Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
posted 5 months ago
Usually zone 2, makes it quicker and easier to get out and manage it during establishment.
Zone 3 food foresty is a thing but it means less management and usually a few degrees less diversity. Also tends more towards 'harvesting' (as you would in zone 3 'main crop gardens') as opposed to daily gathering.
I think it really depends. A lot of my food forest is in my zone 1, because the area nearest my house is where the best light is, and my kids like to play there, so I'm there a lot weeding and planting while I watch them. Since the trees are close to the house, I also plant a lot of food under them that I harvest every day, such as chives, green onions, and strawberries.
My cherries, however, are more like zone two or three. I'm not down by them as often, but since it's by my blueberries, some parts of the year I get down there more often and do a bit more maintenance. Most of my zone 2/3 food forest is things I don't harvest that often: hostas, june-berring strawberries, dandelions, random weeds.
I have a zone 4 food forest, which is mostly natives, and I don't do any maintenance other than maintain the paths through the woods and pick the berries.
I think the type of food forest really impacts how often you visit and what zone it's in. You can have an intensive one that you harvest from frequently and weed often, or you can have one that you don't maintain as much. I think zone 2 or 3 is probably where most people have their food forest, but it can really depend!
I think it depends on the nature and age of the food forest. If, during establishment, infrastructure is set up to nurture the food forest, and if it tends towards hardier perennials, it will do fine in an outer zone.
I also think that if the food forest that is being grown includes varieties of plant and tree that wouldn't normally survive where it's located, that it will require more personal attention, and that it will need to be closer in, for that greater attention.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
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