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Creating a forest farm - thoughts, ideas, suggestions

 
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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 flat. 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 zone 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: Northern and Southern, divided by the main way.

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 rows of trees there is space for 2 more beds (1.10mt each) (pathways are estimated around 60cm)
-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 first photo shows the place, if you pay attention you can spot the 2 giants

The second photo shows contour line as well as rows of trees, notice that in the end they will be much more rounded, no straight lines. You may spot the future greenhouse.

The 3rd photo shows zones 1 to 5. Market garden is integrated in the forest gardens in zones 1-2, in zones 2-3 are mostly composed of fruit trees not too tall, also vegetable garden beds are present. From zone 4 it's getting wilder: bigger trees(especially chestnut, walnut, pecan... And then?), Trees for firewood, pasture lands.... Zone 5 you already know!

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 in zones 1,2,3:
on my rows, i should choose the spacing of canopy layer. This layer will be composed of sun loving trees that should not grow over 5-6mt tall to facilitate harvest.
In Between of 6mt trees I'll place a lower tree or a shrub(something that is ok with a bit of shade), and underneath I'll find place for herbaceous layer and smaller shrubs.
... I repeat just to make it clear, I'm now placing the canopy layer to give a basic structure to the forest, then i will fill spaces and niches. My question is: how much space shall i use in this structure given by canopy layer, in order to be later able to comfortably fill the space underneath?
I was thinking 5 or 6 or 7 mt between each canopy tree... But I'm undecided

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

What do you think about the project more in general?

I took two years to get to this point and this design. I'm now starting to realize it!
I will keep adding updates, thoughts, ideas, questions, and answers

I hope i wrote clearly even if my English is not perfect. Thanks for reading


Screenshot_20210218_191455.jpg
The place
The place
Screenshot_20210218_214938_com.whatsapp.jpg
Trees lines (they will actually be rounded)
Trees rows(they will actually be rounded)
PicsArt_12-05-01.29.11.jpg
Zones 1 to five
Zones 1 to 5
 
gardener
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Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Great Amedeo! Coming from a place of biodiversity, are you going to create a pond? That would attract a lot of species to your terrain helping to stabalize the plagues that might otherwise be bothersome. And it could be nice to swim in. But it costs quite some money. And might attract deer and wildlife that nibble your trees as well. Hmm. Din’t know how the situation is.
I don’t see many hedges, is it not a windy area? Stuff like black locust or Italian Alder which fixes nitrogen would that grow where you are? Good to make fences with as well. Or stuff like poles for hanging grape vines or hops from, blocking more sun and wind.
Handy you work at a nursery. For getting the skills and access to trees and all.
 
master gardener
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Location: Eilean a' Cheo
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Hello Amedeo,
I won't presume to offer suggestions on your plantings it sounds like you are thinking things through.  As regards the electricity pylons.  I know what you mean about the buzz, particularly when the air is damp.  I can offer two good thoughts and one not so good.
First the not so good; before you do too much planting of tall trees, bear in mind that the electicity distribution company probably come around and clear trees near the wires.  Find out what their restrictions are before you plant anything that you will regret them coppicing for you.
Now the somewhat good: The buzzing is electric discharge, see scientific american  like lightning see sciencefacts it will tend to create nitric oxides see Corona discharge, which add eventually to accessable nitrogen for plants.  Unfortunately along with less desireable gases perhaps....
The second somewhat good is that birds often use them to perch on, see discover wildlife (and build nests which causes the distribution network some problems) this means that nutrients and seeds in their poop will be distributed under the lines.
I hope these thoughts will help you make some use of a problem.  I know the noise is annoying.  Maybe you can mask it with another noise, bamboo or aspen leaves, water feature....
Otherwise it does sound like you have a potential paradise there.
 
pollinator
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Location: Málaga, Spain
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Good land, indeed.

There are a few things missing in your analysis:
Water flows, rain distribution and dominant winds.

Even if you have infinite water from that well, I would design the land as if you didn't have it. I would use the water from the well as an enhancement, but would try also to not depend on it. I would also not care much about the electric towers, just avoid having big trees around them.

I think you have two "creeks" in your property. One is running south of where the pathway meets the house, towards the southwest, the other is in the north part, running from east to west. That's probably where most water goes, and that's where I would try to hold some of it, might it be a pond or just a water tank.

Now, after getting all your terrain facts, that's the crucial moment where you 'observe' it. That's something we cannot do from here. Sit calmly, focus on your breath as if you were meditating, then switch your focus to the land and observe it. Keep doing it several days. Do it in sunny and rainy wheater, hot and cold. Maybe go find some wild terrain which shares the features of yours, and look what Nature does when we let her. Try to understand what you terrain wants to become, and then help it get there, selecting especies that you can benefit from.
Since we cannot do this work for you, the following are just suggestion that might or might not apply:

- Try planting trees in keylines, the spacing between rows depending on what you are going to create, orchard or pasture. These tree rows will act as small wooden terraces, improving water flows.
- If you are going to farm for profit, try using standard sizes. For example, vegetable beds of 10m x 1,20m, all of them the same size. Whatever does not fit, leave it for 'edge'.
- If you want an orchard, you might want to maximize fruit production per tree. Give them the spacing they will need when mature. Also, give yourself some walking space to attend your trees.
- Any tree that you plant for organic matter and shade, you don't need to care about spacing. Just have a bunch of them, and chopp down the weaker ones when they compete too much.
- Select species that will survive even if you don't irrigate them (but they might give better crops when irrigated!). If you are going into farming, don't overdo it with diversity, it would give you a harder time selling your produce.
- If you are going for livestock, try creating four fenced zones and rotate your animales to graze on each of them for a couple of weeks.
- Start working with the higher level of permanence, that is, modify your terrain features first, then your trees, then your crops, then your animals management.
- The big slope at the south of your property is good for wilderness. Leave it for birds and bugs.
- The zones don't have to be equal in size. If your terrain is good for a specific zone (growing food, for example), let this zone occupy most of the terrain.
 
Amedeo Nofal
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WATER MANAGEMENT
1 trees and garden beds are raised, so it feels like many swales one after the other
2 these beds are almost designed in keyline, they try to follow the contour lines. Just the north east zone shows a significant difference
When comparing contour lines and design lines
3 water actually trends to flow a little, especially after ripping on contour, the morphology get the water trapped in some different places, at least 10... To me That means at least 10 places for ponds! Given the clay soil they shouldn't be too hard to create with a moderate and gradual investment on my neighbor with his backhoe! Ah... Forgot to mention, he has a 4ha lake (500mt from me) XD

Others things to mention, the scarcity of water in summer is definitely mitigated by clay soil, especially if i create a bit of shade with trees

So, finally, even if I'll have no water in future the ecosystem will not be compromised

ELECTRIC TOWERS
i will do the opposite somebody is suggesting, because i care, and i don't like either the visual pollution and the noise... Then I'll place some huge and fast trees, definitely losing some productivity... I'm thinking about eucalyptus... Is there anything as big that also produce something? Maybe walnut? But it won't get to 35mt i guess...

PRODUCTIVE FORESTRY

About all other suggestions, i agree!
Just, the tree spacing... I think i will start a row with this pattern of distances: 8m,8m,6m,6m and it repeats till the end of the row. At those distances I'll place sun demanding trees, than, at half distance (3m or 4m i will Place smaller trees and shrubs)...i feel i Need a starting point, not to make it too messy,to manage the forest I'm getting inspiration from Stefan Sobkowiak.

I also feel that with this pattern of distances i can always fit in different kind of trees and shrubs basing on their light and space needs. Of course I'm still keeping my ears open to improve my way of thinking

Thanks for all suggestions, really interesting and helpful
Screenshot_20210317_131642.jpg
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_20210317_131642.jpg]
 
Abraham Palma
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Please, not eucaliptus XD
I would try poplar, they grow big and fast. Maybe some cypresses.

About distances, it depends on the spacing you need for management and whether you are going to use machinery. Look how tall and wide your pruned trees would be (so they don't touch each other, but also there's not too much exposed soil), plus the space you need for moving and servicing the trees. I'd say it depends mostly on what you are going to plant and how you are going to manage it. I would not go for such fixed spacing, maybe a fixed 10 meters between rows, rows on keylines, then each tree planted so there's 1 meter of space between the mature trees. Let's say you want to plant tree A which is 8 m wide next to tree B which is 6 m wide once they are grown ups. The spacing between them would be 4 + 1 + 3 = 8 meters. This way you can adapt if you change later your mind.

My family has an olive orchard and they let enough space for the tractor to move in straight lines in a couple of directions (east to west, and north-east to south-west), but that's a monocrop managed the industrial way.
 
Amedeo Nofal
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Abraham Palma wrote:Please, not eucaliptus XD
I would try poplar, they grow big and fast. Maybe some cypresses.

