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My Food Forest Begins

 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Here are the beginnings of my food forest. It will be fun to see through the years as it takes shape and really fills in. The hugelkulture bed was put together roughly four weeks ago, with seeds scattered upon it when finished. The large row of trees you see in the pictures were topped, and about half the smaller limbs were ran through a chipper and then the other half was stacked upon the logs from the topped trees. And three of those large trees were dead, and also made there way into the hugel. Then the dirt/compost on top is from a large compost pile that's been added to for the past 10-15 years. The three swales were dug and seeds scattered roughly a week after the hugel was finished. I can see seedlings on both the hugelkulture bed and on the swales starting to take off, it looks like lots of lettuce at the moment.

The large portion of wood chips is from calling a local tree trimming service throughout the summer last year looking for free chips. There are three apple trees, 6 grape vines, and a group of raspberries within the woodchips.

The flags are contour lines marking out future swales. And in one of the pictures you can see a swale being dug. There are three black locust trees within the area already, they've been riddled with beetle, but they're still alive. I will most likely cut them for posts this fall/winter. The whole area used to be livestock pasture/paddock area.

Things I've planted that I'm recalling 6 grapevines, 2 mulberry, 5 apple, 2 jujube, 2 paw paw, 5 rose/rosehip, 3 gooseberry, 1 goji, jerusalem artichokes,.......that's minus the established orchard that can be seen. Then I have these from seed to hopefully be planted out in a week or so....... 6 siberian pea shrub, 12 goji, 6 sea buckthorn with more appearing, these are just the ones that sprouted currently. I also have, kiwiberry, some annual stuff such as watermelons, tomato's, dill, sweet potato's, . I also have goumi and autumn olive seeds. And I've done some air layers in the established orchard on some of the trees, maybe currently 15-20, but I plan on making more. And then I also have plants in the mail.

The list of tree/bush/plant wants keeps growing.

There's comfrey in those large trees and I transplanted about 20 roots a few days ago.

I'm sure there are many more details.....but those are just words. Pictures are funner. There are going to be lots of pictures to show all the growth and changes that are going to take place throughout the years.
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Joshua Parke
Posts: 75
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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more pictures
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Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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more pictures
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Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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more pictures
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Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Planted a few more things today...some rose hips, five plants, villosa x 2, rugosa, rugosa rubra, rugosa alba . Two paw-paw trees nc-1, golden. A chicago hardy fig.

So far off the top of my head here are the trees and bushes I've planted so far, aside from what I've already mentioned above.
Illinois everbearing mulberry, oscar mullberry, poorman gooseberry x 3, red belle de boskoop apple, brown russet apple, mcintosh apple, gala apple, jonagold apple, concord grape x 3, fredonia grape x3, 1 goji berry, raspberries.

I also transplanted some more comfrey today. Here are the pics. You can see where I've already been digging some out earlier. From where these plants are, it appears that the birds pooed on the roof or right there on the edge, then the rain washed the poo/seeds to the ground and that's where these plants came from. They've been here for a few years at least, maybe longer, I've only become aware of them in the past few years. For reference on the size of those roots, that log is roughly two feet across.
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Before digging out some roots
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After digging out the roots
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Comfrey roots
 
John Saltveit
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Thanks for posting the project and the pictures, Joshua. It will be amazing in a few years.
John S
PDX OR
 
Blayne Sukut
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looking good!
 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Thanks John, I am so very excited for this forest.

Thanks Blayne.

Here's a couple more pictures. Some stuff that still needs to be planted out. Upper right - goji and ashwaganda. Left side in the tub - legumes Siberian pea shrub that can clearly be seen. But what is hard to see in that tub are 5 small sea buckthorn's. Bottom center is more goji started maybe 3 weeks after the ones in the upper right.

And I drew out the area a little bit to keep track of some things that I've planted. It's somewhat hard to see everything that I wrote down, and I'm too lazy at the moment to go back and retrace the whole thing. (edit: the picture zooms in quite a ways so you can see the names of everything) I counted 52 plants, two of them are rhubarb though. LOL I don't know why I put them on there. I'll have to make a good list of everything that's planted and put it in the first post..."if I can do that, haven't tried yet".

