The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Who Wants to Plant a Food Forest?

Who Wants to Plant a Food Forest?

Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 298
I've been toying with the idea of trying to organize a 2 or 3 day intenstive on creating a food forest...bringing in an instructor specializing in this topic, etc.

So, what I'm looking for is a good site. Who has some property that would be suitable for a food forest and hosting a workshop like this? Perhaps it already has a bit of woods on it that could be converted. Or even open land with a good "aspect" that we could establish now and would yield over many years to come....

Let me know!
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 70
Lisa, I am actually looking into this myself! I have been pricing out fruit trees, nut trees, various fruiting shrubs (raspberries, blueberries, elderberries, etc. If you haven't looked at my earlier post on backyard garden suggestions, feel free to take a look. If you think it's an appropriate spot for such an endeavor, I'm happy to oblige. Please let me know.

Mark-
Aaron P.
user 6845673
Falmouth, ME
Post #: 3
I would be very interested in this, I planted some standard size fruit trees last year (and i'm planting more this spring), i would eventually like this to be a forest garden along the lines of the gardens described in Edible Forest Gardens. I'm also adding useful native species to the existing woods on my land (for instance i just ordered some Ramps seeds). Are there any specifics you are looking for in a site for this idea?
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 113
Hmmm..... That is what I am doing...............

David
A former member
Post #: 70
I'd be happy to host a workshop too Lisa! I live in the woods so it's a matter of selectively thinning to let in more light to do forest planting. When they built our house, they clear-cut a rectangle out of the woods and plopped the house down. I have lots of 'edge' and two, possibly three spots that I've been considering for a forest garden. One has a zone 2/3 interface on the East side of my house along the edge of the woods that is part of my design. Another is a distance away along my driveway where we've already been thinning that has a cleared area/woods edge and a third spot could possibly be in my 'front' yard where there's already an old apple tree and two tall oaks but it isn't what I'd consider a 'wooded' area. I have cranberry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry coming from the Fedco tree order at the end of April and am trying to decide where best to place them so getting help would be wonderful!

Winnie
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 300
OK, cool. Sounds like we have quite a few potential sites! And one example in progress at David's place.

I will look into possible instructors with experience in this topic and see what I can cook up.
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 116
Winnie,

It sounds like you are doing something similar to me. If you have been thinning lumber recently then your stumps could be inoculated with mushrooms. You need fresh stumps. Anything cut last summer should be OK. Old stumps often will not work. Oysters are pretty aggressive though and may grow on old stumps.

Doing it this way is not the same as in the books. Most forest gardening starts with a blanker slate rather than working with what you have.

I try to evaluate existing areas and put in anything I think would work and make sense. Berrys and trees are pretty easy. Others are trickier. You have to not mind some failures if you get more complex. I have had plenty of things not work out. That said, I may do better this year with some things. Last years intense dryness was discouraging. There is plenty of water in the ground right now. My brother's dug well was 15 in. from ground level last week.
Merry & Burl H.
BeMerry
Portland, ME
Post #: 41
We have about an acre of woodland that needs regeneration badly. We've already planted two apple and two pears from FEDCO along the sunnier southern street side and some raspberries, blueberries, and rosa rugosa. Burl and I would love to be your site of choice, though I see we have some avid and worthy competition for the selection.

Merry in Bowdoinham
A former member
Post #: 71
David,
Thanks for your input! I'd love to see what you've been working on so even if the Forest Garden intensive ends up not being at your house, some of us could come for a visit. hint, hint. There are (at least) three topics I'd like to pick your brain about: wild foraging, mushroom cultivation/how to get started when you've never done it and forest gardening. I learn best by seeing, so the next step would be a teaching visit. No doubt there are others who'd be interested as well.

We thin every year to get firewood so yes, we have fresh stumps. I'll go back and take another look at your website to see how to get started and if you have any more suggestions or could direct me to step by step instructions, I'd be grateful. Maybe you would consider holding a workshop at my place in Freeport (it's closer to where the bulk of our group lives) to help us all get started.

Anyway, I had realized from reading in Jacke that my forest garden approach in my existing woods would have to be a little different. My mostly pine, poplar and oaks are so tall that they shade out most everything and some of them are too big for us to cut down without enlisting experienced help. They also get hung up on other trees when we cut so we have to stage thinning in order to avoid widow-makers. It's slow going. So maybe I should concentrate on creating a forest garden on my front lawn which already has a bit more light. That would bring it into zone one anyway. Based on your experience, is that what you'd advise?

Thanks,
Winnie
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 117
I don't know how much land you have. I have enough acreage so that I could get the guys with wood harvesters to come in and cut. You need a pretty good patch of woods to be able to make it worth their while bringing in equipment. They can do a great job though. We talked about what trees would be cut in virtually every patch of woods. I got what I wanted. Wood had been cut in there willy nilly in the past so there were nice areas and real junky areas. That is pretty squared away now. I made money on the wood too. My project is meant to be very low cost. I don't think I have spent more than I have made on the wood.

I will have some real good wood to harvest in a few years. I need to remove some pines in front if I am going to get better winter solar energy. I'm waiting but.....

I took my advice on stump culture from Paul Stamets "Growing Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms". I did a few things I thought of myself too. Read my page on slurries, transplantation, and plug spawn.

http://mushroom-colle...­

I have yet to get a lot of results from stump culture. It can take a few years for the mycelium to overtake the substrate. It is a speculative adventure. I have tried inoculating a couple of hundred stumps. My front yard is all wood chips that have been inoculated. Same with the snowmobile trails. I have an area of 50+ tons of biomass that I am hoping to get something from. I have a few shiitake logs and some natural oyster logs. I have a chanterelle project. I have done lots of transplanting, slurrys and burying.

If you have any skills with using petri dishes you can do a lot for next to nothing by capturing spores of local species for propagation.

I have a secret biotech project. Can't afford the patent. Can't work on it much now till my book manuscript is complete. The deadline is June so I will be getting to it. I have been to some state sponsored patent workshops and talked to Maine Technology Institute. The patent lawyer who saw my project liked it. I need to go to another and get a review from the biotech lawyer.

I have trees, bushes and plants too. My vegetable gardening is very minor with just tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, asparagus, squashes, potatoes, spices, salad stuff etc.

Anyone is invited to come visit. I'm home mostly.

I will be leading formal walks come summer.
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