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Mixing fruit trees, berries and grapes  RSS feed

 
Beth Mouse
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I have almost 1/2 an acre of pasture. I am trying to design how to plant fruit trees, blueberries, and grapes throughout it. Will it really make a big difference in confusing pests if I plant a fruit tree, then a row of grapes, and then several blueberries. In other words, trying to mix these up rather than planting 1/3 of this space with rows of grapes and then a separate section as orchard, and then the last area as blueberries.

It seems like it would be harder to have a row of grapes then a fruit tree or two, then blueberries, but if this bit of diversity really makes a difference, it may be worth it. I also was going to plant dwarf fruit trees so they don't shade out the grapes and will be easier for me to maintain and harvest. I am 50-year-old gal doing this pretty much alone. I was also going to plant asparagus under fruit trees. I may also plant some Siberian peas as a nitrogen fixer throughout this.

Thanks for any advice,
Beth
 
wayne fajkus
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Replace blueberries with black berries and you have my plan, so I'm subscribing to see the responses.

One of themes I see is no rows of the same. A row of grapes and the bugs jump from plant to plant to devour them. Separate same plants so they are not next to each other. As an example, make a bug have to travel past asparagus to get to the next grape vine. Same with trees.

I'm not 100% on what defines the same plant. Does a plumb attract same pests as a peach? Is grape the same as black berry?

 
William Bronson
Posts: 1492
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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We happen to have just decided that the lot we purchased outright will become an urban orchard.
I suspect pit fruits will have common pests and disease, so I intend to alternate them with pears and hazel nut trees. If gobi (?) Is nitrogen fixing, they might be slotted in between.
I have raspberies ready to transplant, and am considering planting in long raised lasagna beds in between the trees.
My reason for the beds is my poor soil, as this lot had an old, presumably toxin filled house on it.
I have considered grapes for my fence line, but now I read this thread I might add them more directly into the mix.
Elderberry, Saskatoon s and such could be good under the trees.
Clover or alfalfa paths mighr be good but woodchip filled swales might serve
as paths, fungelbeds, and as water capture as well.
I want to work hardy kiwi into the mix, but I am getting ahead of myself. ..
 
Jon Smith
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Location: Canajoharie, NY
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Interested to see how this works, I have about five acres that I eventually would like to place a house on, maybe a tenth of an acre. Currently I have planted concord grapes(2), blueberries (6), honey berries (9), and cherry trees (4). I lost one blueberry last year to the deer and I've started swales around the cheery trees to try and keep them well drained. Things I could use are wood chips and other organic matter for mulch.
I'm hoping to get another five apricots or plums in this fall.
Any ideas or failures and successes you might have would be helpful. I'll try and post as I go returning the same favor.
 
William James
gardener
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Location: Northern Italy
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On a half-acre, your space is limited, but your ability to manage the thing is increased.

DVD Permaculture Orchard suggests NAP, nitrogen-fixer, apple, pear or plum.

In your case you have vining elements which could get into your trees which would be nice if they are the right trees and can still be harvested. Running a vine up a n-fixer seems like a good idea, as does winding it around the lower branches (a la Martin Crawford) to make your grape harvest easier. If things get messy, you can always prune back both heavily and they'll come back. You might want to add a n-fixer if you use NAP, since you're adding a n-taker. There are other n-fixing shrubs like eleagnus. As a tree, thornless black locust might be nice...

As for the blueberries, they like shade, so don't worry about shading them out. They can go anywhere except perhaps in full sun without heavy watering.

I wouldn't work in long rows of grape intermixed with trees. No better way to give a predator an advantage. Plus, unless they are tended well, they will potentially leave your infrastructure and take up home in the trees anyway.
If you want to go with rows, you could go with short rows of pruned grape, taking up basically the width of a tree, planting some heavily pruned n-fixers and herbaceous plants next to them, keeping any potential support tree farther away.

If you have the ability to get grapes to vine onto trees, I would strongly advise that. It cuts down on the infrastructure installation and maintenance, as well as your pruning activities down the road.

Best of luck,
William
 
Dave Lodge
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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Keeping clusters of plants in different spots will help prevent some animals from eating the leaves or they won't spread. Breaking up with different families of plants will prevent the more generalist insects from seeing other plants. Prunus sp. (Plum/cherry) Hazelnut, and blueberry, elderberry, raspberry, strawberry, persimmon, mulberry, pawpaw, nannyberry, walnut, hickory, chestnut. All of these are different genus of plants and be planted to shield clusters of the the same species in different places.

