Rachel came safely home from the US and brought me multiple gifts, including new footage from The Great South Florida Food Forest Project.
The Great South Florida Food Forest: Rachel The Good Edition
Here’s Rachel’s footage, edited by me:
The fruit trees are still moving up despite drought earlier this year. One thing I find quite interesting is how a ground cover layer established itself without any planning.
Originally we dropped a bunch of mulch, then at points I threw seeds around and planted some herbs and sweet potatoes… yet they have been replaced with wandering Jew, ferns, mother-in-law tongue and other ornamental species that have happily naturalized in South Florida. Many of them doubtless arrived with the loads of yard waste Dad and I scavenged from the neighborhood.
If I lived in the area, I would probably clean out patches of the volunteers and plant perennial peanut, sweet potatoes and malanga, but hey – it’s better to have a nice mess of ground cover you can’t eat than just patches of sandy grass. It cools the ground and increases organic matter.
Food Forests Can Be Confusing
Another thing I’ve realized about planning food forests in other people’s yards: if they’re not familiar with the species you add or are not particularly interested in plants, a lot of your work and planning will be for naught. This food forest has edible yams, katuk, chaya and cassava in it, none of which are ever eaten (so far as I know). Instead, the main plants consumed are the more familiar ones: pineapple, papaya, mango, etc.
I created a scrub land food forest in Central Florida for a prepper once and after a few months I had to go back and take him on a tour through his own yard in order to re-acquaint him with all the trees we’d planted. Having a food forest tossed into your yard can be overwhelming if you don’t start it yourself!
More Gifts from Florida
Rachel was able to bring some of my paints and brushes as well as my French Easel from the states.
This is what the easel looks like:
It folds up into a briefcase sized box.
This has been nice to have as my rednecked easel was less than satisfactory. Here’s a little 5″ x 7″ painting I did a couple of days ago:
I’m getting better but need to keep painting every day. I have done so for 34 days straight thus far.
Beyond art supplies, Rachel also brought clothing for the children plus some awesome T-shirts from Cryptofashion I will be wearing in upcoming videos.
Hunting for Land
There are a few unused lots in our neighborhood, overgrown with rainforest. A friend is asking around for us trying to track down various owners and see if they’ll sell.
The property we’re in is up for sale so we need to be ready to jump. My goal is to buy a piece of rough land, build a simple cracker house, and start a new food forest from scratch.
I’ve been starting lots of trees in pots (and in the compost pile):
Getting land here is interesting, as a lot of the transactions are person to person and not listed by agents.
Helping Out Via Christmas Shopping
If you shop with this link on Amazon, I get a small percentage of each sale.
If you enjoy my writing and videos, use this link and you can go to sleep at night knowing you’re funding a poor family in the third world.
My New Book
I finished the first draft of my latest book in October and it’s currently being proof-read by my main gal Jeanne. It still needs illustrations and a bit of tweaking, along with a cover, but it’s really a solid book with lots of idea for growing tropical edible plants outside their “normal” range. As you know, this is a personal hobby of mine.
I think you’re really going to dig some of the ideas. Soon, soon!
Why the Delay?
Part of the delay in the book getting out was… November. The month of November is “National Novel Writing Month” and both Rachel and I decided to participate in the contest and each wrote a 50,000 word novel over the course of the month.
Fifty. Thousand. Words.
That took some time. I like the way my novel came out and I will be reading Rachel’s soon – I’m sure it’s great. Here’s a little painting I did of her on the 30th, knocking out the last 500 words on her book:
Speaking of painting, I also added the extra challenge of painting a new painting every day for 30 days, and that went nicely. Most of the paintings are rubbish but it definitely upped my skill level. I’m feeling it now and am really enjoying painting again. Soon I hope to offer some of them for sale as a little extra source of income and some tropical joy for my readers.
November was a crazy month – and that’s why the book isn’t out yet.
I just finished writing a solid post on rainwater harvesting for ThePrepperProject.com and I recorded a good video to go with it. When they both go live I’ll link to them here.
Have a great week, everyone – and until next time, may your thumbs always be green.
Creating a food forest can be confusing even if you are the one who created it. I’ve planted so many different plants/seeds in mine you never know what’s going to pop up when or where. But its always fun when it does. The very concept totally goes against all conventional farming. You are not creating nice rows. You are creating an entire ecosystem. The variety of insects and animals that can appear is astounding. There is definitely a large learning curve involved and that can vary greatly from region to region or simply different areas of your yard. As I learn I document as much as I can so that my knowledge can be shared with others. But I find it difficult to share knowledge in which most people have neither interest nor even concept of it. That’s ok with me though I will continue to do what I feel is best for my family and self and will help those who cross along my path. It is refreshing to see other’s experiments online for encouragement and direction. Thanks. I’ve never seen you try growing roselle, lemon grass, or jute spinach. I’m in Florida 9b/10a and they grow fairly easily if planted in Spring to early rainy season. Spinach is great in soup and the kids love the lemon grass and roselle for tea and such. They should grow well in tropics since I have family that grows it in Jamaica pretty easily. Anyway, keep creating and sharing knowledge we all get something useful from it.
looks really good , thank you so much, we gratefully appreciate you , sending blessings from Fruit forests & Forest gardens for healing & health https://www.facebook.com/Fruit-forests-Forest-gardens-for-healing-health-347638495382415/
Thank you, John.