Converting an existing orchard to food forest
When we took over the property four years ago there was already an established orchard with about 20 fruit and nut trees of vary ages. Beneath the trees was a broad area of fairly uniform grass that had been grazed by sheep and a small plot of abandoned vegetable garden.
Initially, based on the little horticultural knowledge I had, all I did was prune the trees a little. But as I became exposed to and tuned into the forest gardening and food forest philosophy and concept I realised there was so much more potential.
The past two years have seen some radical changes, with so much more to come. The reward is is watching how natural systems re-enforce and enrich spontaneously.
A large part of my approach is based on making use of the materials at hand and not spending excessive time / money / energy to obtain resources from far away. While this is a good idea in theory it struggles to be practical when working on large areas for the volume of material required is so high. Using insufficient mulch results in additional effort to remove weeds later or remulch.