I have also taken some goji cuttings a week or so ago. It looks like I got around 30 decent cuttings.
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Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Air layered some black locust. Hauled more rocks to a rock pile, I imagine it's large enough and I think I'll begin another pile. The rock pile is for garter snakes. I'll begin a brush pile once I have some brush to pile.
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Six black locust air layers.
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A roll of duct tape for size comparison.
 
John Saltveit
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That rock pile looks great to attract garter snakes so they'll eat your slugs and snails. I plan on making one of those myself, whenever I get the mythical "enough time". Nice thing about carnivores-they won't eat your plants!
John S
PDX OR
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
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John Saltveit wrote:That rock pile looks great to attract garter snakes so they'll eat your slugs and snails. I plan on making one of those myself, whenever I get the mythical "enough time". Nice thing about carnivores-they won't eat your plants!
John S
PDX OR

Nice touch adding rocks for snakes. The absolute best site I found for snakes is a similar pile made from old road pavement (asphalt). Black to absorb and hold the heat at night, a snake magnet!
 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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I'm gonna have to keep an eye out for black rocks. There's lots of volcanic rock in the area, so I should find some if went looking for em. But even the red rock would probably absorb more heat than the white rock.

Instead of taking more pictures and doing lots of typing.....................
 
John Saltveit
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Great intro for new forest farmers. I also love how you had such botanical diversity and some nitrogen fixers.
John S
PDX OR
 
Patrick Mann
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Joshua Parke wrote:Air layered some black locust.


What's inside those cans?
 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Thanks John. I sure am having fun learning of all the diversity that will grow here. I had no clue that peaches would grow here, I have a friend about 20 miles away, 1000' lower in elevation though, with peaches. And those trees are loaded with peaches this season. I air layered a few.

Patrick I used some damp peat for the air layers. I like those pots/cans because it's easy to get the area nice and packed with peat. A few of the first air layers I did using some black trash bag cut into triangles......before I purchased those pots......I didn't pack the area enough with peat, and the branch beyond the air layer wilted. If you do a search for "rooter pot" you will find a few places that carry them. I am really liking the rooter pots, all the branches I've air layered with them are still alive. There's two sizes available as well, I've only purchased the smaller ones so far though.
 
Cj Sloane
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Joshua Parke wrote:I am really liking the rooter pots, all the branches I've air layered with them are still alive. There's two sizes available as well, I've only purchased the smaller ones so far though.


Can you plant them out any time of year?
 
Joshua Parke
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Cj Verde wrote:Can you plant them out any time of year?


I am unsure on that. This is the first year I've ever done air layering. It is said that it takes roughly 6-8 weeks for them to root out, and then they can be cut from the tree and planted. I imagine that they would do best if they have some time to establish roots in the ground before the season ends though. Most all of the air layers I've done this season will be ready to put into the ground early to mid august. And the first frosts at the end of the season in our area begin showing up from mid to the end of september. So there will be a good 6-8 weeks where they can establish themselves in the ground before they begin to go dormant. And I imagine that's probably enough time for them to become established. I also recall hearing or reading somewhere that trees/bushes put on the most root growth at the end of the season as they are beginning to go dormant.
 
John Saltveit
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I think that largely depends on your climate. HOw hot, dry, cool, wet, cold it is.
John S
PDX OR
 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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So it's been nearly a season for the food forest I started. I didn't have consistent water going until it reached mid-summer. I think I would have seen better growth with better watering and management in general. All in all though, I'm happy to see that the forest portion is on it's way to becoming established. I still need to source some affordable legume trees/plants. I think arborday may be afordable, I just need to go through the list of legume tree's that will grow in my area and put in an order.

Much of the area between the swales was overgrown with lambsquarter, probably around 4-5 feet tall in some areas.....and thick. And the hugelkulture was covered in kochia. I finally purchased a scythe a couple of weeks ago, but I think it would of been smarter to have had it earlier in the season. Then I would of been able to run it through the area and knock out the excess of some of the things I don't want more seeds of. I don't mind a little bit of lambsquarter or kochia, but it was excessive....perhaps needed? I dunno. I'll just keep seeding and planting until I can get the beneficial and dynamic accumulators to take hold and create more of a balanced variety of plants, instead of being so dominate in just a few types.