I personally have very low numbers of pests due to all the beneficial insects. I personally plant natives that will bloom throughout the year to control plant eating insects. Inter planting these will give great pollination and pest control. A little loss when infestations happen is worth it to maintain insect populations and native plants can be those hosts instead of your trees. They are also resistant to these pests so you wont need to worry about maintaining them.

In the northeast US, these species that work well. High wildlife/ecological value in the non-edibles.

Woodland Strawberry (Early Spring)
Fruit trees (Early Spring)
Golden Alexander Zizia aurea(Spring)
Raspberry/Blackberry (Spring)
Ramps (Late spring)
Elderberry (Early Summer)
Purple Flowering Raspberry (Summer)
Black Cohosh/Bugbane (Summer)
Milkweed (Summer) Monarch Host Plant (Monarchs down over 90% since 96)
Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum sp.(Mid/Late Summer) Penn State found 78 species in 2 min on Clustered Mountain Mint. Biting insect repellant. Spearmint like.
Oxeye Sunflower (Mid/Late Summer) Blooms for 2 months.
Showy Goldenrod (Fall) Nice clumping goldenrod
New England Aster (Fall)
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1492
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Looks like great advise from many who know more than I. I am curious about using apples, I was just talking to my brother the farmer(Carriage House Farm) and he confirmed that apples are a hard crop to grow sans spraying.
He does it but he isn't going in for more apple trees.
I have but one blueberry plant and despite heavy mulching with acidic organic matter, I have had but one good year out of it.This is in a spot next to the Black raspberries, which never fail to produce, even in the years I haven't pruned them. I will only do blueberries in sub irrigated planters in the future, if I do them at all. I prefer the can fruits-I started with two now I have twenty feet of them , plus uncounted transplants!
I want to find a good source for honey berries, if they are any thing like their wild cousins, they will live nicely with sunchokes and the like and survive anything up to and including a ground level beheading!

Let us also consider the end use. I mostly want to eat this produce, but I am also thinking about what will sell, and what can be preserved. Grapes for example make raisins and jams etc, plus the raisins can go into home made breads, boosting the "locavore" appeal.
Even the choice of apple tree might be decided by how well the fruit keeps.

Another consideration is what is already there. I just this week realized we have a producing black walnut tree, and I have a tiny city lot! I would never have planted it and I doubt it will produce enough for any practical use, but now I know what to look for I am seeing its progeny all over the place, and a Black Walnut sapling could be worth something at a farmers market.

I was dubious about the idea of vine fruit on the fruit trees, but growing on the N-fixers, hmm. How about an Indian Runner bean on a fruit tree? Also, how about maypops as a vine that provides edible fruit?

Hardy kiwi is supposed to be a heavy producer, has anyone here gotten them to grow in zone 6A or lower?
 
Dave Lodge
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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Lowbush Blueberry is much more productive per spacing and can take a wider range of soils and moisture. Black Huckleberry is good too. Can take full shade to full sun.

I know Hardy kiwi is grown in New England in zone 6 which used to be zone 5.
 
Beth Mouse
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Thanks all for the input about whether to plant some rows of grapes, mixed with blueberries and fruit trees in my pasture. Sorry it has been so long as I have been gone. William suggested planting short rows of grapes "the width of a tree". Would I use posts for this? That is really a short length so I am not sure how to support the 4 foot long (?) length of grape.

Because I will most likely be planting dwarf fruit trees (as I want to make them easier to harvest and manage and not shade other rows), I don't think grapes running up them would be good. Apparently, dwarf trees only last a decade (so I am told). But maybe it is okay to destroy the grapes on the tree when it has to be replaced.

I like the idea of planting native plants in the mix as well for beneficial insects and will do so. If I did do a row of grapes rather than run them up a tree or the shorter one William suggested, I was thinking 15 feet long. It is true that the grapes may climb fruit trees nearby, so I would need to plant something else next to them. Maybe the natives and a nitrogen fixer. I was thinking of Siberian pea shrub as the n-fixer. It doesn't get that big.

Thanks again,
Beth
 
John Saltveit
gardener
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I think a lot of the advice is good. Remember different families-herbs in between or leafy vegies are in very different families. Different microbiology in the soil, different insects to curb , balance and eat each other. Birds, spiders, etc.

Also, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Italy and New England don't exactly have the same climate, so they need to be adjusted.
john S
PDX OR
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Here's another take, just to complicate things!
I don't have the pest issues many people have, so I won't try and address that.
The main thing I'd think about is whether the site is variable enough for plants from radically different climates to thrive.
Hot, dry spots for grapes as well as acidic, moist, shady spots for blueberries-that sort of thing.

