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    Vidya Moksha

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    Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:26 pm

    Hey good Folk,

    I am going to start a new thread as I couldnt see anything to add to. Mudra posted some videos of Robert Hart's Forest garden, but they have now been removed from you tube.

    I dont have many ambitions left in life, I am more and more alone, seeking solitude. I have one remaining goal, and that is to create a forest garden. It is a project that will take the rest of my life and will be (hopefully) a gift to those following me. I wont say too much about location yet, except I plan to be in Europe and have been in discussions about suitable land. I plan to work for another 6 months or so in full time employment to help fund my dream, and maybe buy a piece of land.. We will see.. Land is available even if I dont buy it, and I dont need land ownership, just the 'security' of not having to move on from a long term project.

    I will hopefully post info from my own garden, but that will be next year now (2019).

    In the meantime I wanted to post about an amazing resource I have just finished reading, and would recommend to all,  http://edibleforestgardens.com/ . I dont know the website, I have just read both volumes of an amazing book. "Edible Forest Gardens" by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier and thoroughly recommend them. The Appendices are a tremendous resource.

    Next up is "Creating a Forest Garden: Working with nature to grow edible crops" by Martin Crawford, a guy who published a lot of useful info on nitrogen fixing plants.. I received my copy yesterday and will start reading it..

    I am not entirely new to this, I had a self sufficient smallholding in Portugal, in what seems a lifetime ago.. I bought land that gave me food every day, an easy start to the subject of forest gardening Wink

    This is somewhat a hit and run post at the moment, but I would welcome any discussion comments on this subject as I start to research ideas for my next project.
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    mudra

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  mudra on Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:14 pm

    I am glad you started this thread Vidhya as this is such a heartfelt project that is good on many levels.
    There is no doubt in me permaculture is wisdom in action and I do feel a strong echo in my heart to your own dream.
    As you before I complete my journey in this universe I would love to leave something meaningful behind as others did in very ancient times when they turned the earth green.
    I already told my kids to plant a cherry tree somewhere when my body dies but if I can plant some myself while alive that would be great cheers

    Wishing you the very best Vidhya
    May that dream of yours come true.

    Flowers

    Love from me
    mudra
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:40 am

    When I lived in New Zealand there was a fast growing hardwood tree that was a nitrogen fixer, so great for hedges, firewood, wind breaks and nitrogen.. I cant remember the name, I will try and locate it.

    Think a Neem tree is pretty essential too..

    the start:

    Nitrogen fixers
    Trees
    Alnus cordata  - Italian Alder -  9-15m tall, 6-10m wide
    Alnus incana – Gray Alder – 12-18m tall, 7-12m wide
    Maackia amurensis – Amur maackia – 6-9m tall, 6-10m wide
    Robinia pseudoacacia – Black Locust – 15-23m tall, 10-15m wide
    Sophora japonica – Pagoda tree – 15-23m tall, 15-23m wide

    Nitrogen demand by edible crop (there is a huge list of N fixing dwarf trees, shrubs and plants)

    High 1:1 ratio (fixer:crop) 50%
    Blackberry, chestnut, citrus, plum, walnut
    Moderate 6:10 ratio 38%
    Apple, apricot, bamboo, black currant, gooseberry, hazel, mulberry, peach, pear, persimmon, quince
    Low 2:10 ratio 17%
    Bayberry, blue bean, cherry, dogwood, elderberry, hawthorn, honey locust, juneberry, mountain ash, plum yew, raspberry, strawberry tree
    Very low, no N fixers needed
    Fig, magnolia, nut pine, red currant

    What a tree the fig is! Unfussy, great fruit and doesn’t need Nitrogen.
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:23 am

    mudra wrote:I am glad you started this thread Vidhya as this is such a heartfelt project that is good on many levels.
    There is no doubt in me permaculture is wisdom in action and I do feel a strong echo in my heart to your own dream.
    As you before I complete my journey in this universe I would love to leave something meaningful behind as others did in very ancient times when they turned the earth green.
    I already told my kids to plant a cherry tree somewhere when my body dies but if I can plant some myself while alive that would be great cheers

    Wishing you the very best Vidhya
    May that dream of yours come true.

    Flowers

    Love from me
    mudra

    Hey Mudra

    I share your sentiments, I would like to be buried under a tree, hopefully after I am dead and not before Wink
    When my long term friend died we had a similar arrangement, but in the end he was too scared to avoid chemo and ended up in hospital, where he died and was then cremated. We put his ashes under a new chestnut tree.

    The simple life is so appealing. I think I was the happiest on my land, among nature. It is time to get back to that space. Mayhaps my wondering days are over after more than a decade travelling ...
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:29 am

    At the most basic design stage, without knowing what land I will be planting..

    So a desktop study. First part is Nitrogen fixing plants. If folk are interested I can post a series of spreadsheets re plant use. This is my Nitrogen Fixing plant list. The spreadsheet is a first draft, still a few details to be added at some point, but I will likely concentrate on species I will be using. This list should be good for Europe and US.
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:50 am

    Another extract from Jacke's book (see above for ref)..

