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Complete vegan diet temperate warm climate forest garden

 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm very interested in growing a complete diet, and I'm pondering if it's possible to design a temperate food forest in my climate to produce a complete vegan diet. According to the book "One Circle" the most difficult aspect of growing a complete vegan diet is to produce sufficient calories, with some nutrients such as protein, B12, and iodine being lesser challenges. In a temperate food forest, it seems as though nuts would be the primary calorie source, but nut trees are large, take years to bear, and if you have squirrels, you might not get many nuts (we have tons of squirrels). Are there enough roots, bulbs, and tubers which grow in a temperate food forest to provide sufficient calories? Is it healthy - or even possible - to provide large amounts of calories from fruit?

Is there anyone here trying to design a complete diet forest garden? How large an area do you need? What are you growing or plan to grow for calories, protein, etc?

 
Todd Parr
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I don't know if I would say it's impossible, but I think it would be extremely hard to do. Protein, fat, and calories are all very hard to come by with a strict vegetarian diet, esp if you can't grow some form of oil. I don't know if avocado grows in your area, but that would help provide enough fat.

I originally wanted to do the same, but I gave up on the idea. I'm in the same boat you are with chickens, as far as trying to feed them without outside inputs, but the long winters here make it not feasible for me at this point. That said, I don't know if I could grow enough calories, fats, and proteins without relying on chicken eggs as well.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Unfortunately we're probably too cold for even the most cold-hardy avocados, which is very sad because they are by far my favorite fruit, I could happily mostly live on them! I've tried planting pecans, almonds, olives, but all these have failed due to me not taking the water issue seriously enough until recently. But again all these are vulnerable to critters (except maybe olives - they might be too yucky for a squirrel to want them)....Eventually I hope to try again. But for the time being I'm most interested in the understory plants of a food forest, what can grow under existing trees. Here's a list of possible plants to grow if I can manage to rehydrate the land with earthworks: http://perennialvegetables.org/perennial-vegetables-for-each-climate-type/hot-and-humid/ I've tried some of these but either failed to grow them or they died in the cold: http://perennialvegetables.org/perennial-vegetables-for-each-climate-type/arid-and-hot/
 
Todd Parr
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I don't have much to add, but thank you for linking that site. They may have some ideas for me in this climate.
 
Dan Boone
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Todd Parr wrote:I don't know if I would say it's impossible, but I think it would be extremely hard to do. Protein, fat, and calories are all very hard to come by with a strict vegetarian diet, esp if you can't grow some form of oil.


I feel like I want to at once agree and disagree with parts of this.

It may be hard, because gardening is hard (for me). But getting enough protein, fat, and calories shouldn't be an issue if you have the gardening chops to get a productive food forest going where you are. It's for sure a lot easier if you're willing to sneak some annuals (especially legumes and squashes) into your understory, though.

First of all, you don't really need much oil in a vegan or vegetarian diet. My goal is to eat less than 10% of dietary calories from fat, and I have a hard time getting under that even when I use no added oils of any kind. So a diet doesn't need many fatty foods to meet fat needs. Many common vegetable foods have single-digit percentages of fat in them, and of course nuts and seeds go much higher. Likewise there is plenty of protein in vegetable foods, getting enough protein is not even remotely difficult by the time you've eaten enough calories worth of vegetables. Getting enough total calories does tend to require something sweet or starchy; in the perennial understory world, tubers (sun root, ground nuts) come quickly to mind. Chestnuts are also said too be a good option if they'll grow for you. But also fruit, and lots of it. Fruit is easy calories and there are a lot of perennial fruit species for the understory that start producing much faster than the big trees.

I'm not specifically trying to do this, although I'd sure like to have a food forest that would support me and mine. But if I were trying to it in my climate, which has a lot of similarities to Tyler's but is far from identical, here would be my strategy. Basically, the idea is try a lot of stuff, but focus on a hard core of native food producers and closely-related domestic cultivars. If I'm trying to be self-sufficient, I can't afford to lose many years trying exotic perennial species that may not thrive here. So what's below is mostly stuff that already grows here even when nobody's helping.

