Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Growing a food forest  (Read 3067 times)

Alexander555

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 2503
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 185
  • Likes Given: 49
Growing a food forest
« on: December 11, 2022, 09:02:40 AM »
I have another question. How much can you pull out from a forest , and it still becomes a more rich place. I'm building a little food forest myself. And for the moment i pull nothing out, i pull as much as possible in. But i build it with the intention to pull something out  if needed. Like an insurance, if something would go wrong with the food supply. But i still want to maintain nature and as much as possible biodiversity. Because they make it fun. There is input and output, if there is life on your land. So lets assume that a tree that's growing takes minerals out of your land. That's an output at that moment. And the water from rain, the energy from the sun, the co2 are inputs. Together they make the tree. As long there is input, you should be able to pull something out of it. But i have no idea how you can know how much it is. Most of it will be in the thrunk. So many thrunks will have to stay in the forest. And  what about harvesting fruits and nuts over a long time. That's something that accumulates. It looks hard to know, because maybe degrading of your land is a slow proces that you don't even notice in one human life. And it would be sad if you eventually would have the same result as if you would have cut it down all at once. But for the moment things look good, after 2 years of pulling stuff in, life seems to do good. I think my biggest problem will be oxygen in my soil. I try to avoid to walk at as much as possible places. But last year with the drought i had to water extra. So i had to walk at places i normaly try to avoid.  You feel the soil is very soft, but i assume he will recover. The mole is doing his job. And many animals have more weight as me.

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2022, 09:26:42 AM »
If you look at this short film about Ernst Götsch, who created syntropic agriculture and has a food-forest, it seems that the bedrock that is accessible by trees contains in most places more than enough minerals. He has been harvesting cocoa, bananas and other fruits for decades without any inputs and his forest keeps getting richer. As long as you have old, deep-rooted trees, you probably do not have to worry about inputs.

(also in many small scale food forests whatever you take from it can be simply given back to the forest by urine, ie. pissing on the trees here and there...this is how a truly circular system works...urine is actually quite sterile, and contains everything plants need)




Sublime_Rime

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 211
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 98
  • Likes Given: 26
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2022, 04:03:54 PM »
Alexander, your question assumes that you are not part of the forest, I think that is how our civilization has gotten into this mess. If your outputs become inputs you don't have to worry about how much you "take out".
Max
Know thyself
Here to learn and connect in these wondrous and quickly changing times.

Alexander555

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 2503
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 185
  • Likes Given: 49
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2022, 04:34:52 PM »
But it is not always how you want it to be. What if i need timber to restore my roof ? And using something else will only mean more industrial production. So the inputs and outputs are importend. Because if i make my soil healthy, the forest will store more of these inputs. It will store more energy from the sun, more water, more co2. The better they grow , the more they store. And that means i need less trees to restore my roof. And more will be left to support nature, to support the ecosystem. A poor system will only store a little bit, a rich system will store plenty on the same land. And if you do it like El Cid is telling, a circular system, lets assume a foodforest. It should grow like crazy. Because the inputs keep coming, and they are for free. It just has to be healty.

kassy

  • Moderator
  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 8125
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2034
  • Likes Given: 1979
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2022, 05:13:35 PM »
Would any timber do? Probably not.

Ideally if you have enough land and time you can grow them from scratch. If you have it already and use it you can then grow a replacement (or put something else there).

For practicality i would not mix them too much because you need space to put the timber trees when felling them and there should not be that much space in a food forest.

 
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

kassy

  • Moderator
  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 8125
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2034
  • Likes Given: 1979
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2022, 05:20:14 PM »
Moved this discussion from the Forests thread since this can be a nice discussion on it´s own.

Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2022, 09:48:39 PM »
Since it has become a new thread and I am quite passionate about growing a food forest let me share some of my experiences in a temperate climate.

Based on my readings and own experiences syntropic agroforestry has the best chance of restoring the land fast and providing food at the same time.

The main points of it are similar to those emphasized by many other regenarative methods.

