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Dry sand or wet poor draining soil for food forest?

 
Matt Banchero
Posts: 27
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So after ten years of slaving away building my business and after meeting a beautiful woman with a huge heart and enough patience to marry me, we are looking to buy a house with a little land in Sonoma County, CA. I am looking at two properties that each have their own benefits and drawbacks for planting fruit trees.

The first property is on sandy loam with very low water holding capacity. Soilweb says about 10 cms available water per meter. There is the potential to take storm water off of the highway into the area I'd want to do the food forest, but our rain is highly seasonal and recently very inconsitant. The land has been a horse corral for many years and the ground it rock hard at the moment.

The second property is Laguna bottom land. It has been used as cow pasture for decades and according to the Soilweb app, is very poorly drained but it has more water available. 85 cms available water per meter.

So two properties within 2 miles of each other with vastly different soil characteristics. Which would you choose and why?

I should add that I run a tree service so I have a virtually unlimited resource of chips and wood for mulch, hugulcultures, biochar ect.

I would love to use California Valley Oak as the long term native tree in the system with mulberry, chestnut, avocado and persimmon as food baring long term elements. Then putting in shorter lived smaller trees, shrubs ect.

Thanks!!!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
pollinator
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
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I would prefer the property with clay soil. The water situation in California is ifffy. Might as well go for the field that holds onto the moisture as long as possible after rains, and that grabs hold of nutrients and saves them for later use. Bottom land is more likely to have a higher water table that the trees can tap into: perhaps avoiding the need for irrigation once established.

 
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