Conversations About Food Forests

Now where are my other links and at which of my blogs, about other Food Forests? 🙂

 I Had my own Ranch for 20 years! With Lots of wild food forests …. on 235 acres.

 Conversations About Food Forests


Douglas, I have question regarding what you use to maximize agricultural output on your polyculture orchard. Right now, I’m currently growing my own polyculture orchard edible food forest garden and I’ve already planted my canopy and fruit/nut tree layer, but I’m still not sure what I should use for my shrub layer or what I should use for beneficial insect attracting plants, useful flowering plants, and nutrient accumulators. TY

My family lives in the Southern California area so we have a rather short winter season and quite a long growing season. SoCal climate is pretty easy enough to grow food trees from most climates (temperate, mediterranean, desert, and some tropical). The winter is cold enough though to kill off most of the truly tropical types of food trees without having a greenhouse like I tried growing a young jack fruit and Soursop tree, but they couldn’t stand the winter cold and died off. So for those trees you need to protect them from winter frost until they establish themselves well. The annonacae family, Cherimoya/Atemoya (sugar apples) do well in the climate. But I have not fully utilized the productive capacity of the understory layers. For the shrub layers, I’m just filling it in with all kinds of berry varieties. Once that layer is complete I’m going to put in a useful plant layer like cowboy toilet paper (mullein), luffa for bathing sponges, soapwort (shampoo), hemp for a lot of uses, and then put in certain beneficial insect attractors to fend off the aphids that love to eat my leafy greens that I plant. One pest problem that we get are gophers which destroy many of the root structures of some of our plants. I don’t yet know if there’s a way to grid of them without attracting gopher snakes.

John, I lived in southern California, Granada HIlls, Hesperia (Hot Springs) in 1974 for a year. I travelled around the LA area by bicycle then north back up the coast to San Francisco, inland to Sacramento & up the interior valley to my home in Castlegar, British Columbia’s West Kootenay valleys. What got me leaving LA was a week of breathing difficulty/chest pains after bicycling extensively in San-Fernando valley, but its beautiful climate for great growing. First Nations of the region had huge oak forests & pinion pine stands with massive food security & climate control. These 2 trees replanted on the various Sierra mountains would draw the warm-moist ocean winds inland & condense moisture on their leaf surfaces. The southern California & now west coast drought is a consequence of colonial agriculture & invasion, without learning the lessons which 1st Nations were sharing.
Are you aware that frost must fall down upon plants in order to kill. For your Soursop & Jack-fruit, there may be hope if you site them on the south side of a building (for reflected light intensity) and protected under the canopy of a hardy bigger tree.
Are you aware of Havahart & other companies which provide live-catch non-injurious traps as well as smells which keep certain animals out of the garden?
I have friends who are cultivating carpenter bees as a non-honey pollinator.
How are you building your soil? Have you contacted landscape contractors to bring their fall-leaves, grass-clippings, branch chips etc to you as a free drop-off place?