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My Florida Food Forest Farm  RSS feed

 
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You've all been teaching me SO MUCH that I thought I'd give back a little. This thread will be an ongoing showcase of the progress (or sometimes lack thereof ) of my Florida Food Forest Farm located in zone 10a. However, we occasionally get down to 28 degrees here in the winter so that 10a is a little off.

I am a permaculture and food forest rookie. I have never taken a PDC and probably never will. I am making a ton of mistakes and quite ok with that. The way my mind works is I jump in with two feet and a cinder block chained to me and try to swim. I am a terrible planner, mostly because I don't try as DOING is what I enjoy. So the way I'll give back is in many ways showcasing my mistakes As you read this, I am absolutely open to suggestions and constructive criticism.

Our Food Forest is about 1.5 acres. Much smaller than many of you but I'm finding it difficult to keep up with at times so it's PERFECT at present. Maybe one day I'll need to buy the property across the street. Anyway, on to the tour:

This is what our property looked like when we first purchased it almost one year ago now.



And quite quickly I made my first ENORMOUS mistake. Instead of working with all that wonderful biomass, I brought in a brush hog.



The more experienced food forester in me now realizes that was quite stupid. And I have been paying for it big time because once that shading biomass was gone, the Bermuda grass (oh god so evil) invaded and it has been an ongoing battle ever since. Lesson learned! Don't make the same mistake as me

That picture lets you see what I'm working with though. I have a canopy of giant, majestic pine trees and an additional story of palm trees. This is actually beneficial as I want to plant a lot of trees and plants that wouldn't do well when it gets down to 28 degrees those couple days each winter. The big canopy helps me create micro climates. The soil is mostly sand with a little organic material mixed in. I have a lot of work to do to improve the soil but that's an ongoing project.

Work progressed at a reasonable pace. By February of this year this was my progress:



As you can see, I have some raised beds in the foreground. At least for now while my food forest is developing, I want a place for annuals. The raised beds simply make that easier. I'll be interspersing annuals in the food forest but I wanted a freezer full of veggies and I knew my skills with raised beds and was unsure of how the food forest would respond with annuals. I may remove those raised beds in time as the food forest develops but I'm not sure. You'll notice more concrete beds in the background. I had the idea to plant trees in the raised containers for micro climates. That idea didn't last long as you'll see in future pictures

A few months later May rolled around and I took another picture. While I had been working hard, you can't see a huge difference. The all important hammock was placed though



And that brings us to the pictures I took today. As you can see below, progress has been pretty good. I am now at 27 raised beds for annuals which is where I'm staying, at least for now. The hot, wet summer here has helped really green up the place.



How about some closer in shots, hmmm?

At left is a low chill peach that is doing really well. At right is a very young citrus that, like my other citrus, is struggling a bit. You can see the grasses I'm battling though. In time, I hope to have all of that gone and filled in with amazing forest



A starfruit is at left which is now starting to fruit and a papaya is at right.



Below is one of my first guilds I'm starting to work on. It's hard to see, but it includes a blood orange, black mulberry, edible cranberry hibiscus, garlic chives, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and sweet potatoes.



Here's a shot from the other side. My citrus are having trouble with citrus leaf minor, I hope to have that under control soon. Poor little trees



Straight ahead is another papaya with HUGE papaya on it. At left used to be a fence until I planted a few passion fruit vines along it. They're going crazy and flowering up a storm. I'm hoping for fruit soon. I plan to send vines up just about all my pine and palm trees as well.



Peaking its head up at the very bottom of the image below is a Moringa tree. I use Moringa EXTENSIVELY and just purchased another 100 seeds for even more. I LOVE these things and plan for them to play a very important role in my food forest. It's incredible how fast they grow and they're so healthy. I use them in everything from smoothies to soups. In the middle of the image is an avocado. I have seven avocado trees planted thus far If you look to the left of the avocado on the mulch you'll see a comfrey plant. I have about 20 comfrey around the forest and hope to be able to separate them into many more plants as they establish themselves.



Another avocado with papaya in the background and a moringa tree off to the right.



A very happy banana clump to the right and avocado to the left.



That's a breadfruit in the background with a rock wall I'm building as I find rocks in an effort to create a micro climate for her. A moringa in the foreground and another to the left.



And finally, another avocado to the left with sweet potato planted in an effort to shade out the grasses.



There's a lot more, but that's enough for now. At present I have 60 fruit trees planted. I'm currently focusing on understory and guilding. I'm having so much fun and thank you all again for all the knowledge and wisdom you share. It greatly reduces the amount of mistakes I make and is so inspiring. I'll continue to update this thread in the future.
 
pollinator
Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Wow, I love it so much! Beautiful exotic trees and plants.

 
Posts: 1075
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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yes to follow or not?
such a promising thread with small land space requiring the OP to inovate...
but on the other hand i love the sub-tropical stuff and im afraid ill get all too jealous watching this piece of land progres... ooh well i guess ill watch it anyway
 
Posts: 14
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This looks pretty freekin sweet. I think everyone loves when the time lapse shots are posted. It shows progress so clearly. Definitely an inspiration to others trying to develop their own food forest systems.

Its analogous to when you hear an awesome song and all you want to do is LEARN TO PLAY IT!!.

Lets make peoples faces melt with Permaculture!!!
 
Posts: 272
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Very cool! Please keep sharing.
 
Posts: 24
Location: Southwest Florida, Zone 10a, Elevation 12ft, 52in precipitation, tropical wet and dry savanna type
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David, I love it! I look forward to following and watching your food forest bloom.

Here is a link to an idea I can't wait to try out. Maybe you might find it useful. http://www.permies.com/t/15919/permaculture/Tropical-biochar-hugelculture-hybrid
 
David Chapman
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Cool idea Chopper! If you want to test it here, we can. I have a load of biochar
 
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Wow, David. Really impressive! Im so glad I found this thread.

