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A complete newb begins a forest garden

 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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I'll dive in with both feet and show my humble beginnings. 18000 sq ft city lot zoned residential/agricultural, and has a 3 stall barn that needs work. Nothing has been growing there but tumbleweeds for who knows how long. Very flat, Zone 10b (west San Fernando Valley / Los Angeles). Will be adding chickens, ducks and rabbits soon and hope to grow as much of their feed as possible on the back half of the lot.



I've planted a pakistani mulberry and a honey locust, with more fruit trees to come. This past weekend, I prepped half of the animal pastures for winter planting with another half to come. Mainly Peaceful Valley Chicken Forage Blend and Good Bug Blend




Hopefully not too late to get in some various winter veggies in the human food garden, just going to broadcast sow mixed veggies & clover this year




Compost bins are built, with worm bin and a larger BSFL bin to come.
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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I have a bunch of seeds to plant, debating if I start them inside under lights thru the "winter" or just direct sow.

Ceratonia Siliqua, Lespedeza bicolor, Gleditsia triacanthos inermis, Kale White Russian, Mangel Wurzel Mammoth Long Red, Swiss Chard Lucullus, Urtica dioica, Chenopodium album, Morus nigra, Leycesteria formosa, Achillea Millefolium White, Chicory Italian Dandelion Chicory. (=Chiccoria Catalogna)


I also have 6 Moringa seedlings just planted and several comfrey from Coe's leafing nicely
 
David Goodman
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Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
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A very promising start.

You're pretty far south for honey locust - it will be interesting to see if it takes for you.

A great nitrogen-fixer for your zone is Leucana leucephala. I'd also add yuca and chaya for roots and greens. I would also direct sow your seeds - they'll likely do better. Transplanting is better for the north due to short growing seasons - I find "in the ground" to lead to much better crops.

Comfrey is likely to die in your zone, unfortunately. I've had terrible luck with it here in zone 8/9. Too hot. Too dry at times.

My replacement for chop n drop and biomass is the excellent Tithonia diversifolia. I plant that everywhere and crop it down multiple times a year. It's a good nutrient accumulator... and the rabbits love it.

Pineapples would be a good no-care addition. You can plant them really close together. Also consider winged yam: it's a winner. Here's a picture of one I just harvested:

http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/2014/12/check-out-this-huge-yam-tuber-all-hail.html

You might also check out my page on the Great South Florida Food Forest project for some inspiration. That's a zone 10 food forest, though it's probably a lot wetter than your location.

http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/p/the-great-south-florida-food-forest.html

GREAT work. Keep it up and take lots of photos!
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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Thanks David, I have a lot of reading to do there. I'll scarify/soak then sow some tree & shrub seeds this weekend. I'll try to find some Tithonia diversifolia & Dioscorea alata, especially nice to see they a good additions to rabbit feed. My friend across the street has not had success with pineapples or bananas here, but I'll be trying a few tropicals anyway, with a poly high tunnel in winter.


As for latest progress: I got this plot seeded this morning with Chicken Forage Blend from Peaceful Valley. Then covered with a bit of straw, hopefully enough to keep the birds from getting all the seeds before they germinate. Hoping we get some rain in the next day or two so I don't have to hose it down.

 
David Goodman
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Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
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"I'll be trying a few tropicals anyway, with a poly high tunnel in winter."

Wait - if you're in 10b, you should be able to grow most tropicals easily. How cold does it get there?
 
Chris Gilliam
Posts: 26
Location: Foley, Alabama
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I think you'd have good luck with Loquats, Figs, and Olives. Can't go wrong with Goji either. What trees are you planning to add?
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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I have no exact way of knowing 10 vs 10b, just basing it on the maps I find online. Winnetka, 91306.

A long overdue update: I planted the second pasture zone without tilling. Partially as an experiment to see what tilling helped or hurt with but also since I didn't want to rent a tiller for another half day. The stuff planted on Dec 11 is coming in nicely on the tilled side, the stuff planted a few weeks later on the untilled side is just starting to show.

Then, I planted about 20 fruit trees (counting pomegranate & mango as trees, might not be technically correct!). I just got a few more things (fig, goji berries, herbs & pollinator attractors) to plant this week. The rest will come from seeds that I need to get started!

I also put in a fence to separate the dog/human zone from the critter zone. I used 4x4s on Oz-Posts (from Home Depot), driven in with a jackhammer at 8' intervals. I then drilled holes for eye bolts and put up some cattle panels. I bent pieces of rebar into an L shape and dropped them thru the eye bolts, giving me a sturdy fence that can be removed section by section if ever required.

Also coming in the next week or two is the chicken coop & rabbit hutches (as stopgaps until the barn can be shored up and re-roofed). My landlord is hatching out some of his Barnvelder chickens, plus has a rooster and some Muscovy ducks for me to get started with. Also, the rabbits are coming with the hutches, standard Rex.

Not garden related, but I also have finished the shell of the 16x12 outdoor canning kitchen/abattoir. Next step, running water.




I think the Facebook album is set to public:
https://www.facebook.com/fixer/media_set?set=a.10153117116539988.1073741848.605779987&type=1
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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David Goodman wrote:
Wait - if you're in 10b, you should be able to grow most tropicals easily. How cold does it get there?


This is my first year in this exact area. Summer was brutally hot, and I have been told it goes get below freezing at times. This winter has been very mild, enough where I'm not expecting my fruit production even using all low-chill varietals.

As for what trees, I pretty much took Tom Spellman's list of SoCal/low-chill fruit trees (from Dave Wilson Nursery) and planted as many of those as I could find. Only added a Santa Rosa plum as a pollinator, and the mango's that my previous neighbor gave me as a going away gift. Still need a couple nuts and olives, maybe another fig variety too.
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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Chris Gilliam wrote:I think you'd have good luck with Loquats, Figs, and Olives. Can't go wrong with Goji either. What trees are you planning to add?


One fig and goji berry going in this week, olive coming soon. Other trees came from http://davewilson.com/home-gardens/fruit-variety-recommendations/toms-picks-winners-low-chill-southwest
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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Spring update, everything is growing snd blooming, a muscovy is sitting on a clutch of eggs now, the double laced Barnevelders moved in last night.







The temp coop until the barn is rebuilt:


New gates:


the mixed seed randomly sown winter garden

 
Zach Muller
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Posts: 772
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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bike books chicken dog forest garden urban
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Looks good robert. What's the score on that 5 gallon bucket with a pipe going into a bowl? I think I understand, but does the bowl get dirty often? Is that a nipple on the side?
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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Zach Muller wrote:Looks good robert. What's the score on that 5 gallon bucket with a pipe going into a bowl? I think I understand, but does the bowl get dirty often? Is that a nipple on the side?


It's got a spring-loaded valve that closes when the bowl is full. The plan is to drill a hole thru the cool wall and stick the bowl inside, with the bucket & side-cup nipple waterers outside on the bucket.

I have ducks, so every water vessel gets dirty! I just spray it out when I refill the bucket. I could also just flip it sideways and dump it.
 
Robert Smith
Posts: 21
Location: Winnetka (West SF Valley, Los Angeles), Zone 10b
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Anyone with suggestions for a shrub layer, for zone 10 (just saw one site using my zip code says I am zone 9?), preferably a safe feed for rabbits,chickens and ducks?

I have a few blueberries, raspberry, golden raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry and goji berry already.

Looking at Leucaena , New Mexico Elderberry, Skunkbush Sumac, Mexican sunflower.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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