I've put in a couple orders for some fall plants and they aren't in the video update I made this morning.....but maybe I'll make another one?? I dunno. Yesterday I watched the first video I made earlier this season and I realized that there were a few bushes out there still lost amongst all the growth. Some of them were still alive and doing well, but a couple of them don't have any growth on them. My suggestion, and what I'll be doing in the future, is to clearly mark all the plants I desire to keep with a tall bamboo stick or a flag. Then I'll use my hand sickle to knock down the encroaching plants and my scythe to create mulch, and then keep mulch around those plants. Another thing that helped me locate those lost plants was the map I drew......very helpful. Though I didn't draw the pea shrubs nor the goji plants onto the map and I lost a few of em.

There's a bit that was left out of the video, as I don't have the computing power to edit videos and was trying to keep it short enough so that it would still upload to youtube. But some of the plantain I seeded also came up, it already grows in the area, but I assume that it's some of the seed I scattered simply because it's a larger size and almost purple in color. The three sisters garden did grow a bit, but I didn't manage it and the grass kept encroaching upon it, plus it didn't get much water. The watermelons didn't do much of anything...basically because I wasn't watering very much. The snakes are showing up......as I was scything the hugulkulture, I noticed the tail of a larger garter snake moving off to safety. There's lots of holes/openings in the hugulkulture, and I think the snakes are enjoying that. Also there's lots of little snakes. The rock pile I made for the snakes......I don't ever see snakes in that area, but I think I'll keep stacking rocks anyhow. Though I really think they prefer the hugulkulture. Most of the air layering I did was a failure, they can dry out so they need to be monitored periodically, and some of them simply scabbed over instead of growing roots. I did get a few that lived and had root growth, but once I planted them the leaves wilted.....I was pondering if I should of trimmed off the leaves when I was transplanting, and or I may have transplanted a little too early.

That mint around the apple tree that took off and is growing thick is sweet mint.....the other mint with the purple flowers in the nice clump is peppermint. So if you're wanting to plant mint but would prefer it not to take over.......avoid the sweet mint. Though I think the sweet mint is only going to help the health of that tree/area.....but I really don't know. Also...the roots of the sweet mint are thick and greenish with a minty flavor as well. But I really like the way that the peppermint is staying in the spot where it was planted, it would be great to use for guilding. This is the second year for both the mints and I buried them both in woodchips last fall.

The comfrey I was digging up and taking pictures of earlier......is not comfrey. Once the plant began setting seed I searched for a picture to tell me exactly what is growing in the area....that's why nothing ever came up. LOL If you want to know what it was just click my name and find the comfrey thread I was commenting in. But as soon as I realized it wasn't comfrey I ordered some roots, and once they were in the soil it took very little time for the leaves to begin growing. I planted 15 roots and I have 6 more on the way, so that should give me a start for the area.

In the spring I intend to purchase more fruit trees.....pears, plums, peaches, jujube's, grape vines.....lots of variety. Plus I intend to put in a large order for nitrogen fixing trees, and I would prefer to have a mix so that the area isn't dominate in one type of tree....I think variety is important, even with the trees that will be chopped and dropped.

The video is still uploading so I'll post it once it's finished.......
 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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gaaaaa....finally. I had some issues with the camera....wrong setting so you really couldn't see anything on the first take. Second take....good quality but the battery cut off half way through. Third take....memory full. LOL But here it is....

 
Joshua Parke
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An idea I was having on how to grow fruiting vines up trees.....just had to get the image in here. Something I'm definitely going to be trying. It'll be a little while until I get the trees trained to this shape and then I can plant vines on em. I'll try various types of tree/vine combos.

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Shawn Harper
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Be careful with the grapes unless you plan on a lot of work maintaining or are ok with that tree dying. I have grapes doing shade work at my parents on a trellis and i can say it was two year till they covered it completely, and 4 year till they tried to take over the rest of the front yard. It might work ok if its a nitrogen fixer thats already done its duty and you are ok with it dying, otherwise be prepared to prune heavily twice a year.
 
Simon Johnson
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Sweet work here Joshua! You are getting a real nice diversity going. That forest is going to really start looking awesome before you know it.
 
R Thomason
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Joshua, great photos and video. Thanks for the documentation. I hope you will keep showing us how the food forest progresses.
 
raoul dalmasso
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Joshua Parke wrote:An idea I was having on how to grow fruiting vines up trees.....just had to get the image in here. Something I'm definitely going to be trying. It'll be a little while until I get the trees trained to this shape and then I can plant vines on em. I'll try various types of tree/vine combos.



