Alternatives to Annuals - Food Forest

digitS'

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That's great!!!

Read a little more about it on their websites. (Video has captions, too :).) It's two acres beside an English college campus. They sell seeds and plants. Many seeds are herbs used as ground cover, there are berry bushes, nut trees, etc.

I have never been a permaculture enthusiast. It seemed to be less-than-authentic, too casual ... What about serious competition between and within desired species? Plant it and walk away???

However, I have not given much thought to how different our annual gardens are to the natural environment. Teams of gardeners and their plant partners - yeah! Natural areas for Nature. Howsomeever ...

This area is similar in climate to where wild species of apple have lived for millennia. It is not so surprising that Washington State is #1 in US apple production and that there are century-old orchards with obsolete varieties.

We have a productive young peach tree, again. I'm waiting to see if if can handle the rigors of the climate and not be troubled by disease. Still, it is most amazing how much fruit that tree produced. At first, it didn't look like much. Small tree, the squirrel began knocking them off the branches. I could reach all but one fruit - nearly filled a produce box!!

I have seen several apricot trees that go untended in vacant lots for decades. They produce a respectable crop, year after year! The French plum that I planted in my parents' backyard was almost trouble-free and had a massive crop of wonderful plums!

The English walnut trees across the road are absolutely useless for humans. I noticed this year that the crows will show up to eat those crushed by cars on the asphalt. Good for the crows and the squirrels!

On the other hand, hazelnuts grow with no attention in some yards. Same nuts as you would pay good money for - just fine! Some homeowners aren't happy with the "ornamental" value - what??!

Anyway, :D . Thanks for the video!

Steve
 

baymule

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Permanent plantings of nut, berry and fruit bearing trees just makes sense. So far we have 2 peach trees, 1 pear, 1 apricot, 2 wild plum, and a loquat that may never bear because we are too far north for it.
 

flowerbug

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an actively managed food forest would be something you do over hundreds of years as some fruit and nut trees do decline as they get older so you want to bring them down. open up some canopy so you can plant annuals for a few years and then as the trees regrow then you shift back into fruit/nuts/etc.

i for one would not want to give up beans, strawberries or peppers, but you can have a nice wooded area on part of your land and then have an open clearing for some of your favorite annuals or shorter lived fruit bushes like blueberries/strawberries... basically what you do is simulate what a tornado or fire would do by doing some temporary clearings. chickens and pigs can do pretty well as foragers on newly cleared lands, pigs are great cleanup crews for fallen fruits. there's a lot more that can be done instead of monocultural crops of two primary things. i would feel much more food secure knowing i had a diverse forest right next door than these naked farm fields.

i know a lot of permaculture stuff seems a bit off the scale, but if you look closer at a lot of their techniques you see them being adopted now by others who wouldn't even think that was where the technique first had a lot of effort put into exploring it and of course there's no one set method to permaculture as far as i can tell. i do know it works and it works in some of the harshest places in the world. to me that says more than anything about the possible future if enough people can make the efforts and work together it does happen.

as for specific experiences i can only really speak of those i've had or those i've observed for 10yrs or more. my own efforts are showing good signs that keep me enthused in continuing the work the others i've watched they're making good progress. which in this world is a good thing. the hard part is stability long enough that the people who put in the efforts can see the results starting to pay off.

i've posted this link recently in a few places. i'm not sure i did it here and i'm temporarily too lasy to look but i'll post it again or apologize if i have:

https://www.weforest.org/newsroom/did-you-think-we-could-transform-entire-landscapes-just-10-years

keep at it, it pays off. if you are older perhaps you won't see as much from it as your kids or other people who come along, but it's better than nothing as a start. even if you don't eat the fruits and nuts some other creatures might find them useful. i would love an apricot tree.
 

bobm

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There are millions of acres in the arid far West and South West ( think of wroadrunner and whiley covote play there ) where fruit and nut trees just will not grow, if they do and produce fruit, the crops are too costly to produce to be economically viable as water and labor is very expensive and the price received is way too low to be profitable. The most economical use of those lands , and lots of it, is open range land to graze cattle. :old
 

bobm

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@bobm that is part of permaculture also. Recognize what the land will bear and use it accordingly.
Yup ... a large portion of the western lands is best used to timber production and open range grazing for cattle and sheep. And yes, you can grow alfalfa profitably IF you have enough water to irrigate the circular hay field. And yes, some land can grow some other crops IF you have enough water and labor . Near and around Fresno, Cal. there were lots of fig orchards then about 30 years ago most of these orchards were almost gone and replaced with cotton or field crops or almond, walnut, pistachio, picon orchards and grape fields. Then the environmentalist elite filed a law suit to restore the water flow to the San Juaquin River and so restore Salmon runs . This river has been dry for over 70 years as the water from snow melt on the Sierra Nevada Mtn. was diverted into a reservoir and canals for crop irrigation ( my son' s father in law was the head lawyer for the farmers ), The environmentalists won that law suit . Farmers were the big losers as irrigation water started to dry up and vinyards and orchards were pulled up so productive farm lands returned to dusty desert lands sporting tumble weeds, ground squerrels, and coyotes. Those farmers that had the deep pocket money to dig much deeper wells planted almond trees for the new almond milk industry. Cotton fields started increasing too. How long this will last depends on how fast the earth settles to fill the porous water tables as more water is pumped from much deeper water wells. :idunno
 

baymule

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The sensible thing for those farmers to do is sell out now before the water gets turned off again.

There are earthen swales all over my area, built by the CCC in 1934. There are several on our property. We maintain them, add to them and have built several of our own to stop the rain water run off and erosion. Our land is good for forest or grass. We have the forest, cleared out a lot of brush, vines and saplings recently, now working to establish grasses. Work with the land and climate.
 

flowerbug

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There are millions of acres in the arid far West and South West ( think of wroadrunner and whiley covote play there ) where fruit and nut trees just will not grow, if they do and produce fruit, the crops are too costly to produce to be economically viable as water and labor is very expensive and the price received is way too low to be profitable. The most economical use of those lands , and lots of it, is open range land to graze cattle. :old
not everything is about profit.
 

bobm

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not everything is about profit.
Profit is what makes the economic world go round. Look at the garden production and what you expect it to produce as food for you. If your garden produces a bumper crop, you can sell or give away the excess crop or keep it, but it still is a profit to you. If you volunteer your time and expertese for a non- profit company or hospital or whatever, and you do not get any monetary compensation or any goods, your profit is a warm fuzzy feeling.
 

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