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Who is growing a food forest?

 
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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I'm curious to know if anyone is seeing self fertilization. If so, how is it being accomplished and how do you know it is happening.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1459
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I am not. My animals and I are constantly adding to the soil.

I have been following Helen Atthowe for quite a while now. She used to talk about vegan farming where you did have input but not from animals. Now she has decided that animals are a necessary part of the cycle for proper fertilization. In both cases there are inputs to the growing cycle.

I am shooting for a sort of closed loop - or at least minimal input. Food for humans and livestock produced on the property and fertilizer both in animal and plant form produced on the property.

Currently all animal fertilzer comes from on the property or from wild animals. We have one migratory flock that stops on my little acre every year and leaves a LOT!!! of fertilizer. As for plant material we still buy a lot of our food so that is an outside input that goes into the cycle.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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For me, the majic of a food forest comes from the self fertilization provided by dynamicnutrient accumulators, mulch plants, and eventually just leaf fall. I would loveto see that somewhere. Edited to add nitrogen fixers too.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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I have mulched my trees, shrubs, and a few other plants, but outside of those relatively small mulched areas, I still have a lot of bare ground and weeds. I need to get a lot of ground cover going because the amount of mulch that it would take to cover most of the rest of the 13,000 square foot area would be enormous. It's going to be years before we have an appreciable amount of leaf fall, so we need to do something in the mean time. I'll be planting buckwheat this fall, and more cow peas this summer, but a perennial is what we really need to cover the ground. I have noticed that our sweet potatoes are growing fastest of everything that could be used as a ground cover. We really enjoy sweet potatoes which are perennial here. So, I'm considering planting a lot more sweet potato. Anybody else using sweet potato as a ground cover for your food forest? If not, what ground covers are yall using?
 
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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some annual groundcovers are ok. I broadcast a mix of "soil builder" seed blend when starting out. It has vetch, clover, winter pea, wheat and rye seed. They grew ok last year. I let them go to seed rather than cut most of it, and they are all back bigger and better this year. I didn't have to plant them again, just let them go to seed. Lacewings showed up this year and seem to like to hang out on the rye quite a bit.

I also use comfrey that I divided this year from one clump into about a hundred. So far several dozen sprouts have popped up. Dandelion seed is easy to bring in, too.

I like our mix of wildflowers and other weeds that make up the rest of the groundcover on the hugelbeds and paths. Self-heal and yarrow are really coming on strong this year.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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Nick, my most recent post to my blog has a few photos of some of the trees growing in the food forest areas of our property, just a few but you might find them interesting
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2012/06/2012-first-day-of-summer-photo-updates.html
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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Brenda, I like the photos of your place. Keep us posted on your mushrooms. That's something I'm interested in doing eventually but not for another year or two probably.
 
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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I have a number of small food forests in three different climates. I own 14 acres and have the use of 2 acres at my parents house. There are 5 properties total, 3 in Puebla, 1 in Yucatan and one in Ontario Canada.
In Puebla we have one acre of 20 year old food forest consisting of Pears, Yellow Hawthorn(Tejocote), Peaches, Plumbs, Figs, Capuli Cherry, Mulberry, Walnut, Avacado and Citrus. The under story consists of Nopal (Optunia), Rosemary, Thyme, Mint, Chaiote, Fig Leaf Squash, Runner Beans, Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Tomatillo, Epazote, Arnica, Oregano, Guasuntle and many others. I plan on establishing Potatoes in all the sunnier spots as well.
In Ontario I`m growing shorter term crops because I don`t own the land, Its not a forest garden but it does have some trees. It is however fairly self sustaining and low maintenance. The perenials in use there are Rhubarb, Raspberries, Leeks, Garlic, Chives, Shallots, Sun-chokes, Comfrey and Currents they all grow mixed together on about 2 acres some things are lacking in some areas, more planting still needs to be done.
In Yucatan I`ve got Dragon fruit, Sapote, Citrus, Chaya, Mango, tamarind, Star Apple, Spanish lime(a fruit and a nut) Elephant Ear tree, Guava, Custard apple, and lots more. The possibilities are endless in the tropics, and I still want to get more variety.

In total I have about 300 mature food trees, about 1500 immature food trees, and about 10000 perennial food plants (clumps) if you don`t count the raspberries in Ontario.
 
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