In this SurvivalGearArmory.com self sufficiency article we are going to take just general overlook on how to create permaculture food forest, and basic principles & benefits having a own consistent food supply. If the idea sounds like a good addition to your personal survival plan, you can start planning and gathering more detailed information.
Permaculture food forest is a relatively old system of growing food that is utilized in many parts of the world. This technique of growing food uses the knowledge and understanding of how different plants depend on and support one another to grow and thrive. In other words, a permaculture food forest is created to imitate a natural forest. The idea is to grow edible plants that can thrive with relatively low human intervention. That makes such a plantation very well suitable for preparing survival situations. You can create it nearby cottage, survival shelter or even on your backyard.
How Permaculture Food Forest Works?
Permaculture food forests utilize a method of cultivation known as polyculture, which is the growing of multiple crops on the same piece of agricultural land. This method of cultivation provides crop diversification that emulates that of natural ecosystems and avoids monoculture.
To understand how a food forest works, you need to look at the possible ecological relationships that can exist around trees. For example, beneath a fruit tree, you could plant nitrogen-fixing plants, such as clover, peas, beans and cowpeas. You can add nutrient mining plants, such as horseradish, parsley, artichoke and comfrey to pull nutrients from deep down to the surface to be used by other plants, which attract insect pollinators and repel insect pests. They all work in perfect harmony to promote the development and health of the permaculture food forest. Even those plants that are not edible play a part.
What Are The Benefits For Survivalist?
Permaculture food forests have numerous benefits, and many of them are essential also from prepper’s perspective. Benefits include:
- Hhigh productivity with lower maintenance
- Natural pest control
- Consistent food supply
- Improved nature through biodiversity
- Increased fertility
- Diverse plant species.
Especially consistent food supply and diverse plant species are important for any prepper in survival situation. You will need always food, and you will need to eat as diversely as possible to avoid malnutrition in long lasting situations.
How to Create a Permaculture Food Forest?
Observe the area
This may sound weird, but the first thing you ought to do is sit and observe the site you wish to grow your food forest. You can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and just observe the wildlife, and everything else around the particular area. Do this for just a few minutes or an hour, and you will be surprised at what you can learn within that time.
While you are observing the site, ask yourself a few important questions, such as:
- What is the PH of the soil?
- What kind of plants and trees do I want in my food forest?
- What grows better in the area?
Questions that can help you create the best food forest possible. Because creating plantation, and growing of plants etc. takes time, this project should be started well before SHTF.
Of course if you are already in the middle or survival situation, you need just take action. In a such case it is important to decide if you are going to stay there long enough that you will be able to enjoy fruits of your food forest. Obviously there’s no point to start creating plantation if you are going to leave the area on the next day or week. Furthermore in such a situation it might be hard to get seeds and plants you need as shops could be closed. This is again an good example, why planning and preparing beforehand is essential. Start building your permaculture food forest right now, before you actually will need it.
Draw up a map of your site
Learn the landscape. Take notes of everything you can decode about the soil, plants, wildlife, water sanitation, climate and land shape. To understand your site better, you need to analyze each of these elements.
Walk around your site and conduct surveys. You may use your smartphone or any other high-tech device to help understand the diverse natural processes in the area, such as weather patterns, water movement, and the land formation.
Go the extra mile and have your soil tested to better understand what you are dealing with. All this information can be extremely helpful because you will have an idea what to plant. Remember, this is a learning experience, so enjoy every bit of it.
Design a Layout and pick out your plants
At this point, you have a fair idea on what kind of plants you want to grow in your food forest. Now, the next part is designing the layout of your food forest. To design a good layout, take into consideration the characteristics of your site (terrain, climate, etc.) and of course, your goals.
Outlay your infrastructure
Start your creation by laying out the permanent elements first, such as structures, access and water.
The water system is the first thing that should be laid out because it is the most important element. If you are going to put up a water tank, you need to figure out the most suitable place to put it. Any permanent element, such as a building or fence should be in your plans.
Once you water system is laid out, create access road or paths. The way you place them is very important because once they are created and the food forest is already in bloom, it will be very difficult to rearrange them.
Finally, subdivide your site into different partitions. Each partition, will have something different growing on it. We discussed early about plant diversification. Having growing zones promotes this diversification. Furthermore, by sectioning your food forest, you are able to manage each part better.
A good infrastructure plan or layout can help maximize productivity and lower maintenance.
This is a very important stage of your creation because you want to create polycultures that can support themselves as well as share the available resources. But do to this, you have to have the right combination of plants.
Alternatively, if you are not so sure about the plant combination, you can experiment by creating a guild with plants that you know well. Create a mixture of your own and see how it goes. You may surprise yourself.
Design the patches and space your plants
Once you have sectioned your food forest, you need to design each patch. This can be a group of plants or a row in one section. It does not matter how you design your patch, what is most important is how you plan on spacing your plants. You want to avoid stressing your plants and limiting their growth because they are too squeezed together.
Prepare your site
Now that you are done designing the patches, it is time to prepare your site for the actual planting. If there is any unwanted vegetation, you need to clear it. If you like, add any compost, mulch before planting.
Get your plants and start planting
This is the most exciting part, the planting. The best way to plant a food forest is in stages. Growing your plants in stages allows you to see what does better in your food forest and what does not. You are also able to experiment with different plants and slowly by slowly, you will have the right combination of plants in your food forest.
Getting detailed information about food forest
Creating permaculture food forest requires obviously suitable site, and unfortunately not all have access to land where they could establish plantation. However, if you have backyard, cottage or survival shelter or any other place suitable for food forest project, you should seriously consider creating a one. If you choose to proceed with the plan, you should gather detailed information about different pants and techniques to achieve the best results.
Below are some good books available at Amazon about creating your own consistent food supply.