Locating Trees in the Edible Forest

It’s day 150 in the Edible Forest Garden, and I’m just now having a light bulb moment about locating trees. Remember that series of posts describing the master plan for the edible forest garden? I talked about the Irrigation Plan, Goals and random pieces, and the zones. Well, come to find out I also need to explain how I located the trees. It’s weird that I’m understanding why I did it after the fact. While I was designing, I really struggled how and why to locate the trees.

IDEA #1: While I was reading Gaia’s Garden, I was very inspired by the image above that located the trees in a ‘U’ shape. It seemed perfect at first glance; it had all of the trees in the furtherest zone from the house, and because of the shape is could hold cold air in the summer. 
The killer of this idea was that the trees would be at the south side of yard thus creating shade for the majority of the garden.

IDEA #2: I also liked the idea of putting them around the perimeter. I canned this idea because my yard is not wide like this design. 
IDEA #3: With a little combining the two ideas and random thoughts, I went with a nitrogen fixing tree close to the middle of the yard and one tree every 10 feet. You can see the clear idea here. The thought was to create a mostly understory of fruit trees and keep the one nitrogen fixing tree as the only overstory. This would create lots of evenly distributed shade. I’m not sure I loved the idea, but I went with it. 
There was also Moviedoo, a channel on youtube that really influenced my tree design. He too had a food forest but in New Mexico. He talked a lot about how in his climate, he needed to grow shade. Then one day, his channel didn’t exist any longer. Where did he go? He was very helpful.
Then, a few weeks ago I watched one of Geoff Lawton’s videos called Food Forests Across Climates. The video made me confident I made the right decision with going with Idea #3. From the video, here in the Texas heat, I generally assume we are the desert climate; it gets really hot and not much rain fall. In that climate, Geoff Lawton advises to grow shade!

Glad I did something right so far.

credits & resources: images from Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemingway // geofflawton.com

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