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Designing a food forest

 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Good morning everybody...

I'm working a lot on the design of my food forest but there is a point I quite don't understand, or it is not clear enough. I will try to explain it, I'm french so excuse the strange typo...

Ok, when I read the books and look for FF design, we often see this on small land or iregular land.

I leave on a traditionnal Québec farm wish is rectangular (500 ft width X 3,5 km long),
Here is an image from the land facing North with a little depression facing South back of the house.



There are fields in front of the house and further bacthat aren't cultivated excelpt for a 3 hectars that we sowed last year. Back of the land (you don't see all of it here) it is an exciting forest.

My question: when you design a food forest, they show it often decreasing: layer trees, then shrubs etc etc. or a road going in between....if I already have a forest, but I want to plant the food forest starting there, that means I have to work by line? Do I start with canopy anyway? or decreasing with the shurb? ANd once I have put let say the shrubs and ground layer that will cover approx 15 to20 feet, I will still have a lot of ground to cover...that means I will have to resatrt a line putting canopy and then shrubs etc etc And if so, between the working line I will have a lot of shade? And I have almost no choices but to make ¨sidewalk¨around it other wise I won't have access eventually no?

Hope I am clear...a bit?

Isabelle
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Not really evident but you can see a small white line around the land.

Isabelle
 
Lucia Moreno
Posts: 50
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I think that although they show FF as a line, they are not. If you look at a video of a food forest (in Youtube ther are plenty), it is not a line of canopy trees, then smaller trees, then shrubs. All these elements are mixed like in a real forest. If you already have a forest, look at it and guess what is missing or what you can remove to add what you want. For example, if there are empty biggish spaces between huge trees, add a fruit tree, if there is nothing to eat, add fruiting shrubs or climbers where you can, or uproot something that is too abundant to plant something you want. In the edge, reproduce the feel of the forest, planting canopy trees very much apart. Imagine you lay a fishing net (filet the pêche) over your land. Put canopy trees where the lines of the net intersect, then smaller trees in the spaces left in the middle and fill all other space with shrubs, herbacious plants and climbers.

I hope that helps,
Lucía
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Thank you Lucia,

Yes I looked at videos, but my concern was that once you plant the canopy and that it grows, or in my forest, there is space between the trees, but not really sun? A lot of shade...that is bringing me to say that at a certain point, the furits trees and the shrubs will die no?

isabelle
 
Lucia Moreno
Posts: 50
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My understanding is that a ff is an evolving system and that some trees will need to be cut at some point. Either taht or you leave so much room between the big trees that the smaller ones will always get sun.

Cheers,
Lucía
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Thank you...I will try to experiment starting with my exciting forest. I will try to add some fruit bushes...

I let you know how it goes

Isabelle
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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bee chicken fungi solar trees
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You will need to cut some trees down to have holes in the canopy where light can get through. Find productive uses for trees you cut down. I will be pollarding many trees this year, feeding the leaves to my livestock & turning the trunks into mushroom logs.

A food forest is like a regular forest but tweaked slightly so they trees are more productive for you.

Is your land flat?
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Good morning CJ,

Partly. But once you enter the forest, you are entering the bottom of the Appalachian so it starts to go up.

We are already cutting trees in the forest to clean it and to give space to the Maple trees that we have in a certain area. in an ther area, we are cutting just to clean and to leave the noble varieties that are presents. So I guess I will have to find a guilde to go with Mapple trees.

Isabelle
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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Maple is a bit of a problem because it has a dense canopy so not much light gets through. It also sends out growth inhibitor to nearby plants through roots. According to my notes, the only guild are wild ginger and wild leeks (ramps).
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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You can add ginseng to your notes, cause you have it grow naturaly in ther forest here...you can also add, wild garlic (here we call this wood garlic) but it grows slowly and it is an endanger species.

I'm surprise about thsi since there is a lot of other trees that grows in the forest around the Mapple, but not fruits of course.

Well it is just in a area of the forest that we will work with the Maple to be able to have our Maple sirup in a couple of years.

For the rest, we are going to work from the edge of the forest working down toward the house, filing the exciting fields where there is nothing on it except several wild apple tress and wild fruit bushes on the edges (sour cherries, blueberries, strawberries, saskatoon berries, service trees, and hawthorn...) SO I guess I will have to plant canopy far from each other and leave enough room to have light and let the actual fruit trees and bushes grow...

isabelle
 
Kris schulenburg
Posts: 112
Location: Henry County Ky Zone 6
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Hi,
sounds like an exciting project!
I don't know your rain fall there, but you might want to think about water harvesting as you put your new sections in. I like how Mark Shepard (Restoration Agriculture) of New Forest Farm does his swale and shrub/tree systems. His work is worth a look and is in or close to your zone. There is also some good info at Midwestern Permaculture.
Best of Luck
 
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