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Converting existing "forest" to food forest  RSS feed

 
                      
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Hello,

I'm new to the forum, and new to permaculture.  I recently bought a house on a large urban lot (almost 1.5 acres).

Background:
The house came with a large number of mature trees - particularly relevant to my current question, almost the entire edge of the property is surrounded by a strip of forest 10 to 15+ feet across.  It has some pine, some hawthorn, some buckthorn, two black walnuts, some small silver maples, etc., etc., and is relatively dense along most of its length - you can't really walk through it except a few places where it has been cut through.

I like the privacy screen (though its not much of one in winter - there aren't that many pines and what there are aren't particularly dense), and I want to keep as much of this as I can.  However, I want to transform it to a food forest as I've been reading about, and widen it probably by 10 to 20 feet in most areas, maybe more in some areas.

Question:
Does anyone have any information, suggestions, etc., or can point me towards some books or articles on transforming an existing forest system to a food forest?  Everything I've seen on how to build a food forest starts from dead ground or just grass and scrub.  I don't want to clear cut and start from scratch - but I do want to transform the existing system as quickly as possible (10 years - 15? - to get a reasonable start on it?).

I'm in southeastern Michigan, US zone 5 according to the maps, and any information specific to my climate would be extra helpful.

Thanks,

-Liano
 
                        
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Liano:  I grew up in Northern Michigan -- probably zone 4.  I wrote an article on our woods at home a few years ago that describes in most respects what a Michigan forest would look like.  And a natural forest IS a food forest  that's the way they come when allowed to develop naturally.  They feed both man and beast!

http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/feature-articles/3864-food-forest-example-northern-michigan-forest.html

I would first work on the canopy trees and weed out some of the less desirable species -- like the silver maples.  For a food forest you will want nut trees.  Do beeches grow in your area?  There are some understory nut trees also -- like hazelnuts.  The amelanchiers (June berries) are beautiful and the berries are really good and they are a native plant that work naturally within the Michigan forest.  They usually grow in groves though, rather than layered under taller trees.  Do native persimmons grow in that area?  Beyond that I would look at the property and see what you need:  Screen from neighbors and noisy roads?
Wind protection?  Or mostly a diverse source for berries and nuts?

Note:  Brenda Groth who is a member here now lives near the area described in the article on the Manistee River.  She is working on a food forest there now.
 
                              
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Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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most browse (food for animals), which is also most varied, is at the edges of forest, clearings, meadows,etc. There is a variety of light and shade so a lot of different things can find what they need to grow happy. WIthout seeing a photo, you could probably stand to clear out "trash" stuff(young trees that are too tightly packed and are stunted and unhealthy), and replant with fruit trees/shrubs(again, pay attention to light needs).

How mature are your big trees? Can you post some pix?  For now you can start taking notes on how much sun for how long lands of certain places--like note where full all day sun hits, morning sun, after noon sun etc.
 
rose macaskie
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i made a small hugglekulture bed in a shady bit of garden and the lettuces and even tomatoe plant i put in are doing well. Soon my neibor will have a whole feild of vegetables but for now i out do him by a lot. I did not know if they would grow or not in hte shade i just tried it out.
    Is planting in woods a bit of an experiment the traditional seems to be to plant out in full sun but planting in part shade seems  to work then Spanish sun is pretty ferociouse. The only thing you can do it try it out. i put a sheet of plastic held into tube form with a wire
    I have taken a photo of the lettuces but can't find the lead which allows me to down them in to the computer.
      Here in the south in the andalucian province of Cordova in the pedroches they prune a branch off trees if they think they are giving too much shade to pastures, so plant things and if they need sun prune a branch off the trees and if they need more sun prune another branch off the trees. 
      I would have thought wild thangs advise about cleaning out the wood taking out what is growing to thickly is good way to start, to behave as if  you were just trying to increase the health of the trees reducing com petition.
    A lot of leafless undergrowth in winter does impede vision more than you might think, at least if you clean such growth up you let a lot of light in. agri rose macaskie.
 
Aljaz Plankl
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I would also start on the edges, where you can transform natural food forest into a human food forest. Then slowly work into a forest itself, where you can't do so much as with the edges. You can but with much more work.
 
