Question Food forest with established trees?

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mataeka, May 20, 2019.

  1. Mataeka

    Mataeka Well-Known Member Premium Member

    May 24, 2017
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    Brisbane, QLD
    Has anyone incorporated already established trees into a food forest? At our new place there is already established mango x2, monstera deliciosa, black sapote, banana, kassia lime, and jackfruit in a reasonably compact area. I'm really interested in some permaculture design elements like the food forest but I'm not sure how it'd go with some really well established trees to work around? Also it's reasonably close to the house (2 large water tanks between the house and the garden so I don't foresee roots being an issue, also they're lower than the house due to steep slope) would that proximity be an issue or ok?
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Pomona, Qld
    Generally, adding more plants to an existing planting wouldn't be an issue unless they are so tightly planted there is no sun or air getting through.
    Remember the mangoes will grow huge and as you fertilize the new smaller plants, they will snap it up and grow even bigger!
    Same goes for the monster.
    However, the shaded areas will come in handy for many soft short term or seasonal fruit and veg as long as it is on the sunny side of the house.
    By that I mean for Brisbane you would need all the plantings to be on the NE to NW side of the house so the shade remains warm.
    And when you plant, you will use that area that is on the sunny side of the plants.
    As winter comes on now, the sun gets lower in the sky so you should be able to plant further under existing trees.
    Also remember this is a good time to prune many trees before they set flowers. So you can plant one crop even closer under them.
    Then the next crop for summer will be planted closer to the drip line so it doesn't get too shaded.
    Air flow is very important to prevent disease issues.
    Also remember you can plant into containers which can be moved as the sun angle shifts from winter to summer.
    If you are lucky to have excellent soil, it can be sourced from the site, placed into containers, then tipped back out to be renewed each season.
    That is a good way to prevent the mature trees thieving the fertilizer and compost.
    Harder to maintain nice evenly moist soil though.
    Since it is almost June now and the solstice is only 4wks away, the sun line you have now is the furthest under the tree it is likely to get.
    Veg need 6hrs sun daily so place something on the ground as a marker and keep checking it during the day to see if it remains in the sun.
    Then think where the sun will be in 2.5mths time when the plant is producing at its peak.
    Also think about how high the plant grows and whether its top branches will have sun on them or be shaded by the tree. Remember it will grow taller due to being under a mature tree.

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