1)   Photosynthesis must be maximized. This means that we need to grow
a.   a multilayered
b.   very dense
c.   and diverse
ecosystem all year around.

a.   We need fast-growing, sunloving trees that tower above the rest, the best suited in our climate: alder, poplar, willow, paulownia, black locust, ailanthus altissima – anything that grows very fast and does not mind coppicing/pollarding
As the second layer our usual fruit trees are perfect, most of them being trees of the forest edge, ie. they like some, but not too much shade. As lower growing plants almost all fruiting berries are perfect, and also some forest species. Lower still can be grasses, clovers, etc. By putting plants in every layer, we soak up all the Sun
b.   We need to plant more densely than usual: this means that our normal fruit trees are at a normal distance (3-4-5-6 meters), but in between them we should put very high trees and lower growing shrubs.
c.   diversity is key and not only inthe number of  species but also genetically: syntropic agroforestry uses as many trees and plants growing from seed as possible. Seed-grown trees are stronger than grafted ones, especially if they are directly planted into the soil.
2)   We must manage the system, this is mostly
a.   pruning and
b.   mulching

a.   the high growing trees are best pollarded at a height of 3-4-5 meters annually or biannually. This way we open up the lower levels for the Sun every year or every second year and give a growth pulse for the whole system – after cutting the big trees heavily back, nearby shrubs and trees start to grow like crazy! Also, shrubs and grasses need to be heavily pruned when they would start to senescene (eg. now I cut grasses usually twice: end of May, and August-September
b.   the woody cuttings are chipped/shredded, and together with the grasses are put around the trees as mulch
There really is not much else to do: plant many plants, densely, and in great diversity and manage them with occasional heavy pruning (we need to heavily prune only the support species, not the target, ie. fruit bearing species, although we can also prune the fruit trees as well, but much less heavily)

More later…

sidd

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 6760
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2022, 07:55:51 AM »
Ailanthus altissima is terribly invasive ...

sidd

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2022, 08:06:45 AM »
Most of the best biomass species are labelled "invasive", because invasive is whatever grows quickly and without any help from humans. Europe is already full of Ailanthus altissima, I've seen it in many countries in big numbers: Spain, Italy, the Balkans, etc. No way you can eradicate it. It is here to stay, now part of the ecosystem. So why shouldn't we use it? Oaks/maples/ash trees and before that pine and birch were also invasive at the end of the last ice age destroying the precious tundra, yet we embrace those as "native" and detest the newcomers. Why are they different???

sidd

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 6760
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2022, 11:19:16 PM »
Re: Ailanthus altissima : Why are they different???

Speed of invasion, i have seen them take over many acres in two or three seasons in the midwest USA. I cleared a small hillside by a ravine, took me a few years. The males are easier (no seeds) but if you cut into one stalk the roots send up suckers twenty yards around. I had to kill em using a chisel and eyedropper, you make a series of separate incisions around the tree less than a foot from the ground (but not a continuous girdle) and use the eyedropper to drip poison into the cuts. (Twenty minutes is all you have before the tree seals those cuts.

The females now, you got to get to each one before they set seeds ... millions and millions of seeds ...

The leaves look like poison sumac, but the berries on sumac are red, as opposed to brown bunches of seed for ailanthus.

Ailanthus was introduced to the americas as a shade tree for avenues in philadelphia, and some Chinese immigrants brought it with them to the west coast as well.

sidd

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2022, 10:07:38 AM »
I know they grow fast, I know they sucker, but they can't break the rules of Nature: if they can't photysnthetize, they will die. So if you no longer want them in the system, you just cut them back every month. Eventually, their root stores will deplete.  I am not saying they are an ideal choice, but they grow very fast, and create huge amounts of biomass. They do what they are good at: restore poor soils. If they are shaded out and are cut back time to time, they will die.

And are they that different from black locust (robinisa pseudoacacia, a "native" American tree)? Black locust also grows fast, suckers like crazy and very hard to kill. But they also fix N, coppice and pollard very well and improve the soil very quickly, and are  great honey-producers. Try killing a black locust stand, it is not easier than killing ailanthus altissima

sidd

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 6760
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1045
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2022, 11:26:46 PM »
Re: black locus, ailanthus altissimma

I have cleared both. In the areas that i cleared Ailanthus comes back for six to eight years, black locust peters out after a couple. And i have found that Ailanthus is much faster at taking over.

I like black locust tho, i have used it for many fence posts.  Usually the reason i take it out is because i have plans for the land for something else, not usually because it is invading. It fixes nitrogen too, which is a plus.

sidd



El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2022, 04:03:52 PM »
sidd

I think we have a conceptual problem here. You have a patch of ailanthus altissima and you want to use that land for something and then ailanthus can really be a pain in the ass. However, when we try to grow a food forest, we try to use every plant according to its place in succession.

