Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My California Trip...Part 01

Shopping for a food forest...

After two very interesting and introspective months
living and co-creating in my food forest garden in Minnesota,
I was swept up and off to the golden coasts of Southern California.

My food forest passion and knowledge was needed in the hills
of Aliso Viejo, CA...which is about 10 minutes inland from Laguna.

My friend Martin, who I just met in person last week,
is creating a fully interactive house and after seeing us at the
Longevity Now Conference, decided that a Food Forest in the backyard
was ABSOLUTELY called for...he flew me in and we began planning.

He has completed much of the hardscaping, and now we are plugging
in the gaps with appropriate plants...his space has many microclimates
due to shade and water features, so this gave him maximum flexibility.

Since he is using this space to inspire clients, he needed to choose
more established trees instead of waiting for tiny saplings to fill out.
At first this may seem like an extravagance...but truly it is so smart.
Saving some money early on with a small tree...
this is a very shortsighted way to look at all of this.

Get larger trees if you can.
They give you fruit usually immediately,
and they are more inspirational early on
(which is VERY important for getting friends and family on board).
Also, the savings of water and nutrition in the earlier years of the plant's life
must be accounted for when your water supply isn't free and unlimited.
It adds up to keep these plants alive, so if you can have someone else
cover those expenses for a few years, do it.
One place we checked out was the Exotica Rare Fruit Nursery.

As you walk in, it doesn't appear to be as magical as it really is.

This is Steve. He's been running the place for 30 years.
There are MASSIVE canopy fruit trees in this place, many which have
grown thru their plastic bucket decades ago to take hold and
rain fruit upon the understory all year round it seems.

This is Martin under the canopy of a white sapote.
She was BIG! She had some dead branches that needed pruning
but overall they appeared to be very healthy.
The place is a bit messy, but the plant life easily makes up for it.

A Food Forest Canopy...the way it should be
when we look up from our day to day life...

Pineapple Guava flowers..cotton candy flavored!
A great permaculture plant!!! Drought tolerant and hardy to -10F!

This is some kind of Brazillian Cherry...I was wondering if I took
this photo with some kind of skunk or cat underneath my hand,
but I realized that was Steve. Hi Steve.

He had massive loquats too...this one is actually taken
near Martin's house near the creek. Since there are mature Loquats growing
here in the area already, we can save the space for other plants that
give us more variety and perhaps need more human interaction.

Major productivity! Watermelon Pluots I think...

Ice Cream Bean! Its a nitro-fixing plant too!
That means it feeds nearby plants!

My first time ever seeing these in person.
What a massive tree.

My first time ever picking a white sapote from the tree.
One of my favorite fruits by far!

This is steve modeling a 2003 Chinese Chestnut...thx buddy!
He also has a Black Sapote there for $800...its HUGE.
If you want to splurge, get that tree! It was an honor to see it in person!

We also went to Maddock's Ranch Nursery in Fallbrook...
They have VERY established trees, especially citrus and avocado.
We got 4 trees from them, but at their prices it could become addictive.
Their avocado trees were a STEAL!

We only had room for 4 trees, so we went with the deciduous ones
first and will the get the citrus and avocado later.
The evergreens will be on the lower level and the deciduous trees
(the ones that lose their leaves in the autumn)
will be up on the slope so the leaf litter can feed the soil.

Cut to the chase and get big trees.
Especially if you arent working with a massive piece of property...
fill it in with larger trees and enjoy your food forest sooner.
This makes much more ECONOMIC SENSE too.
How much sooner will Martin be enjoying his figs, apples, peaches, and almonds?
Well...YEARS before, compared to buying even a $50 tree.
These trees he purchased were over 5-6 years old.
That means more figs this year...next year...4 years from now...get it?
The extra $150 will be made up in fruit and water savings easily.

Planting Ms. Peach...she is a Mid-Pride...super sweet and juicy.
Look at that root-ball! She's established and will fruit heavily.

I really became good friends with Martin.
It might have seemed funny to just assume that all would work
out and that we would have a great time, but when youre in the
flow and simply expect no less...thats what really occurs.
Anyone wanting to plant a food forest HAS to be cool anyways!
It would be impossible otherwise!

Martin is a freediver (no air-tank, just snorkel and fins but mainly going DEEP)
so he took me out into a kelp forest off the coast of Laguna
...more on that in the next post...
I have (had?) a fear of deep ocean water so this was really good for me.

This was our playground....I was nervous at first but came to truly
appreciate what a gem this spot is...I truly felt sorry for those on the beach
missing out on all the real action haha...more to come!

And never forget...its up to you what you put on your fridge lol...