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First draft for forest garden

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Hi, ive made this first draft for the organization of fruit trees in my forest garden.

What do you think? ive tried to organize the trees based on their sizes and requirements.
Im in the southern hemisphere in an arid tropical environment. Here it never rains ( but we have a lot of water from water channels) , and there is sun all the year.

Do you think distance between trees is ok?

Ive placed the house in that place facing to the south because ive read feng shui recomend to do that, but i dont know whats the reason of this, any idea?

I also tried to create a hole in the windbreak in order to let the wind pass and cool only the house ( in summer its very hot here and wind can help cool the house.

any feedback would be appreciated.

Posts: 1401
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I would leave the feng shui out, it is surely made for the northern hemisphere. But the house close to a water channel makes sense.
If it is so dry I would organize all around water. I would maybe dig drenches to connect the two channels in a meandering system that sort of
self waters the garden.
Your first sketch is somewhat out of scale. The trees are very large and there is heaps of space in between. I a dry climate I would want to have a closed
canopy. You want nurse trees like acacia too.
I would really really recommend, even if it sounds completely outdated to buy a thick role (200m ) of the cheapest trace paper you can get (20gr/m2), and do the whole design process drawing per hand. You will see that the ideas flow faster and it is much easier. You simply draw IN SCALE what is there on one sheet and then you lay and lay pieces of paper on the top of it until you are happy with what you have drawn. You will need as well a three sided ruler with different scales, don't skimp on this!
Posts: 10
Location: Dublin, Ireland
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Is there a gradient running from the road at the top of your diagram to the water channel at the bottom? what kind of water is this - stream/standing runoff water? just wondering if it would be possible to create some kind of stream running in a through your property from one side to the other to do your irrigation for you - though you prob have already thought of this...a pic might be handy.
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Ronaldo, I'm not very good at envisioning plans/sites without photos
and I'm unfamiliar with tropical food forest design and species, but aside from that...
The site is 24m across and 80m long.
I looked at the trees along the top of your design, and checked out their mature canopy spreads.
-breadfruit-canopy diameter 16m plus
-pecan-canopy diameter 20-odd meters (and they must be pollinated by another pecan. It's really complicated-check out 'monoecious')
I (or google) don't know what a pecay is
but for example, I'd say just a pecan with appropriate tropical understory guild is plenty for that top space
Of course it would need a friend...
Have you included nitrogen fixing trees/shrubs in your thinking?

I recently did a workshop where the instructor suggested planning to have only having 50% of a food forest canopy made up of heavy feeders (includes most fruit and nut trees),
leaving plenty of room to grow a massive amount of nitrogen fixers and nutrient accumulators.
I was quite surprised how few fruit/nut trees it was realistic to plant in comparison to support species
when designing an nutrient-cycling, self-sustaining food forest.

After that workshop, I dug nearly 50% of the trees from a project I've started working with!
My biggest suggestion is: do enough research that you don't plant more trees than will work
and plant waaay less than you feel you can squueze in!

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It took me two days just to figure out what a "Purple Mooseage" is, and I still haven't even figured out how to respond to one. This is one of the aspects of this site that I think could be improved. In any case, this is an attempt to comply.

Although graphical designs like this may seem informative, and a way to propose what you want, I think they have limited utility in an actual real-world setting. You will never find exactly the property that meets your idealized scheme for how to put things together. You may try to envision a permaculture scheme that looks very nice on paper (or the monitor), but once you own a real piece of land, you figure out very quickly that the land decides for you what you are going to do, not the other way around! There are innumerable factors like the terrain, shade from neighbors, zoning restrictions, prevailing winds, ext. that have a striking impact on what you can do on a piece of land. Basicly, you find a piece of land first, then you carefully design it around the microenvironment of the individual site you have.

Part of the problem I think is that you are focusing on how the design meets your needs, instead of meeting the needs of the plants. You need to first understand the biology of the plants themselves before you start to incorporate them into any kind of design scheme.

In any case, this virtual design helps us pinpoint conceptual mistakes you are making because you aren't taking in consideration the biology of your selected trees. For example, you list one single pistachio in your forest garden. If you delved into background biology of pistachio, you'd find out that pistachios are monecious, and individual trees are either male, or female, and never both. If you plant just one, it physically can not bear nuts, even if it's female. Pecans also, while they are diecious, are classed into two different biotypes, and you need a mix of both biotypes to get nuts.

On my own piece of land, the weather reports and thermometers indicate that I'm in USDA climate zone 8A, or at worst, zone 7B (http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html). About 90% of the yearly precipitation is rain, and snowfalls are limited to 3-4 per year. It's SUPPOSED to be mild here! Still, observing the winter kill of frost-sensitive trees I've planted, the practical zoning is more like 6A-6B. Another observation is that although some trees are hardy enough to survive the winter chill (olive), their timing of flowering is off and I don't get any fruit. This is obvious in that I had multiple trees, one planted at my suburban southern California home, and the other in my Sierra foothills homestead site. The suburban tree has already produced two sequential crops of olives, whereas the foothills tree has none. This is another example of how the real-world microclimate of your site influences your real outcomes.
You would be much easier to understand if you took that bucket off of your head. And that goes for the tiny ad too!
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