In the past weeks, I enjoyed sharing my Fruit Forest videos which are located in our small backyard. And of course, the plants that are found in it. If you’ve seen my videos at Remediate The World, you can tell that I’m enthusiastic about plants forest gardens.
I will show you how I fit Multiple fruit trees in our small backyard with only a 6,000 sq ft area.
The first part of my vlog is the overhead view of my property. Immediately, you can notice that I maximized well my yard spaces and planted them with over a dozen fruit trees and bushes. In total, I have 12 Fruit Trees, 2 Nut trees, 27 Fruit Bushes, and 3 Fruiting vines– all packed into our small yard.
In my previous videos, I have mentioned permaculture many times. The word Permaculture is a combination of two words– permanent and agriculture. It is an agricultural design that enables land owners to work with nature to provide everything they need. It is a system where nothing is wasted, just like what we see in nature.
In designing your own fruit forest, it is important to familiarize yourself with things you should consider as you begin your forest gardening.
As a steward of the land, you have to do your research on what types of plants will survive in your area. We don’t just want plants that will survive, we want plants that will thrive. In my case, many of my fruit trees are grouped with berry bushes– raspberry, gooseberry, blueberry some are rhubarb and flowers like irises and lilies. For my fruit trees, I mostly planted cherry, pear, peach, apricot, and apples as these do well in the area. I also include perennials since I’m a big fan of low maintenance. My overall goal is to pland 10 - 20 perennials under each fruit tree. They’re easy to grow and come back year after year which take up the space and make it harder for weeds to become established.
You need to make sure that the plants you group will complement one another. You can use native plants if possible since native species require less work from you to thrive.
When designing your backyard fruit forest, the ground layout is very important. You need to be familiar with the soil where you grow your plants. You should know which area is best suited for planting or which areas get more sunlight, available water, or wind that can be beneficial or critical to the plants. Using permaculture means working with nature to design a system that will require less inputs over time.
In my video, I mentioned that every tree in my backyard is layered with mulch. Mulch is can be anything from wood chips to weeds. I made a ring of mulch around each of my fruit trees. Mulch is important as it act as mini-garden space that maintains the weeds and provides food for the plants as they mature. Mulch rings allow plants like annuals and perennials to fill the spaces so weeds can’t occupy them. Mulch also keeps the ground covered so the sun and wind cant dry the soil out and kill the fauna living there. In nature, the space is always filled. It’s our job to add the plants we want so they occupy the space before weeds moves in. Remember, weeds are just plants out of place.
Managing your own backyard fruit forest is like working on any long-term project. The cost and input will be heavier up front. But, if done correctly will require less the project and site matures. Once your fruit forest is established, it should take care of itself. There’s no need for constant weeding, tilling, or frequent fertilizing. Depending on the size of your site, you may need to prune, trim and pull a few our of place plants and limbs to control the height and walking paths.
Proper planning can help you maximize your backyard spaces into a productive one. Establishing a fruit forest may sound daunting at first but, the benefits are incomparable – sustainable, low maintenance, and high-yielding land. My family eats a lot of fruit. The more I can plant today, the less I have to buy tomorrow (or in 3-5 years).
Fruit Forest gardening not only teaches us how to utilize our small spaces. It allows us to value the abundance nature gives. There are no yards too small to start a garden or a small orchard. There is nothing like sitting in a tree and eating fruit. Remember “It’s always easier to kill a ten-year-old tree than to plant a tree ten years ago”. Get started and #remediatetheworld.