• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Where To Start?

 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd like to start developing a food forest plot on my land, but I'm not sure where to start. I'm a left brained type of person so I need some type of structure to wrap my head about something. What I find most overwhelming is trying to choose which plants to grow.

So a few questions I have:

When choosing plants, do I first choose the trees I want and build my plan around those?

What tree spacing is best?

What are the steps in preparing the land? For example, do I need to plant some ground cover to prep the soil before I start planting?

What time of year is it best to start?

 
Mike Feddersen
Posts: 351
21
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well my last planting endeavours were in Surprise, AZ but I am pretty good at looking things up online. So if you will like to check out these links there is a bunch of good information from people in your area plus a temperature chart for the USA that might give you an idea of possibilities too. I had a dwarf apple in AZ that really needed the shade of another tree that needed something like only 20 some days below freezing to 'reset'(don't know if that's the right word, maybe someone can correct me. Note* The video below mentioned it is called "chill hours". I knew somebody would correct me.

Plant hardiness zone map: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#

This was a forum for the Dallas area that had some links and advice from local growers: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fruit/msg1109574330812.html

The one commentor on the above mentioned forum mentioned Womack's Nursery by De Leon, TX, said anything they had would do well in Dallas area. Peaches, plums, pecans, almonds, pears, nectarines, plus more... makes me want to move. hehe Another commenter mentioned all the various berries they were growing including strawberries, blackberries, figs, blueberries, raspberries, jujubes, apricots, elderberries, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, persimmons, pluots, shipova, juneberries, pineapple guava, kiwi, and wolfberries. http://www.womacknursery.com/index.html

Here is a Youtube video from the owner of Womack being interviewed by Central Texas Gardener show, talking about planting trees and when to do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKPaWLCgA6c
Mentions selling 40000 grapevines per year.

More videos from the interviewer at Central Texas Gardener: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgmihDgYcKMfJV3zCXGmFvA/videos

A planting guide for veggies in the area: http://dallas-tx.tamu.edu/files/2010/06/Vegetable-Planting-Guide.pdf

Here's a link to Texas A & M for some color, not necessarily to eat http://texassuperstar.com/

All thing's plants website http://allthingsplants.com/apps/calendar/?q=Dallas,%20TX

August 14-16, 2014 a Nursery Expo at San Antonio, TX http://www.nurserylandscapeexpo.org/ Here;s some of the presenter/exhibiters http://s19.a2zinc.net/clients/TXNLA/NLE14/Public/floorplan.aspx?ID=3403&sortMenu=104000

A blog on Dallas fruit growing http://www.dallasfruitgrower.typepad.com/

The area extension office is a great resource, even talks in detail about growing things like bananas: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ Video archive from the same: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/video/

This site mentioned needing to plant two of a variety for "cross-pollinating": http://plant-shed.com/planting-fruit-trees-in-north-texas/

Heirloom seeds http://www.seedsavers.org/ Texas specific http://tinyurl.com/texas-heirloom-seed-links

Mother Earth News asked "What's your favorite seed company?" Followers name off dozens, a person from the U.K. mentions liking to buy from here for quality and price: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/favorite-garden-seed-companies-zb0z11zalt.aspx#axzz365WHqJdN
You can find the link to subscribe to their free email reports at the above link. Various topics.

Hope this helps you some and I hope others from your area chime in.

Mike


 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mike, thanks for all the great info! I especially appreciate referring me to Womack's.

So once I've decided that I want a pear tree and an apricot tree for example, do I need build the system around those?

Also, what is a good distance to space the trees in order to allow enough light in to the understory?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Watch some of geoff lawton's videos here. You have to sign up to watch. The one you really want is one of the first - using chickens to create a food forest. The chickens clear & manure the land, then you plant an N-fixing cover crop, N-fixing trees, and fruit trees. The N-fixing trees come out later.

Here's a different vid to watch:
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The best time of the year to plant trees is in the fall, the water requirements are very low and it gives the plants time to develop a root system before the summer heat. Spring is another good time to plant fruit/nut trees.

I would start doing earthworks now if possible, building swales on contour, depression basins, collecting woodchip and such from landscaping companies, straw from farms. Next I would plant cover crops I am particular found of dutch white clover at 10lbs/acre 3 times a year (30lbs/acre) they fix alot nitrogen. dutch clover is a cool season "grass" so you will probably have to use different N-fixers.

Space everything according to their mature height, but while they are young and short fill the extra space with nitrogen fixers that you will prune and then kill as the productive trees get bigger. If you buy some 3ft tall apple trees that is suppose to be 18ft at maturity plant the 3ft whips 18ft apart and the extra space between them plant a Nitrogen-fixing shurb/tree that you will prune and later kill as the fruiting trees get bigger. Maybe some palms would make a good overstory for you.

Make a list of all the plant that can grow in your enviroment including created micro-climates. Then check off the ones that you dont like, maybe circle off the ones you like the most. That will be your plant list.
Figure out the ratio of support species (n-fixers) to productive species (fruits) at maturity aim for at least 25% up to 90%.

 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brandon Greer wrote: once I've decided that I want a pear tree and an apricot tree for example, do I need build the system around those?

Well, kinda
My big question would be: what do you know grows well in your area,
taking into account that your climate may well get hotter and drier?
In my experience, pears like quite a lot of moisture-but I've never been to Dallas...
Brandon Greer wrote:what is a good distance to space the trees in order to allow enough light in to the understory?

I have limited practical experience, and I'm learning a lot as I put together a reasonable sized 10 764ft2 food forest (ff).
I can only refer to my temperate, fairly high-rainfall climate, which makes tree choice and food forest design pretty simple.
I've just done a ff workshop where I learned that there's a lot more to it than I'd previously understood.
In a temperate climate, the teacher recommended the heavy-producing trees' mature canopies
should cover no more than 50% of the total ff area (unless it's grown by an expert)
Every square m of mature canopy needs its area X .8 of nitrogen fixers in full sun
For example, an apple of 28m2 will need 28x0.8=22m2 of nitrogen fixers in full sun
They also suggest one comfrey plant for every m2 of mature canopy, on the sunny side at the mature canopy dripline.
So it's really important to know/write down the root stock to gauge mature canopy size.
That's not even getting into the complexities of guilding...
 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry for the delayed reply. I've been at the beach

Thank you all for the information. Special thanks to Benji for sending over the pdf!
 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
About spacing, it seems like i read on this forum somewhere that trees should be spaced 1.5 times the diameter of the tree to allow enough sun in. Has anyone else read this here or can direct me to a thread which discusses this?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Normally, for all plantings, you want the canopies to just touch when fully grown. If you do that with trees it's going to be difficult to to grow much under full canopy, especially if the canopy is dense. That's where the 1.5 figure makes some sense.

OTOH, it's not reasonable to expect all your trees to make it to full size, especially if planting from seed. It also doesn't take into account the role of N-fixers or nurse trees. That's why Geoff Lawton plants 9 support trees to 1 productive tree. When the system is mature that ratio might be reversed.
 
Robert Jordan
Posts: 32
Location: Dublin, Ireland
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
First up, you need to plan and for that you need to read.
I read a great book on just that 'Permaculture design' by Aranya (yeah funny name)!
Step by step. Good stuff. Worth the small money.

Map your site. Observe your site. Plan what you and your family require from the garden. Watch lots of YouTube!!!
Ecoboy

Good luck.
 
please buy my thing and then I'll have more money:
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic