Food Forest Plans

Hey y’all!

My husband and I have decided to buy and renovate our current property.

Something that’s very important to me is to have a garden. However, if I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that I seem to be a lot better at maintaining plants than starting plants myself. For that reason, I’m thinking I would be better suited to grow perrinneal plants and get into food forestry.

I’ve actually been thinking heavily about food forestry for a couple of years now, but I never planned to be in the same spot for the long term until now.

A few days ago, I put out a blog post about my plans for renovating and changing the inner layout of my home. I still plan to do that, but I can’t do any of that without the help and advice of multiple other people. However, I also have some big plans for the property here, and I can accomplish those plans on my own, and I’m much better on follow-through with outdoor plans, so these will definitely be happening.

This is the layout of our current yard. F is for firepit, wis. is a large wisteria bush, and the circle on the right side of the hedge is a big, terra cotta planter (that I’ve already demolished). Oh, and that little oval on the edge of the carport is a small tree. Much of the changes to the yard will be happening this fall and next spring, but eventually the yard should look like this:

The back yard is going to stay mostly the same, but the front yard will be changing a lot. One thing I can begin soon is cutting down the hedge, and then this fall I’ll be putting in honeyberry bushes.

A honeyberry is very similar to a blueberry, but it requires less light than blueberries and does well in worse soil, and that’s exactly what I have – shade and poor soil.

As I was contemplating where the good planting spots were, I realized that all the good plant real estate was being used, and my best option was to take out the unproductive plants and put in productive ones.

In the case of the hedge, it’s not doing anything except proving some privacy. I still have to prune it every year, and the middle of the hedge gets a lot more light, so it grows unevenly. I’m going to cut that down and put in several berry bushes. After a few seasons, they’ll provide comparable privacy, but I’ll also get a crop out of them.

Similarly, I plan to take out the wisteria bush and put in a couple of apple trees.

There’s not too much more I plan to take out, but I did have to get a little creative when thinking about the light needs of different plants.

There are several big trees on the property to our left, so I plan to put blackberry vines there. That area will get some sunlight in the mornings, but it receives dappled shade to almost full shade for the majority of the day. Blackberries require the least amount of sun of all the fruits, so I think it’ll be alright there.

The “grow boxes” will just be some raised beds that I situated in the sunniest areas of my yard. I want to grow mostly perennials, but I do want to be able to plant some annuals every year. I may even get some logs from the wooded areas around here and partition off the area where I plant potatoes, which is nearly that whole area in front of the hedge. I like to plant directly in the ground, but I need some kind of border around where I plant because people walk through the spots, or my kind neighbors will come over and try to mow.

I’m also wondering if we should get that oak tree cut down so we can plant something else there. Cutting it down would let in a lot of light, which this property could really use, but the tree is huge and healthy (so I’d feel bad to take it out), and it shades our house. We live in Texas, so the shade is very nice. Please comment about whether or not you think we should keep the tree or not.

Frugal me says keep the tree because it’s so big that we’d have to pay to get it cut down by someone experienced, but part of me wants to really make this place ours and change everything. What’s your opinion?

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