• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Subtropical food forest update

 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would love to hear any comments or questions. I hope you enjoy

 
Jim Porter
Posts: 37
Location: USA, West central Florida
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice update, Jason. I was wondering about the spacing of the pineapple and the lemon grass. They seemed really close together to me, based on the mature size that each of those reaches here in my yard in central Florida.
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jim, Thank you for your comment.

I'll explain my thoughts on why I planted the pineapples and lemongrass the way I did.

Typically, you want to plant lemon grass on 3 ft spacing. I planted on 12-18 inch spacing (closer to 12in) in order to fill the space in quick without weeds popping up. I want to produce a lot of mulch in that area. One of my growing techniques is to plant densely to encourage a quick establishment. When the plants start to mature more, they are then harvested as mulch, product, or planting material if they were planted closer than recommended. It is much easier to maintain a nursery in the ground than it is in pots, as the pots often need lots of feeding and more attention.

We grew pineapples in hawaii and one of the issues the farmer use to have was weed competition. He started planting 1 ft apart to try to reduce the weeds. Nothing is worse than trying to weed your pineapple patch. He experienced great results, reduce weeds and no noticed plant competition. When searching through the web in the past www.tropicalpermaculture.com recommends this as well. You are correct, pineapples do get quite large about 3 feet around and I have seen some almost 4 feet high.

Remember, I am working to establish a large food forest so these dense plantings will help reduce the need to weed, and will provide the extra products during the early stages.

This is my first time growing pine apples in South Florida so I am giving that technique a shot. Worst comes to worst, some plants are removed and re-planted - the good ol' nursery technique. I have faith it will work here though.

I will update this thread with some photos or video of the pineapple progress.

What do you think?
Jason
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1277
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Man, there's job already done there! Great!

Yes I have some questions so that I can do better myself... It gives me idea for my little wet patch, but I cannot do as much as you, I have less water and less land. I have 2-3 bananas, and I will add a little more anyway, I love bananas. My pigeon peas and canna are still in the seed packet... you think I can sow them now? I never have less than 50°F in winter.

I also have moringa and cassava plants along the banana guild, with some lemongrass, and also vetiver. There is celery (I did not plant it!) and a zucchini. I even got a great potato plant under the mulch for the banana (I have pine needles, they are very much used here for bananas), and of course the potatoes grew great with all that water! I have my boniatos in another place, but might think about doing your way... They do best with so much water ? Did you try centella asiatica as a covering in the shade?

I also have the taro for 1 year, so very tall, and the ginger family of course is there. I also have a patchouli in the shade of a mango. I do not have ti, needs water a lot... I have a malabar spinach in a tagasaste a little further, and a tree you can think about: a cinnamon! Cool spice for the subtropics.

Pineapple seems to do bad in my place... and I agree about finding a way not to weed them!!!

I will enquire about okinawa spinach and rolinia, I do not know them.

I see you put chaya there, but I am planting it in a dryer place as I suppose it stands dry soil much better than other trees... Do you think it is worth having one in the wet place?

You really worked a lot for this patch and I admired the result.
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Xisca, Thank you very much I appreciate the compliments.

I am certain you could sow those now, it gets colder here in south florida. It often reaches 28F for a couple nights dthe during the winter and I did not lose any pigeon peas nor the canna.

We have lots of issues with zuchini here, the bugs love to eat the plants. We substitute young luffah as a perennial zuchini. And we use seminole pumpkin (a pumpkin that has been grown here for many generations, cultivated by tribes before europeans came) for a squash crop. It is a lot more resistent to the bugs.

I have not yet tried C. asiatica, but my partner is an herbalist and she has convinced me to get it planted in the wetter areas of the farm.

Ipomea batatas (sweet potatos, boniatos, etc) do do well in the moist areas, this is probably why they love copious amounts of mulch. The section I show on the video I use the leaves for food, as there are not tons of tubers. I planted them originally to form a ground cover and didn't plant densely (1ft x 1ft) for harvesting tubers. That was one of the lessons I have learned, the difference between heavy boniato ground cover and boniato ground cover with dense tuber production.

My friend has some C. verum in his nursery waiting for me to be ready to get it planted.

Pinapples probably need more water then you probably have. Maybe digging a depression, filling it with mulch and planting the pineapples inside the mulch might aid to extra moisture. It's always worth a short for some delicious sweet pinas!

Rollinia - Rollinia deliciosa is in the Anona family. Delicious lemon meringue or a lemon yogurt with honey and raisins flavor. (lol, the latter is what it reminds me of). May need more moisture than what you have, but could be worth a shot if you build proper microclimates, maybe have it fed by some greywater. Produces fruit as early as 3 years. Fruits true to type, so collecting and planting seeds is great since it fruits so young and will be like the mother plant.

