29 November 2012

My food forest

I love the idea of a food forest as a perennial food source, with hopefully a lot less work that the annual veggie patch.  I was turned onto the concept some years ago by Geoff Lawton's DVD and ever since, I've wanted to try it.  I did a small scale version when we lived in Sydney but I was keen for a greater variety of trees, so when we moved here, it was one of the first things we started.  I've been showing you updates on the swales as we've gone along, but since I've got the irrigation in, things have really taken off (surprise, surprise, trees need more than an occasional bucket of water, but in my defence, those buckets get bloody heavy).  So now with my trusty 18mm hose, its on.

I think this bottom swale is still my favourite area (but that may be because its a bit more 'under control').  The trees are growing beautifully and I've managed to keep the grass down and do lots of companion planting, so there's more of an ecosystem developing her.  This will be the bottom of the forest, so I've started to plant above it.  Its probably not that easy to see, but there is a peach tree in the foreground of the second photo.  I've also put in two macadamia trees and two jack fruit trees that I've grown from seed, then there are two mulberries that I struck from cuttings from my friend Linda's bumper tree as well as a few rosellas and pigeon peas.
 I've planted out all the pumpkin seedlings in the greenhouse to provide ground cover, and thankfully they've all taken.  The next lot are ready to go in this weekend, probably another dozen.
The sweet potato that I planted last year all over the area are coming back after a bit of a hibernation and they provided great ground cover last year, so I'm even more hopefully for this next season.
The black sapotes were hanging in, but are now starting to come on with the extra water.  I've also planted pinto peanut at their feet for some ground cover and that's starting to take off as well
This new little malabar chesnut (the third in the forest) has just about doubled in size
And one of the avos, that was only planted 18 months ago, is really stretching out and has decided to set some fruit.  I'm sure it will fall off soon, but you've got to be impressed with its gumption.
And lastly, my brazilian cherry at the top of the forest has its first two little fruits.  Let's hope they ripen up so I can have a taste.

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