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Micro Food Forest

 
Benjamin Veenema
Posts: 6
Location: Southern Vermont
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All this was brought on by a damn Christmas tree.... So I thought instead of getting a cut pine tree this year for my fiance and I's apartment, we would get a fruit bearing tree. A hardy peach (we live in southern Vermont) that I will be getting tomorrow from a local nursery. Then we would plant it in the spring, we have a gardening area and the LandLord has given permission already. The next thought then is to design a teeny tiny food forest around it. So I'm thinking 4 nitrogen-fixing trees (probably black-locust) some blueberries shrubs, maybe raspberries... Any suggestions for something that will develop and bear fruit within a year or three (until we move to our own property) and be easy to manage and not get out of control after we leave? The area we have to work with is small, maybe 30'x15'.

Thanks!

Veen
 
John Polk
master steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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4 nitrogen-fixing trees (probably black-locust)


When I saw that, I thought to myself "Oh. He must have a lot of space."

black locust, once mature are large trees, which would overwhelm that size area.
They would need coppicing every few years to keep them from taking over the yard.

Siberian Pea Shrub is also a nitrogen fixer. They are deciduous, and after a few years could shade one side of the house in summer, while still letting in the glorious sun all winter. They are considered edible to Siberians, but I don't know anybody else that eats them (except chickens). They do provide a good fuel wood as well.

Saskatoons should also do well in your climate.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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A fruit bearing tree that is evergreen in Verment is a tall order. So I hope you are ok with a leafless fruit/peach tree.
Assuming that you are looking for a fruit tree that is 12ft at maturity and you want some 6ft support plants you are going to need at least a 24ft circle to hold all those plants.

12ft peach
6ft goumi (n-fixer)
6ft silverberry (n-fixer)
6ft juneberry
4ft currant
4ft gooseberry
garlic/onions/etc
 
Benjamin Veenema
Posts: 6
Location: Southern Vermont
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Black locust, once mature are large trees, which would overwhelm that size area.


Awesome! Thanks for the heads up about the black locust, probably not the best idea afterall. I'm getting really excited about this. I hadn't thought about my Christmas tree being leafless (duh!) but it's fine, the tree I ended up getting is beautiful.

I went down to the local nursery today and bought a cherry tree (Montmorency Semi-dwarf Sour Cherry) Got it for $15 cause it's the off season and it has a wound. It was actually cheaper than the dead Christmas trees they were selling. They had only one peach tree and it was just too tall to fit in the car and for the apartment. I'm going to check out the ground where I want to plant it and see if I can get a shovel in now and I might just get the peach tree too... It looked really good and I can probably get it for $20. The guy there warned me not to keep them inside until spring as the tree would come out of it's dormancy and go into shock when I try to move it outside.

you are going to need at least a 24ft circle to hold all those plants.


If I prune the trees to keep them shorter do you still think I'm going to need a 24ft circle. Can I work this into more of a rectangular shape? I'll take some measurements today and try to draw something up to get a better look at the space I have. Maybe a 24ft circle will be fine.

Thanks for all the recommendations!
 
Benjamin Veenema
Posts: 6
Location: Southern Vermont
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I made a rough drawing of the garden space. It looks like I can definitely fit a 24 ft circle. I doubt the neighbors will mind a limb or two full of cherries or peaches hanging over their lawn
GAR-0001.JPG
[Thumbnail for GAR-0001.JPG]
My Garden Space
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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On that fence I would plant two sets of vine Issai+Flowercloud hardy kiwi vine.
They both only get to 10ft at maturity vs the usual 100ft, and the like shade.
Not to sure if they have 10ft grape vine at maturity without pruning but maybe you could look into that.

Are you a part of a local permie group?
http://www.meetup.com/Boston-Permaculture/

 
Benjamin Veenema
Posts: 6
Location: Southern Vermont
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Are you a part of a local permie group?
http://www.meetup.com/Boston-Permaculture/


Hadn't thought about that. Boston is a bit of a drive for me, but I did find one in Keene NH not too far away, although they seem a little less active. I'll have to give it a try though. Thanks for the advice!
 
Aljaz Plankl
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Benjamin Veenema wrote:...and be easy to manage and not get out of control after we leave?

Then don't plant even one black locust tree.
It will overgrow other stuff, you will need to coppice it and then you will have root suckers all over the garden.
In a while without managing you will have black locust forest.
 
Chris Badgett
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Whitefish, Montana
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Hey Benjamin,

I love how this started with the Christmas tree idea Reading your questions made me think of Michael Pilarski's video course about how to plant a medicinal food forest.

Here's a link to the course: http://organiclifeguru.com/course/how-to-grow-a-medicinal-food-forest/

I don't have any specific suggestions, but a lot of the things Michael talks about in the videos are relevant. The food forest he plants in the course was not that big - 1/8 of an acre.

Here's the intro video ...

 
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