And what is the role of these fast growing pioneer species (ailanthus altissima, paulownia spp, robinia pseudoacacia) in nature? They are Sun-loving, fast growing trees, that create the environment for secondary and climax species by improving the soil, helping biodiversity. They grow quickly and in their semishade long-lliving species (eg. oaks) will grow up slowly. Once the oaks shade them out, they slowly die. This process can take centuries in nature, but we can speed it up. How?

Let's say I want to plant a tree-row in a food-forest. What do I do?

I plant an apple tree (maybe from seed, and I might graft it later on). 1 meter to the North of the apple tree, I plant a shade tolerant elderberry, then 1 meter to the North a blackberry, another meter and an ailanthus altissima (or any other pioneer), another meter and a maple/ash/oak/beech, another meter and raspberries, and then another meter and a pear tree or any other fruit tree. In between the rows I plant grasses, alfalfa, clovers, etc., and I cut them twice a year and use them as mulch around the trees (or in some spots can grow vegetables here as well). Within the row, the pioneer's sidebranches will be cut, and only the top 2 meter will be allowed to grow branches. In 5 years time, the pioneer will likely be 5-7 meter tall, but will have no side branches at the bottom 4-5 meters, so will only slightly shade the now growing apple/pear trees which willl also shade the berries below them to some extent. Anything cut from the pioneers will be used as mulch (in my case after chipping). After 5-6 years I start pollarding the pioneers every year or every second year cutting them completely at 4-5 meters height. This means that my fruit trees will have no shade in April-May, and only some shade during the summer which is just perfect for them, as they are mostly forest edge species. After some years doing this, the  oak/maple will have grown and now is obstructed by the pioneer, so I cut the pioneer at ground level. It has no place in the system any longer. I will likely have to cut it a couple more times every month or every other month, but its root reserves will be depleted and it is already shaded out, so it will go. This is how I want to use pioneers and in this context I do not think that ailanthus is more difficult than black locust (which as much as I like it has a big drawback: it is very thorny) 

etienne

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2014
    • View Profile
    • About energy
  • Liked: 307
  • Likes Given: 23
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2022, 07:54:35 PM »
Hello El Cid,
You described the south to north organization of trees, but how is it in the east-west axis? Do you leave like 5 meters between the rows or do you also have a mix of species, each Meter another one?
Thanks, Etienne

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2022, 08:17:21 PM »
etienne, in between the rows there is either grass or(and) N-fixing plants like clovers, alfalfa, etc, that can easily be cut (in my climate 2x or if we have very much precipitation 3x a year: end of May, Aug/Sep; or May, July, September. So the layout is N-S rows, and grasslike vegetation in between. But the rows are very dense, with lots of bushes and trees on various levels. I did not invent this, this is how syntropic agriculture tries to do things.

(I must add that in my case due to older trees and due to the history of the place I do not have these rows clearly, I often have some other trees/bushes here and there)... but if I had to start all over I would do this the way I described because it makes life much easier

etienne

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2014
    • View Profile
    • About energy
  • Liked: 307
  • Likes Given: 23
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2022, 05:57:37 PM »
Hello El Cid,

And the Nuts/Chestnuts ? Are they among the fruits trees or the maple, oak, ash, beech ? or would they be somewhere in the clearing required for the barbecue ? They are not forest trees.

Thanks for the information, it is very interesting even if I don't have a place to try right now.

Regards,

Etienne

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2022, 08:30:02 AM »
Nut/Chestnut trees do not need to be pruned in my experience, so I just let them grow, therefore they grow "too big". The only solution to this is to put them on the Northern end of the garden. Also, I have been advised and found this true: it is best to plant an evergreen windbreak around the garden, so that it would protect it from North, West and East. This creates a microclimate. Yew would make the best evergreen windbreak but it grows extremely slowly. I use cherry laurel, leylandii and some privet (which is not truly an evergreen but quite close). I also have yews but it really takes ages...

Anyway I drew a quick schematic plan (North is top, S is bottom): green is the evergreen hedge, orange is veggies, the big brownish circles are nut trees, blue is normal fruit trees, black is biomass trees, X is various vines (grape, kiwi, hardy kiwi) that grow on the hedge. I couldnt draw the berries but they should be there between the biomass and normal fruit trees.

But I think more important than the plan is the active successional management of the forest: we try to maximize photosynthesis, keep as many plants as possible, and cut them back strongly at the right time...

kassy

  • Moderator
  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 8125
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2034
  • Likes Given: 1979
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2023, 09:55:19 PM »
It is not a food forest proper but it serves as such for the local wildlife:

Suburban bushland restored with 150 types of native trees by retired entomologist over 10 years


The land opposite Bob Newby's house looks like any other slice of suburban bush.

