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Where to start? Food Forest  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1
Location: Greece
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Hello everyone

I am living on the west coast of the Peloponnese and wish to rid myself of even more bills since moving here two years ago.
I want to create a food forest on the slight slope in the pictures which is west facing. I am unsure of a few things that I am considering doing.
The ground is very wet in the winter months. Should I dig a trench to divert water?
There is a well just above. Should I do a drip network timer or a sprinkler system with a pump to be installed.
The locals tell me the only fruit and nut tees that do well at this height (400 meters) are, apple, pear, apricot, walnut, almond and cherry.
The no dig type of gardening appeals to me very much. Should I just plant straight in and just add compost/mulch?
How important is the placement of the trees to be planted i.e. Above the slope on the east side. Should I just plant them around randomly?
This soil underneath the eucalyptus trees looks good. I was thinking of getting a bulldozer to push the top soil and then add mulch.

Sorry for stupid questions
Thanks in advance for any advice Art
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pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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Hey Art. Welcome to Permies! Nice place you have there :)

I mostly replied to bump the topic so other people would see it and assist you, as I don't have much experience with your climate or those types of trees.

What kind of soil do you have?

Artemios Burke wrote:The ground is very wet in the winter months. Should I dig a trench to divert water?



With Permaculture the goal is to hold as much water as possible in a system, so having wet soil seems more beneficial than not. A possibility could be to dig some ponds on levelled ground to hold that water as I don't see any on the property from your photos.

Artemios Burke wrote:There is a well just above. Should I do a drip network timer or a sprinkler system with a pump to be installed.



From my own research, a drip system is superior to a sprinkler system but takes more work to setup.

Artemios Burke wrote:The no dig type of gardening appeals to me very much. Should I just plant straight in and just add compost/mulch?



You seem to have a lot of grass, it might be beneficial to dig pathways and use that extra topsoil to help kill the grass and build slightly raised beds.

 
gardener
Posts: 3475
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I much prefer sprinkle irrigation over drip. Drip seems like an ongoing maintenance nightmare to me. Drip irrigation systems seem like consumables. Needing a constant purchase of replacement parts. My family is still using the same irrigation pipe that we purchased more than 40 years ago.
 
pollinator
Posts: 944
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Welcome.  That is a beautiful piece of land.  Here is what I would do:

1.  Read.  There are dozens of great threads on this forum that talk about the first steps to take in permaculture.  Just do a quick search and you'll have all sorts of great information.  From the nature of your questions, it's clear that you would benefit from reading a couple of good books and reading quite a bit on this forum and other web-sties.

2.  Observe.  Most people encourage you to observe your land for at least a year before you begin designing, moving soil and creating earthworks, and certainly taking your time before investing in trees.  You need to intimately observe the way water moves across your land, the way sunlight hits your land, find out the various natural micro-climates (where it's hot, where its cold, where it's dry, where its windy . . .).  Don't jump in bed right away --- take your land for a number of dates and get to know her well first.

3.  Visit neighbors and see what they are doing.  It's really impossible for people on this forum to give you specific advise about plants and trees without knowing more about your context.  But your neighbors have been growing and managing their land for years.  Take advantage of their knowledge and experience.

4.  Work in the order of greatest permanance.  Thus, complete your earthworks and water harvesting features first before you start planting trees.  Think through where you will eventually locate structures like roads, fences, buildings, etc.  Think through how you will capture fertility, sunlight, and water, and then structure your land accordingly.

5.  Build soil.  You can plant veggies and annuals, cover-crops, and other plants without making a long term commitment to their location, but as you do so, compost like crazy, capture biomass for soil building, and prepare the land for the crops to come.

6.  Draft a design plan.  Walk the land, get a feel for what would work best, and draft it on scratch paper.  Next week, you'll do the same again and you'll find yourself thinking differently about the design.  It just takes time and you want to give yourself space to change your mind (on paper).

7.  Start a nursery.  Begin growing plants in pots that can later be transferred to the food forest.  In a year, when you've got your earthworks completed and your design finalized, those plants will be ready to go into the ground.

8.  If you haven't taken a permaculture design course (PDC), do so.

Best of luck.
 
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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Artemios Burke wrote:
The ground is very wet in the winter months. Should I dig a trench to divert water?



I live, technically, in a Mediterranean climate, though our "hot" summers are not nearly as hot as yours likely are (I live on the northwestern side of the US). But, our fall, winter, and spring are WET. One -third of my property is classified as wetlands. I don't know if yours is wet enough to be classified as wetland, but extremely wet soil--especially if it doesn't drain well (so soils high in clay)--can damage &/or kill a lot of plants. On my property, I grow my annuals on raised beds--most of them hugelculture beds which hold water during the winter, but since the bed is raised, the plants don't have roots that are submerged in water. 

In my really wet areas, I try to grow plants that don't mind, or even thrive, in the wetter soil. In my area, that raspberries, thimbleberries, blackberries, service berries, currants, gooseberries, and elderberries. For ground cover, waterchestnut, bunchberry, miner's lettuce, and wood sorrel all seem to do well.

I also grow most of my non-wetland perrenials in the areas that stay drier during the winter--I scout out wetland plants like rushes (look up wetland plants for your area) and avoid planting trees there. If all you have is wetland, then trenches or little streams might be a good idea to drain your land. You could also attempt to direct the water to a wetland or a pond (you might need permits to do so), and the pond will hold water for you for a few months, hopefully, into the dry season.
 
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