciate! Especially if you have ideas of efficient ways of forest farming that feels more like a forest


DESIGN ISSUES

Definitely I need suggestions on spacing trees and shrubs:
I hope 5-6 meters is enough between the canopy layer, that should not grow over 5-6mt.
Between two 6m trees I'll place a low tree/shrub(something that needs a bit of shade)
And under I'll find place for herbaceous layer and small shrubs

What do you think about spacing, do you have any suggestion or thoughs to share?

What do you think about the project more in general?

I will keep adding updates, questions, and answers

Thanks for reading



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Posts: 83
Location: North Thomas Lake, Manitoba
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Hey Amadeo!

I think your plan sounds beautiful. Your spacing seems fine. I think the fullness/thickness of your food forest will depend a lot on what you're planting in between the canopy trees. If you go with 5m spacing of canopy trees and in between each of those you plant an understory tree then your forest will be very dense. If instead you choose 6m spacing and interplant with medium sized shrubs then the forest might be much more open.

I'm planning 30 ft between canopy trees on my project, which should leave things very open.

Good luck getting things started this spring - I hear Italy is dealing with new lockdowns now.

Please keep us updated!
 
pioneer
Posts: 394
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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It's great that you have a zone 3-4 plan, now besides refining that, you need to get your sectors and zones on a map, and at least one starting point, a catalyst for design, so that the property can start to design itself. This can be as simple as an ideal position for a high swale.
 
Amedeo Nofal
Posts: 29
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I made a mistake, the actual post is here:
https://permies.com/t/157739/Creating-forest-farm-thoughts-ideas#1236891

thanks for your advise, it is being really useful in decidin trees spacing!
 
She's brilliant. She can see what can be and is not limited to what is. And she knows this tiny ad:
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