Emil Spoerri
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silver maples i find to be extremely useful "useless" trees

they are very rapid growers, make good browse for goats, make tons of deadfall for increasing the carbon in the soil, can be tapped for even more delicious and mineral rich maple syrup or for clean water
they are good for growing mushrooms and ginseng also!

go heavy on the gooseberries and currants, plant a lot of variety so that you find some you like a lot!

nettles are a good crop that does well in shade

also, it would be good to cut some of the trees and use them for mulch and carbon!
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i've read Wombats story and it is really good, read it. I'm from Michigan..if you own the south side of your woods you can certainly put some understory trees on the south side of the tallest trees (maybe not the walnuts), your fruit trees can go there and maybe a hedge off to one side of bramble berries, if there is a dampish spot you can put in bushes of elderberries, and you can also add some blueberries under the understory of fruit trees.
Put in some grape and kiwi vines if you have room and plant some permanent crops of things like rhubarb and jerusalem artichokes if there is room for them..and certainly a ground cover of strawberry or some other ground cover berry would be great..and go from there..sneaking in any fruits or veges that you might think of..and herbs of course\

if there is an open areas you can do the same depending on the sunlight that gets through, or you can plant more nut and fruit trees where there is some sun available...

hope it works out well for you..i own a woods with a large area of south facing edge, (between woods and field)..i intend to be building that woods out into the field with nut trees and understory trees, fruit trees, berries and bushes, perennials..etc..as i am able..more and more..

i have food forests all over the remainder of my property but this woods area has just begun to get developed as well..i have put in 3 walnut trees so far and some wild plums and hazelnuts on the south edge..there is a lot of room for me to continue..i'll be watching yours wiht much interest..i'm zone 4/5 Michigan
 
                      
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Thanks for all the great replies, I really appreciate it.  Some have asked for more details and pictures.

First, some more details, and shortly, pictures.

The land is a large city lot in a rectangle about 300 feet long the east-west axis and about 190 feet along the north south axis.  Along the south side of the lot  is a 4-lane (5 with turn lane) road, the main road through town and fairly busy.  There is an apartment building to my east and a small office park to my west (dentists and insurance agencies, stuff like that, no high volume shopping).  Along the north side of the property is a quiet residential street.

There are several very mature trees, including a huge copper beech (don't know if that is the most accurate name for it, but it has silver back and copper-colored leaves), a several large maples, including one I'm told is a crimson maple (again from the leaf color), two 40/50ft tall black walnuts (but not very many branches on these though they appear to be healthy, and many others.

What I think - just ideas now from what I've been reading - I want to do is as follows:

Along the south side, to shield from the noise and view of the road, I would like to plant a dwarf variety of pine tree that produces edible pine nuts.  I would plant these in a "random" pattern with other trees interspersed through them, but so that the effect from the house is to have a year-round sound and sight barrier (is there any other species that will both provide food and a year-round barrier in my climate?).  On both sides and around the south-west corner of the lot (also the highest point on the land) I am thinking of planting a larger variety of pine nut producing tree to act as a windbreak as that's the direction we get the most wind from.  Interspersed with the dwarf pines, I would like to plant various fruit and nut trees - shellbark hicory, filberts, perhaps some chestnuts, paw-paws, persimmons, cherries, apples, pears.

Climbing these am thinking ground nuts, and perhaps mashua.  At the edges, where there is enough sun, hardy kiwi and fruiting bushes/brambles.

I want to draw this forested area farther into the lawn, as part of the over all plan to reduce the lawn area form about 50% of the property to about 5 or 10%.  Between the forest and the house, I want a little bit of lawn, but mostly gardens (looking at doing keyhole gardens starting at the front door which we don't use right now much anyway).

Along the west side of the property, I want to continue the forest form the taller pines into a few more black walnuts, or perhaps white, to go with the two already in this area, and I am looking for what else I can put in this area with the walnuts that will make a good guild that produces food.  Again, looking to design in all levels of the forest, so with the canopy being walnut and walnut-friendly fruit and nut trees, I am looking for ideas for the understory, etc.