But if you venture off the concrete footpath towards the creek, you'll find some rustic tracks and dozens of trees in varying stages of growth.

"When I retired, I thought I needed to have something to keep myself occupied," Mr Newby said.

...

But it was more than just planting some trees and now he's a proud OGRE — that's Old Guy Restoring Ecosystems.

Mr Newby's career as an entomologist gave him a unique insight when it came to choosing species that would bring more birds, bugs and butterflies to his neighbourhood in north Rockhampton, central Queensland.

A decade later, the area has become a training ground for conservation students and an example of how communities can restore suburban bushland.

Slow, steady and specialist
When Mr Newby retired, the land was so densely covered with lantana that it was impossible to make it from the footpath down to a small creek.

After clearing that, he started planting – but these weren't just any old trees.

They had to be native and local to central Queensland.

"I had a bit of a bias towards things that were unusual or rare or threatened," Mr Newby said.

"I also wanted things that were going to be hosts for the butterflies."

Mr Newby explained that families of butterflies will often only feed on one type of tree, so attracting new species required thoughtful planting.

The trees he has planted can be hosts for more than 30 species of butterflies, and Mr Newby has so far spotted 15 of those ranging from large swallowtails to small blues.

While some butterfly species are not uncommon in the area, Mr Newby said he's seeing them in "reasonable numbers" and he believes that's down to the more favourable habitat.

more on:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-18/retiree-transforms-bushland-with-native-trees-attracts-butter/101977090
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2023, 08:44:31 AM »
A nice video about syntropic agroforestry (food-forest) in Australia in a pretty dry place:



They explain in "layman" terms how and why this works. I especially like how they put it:

"Grow things that you can so that you can grow things that you want".

Actually the point of syntropic agroforestry is to improve the soil by using "weeds". These are the plants (various herbaceous species, but even more bushes and trees) that grow in places noone looks after, that pop up without any help, that grow fast despite the difficulties, and grow vigorously after being cut back. These plants are different from region to region and can be native or so-called "invasive".

So you plant these survivors (we could call them biomass species) in great density and in between them you plant your desired fruit trees. Then you manage these biomass species: regularly cut them back when they would shade out your fruits and put the mulch around your trees. This way you improve and protect the soil

In our Central European temperate environment this usually means an annual/biannual very heavy pruning of biomass trees/bushes In January-March and 2-3 annual cuts of grasses during late spring-to early autumn. In the video though they have a completely different environment...

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2023, 03:07:23 PM »
So, just a quick update about my foodforest, which I try to shape along syntropic lines (á lá Ernst Götsch)

I coppiced/pollarded my biomass-trees during Jan-Feb, had the branches chipped in March and try tu use the woodchips around my fruit trees/berries. Now regrowth is happening with amazing speed. My fruit trees (other than my peaches and apricots which once again got hit by late frosts and as a result got attacked by fungal diseases) look amazing with huge amounts of flowers and they all look very healthy despite using no sprays at all. We'll see whether that stays like that during the year but so far, so good. Now I started scything, because I already have thigh-high grass and use the hay as mulch around the trees and in the veggie garden. Already have lots of onions, salad-leaves, radishes, etc. but those are quite easy anyway.

Hopefully, until next winter I will only have to scythe/mow 2-3 times and pick the fruits, nothing else is necessary.

I realized that I am missing an abundance of shrubs from the mid/low layer, so I started planting some faster growing, shade tolerant species, like elderberry, viburnum, cherry laurel, laburnum, dogwood, etc. These will be coppiced every 1-3 years. The top layer of ash/maple/paulownia, etc is pollarded high (3-4-5 meters) also every 1-3 years. Fruit trees are the higher (but not top) layer and berries are also in the mid/low layer. Fruit trees are pruned basically to stop them growing too high.

So, it is slowly becoming a managed multilayer forest, which I open up by heavily cutting back the biomass trees and shrubs, and gets denser and shadier as the year progresses and the biomass plants grow back

 

Freegrass

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3802
  • Autodidacticism is a complicated word...
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 944
  • Likes Given: 1244
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2023, 03:23:40 PM »
So, just a quick update about my foodforest, which I try to shape along syntropic lines (á lá Ernst Götsch)

I coppiced/pollarded my biomass-trees during Jan-Feb, had the branches chipped in March and try tu use the woodchips around my fruit trees/berries. Now regrowth is happening with amazing speed. My fruit trees (other than my peaches and apricots which once again got hit by late frosts and as a result got attacked by fungal diseases) look amazing with huge amounts of flowers and they all look very healthy despite using no sprays at all. We'll see whether that stays like that during the year but so far, so good. Now I started scything, because I already have thigh-high grass and use the hay as mulch around the trees and in the veggie garden. Already have lots of onions, salad-leaves, radishes, etc. but those are quite easy anyway.