Something really odd happened when I tried to use the quote button, so:
Beth said: "I will most likely be planting dwarf fruit trees (...) I don't think grapes running up them would be good"
I agree. I'd keep grapes away from anything but a pretty mature, non-dwarfing tree.
I'm also into pruning, and I don't feel like chasing grape vines up trees
In my experience even climbing beans are too much for a young tree.

With grapes, I'd generally try to plant the vines in the hottest, driest, windiest spot.
Ideally for me, that would be running North-South for harvesting both sides, or against the Northern boundary (assuming you're in the Northern hemisphere)
Do you want loads of grapes? For processing? Wine? A single vine can produce an enormous amount...

I haven't grown blueberries, but I know they're very sad unless the soil's very acidic-are you confident it is?
If it's not, I'd move on to something else. Canes have been mentioned-now that lot aren't fussy

People that know stuff have explained to me that it is extremely difficult to build a sustainable forest garden system with more than 50-60% mature fruit tree canopy-cover.
It's pretty low planting density, but it means you can grow lots and lots of nitrogen fixers and nutrient accumulators like comfrey in full sun
Whatever happens, I'd get lots of clover seed going (inoculated if necessary)

 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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John Saltveit wrote:Also, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Italy and New England don't exactly have the same climate, so they need to be adjusted.

aaaand...New Zealand, to add to the mix
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm going to go back through to read responses but adding mine for now.

I interspaced my fruit trees with my berry plants.

As for grapes I have them near but separate and in rows. My thinking with grapes is that you have to have something for them to grow up. I don't want to build a million mini trellises so rows make the most sense labor and infrastructure wise to me.
 
William James
gardener
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Location: Northern Italy
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Danielle Venegas wrote:My thinking with grapes is that you have to have something for them to grow up. I don't want to build a million mini trellises so rows make the most sense labor and infrastructure wise to me.


I agree. You can start out on a stake, but then you should transfer to a tree. Makes much more sense, even with the potential wild danger. That's how nature does it.
Heavier fruit like kiwi could be a little cumbersome on a tree, but grapes go just fine.
W
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Fuzzy kiwi grows from zone 10 to 7, and hardy kiwi grows/fruit from zone 7 to 3. SO zone 6b is pretty much the warmest winter that it can produce in so you are in luck.
I would also get the Issai cultivar they are 10ft dwarfs vs the usuall 100ft ones.

I would do black/raspberry instead of blueberry, you will have to add sulphur every year to get them to keep on fruiting..
Here is a list of things that you can grow.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjpWBJwPQ0nMdEpjV1AwcVJ0dGFZbnVpVEw0RlFQR0E
 
Earl Aarsrood
Posts: 14
Location: Wisconsin zone 3/4
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S Bengi wrote:Fuzzy kiwi grows from zone 10 to 7, and hardy kiwi grows/fruit from zone 7 to 3. SO zone 6b is pretty much the warmest winter that it can produce in so you are in luck.
I would also get the Issai cultivar they are 10ft dwarfs vs the usuall 100ft ones.


Keep in mind that 'hardy kiwi' is a common name for both actunita arguta and a. Kolomikta, which is also called 'arctic kiwi'.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Hardy kiwi is very aggressive. We planted some near the garden 20 years ago and took it out because it was threatening to take it over. I haven't noticed anything for 10 years but all of a sudden i saw some vines with fruit which means 2 somehow survived.
 
Jim Grieco
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Hi! Newbie here. We are wanting to do something like this (trees,grapes,berries). Where does one go to learn all the ins and outs of this? How to set it up, what to plant, how to care for?
We are in zone 7A NW Arizona.

Thanks
Jim
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Hmmm.
Two good introductory permaculture books are Intro to Permaculture by Bill Mollison or gaia's garden by toby hemenway.

The other route might be The Permaculture Orchard which is an awesome video. The streaming downloadable version is $25.

The free method would be to spend hours looking through various threads here at permies or search for "food forest" videos on youtube.
 
Jim Grieco
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Thanks. I just ordered the DVD. Love going through the posts but we are off grid and Internet is iffy at best. I need to get right to the point!
 
Would you turn that thing down? I'm controlling a mind here! Look ... look at the tiny ad ...
The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23444/digital-market/digital-market/Earth-Sheltered-Solar-Greenhouse-Book
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