I want to continue the walnut-guild forest around the north-west corner and along about 1/4 of the north side of the property.  The next 2/3rds of the north side I'd like to plant whichever fruit and nut trees I didn't get into the other side of the property.  I'm not yet sure what I want to do tree-wise along the east side of the land.  There are already two black raspberry patches on that side and I want to keep those.  So something that guilds well with them would be something to look for.

The house sits pretty much in the middle of the land.  The front yard is mostly grass except for a few large trees, so there are only three spots that get a good full day of sun.  These are a spot near the south-east corner that is about 30 x 60, a spot along the south-west corner that is about 30 x 60, and a spot along the middle third of the east side of the lot that is about 30 x 80 (but some of the middle of this area gets a bit more shade than the two ends).

The back of the lot is almost complete in shade from a large silver maple, a huge copper beech, and a large crimson maple, as well as from the house which sits higher than the back yard, and the line of trees along the north side of the lot.  My plans for the back yard aside from the perimeter which I touched on above are (1) a patio with an outdoor kitchen (with a rocket stove and a large bread oven) (2) a marsh for filtering graywater which then flows down through a series of ponds - cranberries and blue berries along here - that ends up in a large pond (~15 feet across, lobed to increase length of the edges).  The marsh area would get the most sun, the large pond would get the least . . . not sure this is ideal.  I also have a place for a rain barrel system of about 6 or 7 55 gallon drums (already have them).  They go on a platform under which I am planning to put my compost pile and next to which I am planning a small chicken coop and a small potting area.

This is hugely ambitious.  I am trying to work it into a firm plan with as much detail as possible so that I can break it down into clear steps and just work through the list.

Any suggestions specific to the ideas noted here are most welcome, as are general suggestions.  As some of you are in Michigan, I would love to talk over coffee or something sometime, or have you by the place to talk about this stuff - if you're interested, I can provide a hearty dinner for your trouble.  I'm in the Ypsi-Arbor area.

As for my main question that started this thread, what I wanted was some guidance on how to slowly transform what is already hear to what I'd like to have, in terms of the forest that covers the perimeter of the lot.  What I understand so far is:

Starting at the edges, figure out what I want to keep (the health hawthorns for example) and what I don't want to keep (smaller saplings that are too tightly packed to do well anyway, and replace the what I don't want with plantings of the desired species, of course using what I take down as mulch for what is going in.

As a further question, is there any way around taking out larger existing trees - such as some of the existing pines along the perimeter - if they are overshadowing the areas I'd like to put new trees in?  I suspect the answer to this is no, you have to choose, but I thought I'd ask the question anyway.

Again, I really really appreciate all the help, and would love to have more input/feedback.  Pictures are attached.

First picture shows most of the south side of the lot, looking at it from the driveway just in front of the garage).
Second picture shows the south-east corner of the lot.


South Side.jpg
[Thumbnail for South Side.jpg]
South-East Corner.jpg
[Thumbnail for South-East Corner.jpg]
 
                      
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More pictures . . . by the way, is there any way to attache more than two pictures to a single post?
Section of South Side.jpg
[Thumbnail for Section of South Side.jpg]
Section of West Side.jpg
[Thumbnail for Section of West Side.jpg]
 
                      
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And more pictures . . .
West Side towards North-West Corner.jpg
[Thumbnail for West Side towards North-West Corner.jpg]
Middle of Back Yard (Looking toward North-East).jpg
[Thumbnail for Middle of Back Yard (Looking toward North-East).jpg]
 
                    
Posts: 63
Location: N.W. Arkansas
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I have 2 suggestions for your consideration.
Paw paws are understory trees, until they get quite large, then they will reach for the sun.  But, they die if not in shade.  I think your shady back yard might work for them, and they are gorgeous with tropical looking huge leaves.

