In early spring 2016 I started working on the second part of the garden – the small food forest area. The space I have available is not very lucrative. It’s facing north and is located next to a larger road and it only receives partial sun. In addition, the ground is full of stones and there are several larger trees in the area, creating shade. I don’t know if this will work, but I’m giving it a try.
When I started I didn’t realize just how many stones were in the ground, I thought I would be able to just add some more soil on top of the ground and plant my trees directly. But as I started removing the raspberry canes and weeds that were growing wild there, and tried to put the shovel in the ground, I soon realized I had to start digging out some of the stones. So I did!
As the site is sloping slightly I started piling the stones that I took out around the lower edge of the space. It kind of formed naturally into a shape similar to a half circle. I probably could have dug our more stones, but I decided it was enough. Then I filled this up with more soil. Unfortunately, the added soil is relatively lifeless, so I have to work on increasing soil life.
Next I put in the trees. I chose standard fruit trees which should do ok in my climate zone. And I bought them at the local garden centre. I am slightly worried about that, and unsure if they will survive. I bought one plum, one cherry and one apple (three varieties grafted on the apple). But I worked in a bunch of compost and planted, so we’ll just have to see if they settle in or not.
I had some problem mulching as I was lacking material to mulch with. There is a video on my YouTube channel about the mulching situation in early spring in my garden. You can watch that here.
Then I started planting and sowing other plants and shrubs. This process is still ongoing and it will take me some time to complete it. I will probably still be working on that next year. I sowed some clover as I want that to be the ground cover. But I only had enough seeds for a small part of the space, so that will have to spread itself. I’ve also planted comfrey and a red current cutting. I have one black current plant ready to go out, plus rhubarb and beach cabbage.
I also sowed some flower seeds, mainly nasturtiums and calendula, and I put in one borage plant that I had left over, and a pumpkin plant. However, I want mostly perennial plants in this area, so these plants are just to fill the space this season.
Here are some photos from the process.
Here is a video from the food forest end of july 2016:
Hi! I just wanted to share a thought with you, i also started a forest garden in spring this year, though it sounds like you have many more obstacles in your path than me! Anyways, here in denmark, at many of our local affaldplads or genbrugstationer, the council gives away free compost, you can take it away by the trailer load, which is a very valuable resource. I havent used it on my annuals, as i dont know exactly what has been added to the compost, but i have used it for tree planting, and i would definately consider it as an option to add to soils to improve them. I personally make my own compost, and have 5 horses fed on organic hay, so i have an abundance of organic material, but i thought i would mention it, in case oslo has some similar system at their garbage collection areas, good luck with it! Regards, Judd.
Hi Judd! Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I know the city makes compost that we can buy relatively cheeply, but I dont know of any mulching service here. However, I have now been able to get some wood chips – so I have mulched with that!
I am very impressed with the progress you’ve made and the hard work you’ve done. I have a small garden so I’m trying to make use of all the space I have – even though I have very heavy clay soil (raised beds have resolved this) and a few shady, damp spots (I am thinking of planting things such as mint and watercress there). It’s a lot of work when your conditions are far from perfect, but I think it’s even more satisfying when something eventually does thrive thanks to your efforts!