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Del Monte, Arcola
Del Monte, Arcola
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Via del Monte, Arcola, La Spezia, IT
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Food Forest Taking Shape

Project: Del Monte, Arcola

Posted by Heiko Vermeulen almost 11 years ago

Planted a few more trees on our land for the food forest

Last weekend we spent planting some more trees to add to the forest garden.  Having a very steep slope, the only thing to do really is put tree cover on it.  The advantage of course of a slope (average 40 degrees incline), that the sun gets an angle to get into the understorey.  The land is east facing so only the morning sun gets to it, but in our hot Mediterranean climate this may be an advantage.  It is also located within an amphitheatre like bowl, which holds humidity.  Good for the plants, bad for us having to put up with the mosquitoes. 


Anyway as budget restrictions don't allow us to plant everything at once, this is what we planted this weekend:


Canopy Layer:

- A rotello apple tree.  This local variety is well suited to our conditions and produces delicious, slightly squat, red-green apples with a sharp and sweet flavour.  Good winter keepers.

-A decana inverno pear tree - late ripening variety of medium vigour.  Again a good winter keeper

- A maidenhair tree, Ginkgo Biloba - A slow growing tree reaching up to 20m height.  The nuts are edible, but unfortunately are only produced when a male and a female tree are planted together.  It's too early to tell whether I have a male or a female, so will have to wait until I know and then plant a suitable partner for it.  The leaves have medicinal qualities promoting blood circulation especially in the brain.

- A Portogallo Fig Tree - A sweet purple fruiting variety


Shrub Layer:


- An autumn olive (elaeagnus umbellate) - Fixes nitrogen and produces extremely tasty and healthy red berries in early winter

- A Japanese quince chaenomeles speciosa) - Grows up to 3m and is reasonably shade tolerant.  It is also unfuusy to soil conditions.  The fruit can be cooked like true quince.  Also a great bee attractant.

- A Cornelian Cherry (cornus mas) - Up to 5m tall, doesn't mind some shade and unfussy to soil conditions.  It produces edible berries.

- 2 Oregon Grapes (mahonia aquifolium) - A low growing shrub (2m) with spiky leaves, producing blue edible berries.  Very unfussy as to location and drought resistant.  The berries also have various medicinal qualities.  It suckers freely and forms a dense ground cover making it a useful plant in slope stabilisation, which is why I planted it on a slope below the caravan and below the pond, both critical points.

- A myrtle (myrtus communis) - An evergreen shrub growing up to 4m tall.  Both the leaves and berries are highly aromatic and are used in the making of liquers.  Both can be used in cooking too and I add the berries to mixed jams.

- A Hibiscus (hibiscus syriacus) - Not many people know that you can eat both the leaves and flowers of this shrub


Before the year is out now we need to plant some companion plants for the apple and pear trees, namely garlic and daffodils.  In the case of the apple tree I'll plant a shade tolerant variety of wild garlic.  And we need to plant some more nitrogen fixing plants such as elaeagnus, Sea Buckthorn, Mimosa and Black Locust.


For pictures check out the blog on http://pathtoselfsufficiency.blogspot.it/2012/12/the-forest-garden-is-taking-shape.html


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