You mention citrus. Here is a few zone 6 citrus (bitter orange and thomasville citrange). With a little micro climate you might be able to take grow it in zone 4 or not
As for water/earth works. Just do the usual terrace/keyline/swale/hugelkultur/imprinting depending on your terrain.
If you are worried about guilds, just do the usually 9 layer thing Nut/fruit tree/tall shurb/berries/groundcover/herbs/vine/ self seeding vegetables.
A good vine for you is artic/hardy kiwi.
Location: Off grid in the central Rockies of Montana (at 6300') zone 3-4ish
posted 5 years ago
Bart, check out Micheal Pirlarski's Whispering Pines Homestead 1 on youtube. This is the 1st in a series of 3. They are in a zone 4 or 5 I believe but there are a lot of the same plants you can grow in zone 3 or 4. Skeeter is very good with his plants. He also sells seeds at http://www.goodseedco.net/. http://www.oikostreecrops.com/store/home.asp has cold hardy trees as well. Hope this helps.
I also wanted to say welcome to Mark Shepard and I love his work.
In Michigan I'm on the warm side of 4 and the cold side of 5 so I'm a slight bit warmer than you are. You can see in my blog what I am growing here. I have in the past had good crops of peaches, apples, cherries, plums, hazelnuts, grapes, and many others..but this past year (2012) we lost nearly all of our fruit to a hard late freeze. I'm hoping that doesn't happen again but it is something that happens in these zones. You gotta realize you will have some very bad years. In the past I have also had evergreens freeeze to death from cold winds, so windbreaks are very important in these climates.
I also have a small greenhouse so that I can extend my seasons, but I mean small. I know if I had more coldframes and a larger greenhouse I could do more..but I don't.
As far as the food forests, first and most important is establishing a windbreak or some type of protection for your food forest, and also making sure that the trees that you plan to plant are the hardiest ones available. Canada has some really great nurseries up there, so buy from those closest to you with similar conditions and they should perform well for you. As for those pesky late freezes..good luck with that..I have heard in some places burning smudge pots works or spraying with water (if you can find a hose that isn't frozen solid).
Bloom where you are planted.
One plant I've really ben impressed with is honeyberry frost doesn't seem to hurt the blossoms I've learned that for me it has to be pruned.
Currants and gooseberries, chokecherries some call them aronia berries have all been good producers. Blueberries produce but I fimd that they need a lot of irrigation so I plan to move them from their current location to a hugel bed.
"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
posted 5 years ago
Thanks everybody for all those reply, i have some watching and reading to do, and some people to visit !
I'll keep you inform of the experimentations that will be going on, a blog in preparation.
Hopefully i ll find some people doing those kind of thing locally to get advices.
... I cut my Permaculture teeth in the Mentasta mountains of Alaska USDA zone 0. Imitating the boreal forest suite of species is a pretty good bet...
From tallest to shortest:
Siberian or Korean Pine (pine nuts) cherries (Nanking, Evans) Hazelnut (NOT from west coast sources.. they are not cold hardy enough) Siberean Peashrub, Serviceberries (saskatoons)
raspberries, American highbush cranberry, blueberries, arctic beauty kiwi, strawberry...