Food Forest at Cow Shed

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by ClissAT, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Having rebuilt the little old cowshed last year, I began terracing and planting the new food forest behind it that now stretches down to wrap around the end of the new shed.
    In the following photos there is little indication of just how steep the gradient is.
    Each tree mound is approx knee height and knee height above the other with the final terrace beyond the shed but infront of the horses being 1.5m high. I'm in the process of shoring it up with tyres into which I have placed some good soil and planted flowers so far. There are some young fruit trees along the top of this terrace also with assorted seeds scattered along the terrace to come up when the rain comes. Cherry tomatoes and purple mustard are doing well so far.
    The track coming into the photo from the left will have steps cut into it and paved.
    The cut gets much higher towards the other end of the shed behind me in this first photo.
    It's that high end where I fell down the embankment and fractured my pelvis (that still hasnt healed) in May.
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    This is the best soil on my property being where for 11yrs I used to dump all the prunings too big to go through the little chipper I had. So all the branches from all the 100s of shrubs, fruit trees, vines and natives in the house garden.
    Piles higher than me just rotted down each year to create a thin layer of very dry soil that still looks like it has no organic matter in it and still doesn't hold moisture!
    I scraped up the soil, then added barrow loads of expanded coir along with chook pellet fertilizer and compost from my worm farm to make these mounds to plant these two fruit trees.
    The closest to camera is a yellow sapote which apparently tastes very like caramel and the second tree is jaboticaba. I am hoping they fruit at the same time because I think caramel and deep juicy sweet purple will go nicely together as a dessert.
    Around each tree I planted other edibles such as various potatoes, galangal, ginger, smelly herbs to distract the bandicoots, various types of rocket. I will also spread seed from my own naturalized basil, lettuces, tomatoes etc.
    This photo above was taken only a few days ago but already the potatoes around the tree closest to camera are well up including the sweet potatoes.

    This next photo is the 2m high steep embankment behind the shed where I fell. Eventually it will have baskets hung down it with trailing plants that are sun tough. They will have a hydroponic dripper system along the row. Maybe cucumbers etc might do well there. You can see the top soil profile is next to nothing and very gravelly. In the top background are the old garden beds and trunks of the pawpaws and mulberry along with the new power pole.
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    Motherwort? Or wormwood? One or other anyway. It stinks so hoping it will repel rodents from the root crops I planted.


    This next photo is the back of the cow shed showing the terrace I created using soil from the old garden beds and now filled with all sorts of edibles and importantly, motherwort. Well I think it is motherwort or wormwood! Tell me if I am wrong, please! I scattered a heap of leaves under the mulch when I planted each new tree to hopefully dissuade the bandicoots from eating the seed potatoes. It seems to have worked so far.

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    The trees in the first photo extend away from the bottom right of this photo above. I just turned around to shoot in the other direction.

    I'll add more photos here as I find them! I took heaps on the day but am still coming to terms with the filing system of this tablet!
     
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  2. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    This is wormwood from my garden, looks a bit different.
     

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  3. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Sort of same but different hey Andrew.
    That's why I get confused as to what exactly it is.
    Years ago I got some to worm my horses and it grew huge.
    I used to give them some branches of it as I am again now.
    It grows into small trees.
    But this time I am keeping it smaller during the dry season by using it for all sorts of other things too.
    But come the wet season it will take off faster than I can use it and grow to 2.5-3m high with many trunks as thick as a shovel handle.
     
  4. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    How is this area going after all the rain? All looks great.
     
  5. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Kate, here are some updated photos I took this morning.
    You can hardly see the fruit tree for the spud growth now!
    Everything is leaping out of the ground as it should at this time of year.
    The colour is so bright my tablet camera is dulling down the colour which I then have to edit and fix!

    2018-10-24_12.39.28.jpg

    In the top right and bottom left photos, you can see the potatoes have almost grown over the yellow sapote fruit tree. But not to worry, I think the spud growth will fall over very soon, like in the next storm due tomorrow! In these same 2 photos, the other fruit tree is a jaboticaba which is a much sloqsl growing tree so I put small herbs around it which are still thin but doing well.

    In the bottom right photo in middle of shot is a big lump of green with a pale coloured bucket infront of it. That is a tomato bush covering a Panama Berry. At the other end of the log almost out of shot on far right is the grumi-charma which has grown very well too but also has a rampant tomato around it! These tomatoes are all self seeded out of the compost but doing so well I decided to leave them.

    I've had a bit of a revelation regarding my soil. The soil itself seems ok when fresh dug from places never watered with dam water and only remains good if never watered with dam water. It seems to need to be redug each season like plowing fields for crops the old fashioned way. When I had the shed pad excavated and the new driveway put in, I got the driver to set the thin layer of top soil aside in piles. I also got him to move some soil from very old vegie garden beds that were in the way of the shed pad to another place where I used it again. I have also used some in flower beds with amazing results.
    So I intend to do some tests where I will set large vegie seeds directly into the piles and not water but wait for rain. Currently the weeds are going gang busters in those piles indicating that when freshly dug and only watered with rain, the soil provides reasonable nutrition and moisture levels. I certainly can't dig garden beds anymore but I now have a tractor so if I set the beds out right I can use that to do the digging for me! Now with an extra 50000lt rain water stored I might make it through the dry.
     
  6. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Certainty all gone gang busters, well done. The rain has done it all a world of good. Be good if you can find or have found some better solutions for your soil :)
     
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