When taking a broad scale overview on how to start out establishing this miracle of farming sustainability – the Food Forest – those first chosen plants are important considerations.
Mulberry and Moringa
I started with Moringa and Mulberry as priorities on my list, amongst the usual orchard trees. I have already posted my reasons in earlier posts; the main being food and fodder. The Mulberries pop up here like weeds and are encouraged. The Moringa was carefully and lovingly introduced. I already had some citrus.
I would call my Food Forest more of a backyard design than an extensive open range forest. Richard Hart, when interviewed, suggested that to start a Food Forest you only have need to take Overstory fruit tree species and plant them with the usual required 20 foot distance apart. Then to take more shade tolerant trees and plant them between, with shrubs such as berry bushes snuck in between all these, and level by level work down to ground and root crop level. Climbers and creepers could be placed as best suited too, probably up against the highest trees. This has given him a very successful Food Forest, and greatly aided my understanding of how really simple it all can be.
In a backyard design certain little personal tweaks can by used in an attempt to maximize all that the location has to offer. I have a river of water below that I will be using, and so am well on my way to building little reservoirs below my pathways for underground irrigation; a little “tweak” that is expensive in terms of labour and time initially, but will pay off handsomely later with a forest of thirsty plants above. No evaporation of a precious resource when delivered. I want to use a coil pump and ram to get the river water lifted to the Food Forest. This is over and above all other water harvesting techniques I hope to employ.
I also have an abundance of boulders, rocks and stones here. If I was asked what it is that I farmed, I could easily reply: Rocks! They are hard work to harvest but have such multiple uses that the benefits outweigh effort. And the sifted soil is returned between layers of bio-mass and manure into terraced raised beds for planting.
What do you have in your hand? Use it! I am learning to look at the potential gift in everything. I cart nothing away.
Until next time,