|11890 West Simpson Road, Manton, Michigan, US
Restful Trails Food Forest Gardens is a rural permaculture project whereby forest gardens are being created on a 5 acre property by a private owner. The owner has been creating food forest gardens on this property for nearly 40 years but lost much of the forests and gardens to a housefire in 2002 and giving a section of forest property to a relative to build a home on in 2006. The regeration of the food forests began in 2006 after the construction work was finished with the replanting of canopy and fruit/nut tree understories as well as perennial vegetable and ornamental gardens. Some areas were left partially undisturbed by the fire and construction work and are intact but most of the main gardens were completely gutted and replanted since 2006 and baby fruit trees and nut trees are going in as money is available. At this point in time I have planted many pear, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, walnut, hazelnut, chestnut, mulberry and other trees as well as fruiting and ornamental shrubs and evergreen trees. There are acres of perennial ornamental and edible plants and herbs as well as grape and other vines becoming established. I have also had help from my son to dig a pond which we have continued to enlarge and deepen over the past few years. There is still a lot of work that will have to be done on the food forest gardens as well as the pond and it's surrounding area. There is also a mid succession woodland area on the property that was pulped in the 1970's that is in need of a great deal of repair work. I began the repair work on the woodland in 2010 by building some trails in the nearest areas of the woodland and working on rebuilding an understory and herbal layer along the trails. This is a continuing work. There is a blog that has a lot of photographs and lists of plants and details of the work being done on the property at this site: http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
The property is in the North Central part of the lower penninsula of Michigan. It is an abandoned celery farm and oldfield succession with mid succession woodland of aspen/cherry/maple/ash and originally had a large old farmhouse with overworked garden areas and dying fruit and box elder trees on it.
When we bought the property in 1971 most of the trees and property were in bad disrepair, the trees were dying and the soil was overworked and unfertile. We totally remodeled the old farmhouse before we lost it to a fire in 2002 and we removed the dying trees which left us only with one large ash, maple and some aspen trees in the canopy layer.
In 1971 we began planting tree seeds and seedlings as well as building soil fertility on the property. The ash and aspen trees spread their seeds and roots to develop some early succession woodlands before the housefire, but much of this woodland was lost in 2002 and 2006.
This is a zone 4b area with winter temps averaging a low of -10 to -20 degrees and heavy snowfall. The growing season between frosts is generally around 120 frostfree days but there have been years where we have had frost every month of the year.
This is a high water table property with clay subsoil and highly acid ph.
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