Tree crops:

Pecans and hickories and black walnuts. Do what it takes to get them established. They do so well, and offer so many easy calories. It will take a lot of time. Meanwhile if you have any existing trees, guard them, baby them, coddle them, nurture them. Likewise any wild seedlings, which can have even more productive varieties grafted on for much quicker production.

Wild persimmons. They can be almost 20% sugar, and they are far more reliable than apples or any of the stone tree fruits. They dry easily and store for several years, so store up when it's a bumper year. Stone fruits and apples are nice when they bear, but aren't a sure thing in this climate. The persimmons are a reliable staple. Plant seeds, transplant wild trees, do what you gotta. This is a food security crop. I want to experiment with grafting Asian persimmon varieties onto native rootstock, but I haven't had a chance to try yet.

Olives if they'll grow for you. I'm too far North I believe. Would totally solve the fats issue. Avocados are not even a dream -- we're WAY too cold for any of the cultivars my research has turned up.

Chestnuts for tree starch if you can get them to grow this far south -- mine are only eight inches tall so far.

Mulberries if you can find a good cultivar, my wild ones aren't productive enough to matter for food security.

Understory:

Jerusalem artichokes (sun chokes, sun root). Totally the easiest perennial starch crop I know. I'm having trouble getting mine to grow perennially, because I've got nibblers who eat the roots if I leave them in the ground. I think if I got a patch well enough established, though, it would "take" and regrow reliably. Meanwhile, I'm having to dig in the fall and re-plant in the spring. I forgot one bag of tubers that sat in my fridge through two winters -- about half molded, but I rinsed off the rest and they all sprouted just fine when I planted them.

Apios Americanos (ground nuts). I'm just starting to experiment with these after my sister found a local patch. Don't have much to say yet but the impression is promising, especially if you have wet ground anywhere to put them in.

Aliums! So many aliums. Garlic grows perennially here; if you weed and coddle and harvest, not so much, but if you ignore it, it slowly spreads in bunches. Onions likewise I suspect, although I haven't found a kind that does this yet. However some of the garlic on my property has been here for thirty or forty years. The wild garlic species here has small bulbs and lots of bubils, from which it spreads prolifically.

Sunflower seeds -- not technically perennial but oil-rich and self-seeding, and incorporates readily into a food forest design if there's sufficient sunny edges.

Berries, whatever kind you like, lots of them. Cane fruit, elderberries, blueberries if you can find some that work where you are, ground cherries (a nightshade, not technically perennial but good luck keeping them from re-seeding), gooseberries, sand plums (wild). A zillion other fruits, with emphasis on wild transplants, wild seedlings, and more-productive domestic cultivars that are closely related to whatever grows wild already where you are.

Vine fruit climbing your trees. I don't have successful kiwis yet, but my wild passion fruit vines (passiflora incarnata) produce a lot of fruit and I love them, so I'm working at getting them climbing many of my non-food trees. Grapes should be big calorie producers, though I have killed all of mine so far.

Sweet potatoes -- not quite perennial until the climate approaches subtropical, but a huge starch producer and easy keeper.

Squashes -- annual, but I don't care, I'm pretty sure if I ever achieve food security on this property some carefully-selected sqaushes tucked into corners of the food forest will make it much easier. Big fat starch source and many have oil-rich tasty seeds as well.

An endless array of greens (perennial, annual, re-seeding, whatever's easy) for roughage, minerals, nutrients, and bulk. Pick one that reseeds prolifically and has a decent oil seed component and you are attacking your fat and calorie needs from yet another direction. I want a huge asparagus bed, but it's going slowly, with setbacks.

I don't think it's at all impossible -- or even very hard in theory -- to do all this. In practice, getting all the perennial food crops going is not easy, I'm learning. Designing a sufficient food forest is not in my mind the challenge; implementing it successfully may very well be, especially in the face of water, soil, or money limitations.

