Photo Source: Carolina Readiness
This week Rick Austin will be joining us to talk about all sorts of different techniques to plan and build camouflaged food forests.
There are four copies of his book, Secret Garden of Survival: How to Grow a Camouflaged Food-Forest up for grabs.
Rick will be stopping by on the forum over the next few days answering questions and joining in discussions.
From now through this Friday, any posts in this forum, ie the forest garden forum, could be selected to win.
To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up in Paul's Daily-ish email.
The winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours.
Posts in this thread won't count, but please feel free to say hi to Rick and make him feel welcome!
Laura Johnson wrote:I keep playing with a food forest, but it looks like a garden with trees. Not hidden. Doing something wrong.
First, have you read my book?
I am not really sure what you are doing or not doing, but getting the infrastructure set up right makes all the difference...
Once you get the guilds planted- even just marginally, they should all take off without any help from you...
Kevin Feinstein wrote:How do you keep the wildlife from consuming your secret food garden?
I have all kinds of pest control ideas in my book. Hot pepper flakes and onions/garlic will keep rodents out and away from your trees... Rosemary and Daffodils will keep deer away... I even make a spray that you can mix in your garden sprayer that uses peppers I grow in the garden to repel anything from coming around the perimeter.
George Hayduke wrote:You mentioned in your book that a food forest is five times more productive than conventional agriculture. Do you grow enough food in your food forest to feed yourself?
We are growing in 3 dimensions like Nature always has... we have vines (like grapes) growing on trees (there are no trellises in nature) fruit trees produce fruit from the top of the tree down to the lowest branches, so instead of traditional row gardening (where you only grow food close to the ground), we have fruit being grown from the ground to 25' above the ground.
My entire food forest takes less than half an acre... I walk through and pick the stuff that is ripe each morning for an hour. Each and every day (for 5-6 months), I bring in between 6 and 9 gallons of fruit... (Strawberries are first, then blueberries, then blackberries, peaches, and on and on until we get to the end of the season in late fall when the figs and currants are ripe.)
The only hard part is trying to preserve, can, dehydrate all of it as I am bringing it all in.
So in answer to your question, we grow far more food than just my wife and I can consume... which allows me to feed my livestock from the garden as well, and that gives me protein (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, eggs, meat, etc.) on top of the fruit, berries, grapes, nuts, vegetables and herbs.
When you let nature do what it wants to do (and has done for millions of years), it works, without any help from man, chemical- or otherwise.
Lisa Allen wrote:Oh, I have heard about your book Rick - good stuff! Thank you for being here!
Thanks Lisa, for thanking me! Seriously Lisa, I wrote the book so it is simple and easy to read, without a bunch of extraneous stuff, and with lots of pictures (all in full color) so everyone can see how to set it up, how to plant it, and all the steps up to harvesting... and even methods of preserving all that harvest.
Because of all the color pictures the book costs 5x more to print than a similar black and white book... publishers didn't want to do it... but I guess I had the last laugh because in 9 months after its release, the book became the #1 best selling book in garden design...
Heather Ward wrote:Rick, is there anything that you grow in your food forest that's intended to feed livestock rather than yourself? Over the last few years I've incorporated patches of alfalfa intended for my chickens and goat, and I coppice some small Siberian elms for the goat, but am very curious about other possibilities.
I grow countless "weeds" that grow naturally in my area... from spiny lettuce to sows ear, and MANY more. All those weeds help make the soil more fertile, and keep the microorganisms healthy...
I never pull the weeds out by the roots, but rather, I am always cutting them off and throwing them over the fence to the goats (while fruit and nut growing season is in peak)... After growing season is over I let the goats into my garden and they feed on fallen leaves, weeds, etc... so they also do any "trimming" of my plants... such as, the goats will also eat blackberries leaves/ bushes and keep those trimmed back...
I also purposely grow alfalfa, wheat and oats for the goats... the goats love the wheat grass and they love the oat grass even more... I let some of it go to seed, for our own consumption and for planting the next year... Of course alfalfa is great for them and it is also a nitrogen fixer for my other garden plants.
The goats love my red clover as well, which is also my base ground cover and nitrogen fixer.
And of course many of the plants can be used to feed my rabbits, including branch trimmings (they eat the leaves and keep their teeth trimmed on the wood.)
My ducks free range throughout my garden (they don't dig up roots like chickens do) and the ducks eat the bugs, slugs, grubs and snails that I otherwise don't want on my plants. They also eat any fallen fruit, like grapes that didn't make it, so that these don't simply rot on the ground attracting more bugs...the ducks also eat some greens so I keep them out of me keyhole vegetable and herb garden, but they do patrol around the entire perimeter of the that area, so they do get to pick up many bugs before they can get to the plants...
And whenever it happens, I take bugs like tomato horn worms and throw them to either my fish or my ducks, so they can turn that "pest control" into protein for me.
Alex Veidel wrote:This sounds like a fantastic book!
Thanks Alex... I tried to make it simple, easy to read, and with lots of pictures... I know from my own experience that most permaculture books are 400+ pages, and with so much information, so many charts, and so many terms and Latin names, that it makes one's head spin...
Mine is more like a "cookbook" for how to do it all, step by step...
Xisca Nicolas wrote:That is super great!
What I do not understand: why secret and camouflaged? What do you mean?
And what is your climate?
See my website home page www.SecretGardenOfSurvival.com and that should answer your questions about the "secret" and "camouflaged" aspect of the garden... suffice it to say that it looks like overgrown underbrush, not like a "pretty" garden... but this is the way nature has grown things for millions of years... It looks natural.. it looks like nature...so no one would even know you have food growing there.
In answer to the climate question, you can grow food this way all over the US (and really most of the world for that matter)... I have used this in New England and I have used this in Florida... the only difference is the basic trees and the species of other plants... If you are in New England, you are growing apples and pears as the central trees- and in Florida you are growing citrus.
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