Our Food Forest...in suburbia

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by insipidtoast, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    I went home to Santa Barbara this past weekend and planted a very stressed white sapote. This food forest is in its second year. After planting it, no one took care of it (aside from turning on the drip system in the summer) for an entire year. When I returned some plants were definitely stressed, some had probably died. But that's pretty good considering that the rule of thumb is to spend three years continuous maintenance establishing a site.
    So on to year two:

    Zone: Sunset-24, USDA-10

    Soil on site: Clay

    Average annual rainfall: 15 inches

    Supplemental water (irrigation): Of course! unfortunately

    A month ago (January 15th) I cast some insectory seed mix and some california native flower mix. The cover crop plants in the photos are all self-sowed from last years lack of maintenance. Some very tiny seedlings from the native mix were noticeable at close examination.

    Upon arriving the first thing I noticed was that some escaping, rampant mow-blow-and-go gardeners had weed-wacked the entire hillside. (Right in the middle of the rainy season too!) I wasn't too mad though, since most plants were cover crops. The occasional volunteer specimen got destroyed though. I didn't assess drip-line damage, which is likely.

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    Before beginning the day's project. The "before" of the before and after. This project highlights a technique I have used for planting trees: Holes are dug in the ground at varying distances. The first hole receives organic material for compost. Every couple weeks the mix is turned and transferred to the next hole. A tree is planted in the previous hole to take advantage of the already composted, left-behind organic matter. This process continues down the line until the composting process is complete. Then the new compost is spread evenly for all the trees.

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    A hole I dug one month prior with a little bit of compost at the bottom (decomposed kitchen scraps and cedar bark). This hole is just to the left of a compost pile which is disguised with a clay layer over it.

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    Dug out the compost and some debris from the hole.

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    Transferred the contents of the compost pile (turning in the process) to the new hole.

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    The "after" picture. Contrary to typical tree-planting I mounded this one because white sapotes need good drainage. Notice the yellow leaves. White sapote will go deciduous in drought, so hopefully it will perk back up in a month. Reason for its condition: sat in a pot for one month with little to no water. When the compost decomposes I will plant a pineapple in that spot.

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    Some other views of the yard. Notice Pomegranate, orange, black mission fig, avocado, apple, bananas, feijoas, grapefruit, passionfruit, Albizia julibrissin and weeping mulberry all on this hillside.

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    Pictures of the same area from one year ago.
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Mow - blow and go! I love that! I wonder what the permie equivalent would be?

    The compost holes are a great concept. Hope the sapote enjoys it.
     
  3. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    perhaps Chop Drop & Flop
     
  4. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    I need some educated advice. I'm thinking about removing the concrete waterway seen in the pictures.
    A couple things I'm worried about with that:
    1)There is too much slope and the water will have an eroding effect.
    2)It is quite possible that people use it to drain water from their pools and hot tubs, since it extends through multiple plots.
     
  5. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    An update: I originally finished planting the forest at the beginning of January 2009. I was absent for one year, returned and have been adding a little more/replacing dead trees with better choices. Eg. Replaced a dead apple tree with a Jelly Bean Palm. This picture is from August 2010.

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  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Hi toasty

    about the concrete drain if its not too late, i would suggest that you consult directly with your neighbours to ask what they let down their and if they know more about what does down there. Secondly i would suggest that you think carefully before removing it because of the erosion factor. Why did you want to remove it? You will need to put somethign else in to prevent erosion if you do remove it. if the water is going to be quite clean and you don't mind it seeping into your land, then perhaps you need to put logs and rocks and such to slow down the run off.

    About your pictures. I find them too large and therefore too slow to load. Would you like ot consider either just making them smaller before uploading and or using photoblog. see mine. I love using photoblog. https://www.photoblog.com/shangrila You can put 5 up per day for free and 30 if you pay an annual amout of $24 i think. I haven't renewed my subscription this year but they are still letting me load a lot. Perhaps it hasn't run out yet. You can back date and forward date your entries as a way around the minimum loading thing.
     
  7. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    We actually laid a thick pipe in the ditch then covered it up with backfill and mulched it, so now it is a functional pathway.

    If I knew how to resize the picture I would've done so. Also, I don't want to use a third party image host. I'd simply like this forum to provide me the means of uploading pictures.
     
  8. aroideana

    aroideana Junior Member

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    all of the many forums I use insist on resizing images to 150kb or smaller
     
  9. hawkypork

    hawkypork Junior Member

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    I love your urban food forest. I am surprised that Santa Barbara is so dry.

    I can see how tempting it is to reconfigure that drain and harvest the runoff but if it is chlorinated it is probably safer for your plants to let it pass through.
     
  10. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    What program do you use to process your images? There might be an option to resize. When i resize mine, i don't look to change the kb thingy but the dimensions of the image. I mention this so you know what to look out for. I use photoshop elements but i guess you don't have that. I think somehow that the program for my camera would be able to do it too but if you've got a point and shoot it might not be as clever. You can however, download free programs like photoshop. One is called gimp. I haven't used it but you can do a lot with it i believe.

    I change my full size raw images to jpgs of max quality at 1500 pixels on the longest side. (short side automatically adjusts). You can go as low as 800 and still get a big pic when maximumally enlarged.
     
  11. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    Did you participate?
     
  12. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Occupation:
    Farm manager/ educator
    Location:
    Hunter Valley New South Wales
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    introducing that sort of material could lead to being banned - but surely not twice in one week/
     
  13. Woz

    Woz Junior Member

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    >an invite to participate in

    That is a function of the image hosting service rather than specific action on the part of the image owner. Might be an idea to change image hosts insipid, good old photobucket or flikr are good choices.
     
  14. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Occupation:
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    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    It was a tasteless joke from me woz - i got heaps of them - sorry
     
  15. Woz

    Woz Junior Member

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    Hehe, no need to say sorry PP, my response was to the situation only. Presumably however, your fruit and veggies aren't tasteless?!?!?!? :~P
     

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