With your raspberries, I would consider elderberries.  In my wild woods, every black berry patch has raspberries, elderberries, and often sassafras.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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your properpty is lovely, you are east of me, I'm closer to Cadillac/Traverse City area.

you have a LOT of lawn..

if you do a search on the forums on here you will find some serious discussions about juglone, the product formed by the roots of walnut trees, that can help you with your walnut guild..
i'll try to copy and paste an article here for you:
Horticulture and Crop Science
2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43210-1086

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Black Walnut Toxicity to Plants, Humans and Horses
HYG-1148-93
Richard C. Funt
Jane Martin

The roots of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra L.) and Butternut (Juglans cinerea L.) produce a substance known as juglone (5-hydroxy-alphanapthaquinone). Persian (English or Carpathian) walnut trees are sometimes grafted onto black walnut rootstocks. Many plants such as tomato, potato, blackberry, blueberry, azalea, mountain laurel, rhododendron, red pine and apple may be injured or killed within one to two months of growth within the root zone of these trees. The toxic zone from a mature tree occurs on average in a 50 to 60 foot radius from the trunk, but can be up to 80 feet. The area affected extends outward each year as a tree enlarges. Young trees two to eight feet high can have a root diameter twice the height of the top of the tree, with susceptible plants dead within the root zone and dying at the margins.

Not all plants are sensitive to juglone. Many trees, vines, shrubs, groundcovers, annuals and perennials will grow in close proximity to a walnut tree. Certain cultivars of "resistant" species are reported to do poorly. Black walnut has been recommended for pastures on hillsides in the Ohio Valley and Appalachian mountain regions. Trees hold the soil, prevent erosion and provide shade for cattle. The beneficial effect of black walnut on pastures in encouraging the growth of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and other grasses appears to be valid as long as there is sufficient sunlight and water.

Gardeners should carefully consider the planting site for black walnut, butternut, or persian walnut seedlings grafted to black walnut rootstock, if other garden or landscape plants are to be grown within the root zone of mature trees. Persian walnut seedlings or trees grafted onto Persian walnut rootstocks do not appear to have a toxic effect on other plants.

Horses may be affected by black walnut chips or sawdust when they are used for bedding material. Close association with walnut trees while pollen is being shed (typically in May) also produce allergic symptoms in both horses and humans. The juglone toxin occurs in the leaves, bark and wood of walnut, but these contain lower concentrations than in the roots. Juglone is poorly soluble in water and does not move very far in the soil.

Walnut leaves can be composted because the toxin breaks down when exposed to air, water and bacteria. The toxic effect can be degraded in two to four weeks. In soil, breakdown may take up to two months. Black walnut leaves may be composted separately, and the finished compost tested for toxicity by planting tomato seedlings in it. Sawdust mulch, fresh sawdust or chips from street tree prunings from black walnut are not suggested for plants sensitive to juglone, such as blueberry or other plants that are sensitive to juglone. However, composting of bark for a minimum of six months provides a safe mulch even for plants sensitive to juglone.

