• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

Food forest dream = too much fruit / sugar?

 
Posts: 79
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I know about having too much sugar, used to be a fruitarian, and many fruits today are unnaturally sweet.
I know what I would grow as a complement> CHESTNUTS.
After my fruitarian times, I long for warm, and starchy food that is not grains. I do like sweet potatoes and yams etc, but chestnuts are really delicious and can be cooked in many ways, roasted,  in salads, soups, desserts, stews, or with meat if you like, AND... they grow on trees, unlike the roots that you need to dig up, you just pick 'em, but ok, they have a bit of skin to deal with, but still, I know that that is a tree I would grow... Chestnuts were much more widespread before grains took over, in Asia, Europe, America. Not sure if they grow in your area.
And... PUMPKINS are also nice, even though they don't grow on trees, but they can be very satisfying as well.
 
Keira Oakley
Posts: 79
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Btw, acorns from oaks are popular with pigs... a nice way of feeding them the way they used to eat in the wild.
 
Keira Oakley
Posts: 79
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There's a fine balance concerning fruit sugars: on one hand we love them and get energy from them, the brain really love to get a sugar boost, on the other, it can feel too much, one can really overeat on it...
But take the opposite scenario: eating only leaves and herbs and seeds that are so full of fibers and devoid of calories, that they in the long run will not nourish us: I've seen this happen to long term raw vegans: stomach always full and working hard to digest these fibers and anti-nutrients... but not getting enough energy and getting seriously malnourished
So fruits are easily absorbed in the body, the trick is to not overdo it. Trust me, fruits can become addictive, that why it's good to find other foods as well and not become obsessive about them: I've seen this behavior too many times, especially in Asia, where many westerners come to become fruitarians on their backpacking holidays and "start a new life". I believe in variety.
 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
257
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I already have two pecan trees, one that produces as much as my family can use and one that's not producing yet. I've also planted two olives that will eventually provide oil. I opened another topic because I'm running up to the limits of my knowledge for finding another nut tree (other than walnut, which might as well be another pecan) that can grow in my situation. I'd like it if someone knows where I could find a pair of pistachio (for a reasonable price, not 150$) to plant.  I think pistachios would even come ripe during a time of year when most of the garden isn't producing, so it would be a good time for processing them. But maybe there's something I haven't thought of that is compatible with my soil, water, and chill hours.

Funnily enough we also finally decided our hugelbed was ready to support a full planting of asparagus this year. We were thinking in a few years we'd have to transplant the asparagus because it's next to a young black cherry tree. I've seen asparagus thriving in full sun here. Does it actually grow well in shade, also? I think we'd be happier not needing to move the asparagus, but we need that tree for shade in the summer afternoons.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
257
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Keira Oakley wrote:
And... PUMPKINS are also nice, even though they don't grow on trees, but they can be very satisfying as well.



Someone posted pictures of their 'treekins' (a pumpkin vine that climbed a tree and produced) and they were talking about starting to grow their pumpkins that way on purpose. It was fairly recent, so I wonder if that project every left the ground. Runner beans are probably good candidates for vines in most food forests, also.   Even if they need planting each year, they grow fast from seed. I'm going to see next spring whether I've managed to perennialize them in my garden.
 
gardener
Posts: 3054
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
708
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Walnut is only thing that comes to mind. Olive and almonds are experimental in texas.  Not sure if either of these has actually produced anything here. At least in my zone.  

If memory is correct, olives will die back in a hard freeze but will come back from the roots.  When this happens, the clock restarts and your several years from getting produce.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
257
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm fairly close to some of the first olive orchards in the state. They do produce enough that sometimes you see the oil available in stores. The almonds produce their flowers before the last freeze in this area, chestnuts don't like alkaline soil. I don't think we have enough chill hours for hazelnut and we're too cold for a tropical nut.  

