Create a Food Forest Basics – Soil

The easiest plants to grow are those that do best in the soil you already have. What does your soil have to offer?

Look up the USGS Soil Maps for your county. I live in Santa Fe County New Mexico. I am on a hill with exposed Pennsylvanian fossil mudstone, limestone, and sandstone. It was formed in shallow seas and the mudstone is full of small marine fossils.

As these rocks wear down they form sandy soil with some clay in it. I had undetectable humus when I mixed the soil in a quart of water and mixed well before allowing it so settle into layers.  It is naturally alkaline and mostly a thin layer over rock. There are a few lower spots where a deeper accumulation created pockets one to three feet deep.

Just this information tells me that I need alkaline and drought tolerant plants. Soil on steep hillsides tends to wash away, leaving bare rock in places. However, rocks catch small soil pockets where plants take root.

Thin to nonexistent soil areas are the hardest and tend to bare spots.  Sometimes I pile a few stones together on bare spots.  They make a soil pocket after a few rains and are quickly making patches of wildflowers.

China has mountains that are completely terraced and have small holding farms on them.  They are well cared for and those living there are the latest generation living on not only their own hard work, but that of many generations before them.  I have made about 80 feet of low stone terraces.  They are lovely and I probably won’t make a lot more.  They are appealing.  All have been created slowly, a rock or two at a time.

Back east there are a lot of small farms that are perfect for growing stone walls… every year new stones pop out of the soil and are added to the walls.  They are nice places to grow children and livestock and a garden.  No money like Wall Street, though.

I picked fruit from Threeleaf Sumac  (Sumac trilobata) today and more pine nuts.  The pine nuts were popping out on my head today, I guess they are ready!  A nice circular economy grows food even on Not Farmland like mine.  I have three small sumac bushes that I grew last winter.  I think I will leave them potted again this year.

It is quite easy to collect native seed around your home and grow in containers.  You know they  are adapted.

My goal for my Food Forest is always to plant what will grow where I put it without further work.  Knowing basics for your temperature and soil is critical to  easy gardening choices.  Why work at it if you don’t have to?

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About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
This entry was posted in Circular Economy, food forest, plant uses, Uncategorized, wild edibles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Create a Food Forest Basics – Soil

  1. Pingback: Create a Food Forest Basics – Soil | treeseeddreaming | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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