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planting food forest into old-growth forest

 
cd shahan
Posts: 37
Location: N.W. Washington
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My acreage has a mix of old growth oak, redbud and cedar.
How can I turn areas with established canopies into productive food forests?
Do I sacrifice some of the trees to hugel beds for more sunlight?

Thank You, Chad
 
Aljaz Plankl
Posts: 384
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If you make a clearing in a forest, it should be quite big, smaller ones get closed back by the canopy pretty fast.
You have any south facing edge?
Forest gardens work great in "lines", they don't have to have a 50x50m spot to work.
Edge of existing forest is great for future forest garden for example.
Currently working on turning 4mx50m surface (young pioneer forest on forest edge) into a forest garden.
Can't wait to introduce new plants and work with those that are already there!
 
cd shahan
Posts: 37
Location: N.W. Washington
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Yes, I have some good southern exposure.
20130910_184509.jpg
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looking east
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looking s.e.
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another spot with gully
 
Kris Minto
Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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From what I can see from the pictures you posted there is lots of open space already to start designing your food forest and start planting. You may need to trim or cut a few trees depending how big you want your food forest but I personally would wait until it's more matures (a few years) since it will add protect from wind and sun.

Karnold
 
Andrew Millison
Instructor
Posts: 112
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
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Chad,
In many ways you have an ideal situation to work from. The forest edge is considered the most diverse part of the ecosystem with many excellent microclimates. You have the partial shade of the edge itself, then the shade of the interior forest, then the full sun of the adjacent meadow, each with their varied potential species. If you were going to do some clearing for hugelkultur beds along the southern edge, it would be cool to create suntraps along the edge as part of that process.

Here's are some pictures from gaia's garden (Toby Hemenway) of that pattern:



and here's Mollison's version of the forest farm suntrap from the Permaculture Designer's Manual:



Imagine that you carved in and planted out suntraps on the edge, where smaller trees and shrubs step down towards the sun from your taller established trees, then concentrated production of shade loving species and useful fungi in the forest interior, filled in forest clearings with partial shade loving species, then planted out the sunny south side of your new undulating suntrap edge with sun-loving low-growing species, even annual veggies.

I'm curious where you are located?

Thanks,
Andrew
 
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