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The economics of a forest garden

 
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I am fascinated, have researched and read some and find myself downright daydreamy with thoughts of a plan but am intimidated by the economics .i.e. upfront costs (monetary). is this discussed in Dave's literature?
 
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I am just learning about permaculture and food forests. I am very interested in the cost to transform the land.
 
gardener
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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You need a nusery and a small truck. Growing plants from seeds, cuttings, division, layers, and grafting is a critical skill unless you want to pay 1000's for retail pots. If you are growing large lots, you can contract grow with a wholesale nursery grower for groundcovers etc. Pots can be had free from a landscape installer. Potting soils is a mix of compost and loam at around $12 a yard. You can also develop nursery stock in the ground, and grow stooling beds. I just planted 7 hazelnut varieties on their own roots for the sole purpose of producing around 70 plants a year through stooling and layering. Yesterday I just bent over 5 low cascara branches to produce new trees by layering. Etc...

The alternative could cost $20k/acre for an average of an $8 plant on 4 foot spacing not including overseeding and site prep. Go for slow simple solutions, and it is VERY inexpensive, and you learn more.
 
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You certainly don't want to shell out and buy all the plants you need. My personal plan is to buy a property with some usable plants and propagate them myself for use and for sale.

If you are at all unsure about plant propagation, understanding that needs to be your first step to understanding the "economics of a forest garden". However you get the new plants, your first years will show little or no production. So if you pay for everything then you have that much more of a hole to earn your way out of.
 
sally ayers
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Excellent information. Thank you. I will research the propogation practices. I have experiencing grafting cacti only and understand the basics. Layering will be something new.
 
Michael Milligan
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You will have a great time. Here is a trick, look for "propagation Bonsai". A bonsai can be made of any type of tree, so what you'll find is tons of info written for the beginner. Lots of pictures and forums and articles about propagating trees like it's going out of style! lol

Seeds and "soft wood" or "tip" cuttings are the places to start, imo.


 
sally ayers
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very cool and thanks for research tips. I've always wanted to try bonsai. thanks, again.
 
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Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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I shelled out some money and bought some "conservation" shrubs from the local conservation department, to start a small forest garden and windbreak. Just when we need to be planting them, we have had snow again, so haven't got them all planted yet. I hope they will grow and be able to propagate more from them to spread from those nuclei. I agree, plants are expensive so I don't really want to have to buy the 1000's it would take for the whole 2 acres.

I have tried to do some propagating in the past, but haven't been real successful so far. I will keep trying. thanks for the ideas.
 
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