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Starting a new food forest in Snohomish Washington

 
Frank Tocco
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Location: Seattle, Washington
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Hi permies,
My name is Frank and I’m a long time permie but new to this forum.

I just registered to get to know local permanculture people in the Seattle area and to create this post.

I’ll be starting a new food forest project in Snohomish, Washington on 5 acres of flat land.
This fallow field has only had hay harvested from it yearly, is in full sun and it looks like a
blank pallet to design on.

A Video Of 5 Acres Before Starting The Food Forest



Soil tests sent off today but kit looks loamy, good color, some sand, some clay. River dirt.
We’ll see when the results are in.

Planning to build swales which I’ve done on flat land before with amazing results.

We’ll be planting:
Trees – apples plums, apricot , cherry, peach, hazelnut, chestnut, russian olive, fig, persimmon,
pear, mulberry, mimosa, red alder
Shrubs – ceonothus, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, salmon berry, wolf berry, lavender, rosemary,
seaberry , wattle
Herbs and Flowers – echinacea, Comfrey, dill, chives, lupines, lovage, Jerusalem artichoke, artichoke,
valerian , sea kale, delphinium, bee balm, borage, mint, garlic, onions, chamomile, and more...
Vines, tubers and ground covers – grapes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, potato, strawberry, kiwi,
gourds, field peas, vetch, sunn hemp, Alfalfa

This is a good start, I’m sure the list will grow.

To anyone interested in food forests please reach out, let’s connect. Especially if you’re in the
Seattle area or know of anyone around here. I’ve seen the Beacon Hill Food Forest and it looks good.

The plan on this project is to build swales on contour, staggered over time between each swale built,
so that one can see a clear demonstration of the progression of the food forest over time.
The swales will be placed far enough apart that there will be small open fields in between the
forest that animals can be rotated through in the future.

I hope some of you would like to follow our progress so I’ll update this thread. I hope to meet
some of you in the area.
 
Tyler Ludens
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What support species will you be planting?

 
Frank Tocco
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Location: Seattle, Washington
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Tyler Ludens wrote:What support species will you be planting?


I listed what I'm planting in the post.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ok, thanks, I guess the model of a food forest I'm used to is that espoused by geoff lawton, who plants 90% support species.

 
Frank Tocco
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Location: Seattle, Washington
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Ok, thanks, I guess the model of a food forest I'm used to is that espoused by Geoff Lawton, who plants 90% support species.



I'm a big Geoff Lawton fan. I'll be planting ceonothus. Russian olive. Lupines, seaberry, sea kale, mimosas, wattles and more as support species.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks! Looking forward to how it develops.
 
Jeff Stainthorp
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Location: Kent, WA
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Howdy! I'm fairly new to the site, but I've been a permie for a while and I'm just south of Seattle (Kent) setting up a no-till SPIN farm as part of an incubator on Whistling Train Farm. I'd love to connect with you and bounce some ideas around. It'd be good to talk to some like minded folk around here, even the owners who so graciously let me use some land think I'm crazy.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Welcome to permies! I live not too far from you, though I'm more in the foothills and not the valley. But, I've lived my whole life in this area, and I'm assuming you're down in the Snohomish valley. Do you know what the water table is for your property, and how likely it is to flood? I see what looks like some flooded/puddly fields in the background, and that's pretty common in much of the valley. I read that a lot of fruit trees and kiwi don't particularly like wet feet, and I'd hate to see all that money invested and they succumb to diseases or not bear fruit due to the wet ground. If your property is prone to wetness/flooding, do you plan on doing some earthworks to raise them above flooding/puddling water or checked to see that the varieties you are getting are more resistant to wetness.

Some great plants that are tolerant of the wet are thimbleberries, blackcap raspberries, native blackberries, salmon berries (I saw that on your list .), evergreen huckleberries, lingonberries, and service berries. Perhaps adding some of them in your wetter areas would be good? If nothing else you add diversity, and they'll be some insurance in case there's too much water for your other plants. Those are also all northwest natives, too, and can be attained for relatively cheap at the Snohomish County Plant Sale (http://snohomishcd.org/annual-plant-sale).

If you do plan on doing earthworks, you might need to get permits for it (http://snohomishcountywa.gov/1230/Grading-Drainage-and-Clearing & http://snohomishcountywa.gov/1493/Grading-Permits). Since your property is out in the open, any big earthworks will likely be noticed. Also, make sure you're knowledgeable about if/where any wetlands you have are, what level they are, and what you can do with them. (1/3rd of my property is wetlands)

I hope that helps, and I look forward to seeing your property develop!
 
Pat R Mann
Posts: 32
Location: Seattle, WA
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Peaches and apricots are dicey in this area. Cherries also increasingly problematic due to Spotted Wing Drosophila.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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