Ask Me Anything Video Series – Next Up Food Forestry — 10 Comments

  1. This time of year, most organic apples I buy have seeds that are almost sprouting inside the apple because of the cold storage to get them to this time of year. Can you see any problems with growing them out and planting them “STUN” neglect style or am I just growing apples that probably won’t produce great apples in the long run because of grafting issues.

  2. Given the fact that “food forestry” is still relatively new or unknown to some folks out there. It seems of course logical that a series of demonstration sites is a must to convince the masses of a practical application when growing food.
    That being texted, how do you feel about the “Seattle peak food forest”as being a powerful example for future farmers?

  3. Jack. Will this include any video of your property for reference?
    I am about to start a food forest.
    Details: I live in Eugene, OR.
    Eugene’s average annual temperature is 52.5 °F (11.4 °C), and annual precipitation at 46.1 inches (1,170 mm). We’re zone 8b.
    With very clay soils, how do I keep from drowning the roots? Plant on a mound?
    Are swales worth my time with this amount of rainfall?

    • Like most of western Washington, you guys in Western Oregon have a dependable months long annual summer drought.

      Catching and storing water is critical for establishment (and production on a South facing slope) without irrigation.

      Deep mulch will eventually accomplish the same on flat to near-flat land.

  4. I think my main questions would be:

    1) What’s a good strategy for selecting trees that will spread out their annual yields over the longest time period?

    2) Would a food forest on basically flat land benefit from swales?

    3) Are there any rules-of-thumb about planting different types of trees? Do some work better from seed, others from cuttings, others from nursery specimens?

    4) Have you heard about methods of starting trees in a nursery that enhance root mass and growth rate? Any thoughts on this?

  5. Hi Jack,

    Do you agree with Bill Mollison’s stance on growing a food forest as dense as is conceivably possible to sow, then remove what isn’t doing well or is in the way?

  6. I am planning on moving to a mid size farm (40 acres-ish), and one of the things that I would like to do is to start a farmers markets garden/forest.  I saw this site: and I think this makes a lot of sense. But how do I find out when plants/trees produce? I am assuming that the examples will produce fruit at the same time, but I would like something a bit more specific with other fruit varieties. Is there a resource that says these trees/shrubs bear fruit at the same time? Most fruit tree catalogues I see are very vague: ‘late autumn’ , early to mid spring’ etc. I would think that the point is to have each ‘tree alley’ would bear at the same time, and it would suck to plant the wrong thing in the middle of the alley, and have it be productive when the rest of the alley isn’t.

    I’m really looking forward to this episode!

  7. Thank You Jack!

    1) your top book (resource) choices on food forestry

    2)   @ zone 7B in NC,  6 acre rectangle,   clay and loam mix,    about 750 x 400′  ,   35′ elevation drop total,  48″ rain annual. (6-7″ max rain events) Would a 12″ deep rip (like a keyline cut) with a sub soiler on contour every 5-8′  effectively enhance retention of water on site? (in lieu of swales)

    3) in a fruit orchard what is the best planting pattern?     ie. bunch up the different fruit, nut berry varieties?       or alternate apple, hazelnut, plum, blueberry while keeping varieties within a 50′ distance for pollination? Thoughts??

    4)  list the most effective ways to cost save.   it could easily cost me well over $150.000.00   to plant quality trees on my property.  instead Im buying bare root from coldstream, potting and raising them for 2 years, and developing the ability to graft apple scions on Antonovka rootstock. What are 20+ other cost hacks that allow us to DO STUFF and stop regretting what I cant afford to do?






  8. I’m in an Oak / Madrone Savanah zone 8b Southern Oregon gets down to 15d f and I want to grow 2) Mexican or Californian appropriate dwarf Avocado 10-12′ tall on slope.  I would need almost 15d gain all night on alot of overcast Dec-Jan days. Is this practical with low tech earthworks or a Victorian kitchen garden era micro-climate from a garden wall and/or a deep pond south southeast of the trees and convex wall to the north?

    I think success would require aux heat maybe a RMH or orchard smudgepot but what do you think?