Fun question, serious challenge.

 
R Ranson
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Would sunflowers and pulses be an option? Maybe on the edge of the food forest?

Sunflowers produce some oil and you could grow the mammoth or giant varieties, dry the stems for cooking fuel or use the organic matter in the soil.

Fermenting pulses into miso (just about any pulse will do, it doesn't have to be soy) and having it at least once a day, can add a lot of nutrition to your diet that many vegan diets find difficult to get.

This is a really interesting topic to me right now. I've been conversing with a friend of mine who's been vegan for a long time, but now want's to live as local a life as possible. She's having a lot of trouble meeting her dietary needs while eating both vegan and local this far north (textiles too, but that's another thread). We've been brainstorming, and it turns out that there are loads of protein sources like lentils and almonds. Dried pulses are now a major part of her diet instead of imported tofu. We hope to experiment with winter squashes as a main calory source, like Carol Deppe does in her book The Resilient Gardener.

To add to this the challenge (or opportunity) of a food forest setting... I find this very exciting.

Trying traditional foods for the location is a great idea.


Edit, ah sorry, I missed the part about focusing on perennials.

Runner beans!
Potatoes.
Nuts of course.

Maybe work a few annuals in there too to help provide organic matter for the soil?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you Dan for all those suggestions! I'm glad (well, that's not exactly right) that I'm not the only one for whom gardening is hard. I'm sure this would be easier if I had a green thumb. My thumb is so black I can even kill easy to grow things like sunroots (trying again though!). Thanks Ranson for mentioning the importance of fermentation for nutrition. I need to try it one of these days.

The challenge for me presently is to get more variety. Onion things grow fabulously well for me, but it's dangerous to try to make them a very large part of the diet because of an anti-nutrient, Allicin. Garlic is supposed to be safe to use as a major calorie crop (according to "One Circle"), but I haven't had much luck growing it so far. Some so-called edible perennial roots and tuber things have proven too yucky to include in the menu - namely Sotol and Canna. There might be ways to prepare these to be palatable - especially to my husband, who is less willing to choke down gross food than I am - but I haven't found them yet. It seems like many things that grow easily are yucky.

 
Todd Parr
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Dan Boone wrote:My goal is to eat less than 10% of dietary calories from fat,


I have lots more to add on this later, but for now, let me just say that we are coming from such a different point of view on this that our answers probably won't help each other greatly. I am convinced now, and have been for quite some time, that much higher fat diets are healthier and more like 70% of my calories come from fats. I would never again try to eat very low fat like that, so our crop needs are going to be vastly different.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Todd, I have also found myself feeling better on a higher-fat diet. For one thing, I won't be starvingly hungry all the time if I'm eating a lot of fat. I think it's vital for each person to attempt to work out a diet which makes them feel their best. Then trying to grow that diet at home is the great challenge. I'm far, far away from growing a complete diet; I purchase fats at the store, and to be realistic, will probably need to continue to do so.
 
Todd Parr
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Todd, I have also found myself feeling better on a higher-fat diet. For one thing, I won't be starvingly hungry all the time if I'm eating a lot of fat. I think it's vital for each person to attempt to work out a diet which makes them feel their best. Then trying to grow that diet at home is the great challenge. I'm far, far away from growing a complete diet; I purchase fats at the store, and to be realistic, will probably need to continue to do so.


I hope I didn't give the impression that I am anywhere nearing growing my diet either. I don't think it would be possible for me without animal products. I will be happy if I get to the point where I am growing half my food, and my climate may be as challenging as yours in that regard, just for different reasons. I grow large amounts of potatoes to add to the total calorie count. I understand what you say about nut trees. I think it would be great to have them and I have started some hazelnuts on my property, but many nut trees take a very long time to get going and I won't be on this property that long. It's a challenge to be sure.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I'm very interested in growing a complete diet, and I'm pondering if it's possible to design a temperate food forest in my climate to produce a complete vegan diet.


What are you currently buying to feed yourself that you could be growing?
 
John Weiland
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Joseph, What would you say are your main sources of non-meat fat in your diet? The following top 2 (of 5) sources listed here are examples that I'm shooting for as meat is reduced in our home diet. (I've never heard of Saviseeds.)

"Here are five-plus super sleek choices for eating fatty the vegan way (that is to say knowledgeably and healthfully):

1. Seeds
Seeds are absolutely delicious accouterments to all sorts of stuff — salads, sweets, and breads — or just nice by the handful. Saviseeds are actually the highest source of omega-3 on the planet. That’s right — fatty fish, step aside. Also, following closely behind on the omega-3 bandwagon are super food celebrities like hemp and chia seeds. Even sunflower seeds, a good provider of monounsaturated fats, are on the list of fatty foods we should be eating.

Omega fats are a bit of a byword these days. The skinny on them is that we should try to have a balanced amount of omega-3 and omega-6, but that balance is horribly askew. What should be one-to-one is actually closer to one-to-fifteen, respectively, in the average person. In other words, the word omega doesn’t necessarily mean you should eat more.

2. Nuts
Nuts are probably the best thing going for straight up snacking. They are filling, unlike potato chips, and they are healthy, unlike potato chips. Nuts are a great source of vegan protein, but just as relevant, they are a plant-based gold mine in monounsaturated fats, thereby reducing the risk of heat disease. The top nutty providers of the good stuff are walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts.

In recent days, nuts are undergoing a fantastic reputation makeover. For too long have they been viewed as unworthy of our consumption, when, in fact, nuts are very healthy."

From: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/the-5-cleanest-sources-of-plant-based-fats/

I'm currently looking for a way to somewhat efficiently hull sunflower seeds as they are native to the region and have a strong recent history in the local agriculture. Also planted peanuts this year for the first time. At the current time, I'm not looking to get into oil production from any of the oilseeds, but they too are a big economic player in the region.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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In my diet, coconut and olive oil are my main sources of vegetable fat. I can't grow either. Fats that I can grow are brassica seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, flax, pumpkin seeds. I am working towards being able to grow sesame and chia. I am not aiming for oil production from the seeds that I grow, but to use them directly -- as pastes, sauces, or snacks.

I'm expecting to plant Lady Godiva naked-seeded pumpkins this week.

 
Todd Parr
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John Weiland wrote: Saviseeds are actually the highest source of omega-3 on the planet.


"Omega 3. SaviSeeds are very much hyped as being a great source of Omega 3: “13 times more than wild salmon!” ; “Richest source of Omega 3 on the planet!”. Unfortunately, all the Omega 3 is in the parent ALA form, and there’s no EPA or DHA. Our bodies are very inefficient at converting ALA into EPA and DHA, meaning that less than 10% of the ALA will be converted into the form that we need."
 
Tyler Ludens
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Todd Parr wrote:my climate may be as challenging as yours


I think a cold climate is much more challenging. Because of the unique (and challenging!) features of the land here, we should be able to double or even quadruple our rainwater totals if we can install the earthworks I have in mind. But cold is a booger. I don't know how people manage with such short growing seasons.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

What are you currently buying to feed yourself that you could be growing?


Not that much that will really fit in a forest garden, except maybe tomatoes. We eat wheat and corn from the store, but those aren't forest garden plants. I still plan to have annual gardens, and hope to expand them to grow corn. The one time I grew wheat the squirrels ate it.

We don't eat much fruit. If I grew it, we might eat it more.



 
Dan Boone
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Todd Parr wrote:
I have lots more to add on this later, but for now, let me just say that we are coming from such a different point of view on this that our answers probably won't help each other greatly. I am convinced now, and have been for quite some time, that much higher fat diets are healthier and more like 70% of my calories come from fats. I would never again try to eat very low fat like that, so our crop needs are going to be vastly different.