I'm pretty sure pistachios would thrive (ornamental Chinese pistachios are closely related and run wild) but they're almost impossible to find. The lowest I've found was 150$ for a pair, before shipping costs. Last year they couldn't be found at all. If I get desperate enough I'll try planting them from seed, but I don't have room for more than a few more trees. I'd hate to plant them and then find out I didn't have a pollinating pair ten years later.


edit:

Unrelated to nuts, but exciting for me are the new avocado varieties. We're gonna give it a few years to see if the live up to the hype, but potentially there is now an avocado that can survive in Zone 8.  I tend to prefer vegetables to fruit, but who really feels like an avocado is a fruit?
 
wayne fajkus
gardener
Posts: 3054
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
708
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Avacado would be a game changer.
 
gardener
Posts: 2626
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
418
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I think this thread does bring up a very important issue. That yes indeed many who construct food forests tend to go a bit too fruit heavy when deciding what to plant.  

 Definitely, this is the case.  I think that primarily people should be focusing on getting the trees in the ground as soon as possible (as they are going to take a while to produce), and planning around the trees, though because they are often defining features in the micro-climates.  It's strange that people focus so much on fruit, but this might be primarily due to the fact that the fruit stock is much more readily available at nurseries compared to nuts.  For me, there are just not as many nuts available when I am looking at nurseries nearby.  I would love to have more nut trees that would thrive in my climate.  There is a local hazel that is a shrub, but I hope to get some hazel trees, and perhaps hardy walnuts and chestnuts.

food forests concentrates a lot on the trees, but tends to forget the importance of the other layers of this design. There are the shrubs, the herbs, the roots, the vines, the ground cover. The trees them selves are only 2 of the layers.  

I think this is also very true.  I'm going to start a thread, to discuss this.  
 
Posts: 134
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Roberto Pokachinni, I am doing something similar, but tucking plants of my choice into existing wild communities, with the idea that they will probably play nicely together...I've felt like that's cheating because I haven't designed the "guild" from the ground up, just added to it...your approach is more intellectual, and applies an articulate veneer to, and to me validates, my bumbling approach.  Do you have a thread elsewhere that gives a tour of your land, and your permaculture efforts?  I would love to snoop, and maybe take a few lessons from you, being in somewhat comparable territory.

Xisca Nicolas, I'm sorry for using your thread to my own ends.  I have no better comment to add than those which I have already seen:  adding olive and nut trees; letting bees benefit from the fruit blossoms and letting livestock eat the fruit; sharing the fruit with neighbours; and using the branches as a scaffold for vines and the leaves as shade to make a sheltered microclimate...I cannot speak to the garden of Eden end of things, nor to anyone's personal dietary preferences.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1044
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
280
hugelkultur forest garden trees chicken wofati earthworks building solar rocket stoves woodworking homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:

I'm going to start a thread, to discuss this.  



Awesome, I look forward to reading and participating in that thread.

 
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the key is balance. Yes, watching sugar load is important, but also manageable by selecting varieties with season extension in mind.

We've been converting our 1/2 acre zone 8a system over the past two years. Where we once had only apples, pears, peach and a small shady area for annuals, we now have a much more diverse perennial garden.  Our fruits start with honeyberry in spring, making way incrementally through the season with strawberry,  currant, huckleberry, blueberries, blackberries, cherry, fig, goumi, aronia, grapes, nashi pear, apple, plum, jujube, and kiwi. In spring, we're adding European pear, persimmon, quince, mulberry, cranberry, saskatoon, gooseberry, jostaberry, autumn olive, pawpaw, cornus mas, cornus kousa, and figoa. These all ripen at different times, so we have small amounts of fresh fruit from April through December, and can share some and preserve the rest for winter.

But fruit is only part of a system. We grow a wide variety of annual vegetables from leafy greens and brassicas to corn, corcubits, root crops and night shades. For perennials, we have asparagus, artichoke,  olive trees, pepper trees and rhubarb. We're adding a bay tree, tea tree, sasssfras, hazelnut, heartnut, and Siberian pea shrubs.  We'll be adding in chickens in 2017 too, so surpluses will be well taken care of and converted into protein.

The trick is to use your design to stretch production with season extenders, and use you edges and sun budget thoughtfully. Martin Crawford's Creating a Forest Garden is a great resource.
 
pollinator
Posts: 305
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6b
56
dog forest garden books cooking bike bee medical herbs homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:It's strange that people focus so much on fruit, but this might be primarily due to the fact that the fruit stock is much more readily available at nurseries compared to nuts.  For me, there are just not as many nuts available when I am looking at nurseries nearby.



