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Current conditions

The next step is to create a base map showing the current conditions at the site.  The area I'll be working with is bounded by the driveway on the south, the barn on the north, and a major thoroughfare on the west.  Young fruit trees and grapevines are surrounded by clay soil which ponds during rains.  A three year old brush pile is slowly rotting down, but is still a major feature of the landscape.  The site is mostly sunny, though the hill on the south side shades it on winter mornings.  We don't get any wind to speak of back here in our holler.

Soil fungiBiological problems include invasive plants and deer browse.  In addition, t
he book explains that in areas dominated by grasses and herbs (like meadows and old fields), the soil fauna is primarily bacteria.  Woody plants --- which are what I want to promote in my orchard --- prefer soil faunas which are instead dominated by fungi.  So, I'll need to think about how to start to change my soil fauna to fungus dominance.

It all sounds like a tall order, but as the book explains, it's better to turn a sick tract of land into a forest garden than start messing around in a pristine forest where I'm more likely to do harm than good.  We can only go up from here!

This post is part of our Planning The Forest Garden lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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