I'm starting a food forest in tropical North Queensland, Australia (Mackay). I've bought a heap of tropical fruit tree's on impulse because they were going cheap at a nursery that i know, all of them are pretty advanced, standing around 6 feet tall..
The land that i'm going to plant on is all completely cleared and exposed to the tropical sun (it's an ex sugar cane paddock). We in the middle of spring at the moment so the wet season is not far off.
I'd like to know:
a: what kind of ground covers would be best for this climate, must be able to handle harsh sun
b: is it absolutely necessary to condition the ground with a chicken tractor or something before planting, my issue is that i work 7 days away, then i'm home for 7 days, so it's not possible for me to tend to animals at the moment, is there another "one and done" kind of way to condition a patch of land.
c: should i mulch the area that is planted with ground cover?
d: at what stage should i plant the tree's into the ground at the designated area, ie: before, during or after the ground cover has been established.
Any other useful tips on starting a tropical food forest would be appreciated greatly!
attached is a photo of the land that i'm dealing with
Here's a video showing the stages of a subtropical food forest that might give you some ideas:
Geoff Lawton plants everything at once - the fruit trees go in at the same time as a ton of support species, mostly nitrogen fixing ground covers, shrubs and trees - something like 90% support species to 10% fruit trees.