The Implementation Process:
How are we going to get this Edible Forest going?
Site assessment in brief:
The site for our fruit tree guilds* is in full southern sun and backed up against the road. The soil is highly compacted silt with a pH of 7.0 - 7.3. The is a well established seed bank of invasive weeds including poison parsnip on the slope leading down from the road. A culvert comes into the area which is dry most of the year but can flood during spring melt.
The site for our Nut Orchard has similar features excepting that the site is larger and partially shaded from the east and the south.
Our Plan and Accomplishments:
We gathered several times to create goals and our mission statement and we got to know each other better.
We initiated out first guild/polyculture the summer of 2012 around two paw paws and to start our nut grove.
Summer of 2012:
Collect a thick layer of chips on the bank to smother weeds and seed bank.
Solarize the paw paw site to kill the exiting sod by laying down black plastic
Take up the plastic and work the area with a broadfork to decrease compaction
Seed with a cover crop mix of alfalfa, oats and field peas for decompaction and enrichment.
Start the same treatment for the nut tree sites. To cope with the larger size of the nut grove, we will prepare and plant in islands based at each tree site which will then be expanded as the tree grows. The areas between the islands will be mowed.
Plant Canopy: We put in 4 paw paws and 8 nut trees - 2 each of black walnut, buart nut , heart nut and shag bark hickory and 6 currants in the paw paw bed.
Protect trees from deer by 5' planting tubes
Start implementation at the second guild site by laying out solarizing plastic.
Sheet Mulch (lay down organic matter, cover with cardboard and then chips) over the nut tree sites.
Broadfork the paw paw bed and re-apply sheet mulch.
Increase the chips on the bank.
Further development of out polyculture planting plans
Work on plans for the installation of a swale to prevent future flooding
Plan and construct an educational sign
Plan for Spring 2014
Complete the sheet mulch for the nut sites.
Lay down a thin layer of soil and plant alfalfa again over the paw paw bed and the nut sites.
Order and plant some of our polyculture support plants for the paw paws and the nuts.
Plant another Buart nut to replace the damaged graft.
Install our sign
* A guild or Polyculture is made up of a primary food producing plant surrounded by a collection of plants selected to share resources of sun, soil and water well and to produce resources for each other: fixing nitrogen, extracting nutrients, mulching, supporting beneficial insects and perhaps also producing food or other useful resources.