Hopefully, until next winter I will only have to scythe/mow 2-3 times and pick the fruits, nothing else is necessary.

I realized that I am missing an abundance of shrubs from the mid/low layer, so I started planting some faster growing, shade tolerant species, like elderberry, viburnum, cherry laurel, laburnum, dogwood, etc. These will be coppiced every 1-3 years. The top layer of ash/maple/paulownia, etc is pollarded high (3-4-5 meters) also every 1-3 years. Fruit trees are the higher (but not top) layer and berries are also in the mid/low layer. Fruit trees are pruned basically to stop them growing too high.

So, it is slowly becoming a managed multilayer forest, which I open up by heavily cutting back the biomass trees and shrubs, and gets denser and shadier as the year progresses and the biomass plants grow back
It would be good if you could add some pictures.
90% of the world is religious, but somehow "love thy neighbour" became "fuck thy neighbours", if they don't agree with your point of view.

WTF happened?

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2023, 08:23:08 AM »
It would be good if you could add some pictures.

Unfortunately most of the glory is gone as the flowers have fallen, though I still like walking through the garden every day to see hat is going on. Also, I am missing that shrub layer, so I am not satisfied with what I am going to show. Fruit trees are  doing great, top layer is almost OK, but I need more plants in the mid/low layer. Anyway, here are some pics I took this morning. The aim is to create something between an orchard and an open semi-wild woodland


etienne

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2014
    • View Profile
    • About energy
  • Liked: 307
  • Likes Given: 23
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2023, 08:33:49 AM »
Hello El Cid,

Thanks for the update. On the pictures, I don't see your biomass trees, maybe there isn't anything to see if they are coppiced.

I don't see the pollarded trees either. I'm surprised that you pollard the top layer, I'll have to check what Ernst Götsch says. I guess there isn't enough light coming down if you don't do it.

Regards,

Etienne

Added : I guess this is where to read about it : https://agendagotsch.com/en/what-is-syntropic-farming/

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2023, 01:57:38 PM »
You are quite right etienne. I don't have enough biomass trees and shrubs that are big enough yet (because I realized quite late that I need them - i forst planted "just" the fruit trees...should have been the other way around). I have some, but most of them are not on the pictures, although on the first picture on the left there is a coppiced ash (with vibrant green leaves), also there are many more pollarded and coppiced ones on the first picture but they are behind the apple trees on the right, so you can not see them. There's also one coppice on the second pic in the very front. On the third pic, on the left, just in front of the big pine tree, there's a recently pollarded hazel tree (looks like a stick). But you are right, I need more and bigger trees. I have a few that are big enough but not on these pictures...

(one interesting observation from last year: I have some peach trees. Due to unseasonal late frost and cold weather in April, they got attacked by fungal diseases, however i had 2 trees of the same varieties that had big biomass trees beside them, and those biomass trees were cut back to the ground the year before (growth pulsing a la Ernst Götsch), and somehow showed zero sign of problems. I was quite amazed. There was absolutely no difference in treatment between the ones that got sick and the ones that stayed 100% healthy (not one  unhealthy leaf - here quite unheard of without fungicides!), other than the coppiced huge biomass shrub.). I am quite convinced that these peach trees shared their rootsystem with the biomass tree that was very close by, and upon cutting the biomass tree back, somehow the health of the peaches improved amazingly by stimulus from the cut back tree...anyway I will keep on experimenting but I think Ernst Götsch is quite right

gerontocrat

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 20042
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 5255
  • Likes Given: 69
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2023, 08:53:19 PM »

(one interesting observation from last year: I have some peach trees. Due to unseasonal late frost and cold weather in April, they got attacked by fungal diseases, however i had 2 trees of the same varieties that had big biomass trees beside them, and those biomass trees were cut back to the ground the year before (growth pulsing a la Ernst Götsch), and somehow showed zero sign of problems. I was quite amazed. There was absolutely no difference in treatment between the ones that got sick and the ones that stayed 100% healthy (not one  unhealthy leaf - here quite unheard of without fungicides!), other than the coppiced huge biomass shrub.). I am quite convinced that these peach trees shared their rootsystem with the biomass tree that was very close by, and upon cutting the biomass tree back, somehow the health of the peaches improved amazingly by stimulus from the cut back tree...anyway I will keep on experimenting but I think Ernst Götsch is quite right
On BBC's Radio 4 today was a programme on how gardening has to change due to AGW.