About distances, it depends on the spacing you need for management and whether you are going to use machinery. Look how tall and wide your pruned trees would be (so they don't touch each ............ I would not go for such fixed spacing, maybe a fixed 10 meters between row Let's say you want to plant tree A which is 8 m wide next to tree B which is 6 m wide once they are grown ups. The spacing between them would be 4 + 1 + 3 = 8 meters. This way you can adapt if you change later your mind.



Amazing answer! Thanks... This gives me a lot to think about.
I know the trees I'm planting, if i want some profit i want mostly mainstram foods: apples, pears, cherries, prunes, apricots, maybe some hardy peaches, oranges, lemons and other citrus, berries, hardy grapes, kiwi
Then...chestnut, walnut, almond, hazels, pecan
Then some Persimmons, loquat trees, mulberries,pomegranate, figs... And so on, maybe by the time i give up with some cultivars because they are not good for my place(but they should), or because they need too much time

I know that the average tall tree will be 5mt tall, maybe 6... I need to easily reach the fruit! So... Is there any average diameter for a tree that is 5-6mt tall?

About the tractor, i don't have it at the moment, but an orchard vtractor could fit very easily in 1.40mt... i have five mt between rows!
 
Abraham Palma
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Maybe this link can help:
average width of trees
Sizes are in feet, but you get the idea. Wild cherry tree can be 50 feet in diameter, 15 meters. Say you leave 2 meters for your machinery, that means that you have to plant your next cherry tree 17 meters apart.
4 to 6 meters seems to be the most common diameter for fruit trees. But chestnuts, pinyon pine, pecan and the like can be massive. In the worst case, you can prune them to your desired size, but that might give more work than necessary and reduce the yield.

Given that the keylines don't usually walk in parallel, you could set your rows with a minimum distance of 8 meters (6 for the average tree, 2 for walking), and plant the bigger trees where the distance between rows is bigger. Or you can make the distance between rows even bigger and plant some shrubs in between. Grapes, for example. If you dislike the shape of the terrain, you can try swales and terraform it a little bit. There are plenty of options.

Now that I think of it, maybe your trees with the lowest maintenance and bigger size (nuts) could be planted farther from the house to save you walking time.

Have fun!
 
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Hmm... the zone map looks pretty simplified. Usually there would be more frequent visits along paths and driveways. Not that the map you show is impossible, it just looks like your design has a ways to evolve.

Neat idea about pond sites and off-contour swales. A few points, however: anything steeper than a 2% grade starts to erode or carry sediment; this is ok if you have rock-lined channels, but since you’re talking swales it’s not wise to go off contour any further than that; if graded toward ponds, the swales will wash anything that floats or is water soluble into the ponds; this can be a good thing, or it can be bothersome; and the swales will not soak as much water into the soil or collect as much nutrient if they let the water run off.
 
Nancy Reading
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Could you consider Italian alder, Alnus cordata on your site as a screening tree?  It is quick growing in the UK and nitrogen fixing.  Not sure whether your rainfall is sufficient, but it is said to like heavier soils, so may be worth considering (I like alder!).
 
Amedeo Nofal
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Thanks for you considerations!

WATER FLOWING MANAGEMENT should be improved in North East quadrant you are right! In other points the contour line is pretty much parallele to my rows... I should study a way to slow water

ALDERS, POPLARS, CHESTNUTS, WALNUTS are deciduous actually,  how could i expect from them to cover anything 🙃

So why not eucalyptus???
 
Abraham Palma
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So why not eucalyptus???



It's cataloged as invasive species here in Europe. If you want perennial, go for cypresses. It's very common to build cypresses walls, they grow fast the first 20 meters.
 
Posts: 178
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Abraham Palma wrote:

So why not eucalyptus???



It's cataloged as invasive species here in Europe. If you want perennial, go for cypresses. It's very common to build cypresses walls, they grow fast the first 20 meters.



I have a friendly disagreement about this. Ernst Götsch has talked long about this issue. The problem are not the trees, the problem is the monocultive.

https://agendagotsch.com/en/eucalyptus-another-scapegoat-of-our-society/

And about your project, Amedeo, it is great. I planted a lot, first I was planting more chaotic but then I decided to plant rows. It helps me manage the thing. I have plans for the future for "unrow the rows" but at this stage it is good for me. What I plan is to cut some support trees, add others in between . I planted in 2500 square meters more than 500 trees, let's see if that makes me feel in the woodlands. I plan to do more in the rest of the property, but it belongs to my uncles. Anyway, I will do a lot of stuff. Let's see how it goes and what can we share about our mediterranean climates
 
Antonio Hache
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Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Amedeo Nofal wrote: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 flat. 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 zone 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: Northern and Southern, divided by the main way.