Hi Joshua,

I have written a post about it and it may be interesting for you: http://www.permies.com/t/38454/trees/Ancient-grapevine-maple-guild.
 
Joshua Parke
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Thanks for the link Raoul, I did find all that info interesting.

Here's what I've been up to this past week....

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Joshua Parke
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.....more pictures.

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Joshua Parke
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.....more pictures.

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Joshua Parke
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Just a quick video showing the stuff I planted this fall. I found bare root trees that I can buy in bulk. So this coming spring, I will be putting in lots of black locust, siberian pea shrub, autumn olive, sea berry, and maybe a couple other types of trees and bushes.......I just need to figure out when to have them shipped. And I still have a few other types of fruit I am wanting to get. Cornus kousa is one of em....some pears, peaches, plums......I have a whole list that just keeps growing.

 
Joshua Parke
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Just a few dormant spring pics. About ready to place that order for N fixing trees/bushes/ground cover. Ground can be dug right now.....so I imagine I'll be okay with making the order anytime soon.

......"I spy, you spy, we all spy, some comfrey"....
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Joshua Parke
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....a few more pics..... made some raised beds on contour. extended a swale 10 ft and seeded with borage. extended the micro swale in front of, "southern side", the hugel so that water will go around it towards the north instead of pooling in-between it and the hugel. put down more mulch on swales and hugel as needed....and it was. rototilled.... "MUWHAHAHA", LOL.... some rhizomatous grass patches in-between a couple swales and planted with a spring cover crop, roughly 25 lbs and have 25 lbs remaining.....still learning here, but I'm pretty sure I could of done that a bit sooner. and next week my support trees will be shipping.....
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Joshua Parke
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More pictures. It's getting stacked. I'll find the list of trees that I've been planting this spring and post it.
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First box of two. Trees soaking.
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Joshua Parke
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Another picture and a quick video. I just wanted to get a video of the spring growth after all the rain, before it really begins to warm up and take off.
https://youtu.be/5ykNAcMVJxs
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rhubarb, sweet mint, onion, garlic, currant, apple, comfrey, strawberry, cat mint
 
Dean Moriarty
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Great stuff, Joshua!

Any updates now that the growing season is finishing up?
 
Joshua Parke
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I really missed the opportunities I had to get updated pictures and video throughout this season as I was there. It's been one heck of a summer for me. I should be back to that spot hopefully in a few weeks or so. Simple version of what is going on.....I've moved, over 700 miles south. I have a larger plot of ground to work with now, and I'm just now getting out to it....literally tomorrow. But with any luck I will be able to stay in control of this little plot of food forest I began, for some years or longer, so that I can get it fully established, and get transplants, seeds, and cuttings from.

And the plot of ground that I'm moving to tomorrow, is fully in my control, so there will be acres of food forest going in within the coming years. <--don't think I could post enough smilies to convey my joy. And I will be taking lots of pictures and video....I'm creating an oasis in the desert.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Cj Sloane wrote:
Joshua Parke wrote:I am really liking the rooter pots, all the branches I've air layered with them are still alive. There's two sizes available as well, I've only purchased the smaller ones so far though.


Can you plant them out any time of year?


When you air layer you want to time the action from beginning (start of rooting the branch) to end (putting the new tree in the ground) so that you are planting the new tree about 2 months before first frost.
This allows you to have a tree that will survive its first winter because it will have a good enough root structure already growing.

In Arkansas, where I live, I can start an air layer from April to June, I have to plant the new tree by the end of September so it will have the good roots going before the end of November. Our first frost usually arrives in December.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Excellent work Joshua, I like the way you planned this FF out too, lots of micro climates will form from all your work.

We were making rock piles but now we are repositioning them so they actually make a wall, just seemed to be a better way for us considering how many rocks we keep growing.
Once I found that living on the ridge meant that we would have a never ending supply of rocks, I started to utilize them like the first farmers on the east coast did.
We also have some large enough that I am making standing stones, for a mini Stonehenge type space. Some of the big ones are now in place and they give us nice "benches" for sitting on.
 
Francesco Delvillani
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
forest garden trees
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Very nice....give us an update
 
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