Plants Observed Growing Under or Near Black Walnut*
Trees
Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum and its cultivars
Southern Catalpa, Catalpa bignonioides
Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Canadian Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis
Vines and Shrubs
Clematis 'Red Cardinal'
February Daphne, Daphne mezereum
Euonymus species
Weeping Forsythia, Forsythia suspensa
Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus
Tartarian Honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica, and most other Lonicera species
Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia
** Pinxterbloom, Rhododendron periclymenoides
**'Gibraltar' and 'Balzac', Rhododendron Exbury hybrids
Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
Black Raspberry, Rubus occidentalis
Arborvitaes, Thuja species
** Koreanspice Viburnum, Viburnum carlesii, and most other Viburnum species
Annuals
Pot-marigold, Calendula officinalis 'Nonstop'
Begonia, fibrous cultivars
Morning Glory, Ipomoea 'Heavenly Blue'
Pansy Viola
Zinnia species
Vegetables
Squashes, Melons, Beans, Carrots, Corn
Fruit Trees
Peach, Nectarine, Cherry, Plum
Prunus species Pear-Pyrus species
Herbaceous Perennials
Bugleweed, Ajuga reptans
Hollyhock, Alcea rosea
American Wood Anemone, Anemone quinquefolia
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
European Wild Ginger, Asarum europaeum
Astilbe species
Bellflower, Campanula latifolia
**Chrysanthemum species (some)
Glory-of-the-Snow, Chionodoxa luciliae
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica
Crocus species
Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria
Leopard's-Bane, Doronicum species
Crested Wood Fern, Dryopteris cristata
Spanish Bluebell, Endymion hispanicus
Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis
Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis
Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum
Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum
Cranesbill, Geranium sanguineum
Grasses (most) Gramineae family
Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus
Common Daylily, Hemerocallis 'Pluie de Feu'
Coral Bells, Heuchera x brizoides
Orange Hawkweed, Hieracium aurantiacum
Plantain-lily, Hosta fortunei 'Glauca'
Hosta lancifolia
Hosta marginata
Hosta undulata 'Variegata'
Common Hyacinth, Hyacinthus Orientalis 'City of Haarlem'
Virginia Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum
Siberian Iris, Iris sibirica
Balm, Monarda didyma
Wild Bergamot, M. fistulosa
Grape Hyacinth, Muscari botryoides
Sweet Cicely, Myrrhis odorata 'Yellow Cheerfulness,' 'Geranium,' 'Tete a Tete,' 'Sundial,' and 'February Gold'
Sundrops, Oenothera fruticosa
Senstitive Fern, Onoclea sensibilis
Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamomea
Peony, **Paeonia species (some)
Summer Phlox, Phlox paniculata
Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum
Jacob's-Ladder, Polemonium reptans
Great Solomon's-Seal, Polygonatum commutatum
Polyanthus Primrose, Primula x polyantha
Lungwort, Pulmonaria species
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis
Siberian Squill, Scilla sibirica
Goldmoss Stonecrop, Sedum acre
Showy Sedum, Sedum spectabile
Lamb's-Ear, Stachys byzantina
Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana
Nodding Trillium, Trillium cernuum
White Wake-Robin, Trillium grandiflorum
Tulipa Darwin 'White Valcano' and 'Cum Laude,' Parrot 'Blue Parrot,' Greigii 'Toronto'
Big Merrybells, Uvularia grandiflora
Canada Violet, Viola canadensis
Horned Violet, Viola cornuta
Woolly Blue Violet, Viola sororia
*These are based upon observations and not from clinical tests.
**Cultivars of some species may do poorly.

Plants That Do Not Grow Within 50 Feet of Drip Line of Black Walnut
Herbaceous Perennials
Colorado Columbine, Aquilegia caerulea
Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
Asparagus, Asparagus offinalis
*Chrysanthemum Chrysanthumum species (some)
Baptisia australis
Hydrangea species
Lilies, Lilium species (particularly the Asian hybrids)
Alfalfa, Medicago sativa
Buttercup, Narcissus 'John Evelyn,' 'Unsurpassable' 'King Alfred' and 'Ice Follies'
Peonies, *Paeonia species (some)
Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum
Trees
Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum
European Alder, Alnus glutinosa
White Birches, Betula species
Northern Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
Apples and Crabapples, Malus species
Norway Spruce, Picea abies
Mugo Pine, Pinus mugo
Red Pine, Pinus resinosa
Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus
Basswood, Tilia heterophylla
Shrubs
Red Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia
Hydrangea species
Mountain Laurels, Kalmia species
Privet, Ligustrum species
Amur Honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii
Brush Cinquefoil, Potentilla species
Rhododendrons and Azaleas, **Rhododendron species (most)
Blackberry, Rubus allegheniensis
Lilacs, Syringa species and cultivars
Yew, Taxus species
Blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum
*Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii'
Annuals and Vegetables Transplants
Cabbage, Brassica oleracea capitata
Peppers, Capsicum species (some)
Tomatoes, Lycopersicon esculentum
Flowering Tobacco, Nicotiana alata
Petunia species and cultivars
Eggplant, Solanum melongena
Potato, Solanum tuberosum
double-flowered cole vegetables
*Cultivars of some species may survive but will do poorly.

The authors express their appreciation to Drs. M. Scott Biggs, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, and Harry Hoitink, Department of Plant Pathology, for their review and additional comments.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.

Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension.

TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-1868


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


| Ohioline

hope you find this helpful
 
                        
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There is some information on guilds for black walnut in Giai's Garden by toby hemenway -- but I think Brenda's information is even more complete.

I am not in the North woods now, but the most memorable aspects of it were -- of course-- the maple syrup, and then probably morels, black raspberries and gooseberries.

Wild strawberries and wintergreen berries.  But also the tapestry of trees -- not just one kind but lots of different ones each making a small microclimate of its own.