Okinawa spinach - Gynura crepioides. Slightly pine tasting leaf that can be cooked or eaten raw. I've observed it best in partial shade, as the sun can burn the leaves or the partial shade can invite more bugs that eat the leaves. Can be used as a ground cover that is not walked on. Propagating is extremely easy by simple layering, or cuttings.

Chaya does fine in environments like mine, monsoon subtropics. It produces a lot of leaves in the summer time and slows down in the winter, probably due to water (78% rain in summer, 22% in winter). I suggest to plant it in the dry areas since it can do so well and save your more moist areas for plants that need it. You could always plant it in the moist place now and cut it out when you have another plant to take its place. This way you are just growing propagation material as well as food. I believe that chaya is a dynamic accumulator since it is extremely nutritious in so many different vitamins and nutrients.

I appreciate the acknowledgement of the hard work was done, as there is only 2-8 inches of soil on this site and the rest of rock. It sure is hard work!

Be well
.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1277
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So little soil! Hope you can improve it. I watch it again, and I discovered the jambu too, great...
I think I will look for okinawa spinach:
http://edibleplantproject.org/okinawaspinach/ (Website from Florida)

I think I am not warm enough for pineapples... They grow best in the next island el hierro. Mine is just ill... I will try again when I will have the dry terrace ready, it is a cactus! I am surprised you can have them in the wet part of you forest. This biriba, the rollinia, is great, would it gt anough warmth here... At the moment I just have the chirimoya, that is the most subtropical of the annonaceae. The fast growth and seed multiplication are interesting though...

Right for the chaya, I also put it where I cannot plant many other things. (so do I with the carob and many other trees so I do not bother about soil quality, there is always something to plant)

Ho, you mention about moringa fixing nitrogen, and I think it does not, and I even had to put more nitrogen to avoid yellow leaves. This is a brassicales, so I now cultivate it as a big cabbage!

I am warmer than in winter, but not in summer, as I have less than 90°F, except when we have a sahara wind... I love to compare climates. And I will put my banana patch soon in my project!
 
David Goodman
gardener
Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is great, Jason. I'm jealous of your USDA zone. So close, yet so far away. We can pull off quite a few of the same species here, it just takes more work. I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale... S. Florida is a great place to grow.

I didn't realize the "Ti" plant was an edible. If they are what I think they are, I've seen them as ornamentals in a lot old 50s and 60s houses down there. My grandparents have some by their pool. I always figured it was another toxic and worthless plant. Have you eaten them before?

 
Jim Porter
Posts: 37
Location: USA, West central Florida
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Jason, Your explanations work for me.

The lemongrass will be cut for mulch, so will probably never get to full size. Or, if you did want some plants to grow to size, for ornamental reasons, you could always cut every other plant for mulch, and then cut those plants the next time you chop.

Makes sense about the pineapples too, in terms of blocking out the weeds. And I got to thinking, that every time I see an ornamental planting of bromelaids, they are usually in clumps, and they do just fine.

I snapped this pic on the way home last night, as an example:



And pineapples are such mild feeders anyway, that there should not be too much competition for nutrients.
 
Adrienne Wimbush
Posts: 15
Location: Ipswich, Qld, Australia
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gudday Jason,
Thanks so much for that video, I found it very educational. I live in subtropical South East Queensland, similar zone to geoff lawton, probably a wee bit drier. We have a 1/3 acre suburban block, bought last April. Very lucky to have many mature fruit trees in an orchard on the back approx 400m sq and a few in the main house yard also. In the orchard we have an enormous mango, limes, mandarin, lemons, a couple of passionfruit vines and a grape on trellis, a very large mulberry, a custard apple, a peach and a persimmon. In the main yard we have pomegranate, peach, pawpaw, monstera deliciosa (fruit salad plant) and a large grapefruit and a macadamia nut tree. We are hoping to develop the orchard into a food forest. I have added a tractor and 5 bantam pullets, whom are adding much needed nutrients to the soil. The last owner was in her eighties and apart from (relatives) mowing, had left the orchard to run a little wild. We have fed and mulched all the fruit trees but the excessive heat and no rain are a trial right now. I was interested in your Qld Arrowroot; ours are all green apart from the tubers which are purple on the outside, white inside. The reddish stems are a different variety I'm guessing? I've not seen them before.
Thanks for the tips on many different plants to try - you do spoil your pineapples! Ours get lopped off the top of the last one we ate, dried on the kitchen counter for a few days, then banged as is into the ground. Apart from water, that's it! They seem to do fine, but I'm thinking I'd like to try your clumping method... I don't know Rollinia or Chaya. Do you have Rosella over there? Most everything else mentioned is available here so I'll be adding it in. What do you use as mulch on your paths? It looks like woodchip?
Thanks for the time you took to do the work, then make the video, I really enjoyed it.
Adie
One Mile
Ipswich
Qld
Australia
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i'm getting into moringa! would love to hear your thoughts on it and what you will be using it for. (people food, animal feed, etc)
(: nice work!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic