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preparing for a food forest

 
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Is there anything I can do to prepare the area that I am planning on planting a food forest in next spring. I am in Stirling, Alberta and it is zone 3 here. I will post pictures to the area I plan on starting with.

I would like for the row of aspens I planted to be the edge of the forest

Any thoughts, ideas, or constructive criticism is muchly appreciated and encouraged.

Just a 19 year old with a passion for permaculture!
 
Brendan Biggar
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Field
1377698375159.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1377698375159.jpg]
 
Posts: 61
Location: Alexandria, ON, Zone 4a
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Test the soil for pH and nutrients. It'll tell you what kind of plants you need.
Acquire cover crop seeds in advance, especially if you plan on adding earthworks.
Research cultivars of the plants you want that can thrive in zone 3. Check out the local nurseries and see what they have to offer.
Budget in advance, so you know the area you can [densely] plant, and the amount of plants you'll be able to buy this summer.
If you can, plant your support species this coming year (2014), and then your crop trees in 2015. You can plant both at the same time, but try not to plant crops, then support species.
Enlist the support and help from people around you, because planting a food forest is hard work!

Good luck!
 
Posts: 92
Location: Fairplay, Northern California
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Research your water needs. If you think you'll need more than your natural rainfall provides, or if you want to fully hydrate your soil in anticipation of future drought, you might want to put in swales. In that case, the building of swales should be accomplished before planting your trees. Geoff Lawton, Crown Prince of Permaculture, says swales are tree-growing systems ( and don't put in swales without planting trees).
 
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