It's a pratical matter I would say. It is true that the variety offered is wider in fruits, but also -- walnuts mean heavy shade, juglone and lots of space; and chestnuts get chestnut blight which is a show stopper (C. Mollissima and hybrids might be a solution here). Hazelnuts, well, personally I'm allergic, sadly. One way to deal with the possible sugar overdose, which I believe is a meaningful concern, is to emphasize soft fruit = berries where the balance between sugars and other components is usually different than with tree fruit.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really started as a question, and not meaning for sure that we want too much sugar....
And fruits are more easy to get sugar than get sugars from grain starches!!!

Martin Crawford does a nice job yes, for variety. And we have to get fruits during more months, less concentrated in time.
Preserving is time consuming, worth it when needed, but fresh fruits are a delice and a luxury!!!

We might be focussing on fruits because they are expensive in the diet....
Also, vegetable profesional growers say that they earn more on fruits....
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unfortunately, about focussing more on nuts, I would turn the title into
"Is a food forest giving us too much PUFAs?"

They really have a disbalance toward omega6...
Saturated fats are the most difficult to produce, except if you have room for a lot of animals, ruminants...

We turn sugar from fruits into protective saturated fat!
Feeding livestock is a very good option IMO...
And balance through variety!
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
103
dog duck fungi trees books chicken bee solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fruit is nature's candy.

All animals love to gorge on fruits during autumn. They gain lots of fat to survive the coming hibernation/fasts of winter. For most Westerners, that winter fast never comes. That is why Westerners suffer from metabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

As a 50+ year old woman, I keep my carbs to 50 or less per day. 75% of my diet is [healthy] fats.

I planted 100 apple, mulberry, and alder trees last year, mainly for animal fodder and small amount for making hard cider. My animals can take the insulin hit for me.

I don't think we need grains at all. Humans and animals survived quite well prior to the advent of industrial ag and heavy reliance of grains.

There are plenty of species that belong in a food forest other than fruit trees. Jerusalem artichokes, various vines (my livestock love eating wild grapeleaves and humans can eat them too), nuts from tall trees and shrubs, asparagus, ramps, mushrooms and so on are all low sugar options. Some trees have edible leaves like Basswood.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
103
dog duck fungi trees books chicken bee solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Xisca Nicolas wrote:Unfortunately, about focussing more on nuts, I would turn the title into
"Is a food forest giving us too much PUFAs?"

They really have a disbalance toward omega6...
Saturated fats are the most difficult to produce, except if you have room for a lot of animals, ruminants...

We turn sugar from fruits into protective saturated fat!
Feeding livestock is a very good option IMO...
And balance through variety!




Yes I agree totally. Too many nuts = too much omega 6. Again, process the nuts thru animals and then eat them.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, and look at the nice yellow fat!
Nowadays, they have White fat, that is too much unsaturated as well!
I guess it is from eating grains.
I can see this in pig fat that they sell!

Reaching 75% fat is not easy without having a strong liver or making mayonnaise for emulsifyiing...
But we are not in the right fórum for talking this here!

So, we always reach the Word balance....
And my question is more important when people are vegetarians...
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
103
dog duck fungi trees books chicken bee solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Xisca Nicolas wrote:
And my question is more important when people are vegetarians...



High carbs/ low fat may be OK for vegetarians/vegans if they don't have metabolic issues. There are a few examples of cultures that are long lived/healthy eating like that. Mainly Islanders who don't eat grain tho.
 
Devin Lavign
pollinator
Posts: 1044
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
280
hugelkultur forest garden trees chicken wofati earthworks building solar rocket stoves woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Xisca Nicolas wrote:Unfortunately, about focussing more on nuts, I would turn the title into
"Is a food forest giving us too much PUFAs?"



But why would you need to go from fruit heavy to nut heavy. You can mix fruits and nuts in a food forest, in fact you really would want mix them.

I think the problem is your thinking too much one or the other. Balance and moderation of both is what you want. Plus remember not every tree in a food forest needs to be fruit or nut bearing. Trees can just be scaffold for vines, habitat for wildlife, shade producers, pollinator attractors, etc... It isn't always about what type of food they will give, but also about balancing the ecosystem of your food forest.
 
Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? - Fred Rogers. Tiny ad:
BWB second printing, pre-order dealio (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic