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Who is growing a food forest?

 
Posts: 16
Location: Melbourne, FL
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Forest gardening has been the holy grail since my '93 permaculture initiation. But what I have on my 2 suburban acres (0.8 ha) is a dense mixed orchard of useful subtropical plants. To grow quick height and to partially close the canopy, I have purposely over-planted the faster growing species like mulberry, papaya, banana, avocado, moringa, pigeon pea, chaya, muntinga, mango, bamboo, longan and passion vine. Notice that these are animal fodder as well. Rabbits are the only micro livestock (caged) in the orchard. I will soon need hogs and chickens to eat the surplus, but I haven't made the commitment.

Shade tolerant species are being added too: carambola, monsteria deliciousa, annonas, and a host of smaller plants and shrubs that need micro climates to thrive. (East central FL gets occasional hard freezes and high winds.)

I still use a small lawn mower to get between the closely spaced trees and to keep the paths clear. I hand prune wedelia, Spanish needle, betony and other rabbit snacks to supplement their purchased feed (which I regard as 50 pound bags of future fertilizer). I suspect that this dense orchard will always need to be intensively managed.

It's a passionate hobby that is becoming a livelihood.
 
Posts: 4
Location: Kenya
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Started my food forest less than 2 years ago. I started with fruit, nut, medicine, indigenous, nitro-fixing trees and random herbs and left them growing while I went off to learn more. My goal is to have a totally self sustaining system little forest (it’s about ¼ an acre) that I can live off entirely.
Then I did swales and a water catchment pond. Did some sheet mulching on the areas that I would like to be herb and crop gardens and I'm mapping out where I want to build structures. Trying to decide between pit latrine system and composting toilet.
Haven't finished tree planting, so I'm planning out guilds so that I don’t only have fruits to eat...having problems thinking up perennial veg/ legume type plants to incorporate into guilds. So far, only got pigeon peas, asparagus and wild indigenous greens. Researching into edible flowers. Not having much luck with grains here except maybe oats.
Have done boundaries and fencing with nettle, leucanea, moringa, acacias, comfrey and other nitro fixers to use for fertilizing.
 
Posts: 5
Location: Seattle, Washington
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So, here's my question - who is trying to achieve a real food forest, or already has achieved one that has "popped"? I'd like to start a list. Perhaps it would be good to start a new category on this forum entitled "food forest".



I have built a 7 layer food forest before and I'm about to start another one. Here's a post explaining more.

https://permies.com/t/54531/forest-garden/Starting-food-forest-Snohomish-Washington#449910
 
Posts: 643
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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i moved in with my fiance 2 years. ago all she had on the property was mature redpines and norway spruces ringing her property and a big lawn. i started by establishing mushroom beds under the tress. then the next year i planted 2 hazelnuts. 2 autumn olives, 2 goumi berry. 3 blueberries , a 12' by 25ft. red raspberry patch, 2 aronia berries. 2 hardy kiwi, 2 serviceberry, 4 elderberry, 2 black currant, 2 black mulberry, 4 honeyberries, 4 ruhbarb and 3 seaberry. this year I'm adding 3 4'by12' raised beds made hugelkulture style w/ wood on the bottoms. , a fuji apple tree , 5 primocane thornless blackberries and 9 ostrich ferns for fiddle heads in the spring. theres a acre of wet land next to mine that is too wet to use for anything structurely but theres some higher spots that are plantable. the owner gave me permission to clear and plant on it.. gonna dig more ostrich ferns and plant them there for fiddleheads in the spring. also going to take cuttings of my more water tolerant berries and plant them all over in there. not really permaculture but this is a work in progress the last couple years. hopefully most my berries will produce this year. i just purchased a used mahindra compact tractor with a dump so now i can go up the road and get as much horse manure compost i want from my neighbor. should fit my soil needs nicely. gonna mix piles of manure with hardwood chips/ sawdust from the mill down the road that loads me for free. won't have to buy soil again! skys the limit! wish i had someone who would be interested in this too. my fiances a indoor person not interested in gardening at all. so its all me. but I'm having a blast, like a kid in a candy store!
 
gardener
Posts: 1058
Location: Northern Italy
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So, here's my question - who is trying to achieve a real food forest, or already has achieved one that has "popped"? I'd like to start a list. Perhaps it would be good to start a new category on this forum entitled "food forest".



I think if I had a food forest which had "popped", I wouldn't tell ANYONE. Especially someone making a list.
but that's just me. I live in a place where people steal anything that grows or can be eaten (or has a motor).

My long term plan is to "kill them with kindness", having such bountiful production at different times of the year that theft, even if it happens, isn't really a problem. Right now that's not happening so I just get angry when people steal our shit.
William
 
Posts: 39
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i dont let myself get hung up on labels.
i am growing dozens of fruit trees, dozens of herbs, roots crops and flowering plants.
i am still pretty much in the early phases, i only started on it 3 years ago
and the first year was a 1/2 hearted attempt.
I just gfot 3 yards of soil in, and ordered a few 3 gallon plants.

at some point i want to be able to not see any grass.
i know i can sheet mulch it all now, but its a lot of work
and i have no help.
i have salvaged 2x4 and other wood and materials as walkways and borders
i have several groundcovers growing, and chop + drop a lot of my mulch
i even got a used wood-chipper (i need to fix) and a dead tree ready to go.

I am also experimenting with border/zone pushing.
i am in New Orleans (zone 9) and growing mango, papaya, guava etc...
THere are a lot of people in California and Fla that push zones, and grow sub-tropicals
but none in New Orleans
So i know i will have losses.
We just had the coldest day of the last 10 years a few weeks ago
and i lost a few mango, black sapote, neem, eggfruit and others.
but i am not detterred.
several plants came through. Even a Baobob in a container.

i have LOTS of mustard, gynura and other small plants that grow fast
and i also often use as mulch.

i dont ever seeing it as totally hands off
even in 20 years when the mulberry, babob, longan, Inga, white sapote
and other trees are 50ft tall or more, and shade the whole system
i would still want to prune them, and prune shade-tollerant plants under them.

Call it a food forest, permaculture, or just a backyard with a lot of plants
i dont really care.
it is what it is...

food-forest-garden-New-Orleans


food-forest-garden-New-Orleans

 
steve bossie
Posts: 643
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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want my front lawn to look like that in a few more years! got 20 berry, 2 hazelnut and 3 apple trees on a half acre. most are in they're 2-5 yr. getting harder to mow around them . I'm like you. i hate to waste good land growing grass!  can't wait till' i don't have to anymore!
 
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