It is 5 hours from my home so my goal is to turn parts of it into a food forest type setup. I have a 1/4 acrepermie style garden in my backyard, that is the extent of my experience so I am seeking input and ideas, please!
My uncle owns the property but I am heir to it to he give me mostly free reign.
Farm is 100 acres in central Illinois(5B). The center of the map is roughly the peak of elevation, it gently slopes down from there. The property eventually slopes sharply to a creek bottom bordered by lots more of the neighbors corn The inside 10 acres is GMO corn sprayed with god know what. My uncle is old school and still believes that is all ok, I am working on him though. The other 20 cleared acres, is in CRP, we can plant 2 acres in food plots for wildlife(food plots in green). Within in those 2 acres I want to begin a low maintenance kind of food forest. A place where I can get some food off of when I go, a place where I could go if SHTF and have a good base of food production. Since it is 5 hours away, I can only get there about 6 times a year. I could do once a month is absolutely necessary. I am not immediately interested in massive harvests of whatever I plant, but I would like to consider the possibility of it in the future.
The woods contain plenty of oaks, blackberries and lots of other things that I am not familiar with yet. The food plots are planted in clover, winter wheat, daikon radishes and some brassicas. I am thinking of planting hazelnuts, apples, pears, grapes and some greens like lettuce and kale.While these are not perennial, in my experience if they are left to go to seed they thew will readily re seed themselves and almost appear perennial. Also some ground covers such as clover, comfrey and so on. This will be an evolving project and I am interested in hearing what others would do.
If it were me, I would take this opportunity in time to do your research, ie do a full landscape audit. Work out your key lines and Swale and dams. Find out the rainfall , wind patterns. Then based on the Terrain and soil types work out zones. Ignore your uncles traditional boundaries imagine this is a blank map. Divide the land into small zones. And make a map with all this plus sun movements etc When you have done this you need to choose one small zone a visit and take photos, take cuttings and notes of everything in that zone, this will need to be repeated for each season. That means when you get home you can carry on with the research of what weed etc is that. 😄. With full knowledge you are going to avoid costly mistakes down the track. Your fruittrees sound like a home farm orchard, so it needs to be reasonably close. Plus it needs water. Which goes back to the first bit again.. I think your uncle would approve of you really getting to know his land and probably can share insights on how the various areas cope each season over the years.
property in Tas, Australia. Sandy / river silt soil.low ph. No nutrients due to leaching. Grazing country. Own water source. Zone 9b.