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 rows of trees there is space for 2 more beds (1.10mt each) (pathways are estimated around 60cm)
-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 first photo shows the place, if you pay attention you can spot the 2 giants

The second photo shows contour line as well as rows of trees, notice that in the end they will be much more rounded, no straight lines. You may spot the future greenhouse.

The 3rd photo shows zones 1 to 5. Market garden is integrated in the forest gardens in zones 1-2, in zones 2-3 are mostly composed of fruit trees not too tall, also vegetable garden beds are present. From zone 4 it's getting wilder: bigger trees(especially chestnut, walnut, pecan... And then?), Trees for firewood, pasture lands.... Zone 5 you already know!

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 in zones 1,2,3:
on my rows, i should choose the spacing of canopy layer. This layer will be composed of sun loving trees that should not grow over 5-6mt tall to facilitate harvest.
In Between of 6mt trees I'll place a lower tree or a shrub(something that is ok with a bit of shade), and underneath I'll find place for herbaceous layer and smaller shrubs.
... I repeat just to make it clear, I'm now placing the canopy layer to give a basic structure to the forest, then i will fill spaces and niches. My question is: how much space shall i use in this structure given by canopy layer, in order to be later able to comfortably fill the space underneath?
I was thinking 5 or 6 or 7 mt between each canopy tree... But I'm undecided

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

What do you think about the project more in general?

I took two years to get to this point and this design. I'm now starting to realize it!
I will keep adding updates, thoughts, ideas, questions, and answers

I hope i wrote clearly even if my English is not perfect. Thanks for reading




I will answer you with some of my experience with tree rows. I was counseled by the friends of Agroforestry Academy (sintropic method) .

The advice they gave me, and I followed it, is: choose fruit trees consortiums based on different strata. For example, citrus + figs. And give them the regular spacing. In between, plant three times more support trees (nitrogen fixers, fast growers for mulch, etc). Don’t be shy on density, you will chop a lot. And in between objective trees (fruit trees) and support trees, place all the seeds that you can find in muvucas or seed cocktails. So this way, you will have plan A, plan B and plan C?

Aim for the cheapest possible, this is trial and error. Better spend 50€ in seeds than in trees. Then, you will observe what thrives, this is fascinating. Dont be too worried now about canopies or whatsoever. If you plant 100 mulberries, think of them as you are planting natural fertilizer. Some trees give you fruit, others will give you knowledge, others mulch, other biodiversity to attract wildlife.


I bought lots of service trees, there are websites here in Spain where you can get small trees for 2€. I bought Robinia Pseuodacacia, Populus Alba and Nigra, Ulmus, Casuarina, Grevillea, Eucalyptus (yes!) melia azederah, tilia, ginko, morus alba and nigra... those are my service trees. Some of them will be a lot with me, some others will not.

For fruit trees, I made different consortiums on the different rows. One was Olives + Chestnuts. Other, Citrus + Figs. Kaki + Pomegranate. Pear + Plum (and made a subrow, Apricot + Apple). I made a tropical row, but it died with the unusual frost. No worries, everything is learning, I will replace it with citrus and figs.

So it is citrus every 3m, with one fig tree between each citrus, with a couple of support trees between all the fruit trees (some of them, I placed 3-4 in the same hole, Miyawaki style) and seed cocktail between each tree. I dont want more than 30cm without anything growing. First, lets see what grows. Second, manage. In the seed cocktail I placed some stuff that I already had, and some stuff that is typical mediterranean (like almonds, carob). And I went nuts and placed rare seeds that I found online in rarepalmseeds.com or other websites. Species from all around the world. Also I placed seeds of smaller strata: shrubs, herbs, perennial vegetables. I want to see what thrives here, on this specific soil and climate. Better than aiming for this perfect spacing and this tree suffering, I kind of STUN (Mark Shepard). Nature will do its work. So, what is our work? Manage. Care for the fruit trees, put all the other stuf to work. If you know the strata (from canopy to roots) you will see what is working well, so you will decide what stays. You know you can have this much canopy trees, so you have two options: one, decide now your ideal canopy. Problem: you dont know if it will thrive. Two, plant TONS of trees, spending the minimum (thats why I buy small 2€ saplings and lots of seeds) observe and decide. You may think that species A was your ideal canopy, to find that B made better.