A major point was planting for bio-diversity to increase resilience against pathogens and pests, droughts and excessive rainfall. And how ? - plants do share their root systems and help to keep each other healthy.

It's now built into the advice from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society). And grow weeds such as nettles, that have a deep root system that maximises their ability to gather nutrients and minerals from the soil. Every so often, dig some of them up (including the roots, and chuck 'em into a barrel of water and just let them rot. In the end you will get a concentrated natural fertiliser.

And when you mulch, only use a thin layer. Grass cuttings will do as well as anything. We are not cutting the grass this month (it's a campaign by Natural England)- lots of small creatures will say thankyou, (as will the birds who eat them).
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

be cause

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2429
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1008
  • Likes Given: 1024
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2023, 09:55:50 PM »
funny gero .. I just dug a barrel of nettles on Saturday last .. first time I steeped the roots too .. inspired decision it seems :) . btw I hope to leave a 20 ha food forest if I manage to live long enough to inherit and plant .
Conflict is the root of all evil , for being blind it does not see whom it attacks . Yet it always attacks the Son Of God , and the Son of God is you .

KiwiGriff

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1598
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 708
  • Likes Given: 362
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2023, 10:37:53 AM »
1st crop of avocados almost ready.  Three out of seven trees are carrying their first fruit this year.
Mandarin oranges  ready for picking not a big crop  but the fruit is huge some up to 100mm.
Finger limes  fruiting  well. Great for a novelty burst of flavour in ice cream, salads, coleslaw or gin and lime .   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_australasica
Feijoas are just finishing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feijoa_sellowiana we have about ten different cultivars so get a long season.
Guavas have been a little sporadic not a lot  but carrying some ripe fruit all the time if the wood pigeons do not get theirs first.
Passion fruit and grapes  were a bust this year.
The high humidity and year round mild maritime climate encourages pests and diseases in stone and pip fruit .  Don't want to pump toxic sprays into my environment to keep unsuitable species growing and fruiting.

Northland NZ  has had  not enough sun too much rain.
 Record rainfall events from late spring and continuing now into late  autumn .

 The undergrowth and new plants naturally regenerating into the native bush block has been the most  in the last five years since it was  first fenced it off from  stock and marauding wild pigs  . What used to be bare earth is now springy underfoot with the build up of leaf litter .  This build up has noticeably stopped erosion and slowed water runoff from the block and helped regeneration.


Animals can be driven crazy by placing too many in too small a pen. Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself.
Notebooks of Lazarus Long.
Robert Heinlein.

El Cid

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2474
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 919
  • Likes Given: 221
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2023, 05:51:49 PM »
1st crop of avocados almost ready.  Three out of seven trees are carrying their first fruit this year.
Mandarin oranges  ready for picking not a big crop  but the fruit is huge some up to 100mm.....

....
 The undergrowth and new plants naturally regenerating into the native bush block has been the most  in the last five years since it was  first fenced it off from  stock and marauding wild pigs  . What used to be bare earth is now springy underfoot with the build up of leaf litter .  This build up has noticeably stopped erosion and slowed water runoff from the block and helped regeneration.

Oh boy, how I would love to grow mandarins and avocados...but winters are way too cold here for that.

As for the second part, great news, good to hear stories like that. Way to go!

etienne

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2014
    • View Profile
    • About energy
  • Liked: 307
  • Likes Given: 23
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2023, 05:55:12 PM »
[..]
And when you mulch, only use a thin layer. Grass cuttings will do as well as anything. We are not cutting the grass this month (it's a campaign by Natural England)- lots of small creatures will say thankyou, (as will the birds who eat them).
In some parts of my garden, I try to grow wild flowers. It works quite well, the less I cut, the better it works.
I pick up seeds when I am walking in the countryside. Otherwise I wouldn't have so much diversity.

etienne

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2014
    • View Profile
    • About energy
  • Liked: 307
  • Likes Given: 23
Re: Growing a food forest
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2023, 10:44:13 PM »
Here a link for people looking for a more professional solution.

My garden is definitively not big enough.
https://www.savannainstitute.org/planting-tree-crops/