Permaculture Tip of the Day – Planning a Food Forest – Part 2

planning a food forest-2
Planning a Food Forest Part 1 found here.
Most permaculturist learn very quickly that working with nitrogen fixing legumes and dynamic nutrient accumulators is paramount in planting and grazing systems. We are usually given the major species that work well in most climates and many permaculture courses teach, in great detail, which species grow well in the region where the course is being held. Some details to make sure not to over look when working with nitrogen fixers are:

  • Some nitrogen fixing shrubs and trees have, as a general guide, a 6-9 year supply of nitrogen.
  • We gain an additional 6-7 years of nitrogen supply at death of a tree from root decay.
  • Only in completely frost free areas can “chop and drop” be utilized all year round.
  • It is wise to densely pack and plant small trees and shrubs from 1.5 – 4.5 feet apart.
  • There are debates as to weather some legumes like alder, carob, or red bud fix nitrogen – research and polyculture.
  • Coppice less than 2-3 year has shown to have higher metabolic poisons when foraged by animals.
  • If any sign of loss of vigor from coppice, a species should be replaced. Many shrubs may only last 2-3 years.

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