Im in zone 10a (or 10b, not really sure) in the Keys and Im always looking for other people's experiences with this type of project in our type of climate.

What types of avocados do you have going on? I considered the low chill peach as well, but I dont think I'll get the chill hours for it to fruit. Instead I have more tropicals, sugar apples, sour sop, moringa and mangos. You might want to consider chaya as well.

Anyway, nice work and good luck!
 
David Chapman
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I'm not familiar with chaya. Is that the entire name of it? Why do you recommend it?

As we can get down to 28 degrees here, most of the avocados I have chosen tend to be reasonably cold hardy. They are:

2x Simmonds Avocado - I forget how cold hardy this one is but I wouldn't have purchased it if it couldn't handle 28.
Lila Avocado - Can supposedly handle down to 15 degrees for a short period.
Pancho Avocado - Can supposedly handle down to 15 degrees for a short period.
Mexicola Avocado - Can supposedly handle the low 20's for a short time.
Haas avocado - Not all that cold hardy but so yummy and I'll build a micro climate for it before winter.
Brogdon avocado - Not sure how cold hardy it is but I wouldn't have purchased it if it couldn't handle 28.
Winter Mexican avocado - Not sure how cold hardy it is but I wouldn't have purchased it if it couldn't handle 28.

I guess I've actually planted eight avos
 
J Wells
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Nice selection. They should do well for you.

Chaya is a perennial shrub that does well in South Florida and in southern central fl. Also known as Tree Spinach.

http://www.goodfoodworld.com/2012/03/chaya-mayan-tree-spinach-cabbage-star/

 
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Looks great David. I'll be watching for your updates with much interest. I'm looking to buy a wooded lot now and I'll certainly be attempting a food forest.
Thanks for sharing!
 
gardener
Posts: 522
Location: Equatorial tropics
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books forest garden
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David - this is looking fantastic. I have zone envy. I'm a few hours north of you and have to keep most of my tropicals in pots, then drag them into the greenhouse during the winter. So close... yet so far away.

Great work thus far. Keep posting pictures!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1353
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Great David, thanks!
Chaya is chayamansa... I have it, easy from cuttings.
 
David Chapman
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I'm so pissed off. I've been making a lot of great progress creating habitat for a variety of beneficials. The other day I finally saw ladybugs going after aphids! I was so excited and pleased.

Last night the local Mosquito control district did an aerial spray for mosquitoes. Today I went out to find bees dying what was obviously a brutal death and not a beneficial insect in sight.

*#&$

**&$

)#($

What's the point if the &$&#ing county is just going to nuke everything I do?
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1353
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Everything you do?
The problem there is not about what you do I think!

Well, if it is, then it is about you taking photos of dead bees and giving feedback about it.
Simply inform it does not only kill mosquitoes.

Spaying was given up in France, in places like Camargue, because birds were dying.
In other places they only treat water for larvae.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1353
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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And OF COURSE I share your feeling and this is disgusting, shocking, revolting, outrageous...
I am sure many people are happy because they have less mosquitoes...
And I am sure most people IGNORE the consequences.
 
David Chapman
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Everything you do?
The problem there is not about what you do I think!

Well, if it is, then it is about you taking photos of dead bees and giving feedback about it.
Simply inform it does not only kill mosquitoes.

Spaying was given up in France, in places like Camargue, because birds were dying.
In other places they only treat water for larvae.

They're well aware that it kills bees too. But I think that's a great idea. I'm going to create a blog with, "Before" and "After" pictures for each time they spray and start to educate people.

Thank you for the little kick in the ass
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1075
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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im glad you have a POA for what to do about this, education is key to changing things because thye cant change much if no one know what to change to
while youre at educating, try to emphasize being active in local governments, because complaining about one problem may lead them to "fix" it with a worse problem, especially if they dont understand exactly WHAT the problem was in the first place, either way, good luck, just thought i'd throw my 2 cents in
 
Posts: 1363
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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For some reason i cant view the pics. Wish I could see the time-lapse pics.
Hope to join you in zone 10 FL
 
C Hopper
Posts: 24
Location: Southwest Florida, Zone 10a, Elevation 12ft, 52in precipitation, tropical wet and dry savanna type
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David,

Any updates? it been over 6 months since this thread has seen anything new.
I sure would like to see some updated pictures!

Oh, and did the county say anything about the mosquito control killing bees?
 
Posts: 3
Location: Gainesville, fl
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love to see pics and hear updates! All advice and input from people that have done this, is awesome!

Florida group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FloridaFoodForests/

This group has been developed by Gainesville residents determined to bring food sovereignty and justice to all of Florida's residents by implementing a food forest for all, specifically one right in the heart of Gainesville. We promote the development of a food forest, edible landscaping, and a focus on both using Permaculture principles, especially the concept of sharing excess.

The overall focus of the group is also to link other Florida communities currently interested in or already working towards establishing food forests in their cities/town/communities. We hope to document our development and share our models with communities everywhere, especially in Florida where an all-year growing season gives us no excuse!

G'ville's official Page
https://www.facebook.com/FoodForestsGainesville
 
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Sir David my friend if you are still looking for taro root..... hit the local markets the Asian stands most likely will have or know where to find... also Asian grocery stores. They offer a lot of goodies!! best wishes man I'm here in the cape leaf Asian market has them and a few of the flea markets
 
Posts: 3
Location: Anjou, France
forest garden trees
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Hello David,

What is your facebook Page now ? because "Food Forests Gainesville" doesn't work, and the group too ? Are you still in Gainesville ?

See you

Sylvie
 
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