Yeah, my health reasons are very specific and don't generalize well. But my point was that there are lots of ways to approach the "calories" problem that don't require an oil plant in the food forest. Somebody with very specific needs (like me, I need my calories without too many oils) or you (you need a lot of your calories from fat) will face an even trickier challenge because our dietary needs are narrower.
 
Dan Boone
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I'm glad (well, that's not exactly right) that I'm not the only one for whom gardening is hard. I'm sure this would be easier if I had a green thumb. My thumb is so black I can even kill easy to grow things like sunroots (trying again though!).


Everything takes years longer for me than it should because so many experiments die young. It's part of why so much of my strategy is tending the wild food plants that already exist on this property. However I was very pleased last week to discover that a bunch of the tree seeds I poked in the ground two and three years ago when I was first discovering the notion of a food forest have finally come up, after a year of wetter-than-usual weather. I went for a circuit of the wilder bits of the property and found more than a dozen young (chest-high) pecan and persimmon seedlings in places I remember burying seed.

My sunroots grow just fine for me, they simply don't come back the following year without help like they are supposed to. (This year I got three plants to come back, which is a first.) I am currently expanding my sunroot footprint quite a lot, hoping to grow them in staple quantities if not this year, then maybe next.
 
Todd Parr
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Sunroots are one of the easiest things for me to grow. I had quite a few growing in the shade of a bug maple tree and they developed plenty of roots to eat, but only got flowers one year and they weren't large. I moved a bunch to a sunny spot this year shortly after they started growing and I'm hoping for flowers this year.

The short season really does present challenges Tyler. In order to get near my goal of producing 50% of my food, I have to plant lots of potatoes and squash for storage and I will have to plant much more than I have in the past so I have enough to start canning vegetables. My apple trees are young so I don't get many apples yet, but I'm hoping to eventually have a surplus of those for storage as well.
 
John Weiland
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@Todd P: " In order to get near my goal of producing 50% of my food, I have to plant lots of potatoes and squash for storage and I will have to plant much more than I have in the past so I have enough to start canning vegetables. "

Just throwing in a few things that maybe you've addressed already....can't recall if you mentioned being off the grid or not. Your region is somewhat straddled by Michigan and northern Minnesota/North Dakota, two states with high production of dry beans. So depending on your interesting in beans of all types, from chickpeas all the way through to pintos, cranberry, black turtle, and other dry beans, they are a great protein source with an ease of storage. I just pull the dry pods in the fall and dump them into paper bags and shell them out as needed for meals.

We pair beans with a lot of tomatoes, mostly paste-type. These are frozen whole (no processing), or canned, or dried, in that order of priority. (The chest freezers are in the garage and work a bit in the summer but not at all in the winter.) Drying takes electricity here since the humidity will mold tomatoes rather quickly otherwise in our experience....we do this for a few different pepper varieties as well, although a thicker-walled mini-bell type is just chopped, blanched and frozen. But also to say that, at roughly the same latitude as you, I use a solar oven each late summer day that I can to concentrate tomatoes in baking dishes down to a watery paste. Also for freezing, we just buy local sweet corn, cut it from the cob, bag it and freeze it; but for our own open-pollinated sweet corn, we let it dry on the stalks, then hang the seeded cobs and shell off what we need for soups, etc. If you have the time, it can be shelled completely into jars....again, a dried product with no need for further processing. Potatoes are good....winter squash is good, although we've had to go through a few types of the latter to figure out what stores best for us. Some winter varieties just seem to collapse a bit early on us.

If you like cabbage-type greens, kale is really a good one for this 5-state area. It's one of the first that can be put out in the spring and, with some protection, can go through Thanksgiving. [Those with hoophouses clearly will take it longer or year-round.] Last year we pulled up whole kale plants and put them into a feedsack in the garage, pulling good leaves off for meals for a few weeks and finally pulling the remainder off for frozen storage. So a few different ways of dealing with the shorter season.
 
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Good ideas John. This is my first year growing beans, I plan on those being a staple as well.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Will beans get enough sun in the forest garden to bear? I have beans growing in my infant forest garden, under the canopy of a large elm. It will be interesting to see if they produce any actual beans. Most plants seem to do better here with a little shade. This might not work in a more northern climate.

I think vegetable patches will want to be beneath thin spots in the canopy.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Not that much that will really fit in a forest garden, except maybe tomatoes.


What do you envision a mature forest garden looking like? Something with a completely closed canopy, and full shade on the ground? Or a savanna with widely spaced trees with plenty of sunlight reaching the ground? Or an orchard meadow? Or...?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I envision my forest garden beneath the partial canopy of existing elms, with patches of sunlight reaching the lowest layers. So, something like what Martin Crawford calls a young woodland in this video:
 
R Ranson
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Will beans get enough sun in the forest garden to bear? I have beans growing in my infant forest garden, under the canopy of a large elm. It will be interesting to see if they produce any actual beans.


From what I've read, most won't. My experience says that most will, but runner beans (a perennial in a lot of places) do very well under trees so long as there is enough sun to encourage bees or breeze for pollination.
 
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Why do all the best oil crops have to be tropical!? This is probably the biggest problem. Avocados, olives, coconuts . . .

As far as calories, my perennial wild potatoes from okios are coming up, as is my cold hard yam. Both should be perennial for you, and give a fairly good calorie density. The hardy yams are good to zone 5.

From what I have heard, squirrels are a problem with nuts. And trees may be more vulnerable to a changing climate then herbaceous plants.

Now, could you grow olives in a good micro climate? What if you built a brick wall, with an overhanging roof, and espaliered a bunch of olives along it? Then what if you draped tarps over the wall on really cold nights? And strung some Christmas tree lights along the branches? Maybe a pond to the South? The wall could be serpentine to provide little planting pockets. Folks in Tibet blacken the fields with charcoal to heat up the soil in the spring. Olives should be a good fit for a dry climate with poor soil.

I'm going to be trying a fig in Denver, using similar techniques.

What about a large greenhouse with an avocado or two? I don't know if this is feasible, or if it would make much of a dent in a diet, but something to think about.

Coconuts are right out, alas.

Vitamins and minerals shouldn't be a problem, apart from B-12. I've heard that B-12 can be got from tempeh, which can be made from a number of feed stocks, not just soybeans. But others disagree. If you could keep three or four chickens just for this, that might help.

Leaf curd is something to look into; turn alfalfa in to a dense source of protein and calories!
 
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:From what I have heard, squirrels are a problem with nuts.


Here in the heart of wild pecan country, that hasn't been my experience.

A lot of commercial nut orchard cultivars are selected because they tend to minimize the natural tendency of mast trees to produce in alternate years. But that tendency evolved for a reason. My wild pecans produce profligately one year and then very minimally (or not at all) for one, two, or three years after that. Each tree is on its own schedule, but weather (especially rainfall) can tend to disguise that fact, and there definitely are trends resulting in "good years" and "bad years" for each mast crop. This is precisely because of nut predation by squirrels and their ilk. When trees produce regularly each year, the squirrel population tends to explode until there are enough squirrels to eat every nut every year. But when there are wild fluctuations in nut production, the squirrels can't breed up fast enough to eat the nut surplus in the good years, and the populations die back in the bad years. Which means the bad years are very bad indeed for us humans who want nuts, but in the good years, there's plenty for the squirrels and for us and for storage against the bad years.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:
What about a large greenhouse with an avocado or two?


Who's going to pay for that? But, seriously, this is being done on next to no money. So I can't devise high-input systems.
 
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I'm trying lupins , blackcurrent/redcurrect/gooseberry /jostaberry, quince based apple/pear fig mix for my boarders. Like a mini forest
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Gilbert Fritz wrote:
What about a large greenhouse with an avocado or two?


Who's going to pay for that? But, seriously, this is being done on next to no money. So I can't devise high-input systems.


Have you done the math? What are you currently paying for industrialized oils? An how does that compare to growing avocados in a greenhouse?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Maybe $100 a year? I have no money for a greenhouse. Also, a greenhouse isn't a forest garden as I define it above.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Here are a couple pics of the space I'm working with. The first photo shows two fenced growing basins. The only understory trees are some native persimmons. The second pic shows part of the rest of the space, a horribly eroding mess of dying oak trees with some nice elms, a couple cedars (junipers) and native fruit trees, plus messy brushpiles. This area is about a quarter acre, but ultimately I plan to have forest garden surrounding the house, so probably over half an acre (I haven't measured it):



forestgarden.jpg
[Thumbnail for forestgarden.jpg]
futureforest.jpg
[Thumbnail for futureforest.jpg]
 
Gilbert Fritz
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http://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/growing-olives-in-zone-7

Here is a link on how to grow olives in zone 7. If you are zone 8, it should be possible.

And at least you have a longer season then I do. I'm still waiting on putting out tomatoes, since we can get frosts till June 1st; yesterday the temperature in my main field went down to 36 F. And I know that we could get frosts again my September 10th. We also had a hailstorm yesterday!

But your site does look rough.

Are you willing to cut down some of the trees to let in more light?

Some elms have edible seeds.

Also, leaf curd! If we can take leaves, and extract the protein and vitamins out of them, while leaving behind the bulky inedible fiber, water, and anti-nutrients, we just might be set!
 
Tyler Ludens
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I killed a few olive trees! :p Our elms have edible seeds - they taste a little like green beans and are quite easy to harvest!

We're removing a few cedars and the dead oaks from the area. I'd really prefer not to remove any elms from this space because the sheep have killed so many in other places, the jerks.

Uphill, or East, of this space is a sunny edge where I might try with olives again after the sheep have gone to the great pasture in the sky.

 
Gilbert Fritz
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Somebody said, if one is not killing plants, one is not learning anything! Do you suppose landrace breeding could develop a cold tolerant olive tree? Maybe somebody in a warmer area, preferable Greece, could send you a few pounds of olive pits?

What kind of elms are they? Siberian elms? They are quite a pest in Denver, but I think that might have something to do with the climate. Interesting that you are eating them. How do you collect them? How many pounds do you suppose you could collect?
 
Gilbert Fritz
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I'm going to be making a linden and ash tree leaf curd as soon as I can find some silk to use as a filter. Supposedly, an acre can produce 10 times as much protein by the leaf curd method then by grazing animals.
 
Tyler Ludens
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They are the lovely native Cedar Elm, Ulmus crassifolia. The seeds when full grown but still green can be gathered by hand from low-hanging branches. Once ripe, there's a lot of competition for them from everyone else living here. I've not tried to harvest and prepare the ripe seeds. In good years each tree must produce many pounds of seeds. I posted about them in this thread: http://www.permies.com/t/17759/wild-harvesting/Today-foraging-haul-Texas-pictures



 
Gilbert Fritz
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OK, I see. The Siberian elm is a pain, because it grows really fast. But, branches and whole trunks die at an alarming rate due to disease. Then the tree grows a whole new set paralleling the old ones, and often wrapping around them. Soon the tree looks like a 60 foot tall bird nest, right down to the ground. Then it dies altogether. Meanwhile, it has established zillions of new trees from seed.

A useful tree as temporary windbreak and biomass on the plains, but an awful street tree.

But they too have edible seedpods when young. I have not tried to do so, but I may next year.

I'm much more interested in the beautiful and edible honeylocust trees. Will they make it where you are? They stand up to anything the weather throws at them, and still produce pods, unlike other trees when they get hit late.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yes, I have a few infant Honey Locusts in the planted areas, grown from seed! They may cause too much shade ultimately and need to be removed. I've planted them here primarily as support trees but hope to plant more in other locations to grow to maturity for pods.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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I'm going to be gathering every seed I can find to start thousands of honey locust, to find the right ones for my site.
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