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South California food forest plants

 
Posts: 7
Location: Califronia
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I was wondering what other people are using for plants in your food forest ( all layers), whether they are native, non-native or from other analog climates? Fruit trees seem pretty easy to pick out, not so much for the other layers:/

The soil I'm working with is super compacted, full of small rocks,and around 10% clay. So I am looking into plants that will help break up the soil.

Thanks!
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Food forest area
 
pollinator
Posts: 1535
Location: northern California
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A first question to ask about this site is what will be the commitment to irrigation? That climate won't support a full-on layered forest without it. The idea of the forest garden reflects a subtle bias towards well-watered systems. Mimicking the natural ecosystem, in this case, might be closer to a savannah.....scattered trees in grassland, or even desert scrub; except for riparian areas and other moister niches, or at high altitude. Fire danger is another reason to space plants out and avoid anything resembling a thicket; unless it's continuously kept lush with irrigation.
 
master pollinator
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Even if you plan to irrigate, your first priority should be to "plant the rain" before you put in any permanent plants. I recommend Brad Lancaster's book "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Volume 2" http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/

 
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