Home orchard / food forest

8 years 1 month ago #521148 by jojokiwi
We are planning a home orchard/food forest for our bare block and trying to figure out how to get started.

We have a couple of possible spots - one on the north eastern corner of the property and another on the North western....Not quite sure which one to go for....

Any other tips or advice for people starting with a blank slate?
Any suggestions on places to purchase fruit trees from that are suited to Canterbury's climate?

Thanks for the advice


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8 years 1 month ago #521150 by wttmf
Replied by wttmf on topic Home orchard / food forest
Do some research on food forests, buy a couple of books. Plan according to the guidelines in the books, adjust it to your site and climate.
I spent almost 2 years from first deciding to grow a food forest and planting the first tree.
It will be there for a long time.
Do a soil test grow cover crops to improve the sight while you plant it.
Thats my suggestion.

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8 years 1 month ago #521152 by VioletFarmer
Ive lived in South Canterbury for 3 years now. My tips are mulch, mulch, mulch and more mulch!!!! Even if you spend the next year or two planning things, start stock pilling things to mulch- animal manure, chook house sweepings, wool shed manure, old calf shed bark, straw etc- old hay/silage/baleage- tree prunings, dead leaves, lawn clippings. We are high on a hill with no shelter, my partner didn't want to have tree's blocking his mountain views. So we dry out quick and lose more soil moisture due to the wind, do you have wind protection to the northwest? Those winds are hideous and quite damaging to young trees. I would start with that, if you didn't want to wait for shelter trees to grow, ive found that two small bales of old hay or straw (stacked two high) provide great shelter and as they rot-good mulch. And stake all young trees for support, our soil is heavy clay so when i dug fruit tree holes, i dug 1 metre down and across. That soil was taken away to fill in a hole in the paddock, the tree hole i filled with mulch, planted the tree, staked it, then put a thick layer of rotten straw. Lots of info here, hope its not too much. Lastly, i found youtube a great place for info and new ideas. If you search- Happen Films, Beautiful Permaculture Farm- its a 12min clip with some ideas on starting from scratch, good luck :)

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8 years 1 month ago #521162 by Name123
Replied by Name123 on topic Home orchard / food forest
When I planted my trees, I followed the ideas in these permaculture food forest books .

If I recall correctly, they didn't recommend amending the holes or digging out too much. Just enough so there was a unbroken solid base for the tree's root system to sit on, so that the grafting point would be enough above ground not to ever be covered with soil, so that the rootstock wouldn't sprout. Also, rather than digging out wider than the root ball, they also recommended just getting the spade and slicing the outer edge of the hole so it wasn't compacted and the roots had less of a struggle to get out. The idea was that there was minimal effort involved and that the tree was encouraged to grow a solid root system. All their ideas were supported with reasoning.

A large part of the permaculture community, is that people often argue emotionally for how things should be done. This means that you can't take half the ideas as granted, and have to research whether they're cargo cult or just whacky assumptions.

In the permaculture community, when I read in the forums, there are also ideas flung about with regard to how to water in your trees. Whether you should water them often, or just get them situated and encourage the tree to grow to be able to support itself. Or if you do water them, whether you should always water them right beside the tree, so as to encourage roots to grow down and the tree to support itself. Personally, I wouldn't stake anything unless it started leaning, after a rain, heavy wind, or a combination of both. Out of perhaps 60 trees, I've got two staked that started leaning because of prolonged rain and sitting in water laden with fruit. However, the persimmons I've staked from the get go, as I've only had to read how others have had theirs snap and the effort wasted, with strong wind.

One thing I commonly see recommended for food forests, is underplanting. Now at my place, the grass grows fast. If I wish to clear it from around a tree, and it's underplanted with hostas and comfrey and currants, then it becomes 100x the effort. However, I quite liked this recent video from Koanga, where they used evergreen comfrey to both mulch and prevent weeds. They also have a follow-up video. My comfrey is russian comfrey I believe, so it's not the type they recommend. If you're a believer in the permaculture dream of comfrey, there's concerns because one kind is carcinogenic or something, and the other less so or not so. I don't remember the details.

Your best bet is to go to a website like permies.com, search for food forest, and read the posts. Then try and work out which are the nutters who don't believe in banks or hospitals and so forth, and which are practical people who do what makes sense rather than what they want to make sense.

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