There is the Manistee Brenda!

High Roll Way - Manistee R. 002 (WinCE).jpg
[Thumbnail for High Roll Way - Manistee R. 002 (WinCE).jpg]
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have taken that exact same photograph
 
                        
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Brenda.  This is right behind the house where I grew up.  Well maybe it is about 4 miles.  It always was a National Reserve.  My granddad pastured his cattle there.  There was a quick sand lake -- with cranberries between our property and this bend in the river --which is an historic log roll and prehistoric over look.  It was a National Reserve -- but I still considered it my personal back yard  (!)
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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yes I am totally aware of it..the 2 track road goes off just at the bend in the highway on the way to Buckly from Baxter Bridge, that was my way there ..

shortly W of Blackman road

i remember dreaming that peopled drove off the cliff and over the edge..scarey place..i walked down to the river a few times..a long hike down

indian trail areas..we have another "rollaway" near us on the Manistee R..it is on the county line road between Gr Tr and Missaukee counties..just NE of our house..they rolled logs down to the river there too..but it was a more gentle slope and was all eroded and sandy, we used to play there when i was a child, and there was a swing out over the river from a tree along the edge of the rollaway..

there are lots of DNRE restrictions to that property now cause of the erosion..

 
                        
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Brenda;  I didn't know you could get into the high roll way from that direction.  But that road may have been put in since I was there.  My cousin married the guy who owned the bait shop at Baxter Bridge--they are both gone now.

This is what a roll way looked like in use:

http://www.michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/ifr/ifrlibra/special/reports/sr21/sr21Text.pdf

It is hard to imagine how much lumber was floated down that river.
 
Trevor Newman
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Liano,

I am in Southeastern MI as well. I live in Clarkston. I have planted a few food forests in the area, including one at my house. Where exactly do you live? I recommend Dave Jacke's two volume book- 'edible forest gardens'. He has some information on converting existing forest into a food forest. I would advise to look at whats growing there already, and using that as a guide. If you have wild ferns growing, then plant edible ostrich ferns. There are many nice woodland plants with edible/ medicinal uses. Wild leeks thrive in the understory of hardwood forests, Giant Solomans Seal produces tasty shoots in the spring and does well in part- full shade. Like previously mentioned, Ribes spp. do fabulous in a shady woodland setting, and from my experience Red Currants particulary enjoy these conditions.

Actinidia spp. enjoy part shade, especially the Arctic Beauty Kiwi. Honeyberry(Lonicera spp.) supposedly can be grown in shadier spots, however I haven't seen that varified. An excellent vine for full shade is Magnolia, it produces abundant red berries rich in vitamin C, as well as edible leaves. Fuki is a nice perennial vegetable for full shade..it prefers damp soil. Violets are always nice, the white flowered varieties have particulary sweet flowers. Sweet cicely is a good plant for the shade..produces edible licorice flavored pods and has profuse nectary flowers which attract lacewings,parasitic wasps, and other predatory insects. Wild ginger forms a dense groundcover and has gingery flavored rhizomes. Angelica will be more than happy in a woodland setting..it grows VERY large. I would also suggest rhubarb for shady spots, as it doesn't seem to mind.

Pawpaws are definately an EXCELLENT choice for any forest garden- shade or sun. They seem to produce better in part to full sun, but will still bear even in shade. Let me know where you live and perhaps we could connect sometime, happy gardening
 
Brenda Groth
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i am a little confused as the list i found on walnut alleopathy lists things as not growing near walnuts that Gaia's garden says grow well near them..or at least if my memory serves me right..so i would do a comparison and then eliminate any that show up on one list or another..

there are so many that are listed in the above list that supposedly do well under walnuts that i belive i have several that I can use to form a Walnut guild..i've been studying on it as my walnuts have only been in the ground going on 2 years now..so i have just begun to plan the guild around them..

i hope to get some of the plants in the ground in June near the walnuts..and many of the plants that are known to grow near walnuts are plants that i either can transplant, divide or reseed from my own garden so i'm very happy about that...no need to buy these..

i'm also planning on looking to see how many of these can be used for barrier plants that might absorb the juglone and keep it away from the few things i have in my food forest that won't benefit from the juglone, like the apples and the cole crops..and of course my blackberries which are only about 25 feet from the walnuts..i mnight have to move them

and replace them maybe with black raspberry, which i have tons of and love love love
 
Chris Kott
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Brenda, I know it was a while ago, but I want to thank you for that list you dug up on Juglone compatability/incompatability. One of the best ways I can think of to add edge to any woodlot is to try to introduce an island of walnut guild.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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Oh, and if you do have to move the blackberries, would you be replanting Black Raspberry, Rubus occidentalis, in its place? Did you notice it, and have you tried the fruit? Is it comparable to blackberry, do you think?

