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Carla Resnick

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since Nov 08, 2012
Northern California
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Recent posts by Carla Resnick

I am in a totally different climate/soil area, and my food forest is quite diverse. Our "native" habitat is oak grassland, and the oaks come up on their own, but I cut them fairly young to keep light for my food trees. What I do is let the oaks grow a while, then pollard them. That way I still have the leaves and some shade, where I want it, but not a giant oak if left alone for many years.
I think some of these things might work for you: Currants, black, red, white, and gooseberry. All are easily propagated from cuttings. In shade they will not produce as much as in full-sun, but the plants are quite nice year-round.
Perhaps some hazel/filbert shrubs? Not sure how the deer with like those though, and not certain of cold tolerance.
Apples, protected from deer, could be espalier shaped, for keeping with nice aesthetics. I have my apples with bulbs (paper whites, which came with the property) as in Gaia's Garden layout.
Can you grow fruiting Mulberry there? A few dwarf types are available. I have one that makes mulberries as thick as my thumb. It is called "Pakistan" and I also have "Black Beauty," which has yet to fruit as it is still young.
Can you do Elderberry in your climate? They are classic understory plants, and quite drought tolerant, and many improved varieties are available. They too are easily propagated.
Persimmon might be a good addition for a replacement tree. If planted in a space with your other trees, you could let it grow to a certain size before removing a non-food tree.
For vines I have mainly grape and passion vine. I think perhaps passiflora incarnata might work in your climate (not 100% sure on that).
I always plant fava beans around everything. Annuals, yes, but so easy to plant and the harvest is delicious. I save seed each year too.
My main perennial/evergreen shrub is rosemary (also very easy to propagate), and doesn't need rich soil.
Other plants that work for me, but possibly not in your climate, are: peach, apricot, pineapple guava, nanking cherry (this might work for you), olives, bamboo, collards, arugula (self-seeders), a good winter squash let to run rampant all summer (harvest young for summer squash--let mature for keeping squash--I like a good butternut for young and keeping).
Medicinals include: mint, catnip, agastache, hyssop, & yarrow.  
Wishing you the best on your project. You will see that as you add more species of plants, you will get more species of animals. My yard has turned into a bird paradise (and not only because I have added chickens). Wild birds come to roost in my yard, and visit the improvised bird baths I've put out for them. I watch the yellow-rumped warblers come and snap up insects in the morning and evening.
I also recommend a brush pile, if you can afford the space. I've got a small brush pile and the sparrows simply love it.
2 years ago
Well, I have chickens under the tree too, so the collards grow up out of beak's reach and they keep the base pretty weed-free.
The plum is rather near to some raspberries, but they are not exactly under the tree. I have quite a bit of catnip too, which is medicinal (kills a cold) and not bothered by the chickens.
So I imaging you could try some oregano or thyme, or other herbs. I also like to sow bell beans and daikon just all over, so those things are there too. Bell beans are mostly for the green matter - you could grow the culinary fava type instead, the daikon is a good soil builder, mineral accumulator, and also edible (tops and roots). I let most of them go to seed and then rot.
I always grow some sort of winter squash which will reach out in many directions, and sometimes the stems make their way under the plum. You could plant squash at the base of the plum in the spring, and it would create a nice shade for the base.
6 years ago
I have moved a broody and her eggs. She didn't get moved too far, and she was so determined to sit on the eggs that she did not leave them after the move. She had been in a nest box that was up off the coop floor, and I moved her down underneath the next box row, into a melon shipping box (the kind with stiff sides) filled with straw. I took the eggs from under her as she sat and watched in the nest box, then I moved her down to the eggs and she arranged the eggs to her liking and continued her incubating duties. I did not do this at night, though I have read that moving them at night, as others suggest, is a good practice.
All the eggs were marked by pencil, and only one other hen ever laid in her clutch, and I removed it. Closer to hatching I put up a barrier so the other chickens could not get to the hen and the chicks. As the other chickens got used to the new residents, I opened a little gap in the barrier so the hen could take the chicks out as she saw fit.

I moved her to the floor so that the chicks would be able to walk around and not fall out of the nest box. They hatched out with great energy and physical strength. Much more active than the hatchery chicks I got in the mail earlier in the year. I will endeavor to use a hen for the brooding process when at all possible. No need for a heat lamp and all that.
6 years ago
I have a healthy crop of collards under my plum tree.
6 years ago