Between rows, I did two things

One, vegetable beds. A new one every 15 days. I am reevaluating this.

Two, in other part of the property, broadcast seed cocktails, for soil improvement, ground cover, green manure. This is going crazy, but okay.


I planted the tree rows on October 12 2020. I made some corrections in January and I will replace the tropicals now in April (except 2 guavas that survived)

I sowed the seed cocktails on November 27. At this moment I have several almond trees, apricot, peach, cherries, plums, quince, loquat, walnut and chesnut growing from seed. Also fennel, sage, mint, lemon balm, oregano, dill, and lots of lathyrus. I will let it grow, and prune or eliminate, or favor some stuff, etc


More or less this is how I did it. I am happy with it. It was a HUGE effort planting all at once, it was hard, but I dont regret about it. It is good to have everything from the begining and see how it evolves


Hope this helps!
 
Amedeo Nofal
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Thanks for your amazing answers!!! I'm reading and considering all of them

Eucalyptus here is not invasive, perhaps just  near a river/pond but I'm not sure

Here you are the actual design of my forestry rows. 10mt distance. In between I'll be market gardening following the same shape... I'm in love with this shapes...  I hope that growing annual vegetables with this curvy design will not be harder to manage than straight rows... The curve is very light

IMG_20210403_044005.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210403_044005.jpg]
 
Amedeo Nofal
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I finally made some decisions about beds design

I will start with 80-45 bed-path size and 7 market garden beds between tree rows... As the time goes and trees grow, i will probably eliminate the garden beds close to trees

I will try to keep the light curve in order to follow the flow of the big design, if i find it harder to manage a curvy bed, i will straighten the beds... But i hope it will not be harder to manage
IMG_20210410_120955.jpg
How it will look soon
How it will look soon
Screenshot_20210410_120846.jpg
How it will look later on
How it will look later on
 
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Amedeo,

Offering one last (intended to be helpful) suggestion related to the electrical towers, I realize that we do not see eye to eye on planting trees under power lines as you referenced above. I do not know what the rules are in your country and on your property easement, but I would strongly recommend you do some research and understand them before you spend money on beds and plantings. I say that because I have direct experience with the power company trimming, cutting, and spraying (killing) trees on my property under and near the powerlines, which they can legally do under the current easement/laws. Then the chemical sprays wash downhill and kill more trees not near the lines. Lost some big nice oaks in this manner. Had I realized this would happen, i would have taken out the dinky pines they were spraying myself.

Where I am at the power company is legally granted access to my property to an easement, likely signed many decades ago, as well as more recent agreements related to signing up for electrical service. If I were to put up a “barrier” preventing their ingress / egress, (garden beds/fence/trees) they can legally take steps to gain access (destroy it). Trees near lines can be trimmed or killed as they see fit. There are some very limited protections offered in my local states laws for "crops", however I would likely need to take additional steps prior to expecting any reprieve under those laws and they likely do not apply to trees.

I would not want you to suffer a financial loss from investing in trees or beds just to see them poisoned or destroyed, thus my suggestion to do your research first prior to planting. Perhaps the laws and easements are significantly more lax in your country, however it would shock me if there were truly no restrictions. If you do plant under the lines, something as simple as a 10' access pathway near the lines would go a long way towards building goodwill with the utility crews, else they come back with their helicopter full of herbicide and "maintain" from the sky. Yes, that is what they do around here if needed.

Best of luck with your project.
 
Antonio Hache
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Amedeo Nofal wrote:I finally made some decisions about beds design

I will start with 80-45 bed-path size and 7 market garden beds between tree rows... As the time goes and trees grow, i will probably eliminate the garden beds close to trees

I will try to keep the light curve in order to follow the flow of the big design, if i find it harder to manage a curvy bed, i will straighten the beds... But i hope it will not be harder to manage



I think the curvy bed might be a little bit more difficult (as it is more difficult to make a curve than a straight line) but anyway, rows are a way to go on this phase. At the beggining of my project I started to place trees here and there trying to give a more "natural look". But if you put trees here and there, you have to manage each tree. If you plant rows, you manage the row, so it is more efficient. This is because when the design is "random", you need a design, a map, to remember where is what and why. And with the row, just follow it. And as you say, you can make changes
 
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Mark Shepard does something extremely similar. He has curved rows of trees roughly following contour, rotates animals through this as a silvopasture, and puts crops like asparagus between the rows of trees. He has some pretty heavy curves and a lot of diversity, and doesn’t seem to have trouble with maintenance. He rarely hires anyone.
 
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