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Is water needed for food forest in TN  RSS feed

 
tony phamm
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I'm wanting to buy a property here but it doesn't have access to public water. I wanted to just have it run on rain. Rainfall here is about 52 inches of rain per year. I'm in TN where it rains alot with frequent t-storms. I know that rain catchment system is an option but I'm wondering if my fruit trees would still grow even without that? I'll also grow all supporting species and herbs and such too.

Right now it's wooded so I need to know how to prepare for the land. Is there a good book for BEGINNERS for turning wooded into a food forest. I emphasize on "beginners" because so far the books and websites I've gone into gives way too much info all at once. There's just too many options of doing it in so many different ways. I just want ONE way of doing it. Doesn't have to be perfect. I understand nature is complex but it would really help if I can get one resource on doing it ONE way. I will just follow that one way for a few months, then maybe expand my options from there but I really just need to do one basic thing at a time.

And by the way, how much would rain catchment system with maybe drip irrigation system run me on 5 arces?

Thanks all for your help! Great community here!
 
Scott Foster
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forest garden hugelkultur woodworking
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tony phamm wrote:I'm wanting to buy a property here but it doesn't have access to public water. I wanted to just have it run on rain. Rainfall here is about 52 inches of rain per year. I'm in TN where it rains alot with frequent t-storms. I know that rain catchment system is an option but I'm wondering if my fruit trees would still grow even without that? I'll also grow all supporting species and herbs and such too.

Right now it's wooded so I need to know how to prepare for the land. Is there a good book for BEGINNERS for turning wooded into a food forest. I emphasize on "beginners" because so far the books and websites I've gone into gives way too much info all at once. There's just too many options of doing it in so many different ways. I just want ONE way of doing it. Doesn't have to be perfect. I understand nature is complex but it would really help if I can get one resource on doing it ONE way. I will just follow that one way for a few months, then maybe expand my options from there but I really just need to do one basic thing at a time.

And by the way, how much would rain catchment system with a drip irrigation system run me on 5 arces?

Thanks all for your help! Great community here!


I'm no professional and I just started doing my food forest last year. I totally get you about doing one thing at a time.  I pick an area and do just that area, dig a swale and plant a trio.   I think using trios is a great way to start bio-diverse islands you can build on.     You would want to catch a little rain as you begin to design your garden, that way you could water in the new plantings.   I would think just a 55 gallon drum would get you moving...use forest mulch to retain water.

  You could probably do it just with swales and Hugel-Kulture mounds, initially, you would have more losses.   The hardest part for me has been creating the initial biodiversity.  Once you get stuff growing it pretty much takes care of itself.   

I have Apple trees in a mound planted from bare root and I don't water them, same for pears.  (I did water them until they were established)   I've had really good luck with pears here. 

As far as the forest goes you just need enough sunlight.   You could use any trees you cut to build mounds and fencing.   If you have,  "apple cedar rust" make sure you plant resistant apple types.

Really I say start, plant one trio...as you start to build the forest will tell you what it wants.


The best resource I have used for beginners: Gais Garden is a great but simple book that will help you get started.    It talks a lot about planting in trios which is a really easy way to stay focused.  
https://www.amazon.com/Gaias-Garden-Guide-Home-Scale-Permaculture/dp/1603580298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503235941&sr=8-1&keywords=gais+garden,  ;

If you are going for a mini orchard do a youtube search on Stefan Sobkowiak, he has a great video on permaculture orchards and using trios.  I purchased the digital download on his website and it was worth the $20.00.

 
tony phamm
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Thanks for that. I have heard of the book and will read it soon. Also Stefan Sobkowiak, I heard he does tarps to cover the ground to prevent weeds but also does drip irrigation beneath that. I don't know if I can do that if I don't have access to public water. Would the water catchment system be enough for the drip irrigation undernear the tarp? Or would not covering it and having rain be good enough? I would then be susceptible to weeds though.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 275
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Here is a site to investigate. The author is located in east TN. He has excellent write ups on plants that will survive here.
http://tcpermaculture.com/site/

I live in west TN and have planted a couple trees when they were dormant, only watering them in, at planting. No further watering for them outside of rain. This was before I had heard of swales, so they are just on flat-ish areas.They appear healthy and are nearing the age they will fruit.
 
Scott Foster
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tony phamm wrote:Thanks for that. I have heard of the book and will read it soon. Also Stefan Sobkowiak, I heard he does tarps to cover the ground to prevent weeds but also does drip irrigation beneath that. I don't know if I can do that if I don't have access to public water. Would the water catchment system be enough for the drip irrigation undernear the tarp? Or would not covering it and having rain be good enough? I would then be susceptible to weeds though.


Yeah, I'm not doing the irrigation either.  Stefan has a public nursery so he has to worry about keeping it pretty "customer friendly."   The other ideas of companion planting nitrogen fixers and creating islands for predator bugs, stopping pest in there tracks, attracting pollinators etc...all those things still apply.       I'm using Comfrey to plant around my trios to push the grass away.  I purchased 4 plugs online and by splitting them I probably have 30 plants in my yard.  Some are saying they aren't a nitrogen fixer but there is no doubt that they offer a ton of bio-mass and the bees absolutely love them.   I like Stefan's comment,  "if you don't plant something, nature will."
 
Mike Dickson
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Location: Concord, North Carolina
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We have an area that we are turning into a food forest. It already has walnut trees and LOTs of persimmon trees. Last year it was so dry that all of our persimmon trees dropped their fruit early and we weren't able to harvest anything. Since then we have mulched (6 to 12in deep) most of that area and just yesterday I was checking that area and the trees that we mulched are loaded up with persimmons. I know adding mulch to that area helped those trees retain the moisture they needed.
 
Scott Foster
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Mike Dickson wrote:We have an area that we are turning into a food forest. It already has walnut trees and LOTs of persimmon trees. Last year it was so dry that all of our persimmon trees dropped their fruit early and we weren't able to harvest anything. Since then we have mulched (6 to 12in deep) most of that area and just yesterday I was checking that area and the trees that we mulched are loaded up with persimmons. I know adding mulch to that area helped those trees retain the moisture they needed.


I totally agree mulch is magic.  All my trees get a load.  I'm experimenting with companion planting too it keeps the pollinators coming, and the ground cool. 

The yard is really starting to show biodiversity.  I have seen things this year that I haven't seen in three years, rabbits, frogs, toads, deer and quite a few predator bugs.  Actually saw my first full sized praying mantis today.  I'm slowly planting nitrogen fixing trees between my fruit trees.   Only so much a guy can do with a shovel...LOL.   I have 50 willow tree seedlings coming to create a wind break...that's going to be really fun digging fifty holes. 
 
bruce Fine
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i'm in ne tn and last summer it got super dry, any new/young trees died if they were not watered, ask me how i know. this summer we are lucky so far, fingers and toes crossed, i planted 400 chestnut trees this spring, want a few. i have about 100 left that are in a mother bed by the creek, they can be moved once dormant

anyway you will want to have water source, i have a small spring up the hill out back and a well but getting water to the things that are planted  is a real chore and can get expensive.
I have learned the hard way to have drip lines in place before spending time effort and money planting things.

anyway, welcome neighbor
 
tony phamm
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And it's OK that the property is heavily wooded with hardwood trees right? All I gotta do is chop some off to make room for the fruit trees and other shrubs and such? I didn't buy the land yet, I just wanted to make sure real quick before I buy it.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 275
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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