    Dynamic accumulators, plants that accumulate other essential minerals (other than Nitrogen). I guess most gardeners will know Comfrey as a great green manure, but there are other species that do the same job. The stand out species are Comfrey, Watercress Dandelions and Nettles.

    Comfrey will tolerate raw sewage and it good to plant around compost toilets.

    Some of these plants are essential alongside the nitrogen fixers before food crops can be introduced to the plant scheme. Comfrey is also known as bone-knit, for its medicinal uses. Nettles are a good food source. Most plants will be selected for their multiple uses.

    Here's the full list:

    (Genus species common name minerals accumulated)

    Acer saccharum Sugar Maple K Ca
    Acer spp Maples K  
    Achillea millefolium Yarrow K P Cu
    Allium schoenoprasum chives K Ca
    Betula lenta Black Birch K P Ca
    Betula spp Birches  P  
    Brassica spp Perennial Brassicas  P  S
    Carya ovata Shagbark Hickory K P Ca
    Carya spp Hickory and Pecan K Ca
    Chamaemelum nobile German Chamomile K P Ca
    Cichorium intybus Chicory K Ca
    Cornus florida Flowering Dogwood K P Ca
    Equisetum spp Horsetails   Ca Co Fe Mg
    Fagus spp Beeches K  
    Fagus sylvatica European Beech K Ca
    Fragaria spp Strawberry    Fe
    Gaultheria procumbens Wintergreen    Mg
    Glycyrriza spp Licorces  P  N
    Juglans nigra Black Walnut K P Ca
    Lupinus spp Lupines  P  N
    Malus spp Apples K  
    Medicago sativa Alfalfa   Fe N
    Melissa officinalis Lemon Balm  P  
    Mentha x piperita Peppermint K   Mg
    Nasturtium officinale Watercress K P Ca S Fe Mg Na
    Potentilla anserina Silverweed K Ca Cu
    Quercus alba White Oak P  
    Robina pseudoacacia Black Locust K Ca N
    Rumex spp Sorrels and Docks K P Ca Fe Na
    Satureja spp Savory  P  
    Stellaria media Chickweed K P  
    Symphytum spp Comfreys K P Ca Cu Fe Mg
    Taraxacum officinale Dandelion K P Ca Cu Fe
    Tilia americana Basswoood  P Ca Mg
    Tilia spp Linden  P Ca
    Trifolium spp Clovers  P  N
    Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle K Ca S Cu Fe Na
    Vicia spp Vetches K P  N
    Viola spp Violets  P
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:45 am

    Pollinators and beneficial insects / animals.

    This is step 3. Quite a huge subject, I will think more on what I may share here.

    For now, an excellent resource, An american publication but applicable everywhere.

    Bee Basics An Introduction to Our Native Bees By Beatriz Moisset, Ph.D. and Stephen Buchmann, Ph.D.
    A USDA Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership Publication

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5306468.pdf

    The aim in the forest / food garden is to plant species that have multiple uses, Nitrogen or nutrient fixing, pollinator attractive, visually attractive, supporting of beneficial insects, and food giving! Few will manage to provide all these aspects, but many species will provide several of them..
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:37 am

    https://www.pfaf.org/user/Default.aspx

    Plants For A Future: A resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
    Plants For A Future (PFAF) is a charitable company, originally set up to support the work of Ken and Addy Fern on their experimental site in Cornwall, where they carried out research and provided information on edible and otherwise useful plants suitable for growing outdoors in a temperate climate. Over time they planted 1500 species of edible plants on 'The Field' in Cornwall, which was their base since 1989. Over ten years ago, Ken began compiling a database, which currently consists of approximately 7000 species of plants.


    The Plants for a Future Concept
    It is our belief that plants can provide people with the majority of their needs, in a way that cares for the planet's health. A wide range of plants can be grown to produce all our food needs and many other commodities, whilst also providing a diversity of habitats for our native flora and fauna.

    There are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of our food. Large areas of land devoted to single crops increase dependence upon intervention of chemicals and intensive control methods with the added threat of chemical resistant insects and new diseases. The changing world climate greatly affecting cultivation indicates a greater diversity is needed.

    When comparing a large cultivated field to natural woodland the woodland receives no intervention but produces lush growth and diversity of plants and animals. Yet the cultivated land supports very few species. The quality and depth of soil in a woodland is maintained and improved yearly whilst erosion and loss of soil structure plague the cultivated field.

    Our emphasis is on growing perennial plants with some self-seeding annuals, a large part of the reason for this is the difference in the amount of time and energy it takes to cultivate and harvest crops. Annuals means the cultivation of the ground every year, sowing the seeds, controlling the weeds, adding fertilizers and attempting to control pests and diseases. It all seems so much extra work compared to planting a perennial and waiting to harvest its yield. Especially when you consider that even with all the effort put into growing carrots their yield for the same area of ground will be less than that of a fruit tree and will only last the one season.

