Florida, Zone 9

Client’s Goals:

To grow an aesthetically pleasing food forest which is not too dense and is easy to maintain. An area for relaxing is to be included with plants that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Scope of Work:

The design has been divided into 5 planting beds and 3 syntropic rows for growing. These areas have been identified and agreed with the client as per the drawing.

Additional Notes and Recommendations:

Care must be given to avoid the fence boundaries as horse paddocks surround the garden. There are also 2 access gates which have been identified. A 6-foot path must be observed around the property for access.

Rainwater Collection and Irrigation:

There are currently only 2 gutters on the property located either side of the “mosquito net”. It is recommended to install gutters along all the roof to maximise water collection and more importantly water direction. There is a slope away from the house on all sides and this can be utilised to direct the water using irrigation hose or simple trenches to ensure the productive areas are allowed to soak in as much water as possible. The drawing below is only a concept drawing as a guttering professional will need to be hired to install the gutters. Once the gutters are installed, we can locate the rain barrels and irrigation trenches. During a rain event the barrel will be filled. When this is filled the excess will irrigate the garden as normal. During drought periods the rainwater can be released, and it will go straight to the productive areas.

Alternatively, trenches can be dug in the ground under where the rain falls off the roof to direct rainwater. This is sub optimal as it may cause some erosion and is less controllable.

A dry land strategy will also need to be adapted to cater to the sandy soil and help retain moisture until sufficient biomass is converted to soil.

Bed 1

Bed 1 is the first bed when you enter the property. This has a large tree covering it. The design includes extra Peach Tree, Avocado, Florida Peach, a Dwarf Grapefruit, a Goumi for Nitrogen fixing and a guild of Raspberries. Underneath the canopy can be utilised for some of the smaller flexible plants of your choosing.

Bed 2

Bed 2 is in the Southwest corner of the garden. The bed contains 4 extra productive trees and more raspberries. Underneath the canopy can be utilised for some of the smaller flexible plants of your choosing – please see the plant list.

Bed 3

Bed 3 is a rectangular bed and includes 5 extra trees. As this is outside a seating area some of the smaller flowers from the Fire pit garden can be used to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to this area also. It is also recommended growing herbs in this bed as its very close to the door.

Bed 4

Bed 4 is in the Southeast corner of the garden. This bed will be very exposed to the sun all day and underneath should get some of the western sun in the afternoon. Annual row crops can be grown underneath here as well as a selection of the flexible perennials & annuals.

Fire Pit Sanctuary

The fire pit sanctuary contains a fire pit and all the plants in this spiral design will attract either butterflies or hummingbirds. Some of these plants like Lantana will have to be maintained to size but any access biomass can be composted or chopped and dropped as a mulch.

South Wall Bed

This bed contains Raspberries, Malabar Spinach up a trellis, Mexican Sunflower and perennial peanut as a ground cover. We can also grow heat loving climbing plants here such as Tomato, Peppers, Cucumbers and Aubergines. Growing these plants on a trellis on the south wall will cool the house down as the sun facing wall will be covered during the hottest months of the year.

Syntropic Rows

There are 2 syntropic rows in the design. One has 3 Bananas as the main plant and the other has 4 Dwarf Papaya. The Papayas need a Male and Female for pollination so there is 2 of each. The Bananas may get damaged in the winter but should recover to fruit the next year. Vente Cohol variety, blue java or praying hands are recommended for max production.

There is room underneath for ground covers like Sweet Potato and productive plants like Ginger and Turmeric. The space between the rows can be Perennial Peanut and Sunshine Mamosa. If grass is chosen between the rows when this is cut the grass can be placed in the syntropic rows as a natural feed.

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