Welcome to my permaculture "explorer's notebook," so to speak. Some of these entries may be quite raw, as they may literally be my notes from watching a YouTube video or a thought captured as it was dancing through my head. Other posts might be more elaborate as I take an idea and explore it in more detail or transcribe or polish a lengthy observation from my field book. Either way, I hope to capture some permaculture ideas and methods here as a recollection for myself and a resource for others. Thank you for stopping by. - Karla

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dreaming of planting a food forest...

I would dearly love to have 10 or 20 acres; however, the reality (and it is not a bad reality!) is that we will only be able to afford 4 - 6 acres.  I was thinking that I might have to really work to have space for a full blown food forest.  University of Georgia (USA) to the rescue with a chart of how many trees one can plant per acre.  True, this is not how many from a permaculture perspective, but it does give one some ideas.  For example, full sized apple trees at maturity 30 feet apart = 48 per acre.  Dwarf apples planted 15 feet apart - 194.  I've seen how many apples a 3 year old dwarf apple tree can set.  Even if only 10% of the total tree count was set to dwarf apples, that is way more than a single family could possibly eat.  Even if they are fattening hogs and chickens on the gleanings.  So, feeling much better now.  Food forest on one acre - bring it on!

One idea - zone3
Can inter-plant many other trees between the immature fruit/nut trees that will be harvested as the primary trees need the space.  For example, if I were to plant 3 pecan trees, maybe I would really plant 6 and cut down or coppice the three less vigorous ones.  Also, can run chicken tractors and can grow garden vegetables and flowers around each tree.  As many nitrogen fixing trees as there are "permanent residents."  Also, maybe I would put the trees that will eventually be much larger towards the North so they won't later shade the dwarf trees?  Not so sure about placement, yet, but getting ideas.
  • 1/4 acre planted to full sized fruit trees that won't really be entering into their production years for 7-10 years - 12 at 30 foot spacing
  • 1/4 acre planted to full sized nut trees - 12 at 30 foot spacing
  • 1/4 acre planted to full sized sugar maple trees - 12 at 30 foot spacing
  • 1/4 acre planted to dwarf/semi dwarf fruit trees -  48 at 15 foot spacing
And then, of course, there are the many, many types of berries and flowers and herbs and other yummies I could plant amongst the trees.  Most importantly, I plan to plant a picnic bench, a hammock, and a small tree house in there, too!

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