• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Food Forest Recipes for Success

 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a proposed project I put together a couple years ago. Focus Area: Highlands, Nicaragua. Cecalli: Reforestation in Esteli Region

I'll be implementing techniques described in the proposal (first have to go to Brazil because everybody says there is absolutely no molasses in Uruguay and need that for the EM recipe!) and build a biochar oven. Acknowledgements to James Greyson blindspotting, circular economy, climate rescue for pointing me to biochar!

 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just came across this Beware the Biochar Initiative and am fascinated ... more views on biochar among permies here?
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1575
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
45
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A few thoughts:

The EM recipe may help jump start soil web dynamics, but getting trees in the ground seems more important than waiting for molasses! The soil dynamics will recover anyway given time, so long as the plants are there to feed them.

I don't know much about the trees and plants in your area, but a 'forest garden' is ultimately designed for human yields. In an impoverished area this seems especially important. I think you need a greater mix of fruiting and nut bearing trees, including plants that will yeild within 12 months, 2 years, 5 years etc... So that your workers have short terms gains while the canopy trees get established.

You make no mention in your proposal of any type of earthworks which might help your project - Swales can help concentrate and collect nutrients along your planting zones. Interswale areas can be used for annual cash crops initially. Swales may or may not be appropriate depending on your soil and climate conditions.

Do you have any plans to integrate water management? Ponds/dams to allow gravity irrigation of your seedlings?

Overall it is an interesting proposal, but if you hope for it to endure beyond the 3 to 5 year setup period I think you need a bit more of a concrete plan for how it will be managed in the longer term. You don't want to come back ten years from now and find some unenlightened farmer has ripped everything up to plough it. Who has rights to harvest crops from the area? Who can farm under canopy, and under what terms and restrictions? Can trees be harvested/managed? Who ultimately owns the land?
 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are so right
Michael Cox wrote:
You make no mention in your proposal of any type of earthworks which might help your project - Swales can help concentrate and collect nutrients along your planting zones. Interswale areas can be used for annual cash crops initially. Swales may or may not be appropriate depending on your soil and climate conditions.

Do you have any plans to integrate water management? Ponds/dams to allow gravity irrigation of your seedlings? Boy, do I! lol... > Food Forest (Overview) and Water Mgt

Overall it is an interesting proposal, but if you hope for it to endure beyond the 3 to 5 year setup period I think you need a bit more of a concrete plan for how it will be managed in the longer term. You don't want to come back ten years from now and find some unenlightened farmer has ripped everything up to plough it. Who has rights to harvest crops from the area? Who can farm under canopy, and under what terms and restrictions? Can trees be harvested/managed? Who ultimately owns the land?

my landlord owns the lot which is behind the house I rent from her. The neighborhood is her family their friends and everybody's extended family and the lot is in the center of a block which some neighbors have access to easily. You'll see in the pics at the urls above the lot. The landlord, Monica, is good with the lot becoming a food resource and water control (it floods regularly and I'm working on that). Everybody around the project is interested - right now they are watching mostly, while one man helps me with some of the work. He lives in the shack on the site during the summer. It's a barrio atmosphere.

I have fig, black walnut, and filberts to plant. We are heading into winter, so my immediate priority is to put the roof and walls on the greenhouse so I'll have seedlings ready for net planting season.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1575
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
45
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pia Jensen wrote:I just came across this Beware the Biochar Initiative and am fascinated ... more views on biochar among permies here?


Scaremongering using semi-plausible concerns blown out of proportion. The author of that article is treating proposals for making and using biochar as if forests were going to be cleared on a global scale to make char. This, as far as I am aware, has never been proposed! Biochar is instead best made using bi-products from other industries - agriculture, forestry, gardening and landscaping, etc... It could potentially be made using something like a short cycle willow coppice. I once saw a proposal for a system that could be driven out to a work site where teams are clearing brash for fire control that would make both biochar and a refined fuel oil for heating!

Additionally, the numbers do not add up for their concerns about oxygen levels in the atmosphere... If we were to remove ALL carbon from the atmosphere using biochar the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere might drop by about 1% (ie from 20 ish to 19 ish percent). Equivalent to moving to a slightly higher altitude. And that only holds if the authors assertion that producing biochar reduces atmospheric oxygen concentration, which seems to be unjustified given the strength of the assertions being made.
 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thanks for that... I agree and am only slightly concerned about the short term burning effects. Seems the long-term impacts (esp. for a lot like the one I'm working) outweigh the negative impacts.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1575
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
45
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The proposal you linked to refers to 750 hectares planted over 3 years. Unless I'm missing something and your landlords 'lot' is a lot bigger than shown in those pictures where is the other land coming from?
 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yep, the first is a project I put together (a grant proposal) a few years ago.

Where I live now is not the same project at all. As the grant proposal writer and project promoter I moved on. Cecalli is still in Nicaragua. They need ongoing guidance I wasn't able to give.
 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Cox wrote: The EM recipe may help jump start soil web dynamics, but getting trees in the ground seems more important than waiting for molasses! The soil dynamics will recover anyway given time, so long as the plants are there to feed them.


I bought red clover and rye grass today. Grains are only sold on large quantity, otherwise I'd have gotten a greater variety of winter seed. Hope the rains begin soon and will plant larger areas as soon as we have some moisture... hoping my neighbors may wish to purchase a few kilos of my grain ... lol...
 
Aaron Hartwig
Posts: 15
Location: Uruguay / Switzerland
forest garden hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Pia. Where in Uruguay are you located?
We have a piece of land in Punta de Diablo an id like to start prepairing it for food forest etc.
I am very interested in your experience with the diverse plants that available here. Fruit trees, nitrogen fixers, cover plats etc.

I brought Em1 from Germany, now producing ema here ( just saw you were writing about EM)

I will be here till middle of february.
My mail is aaronhartwig@gmx.net

Looking forward to hear from you

Aaron
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic