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Monthly Food Forest Tours! Let's create a food forest together!

 
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 2 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/5/20.



The fig trees are starting to grow back from the roots!

The peach seedlings are doing really well, with some already topping off at about 9 inches tall!

I planted a seedling muscadine from one of the previous videos, at the base of the first peach tree. This seedling was the largest one in the other video, I'll put a link to those videos below. It should fill in the space between the peach tree's lower growth and upper growth and should create a nice connected canopy. If it does really well this year, we might even get a few grapes next year!

This video is of all the muscadine seedlings I transplanted.



This one shows an update on the muscadine seedling near the end of last year and what it looked like then.



The baby peaches are getting bigger. They always grow really well up until about the size they are now, and then the bugs get them. I have planted a few types of plants around the peach trees and other trees in the food forest to help discourage the bugs and insects both visually and by scent. Hopefully this will help leave a few peaches that are in good edible condition.

There are more cherry blooms than I thought there would be! They have covered a large bloom time which has been really nice, to help ensure good cross pollination if necessary.

A few of the paw paws look like they're pollinated, not sure yet, but it looks like they may be! I have read about a few self fertile paw paws, so this may be one, as I doubt there are any paw paws in the woods nearby, since I have walked through a lot of the nearby woods and have never seen any, there could be though.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 3 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/5/20.



Some of the transplanted blueberries are producing a handful of blueberries their first year after being moved to the food forest and separated from the mother plant. I'll put a video of that method below. This method doesn't produce nearly as many plants as using cuttings, but it is so much easier and the plants will usually have a semi established root system, and as a result will usually grow much quicker and even produce a handful of blueberries the next year after being transplanted.



I enlarged some of the cages around some of the fruit trees to give them more space to put on some good new growth and still be inside the cages to keep them from getting eaten by deer until they get a little more established.

The blueberry being naturally protected by twiggy sticks and limbs is still doing great and really putting on a lot of new growth. It seems to be working really well so far with no deer damage!

The baby pears are getting bigger and it's looking like we'll have a lot of pears this year!

I moved the three seedling apple trees from previous videos to the food forest and planted them near the some of the other apple trees, and two of them are starting to leaf out!

The top of the elderberry got munched by the deer, but it is putting off a whole lot of growth in other places now!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 4 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/5/20.



I moved a table grape that I grew from a cutting into the food forest! It was the only survivor from being planted in a really bad spot. I planted it in front of one of the bigger apple trees surrounded by lots of other edibles.

The black locust is putting out a lot of healthy growth, and hopefully it'll flower and have some seeds next year.

I almost stepped on a bird. There was a spot where I had left some medium sized limbs on the ground, and some plants had grown up through it. When I walked in the spot where they had been, just less than two feet away, a good sized bird flew away. It happened a second time also. I've read about some birds that live in habitat like this being really beneficial in eating insects, so I'll probably try to recreate the habitat so they can have a more permanent home in the food forest.

One of the mulberries looked dead, but I think it's still alive. It looks like it may have had some winter damage.

I see a few baby mulberries forming!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 1 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/12/20.



The grafted pears and apples are doing really well. A few of the pear grafts may not make it, but it's looking like I might get 100% success on the apples. I grafted the pears before the apples, so maybe my grafting skills improved as I went along. I've heard apples are one of the easiest fruit trees to graft, so that may have something to do with it too.

There are a lot of baby grapes on the grapevines this year so far. Some new shoots even have 3 clusters of grapes on them! Sometimes you train a grape vine and then have to retrain it.

The blueberries are getting really big really fast this year. I'm glad to see they are not only doing good, but are thriving with no pruning, no irrigation, and no inputs at all really! No work and tons of blueberries, that's hard to beat!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 2 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/12/20.



The grape cuttings are looking good and most of them seem to have a few inches of growth. So far they seem to be making it at about 100% success.

The fig sprouts are getting bigger.

Almost all of the pomegranates are growing back from their roots, if the small tops died during the winter. As they get bigger, the tops should get more cold hardy and die back less and less each year, same for the figs. One variety that is soft seeded hasn't started growing yet. I've heard that the soft seeded varieties aren't as cold hardy, so this variety may have died during the winter.

The small peaches are starting to get some size on them. The bug damage seems to be minimal so far, hopefully it'll stay that way.

Peas are starting to come up, and the other cool weather crops are looking good.

The cherry trees really surprised me how many flowers there are!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 3 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/12/20.




The apple trees are starting to put on a lot of growth!

I've done a lot of earthworks this week, shaping the food forest and digging out some pools in the food forest. These earthworks will both create dry and wet spots in the food forest and will trap a really good amount of water and hold it in the landscape.

In between the fruit tree mounds I build small ridges of soil that can grow smaller plants like some berries and vegetables. In the middle of these ridges I may even plant some pomegranates, figs, and have grapes run up them as a natural trellis. The water can run off these ridges and collect in the pools, where it is slowly absorbed into the landscape and also creates great habitats for insects and animals.

One European plum is growing like crazy! They aren't supposed to grow well here, but this variety has already grown almost 12 inches!

The vegetables that will be planted on the ridges and mounds around the fruit trees should yield a huge crop while the fruit trees are smaller with no work. I usually don't thin them at all, except maybe harvesting greens, and selecting the weaker crops to eat. The other ones will naturally select the strongest plants that will shade out the weaker plants, which will fruit, and produce seeds to create the next stronger generation for my area. It's so little work to grow and creates a huge harvest!

The younger pear tree has temporarily stopped growing, but hopefully it should resume growing again once its roots grow into the new well draining soil and the soil health increases with all the veggie and wild cover crops.

Fireblight is affecting and killing some of the later blooming flowers on the pear tree, but there seem to be a good number of blossoms that are doing really well!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 4 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/12/20.



I show what my pools look like after they have been dug out but before they fill all the way up with water. It had only been about an hour since I had finished this pool and it was already starting to fill up with a little water.

The water will fill in from different locations, sometimes from the bottom, and sometimes from the sides. This one filled up from the bottom and two different spots on the sides.

I was building one the other day, and I had to hurry to finish it because it started filling up with water so fast!

I've planted some blackberries on the southern side of my fruit trees. I'm using the twiggy branches as a natural protection from herbivores, since it has worked really well so far. I'm excited to hopefully get some blackberries soon, since they're one of my favorite fruits!

A made a big mountain around one of my apple trees! The changes in elevation in the food forest with the pools and mounds seems to help keep out the deer, as well as providing a diverse habitat for attracting lots of different plants and animals.

The big plum tree doesn't have almost any plums. I'm guessing a cold weather snap may have dropped the plums.

One of the serviceberries (saskatoons) is leafing out.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 5 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/12/20.



One of the pools in the food forest fills up with water super quickly. It is really small, but that hasn't stopped it from filling up with a ton of water! When I dug it out, it was really hard to dig because of all the water that I could literally see running into the pool, the only one that has been like that. It's only had about a two inch change in water level also so far this year.

The frogs are loving it too. Every time I walk past it, one or two frogs jump into the pool.

One of my mulberries mysteriously died. It should have been very cold hardy for our area, so I'm not sure what happened.

The bigger mulberry is starting to form tiny mulberries!

The thornless honey locust is looking good so far. It has a neat kind of tropical look to it.

The propagation bed for cuttings in the shade seems to not be doing as good as the one in full sun, but the ones in the other bed in the sun were stuck in earlier in the year, so that may have helped some too.

The willow trees are looking very healthy and putting on tons of growth! Hopefully, they'll produce lots of good branches for propagating and making willow water!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 1 of the weekly food forest tour for 4/19/20.



Some of the grafted pear and apple trees are starting to grow fast, with some having about 7 or 8 inches of growth.

The grape clusters are getting bigger and look very healthy.

You can use string to help train young grapes to grow towards a trellis or make it grow in a certain direction or shape.

The 1st muscadine is starting to make tons of really big clusters of grapes.

The 2nd muscadine looks like it is going to finally start producing a lot of grapes this year! It seems like it produces more fruit on branches that are hanging down.

I didn't harvest a lot of the muscadines last year, and a lot of seedlings are starting to sprout under the big vines! I'm trying to decide if I want to dig them up soon and move them to the food forest or wait until this Fall.
 
                      
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This is such a cool thread!
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