    Not only do people seem trapped in a method of growing with lower yields for far more input but also one that is damaging the environment and all the plants and animals that live in it.

    Continued cultivation of the soil, whilst creating a desert to most of our wild plants and animals, destroys the organic matter and opens it up to the risk of erosion from wind and rain. The soil structure is damaged and becomes compacted leaving it unable to drain properly or allow plant roots to penetrate and obtain nutrients, and valuable topsoil is washed away in heavy rain.

    A cultivated crop such as wheat has all its roots in a narrow band of soil with intense competition between plants for the same nutrients. Any nutrients below this belt are inaccessible to the plants. The crop is susceptible to the same pests and diseases and has similar climatic requirements, if one plant suffers they all suffer. The amount of energy used in producing high yields is far more than the food itself yields in energy. We do not believe this is sustainable.

    When looking at woodland, almost no weeding is required, no feeding and no watering yet year after year a host of animals can be found along with the inevitable plant growth. A wide range of plants grows side by side each occupying its own space. Some with deep roots bringing up nutrients from beyond the reach of other plants. When leaves fall they provide nutrients and substance to the soil. Plants with shallow root systems obtain their nutrients from nearer the surface of the soil. The canopy of trees creates a shelter and temperature fluctuations are less extreme in a woodland environment. The soil is protected from erosion.

    Woodland sustains itself and is highly productive due to its diversity which leads to a gradual build up of fertility. All the different available habitats allow a wide range of creatures to live in woodland, and the plants, insects and animals all work to create an altogether much more balanced and harmonious way of life. Another benefit of Woodland Gardening is that the high humus content of the soil acts like a sponge to absorb water therefore replenishing the ground water table.

    Growing a diversity of plants emulating woodland, we can grow fruit and nut trees, under- planted with smaller trees and shrubs, herbaceous, ground cover and climbing plants. This way it is possible to produce fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves and roots throughout the year. Unlike the majority of cultivated food plants these have not been selectively bred to increase size of yield, reduce bitterness or increase sweetness, yet many of them are delicious and highly nutritious.

    We aim to recover lost knowledge and learn more about the hundreds of medicinal plants that we can grow, in a race to find safe natural alternatives to drugs used today. Plants can also provide us with fibres for clothes, rope and paper, oils for lubricants, fuels, water proofing and wood preservatives, dyes, construction materials and more.

    A large number of native broadleaf trees are planted to provide natural shelter and wildlife habitats. Trees are the lungs of the planet; they purify the air locking up carbon and have the potential for reducing the greenhouse effect. Trees protect the soil from erosion, encourage rainfall, and regulate the flow of ground water preventing flooding. Fallen leaves are an effective soil conditioner.

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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun May 06, 2018 11:44 am

    Another useful guide to Bees:

    https://diygarden.co.uk/wildlife/ultimate-guide-to-bees/

    The Ultimate Guide to British Bees: How to Protect Their Declining Population

    Bees are a part of our landscapes and gardens, we know what they are and we know they make honey, but our bees are in danger of disappearing due to habitat destruction, chemicals and disease.

    Without bees the human race will struggle to harvest enough food. That sounds dramatic but our pollinators are responsible for the fruiting of our harvest. In short, we have to change bee fortunes not only for their sake but for our own.

    Bee numbers are a good indication of environmental health. Like our native hedgehogs and butterflies, they are in decline and this points to environmental problems – but there are ways you can help reverse their fortunes.

    The majority of people know bees make honey and they sting, but there is so much more to this fascinating creature – did you know they have five eyes? Two standard ones and then three on top of their head, and were you aware there are hundreds of different types in the UK alone?

    Here’s the ultimate guide to bees and how we can help them survive.

    rest of the guide is at the link provided above


    Last edited by Vidya Moksha on Sun May 06, 2018 12:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun May 06, 2018 11:56 am

    Nuts!

    Another great Resource by Martin Crawford : "How to grow your own nuts"

    How long do you want to wait for a harvest (assuming you get there before the squirrels do), are you planting for yourself or future generations..

    By size:

    Small (under 5m/16') – bladdernut, chinkapin, dwarf walnut, yellowhorn
    – Medium (5-10m/16-33') – almond, hazelnut, pecan (in cool climates), trazel
    – Large (10-25m/33-80') – black walnut, buartnut, butternut, ginkgo, heartnut, hickory, monkey puzzle, oak, pecan (Southern Europe/USA), pine nut, sweet chestnut, walnut

    Whatever their size, nut trees are wind pollinated and need shelter.




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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Forest Garden

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:44 am

    Sea Buckthorn is an important species. Berries are high in Vit C and other goodies..

    here's a good pdf describing its propagation and other aspects

    http://yukonag.ca/Blog/Uploads/Sea%20Buckthorn%20production%20guide.pdf


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