-CK
 
Brenda Groth
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oh yeah I LOVE my black raspberries, we have such good success with them. I've never seen a plant so prolific as they are here..they bear from summer until frost..some years and they are so yummo..
 
Sylvain Picker
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You could make an inventory of the wild plants that are already growing at the edges of your property. They could be some treasure there that you will want to use and propagate. Also look for mushrooms as you may make them disappear if you make to much land draining or over-harvest them, it happened to me with a nice patch of chanterelle mushrooms. They may come back but it takes years.
I think that if we really want to gain food independence we really have to take a hard look at incorporating at least some wild plants in our diets. These plants have high content of phytochemicals that are so essential to our well being. And they are locally adapted to soil and weather conditions. That is what the Amerindians where doing in their Food Forests: domesticating the ecosystem as a whole as opposed to what we are doing by overbreeding individual plants.
 
Chris Kott
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Sylvain,

I agree, to an extent. It is wiser by far to try and observe what is already going on in nature and tweak that to provide us with what we need. But I don't think we need to shackle ourselves with native plant dogma. At the end of the day, we do need to make sure the system as a whole is working, not just for the support of humanity, but for the long haul, which ends up being in the interest of humanity anyways. But if I like my citrus guilds, and my diversity of cold-needing fruit trees and their guilds, and my coniferous forest guilds, and any manner of thing my mind can conceive of doing, I'm going to try to do it. Nature will not allow some things, but with open-mindedness and creativity, it is my opinion that many diverse guild systems can coexist side-by-side, each to the benefit of the whole.

-CK
 
Sylvain Picker
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Chris, there is no native plants dogma here,

Just looking to find treasures that could be very useful and incorporating them with our usual crops. And if everybody began to find wild plants that we can use and exchange that information with others, it is in my opinion a very good insurance against food shortages and a very good source of medicinal. The fact is that we need more biodiversity and one of the most efficient way for that is incorporating as much as we can of the nature around us because so much of it have already been lost. I have seen many very delicious edible plants being destroyed and now I want them propagated instead. And they cost nothing to use.
 
Chris Kott
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Absolutely!

I think, in fact, that if we can identify local analogues to those plants we need to perform specific garden functions, like nitrogen-fixing, for instance, that we will be able to incorporate much more of the natural biota. Also, in some cases, specific predatory insects can favour specific local plants over any other you could introduce; were these to be eliminated, it is foreseeable that pest problems would ensue.

-CK
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm pretty dogmatic about native plants myself, in that I think one should include as many as possible in a system because native plants help foster native insects and birds. Both native plants and native animals are under tremendous pressure in many parts of the the world and since I'm interested in caring for the Earth as well as people, I need to include native plants in my system. But not to the exclusion of other edible and useful plants, in concert with them.

 
Brenda Groth
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i have collected several books to identify local native edible plants and have also brought in a lot of other edibles to try to find/get as many edible plants onto our property as possible..I have listed a lot of them on my blog (below address) and evey year I try to sample more and more seasonable wild edibles or year to year try to buy a few more to grow..this year I'm adding things like Medlar, Persimmon, Aronia, and others (see my lists).

As I get older I hope to eventually just be able to walk outside during the growing season and find everything I need for a meal or salad growing in my yard. Unfortunately my proteins are a little slower (nuts mostly and some beans ) and I'm hoping to add some fish to my pond. We also have wildlife we could harvest should we decide to that we feed very well here.

Husband has head injury and does NOT want domestic food animals on our property , so we have held off on those..but someday I would love to have chickens or ducks (we do get wild ducks and geese and other wild game birds here though)
 
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