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BANGKOK 18 July 2019 15:46
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ForestGardener

Agricultural Permaculture / Forest Gardening

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No problem I am embarking on a similar project myself. Inspired by the fact that although the wife is impressed with my ability growing eggplant,chilli,yardlong bean etc (I am virtually self sufficient in the U.K. and grow organic lettuce on a small scale commercial basis ) she still buys fruit and vegetables on a daily basis from the local market which she tells me "comes from jungle" or "up mountain", I decided to research planting a forest garden.I started my nursery garden at the onset of the present monsoon season and when I return to LOS in October will dig a large pond and backfill a 2 rai plot of paddy I bought a couple of years ago.I have also been stockpiling manure and rice hulls which along with the copious amonts of rice straw I will compost with my own brew of bio-indigineous micro-organisms to create a mulch layer.I cannot emphasise enough the importance of mulch here in the tropics.At present I am contemplating creating natural appearing clearings within the "forest" and planting them up as circle gardens to grow my vegetables in. I shall begin planting in June if everything goes according to plan.

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I've found the FORRU reference helpful and will try a few of the framework species it mentions if we can find the seedlings (sadau chang).

Why are you so concerned about mulch in the tropics, Jandtaa? I've been trying to get some support from the Thai family to support my interest in collecting rice and soybean husks for mulching around newly planted seedlings. I believe a mulch layer would help put nurients back into the soil and help cut down on the fuel and labor bill for cutting weeds. Any other reasons?

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Moisture retention,weed supression and to maintain a lower soil temperature are a few of the reasons I use mulch.You are also correct that nutrients will be leached from the mulch into the soil and over time you will increase the amount of organic matter in the soil but if you are using animal manure make sure it is well composted first. Also ensure you maintain a gap of between 8 and 15 cm's from the plant stems to prevent any rot. I have found from experience that by applying the mulch at the end of the monsoon season while the ground is still saturated my clay soil does not bake to a hard crust and become impermeable to water in the dry season.I would recommend applying an initial layer of mulch to a depth of at least 15 cm's and top up as neccessary you will be amazed how quickly it will break down here in the tropics. when you want to plant just make a hole in the mulch put in a couple of handfuls of potting compost and put in your seeds or transplants.  As to convincing your Thai family good luck! I have found the best way is to just get on and do it yourself. When I first started brewing my own EM and building compost piles my family thought I was mad (whats new!) but now they are eating the fruits of my labour my missus seems quite proud and brings villagers round to see my veg garden and explains how I grow things. Because of the amount of material needed and the labour costs of applying it this method of mulching is probably not suitable for large areas.If you are talking about mulching an orchard say the method I use for my longans is homemade weed mats around the trunks and grass planted between the rows is piled on top when it is cut along with any dead leaves.

Seeds of acrocarpus fraxinifolius (sadau chang) are available from http://www.echotech.org/mambo/index.php?op...d=55#Acrocarpus

Edited by jandtaa

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...Because of the amount of material needed and the labour costs of applying it this method of mulching is probably not suitable for large areas.If you are talking about mulching an orchard say the method I use for my longans is homemade weed mats around the trunks and grass planted between the rows is piled on top when it is cut along with any dead leaves.

Seeds of acrocarpus fraxinifolius (sadau chang) are available from http://www.echotech.org/mambo/index.php?op...d=55#Acrocarpus

Thanks for the insight. I'll have to find a way to graduate from pushcart to pickup truck or larger. There was a discussion on the availability of commercially made weedmats a while back in this forum but I don't think a source was identified.

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Neem Tree was already mentioned previously.

From what I read so far, one tree one should definitely have in such a garden is mulberry (Morus alba). Basically everything on this tree is edible, from the leaves to the fruit. One can make juices from leaves, tea, fruit jam, wine, vinegar, etc. On top of it the trees grow vigorously, are salt-resistant, can exist through drought, have not many pests and actually work as attraction for birds to their fruit (eg planted with other fruit trees they protect them by deflecting interest from them).

I personally would be very interested to hear from people who have experience with mulberry trees, both for their use as human food and for sericulture (silk worms).

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Mulberry sounds like a good one to grow under the canopy. Apparently doesn't grow too high and is shade tolerant.

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My wife is growing another legume that has edible shoots known locally as "cha-om" - sorry I don't know the Latin name.

ชะอม (Acacia pennata insuavis): http://www.acacia-world.net/html/a_pennata.html

"Acacia pennata subsp. insuavis (common name cha-om) is one of thirteen Acacia species native to Thailand. This thorny multipurpose shrub or small tree up to 5 m tall grows extensively throughout the country in homestead. However, small plantations for commercial harvest of edible leaves can be also found.

Thai people eat raw or fast-boiled leaves but always with 'samba', a spicy sauce which is a mixture of garlic, chilli, salt, lemon juice, shrimp and shrimp paste. Leaves can be used as a vegetable in several hot spicy foods. More often, the leaves are cooked in an omelette and eaten with hot 'samba'. This is one of the most common dishes throughout the country. Kaeng Kae, a northern Thai curry, will not be accepted without the addition of A. pennata leaves.

Acacia pennata is also used as a medicine. In India, leaf juice mixed with milk is used for treatment of indigestion in infants. It is also used for scalding of urine and for curing bleeding gums. Some people use boiled tender leaves for cholera treatment, digestive complaints, relief of headache, body pain, snake bites, and even to cure fish poisoning. The root can be used for inducing flatulency and to cure stomach pain. The bark is used for treatment of bronchitis, asthma and for stomach complaints.

The smell from young leaves of A. pennata is very strong for myna (Gracula religiosa) birds. In Thailand people do not put this acacia near the myna cage, otherwise the birds may die.

Acacia pennata subsp. insuavis is normally propagated by seed although vegetative propagation by cutting or grafting is feasible. Natural regeneration is good. In common practice, seeds are sown in containers and watered once a day. The seedlings are transplanted in the field in the rainy season at 4-5 m spacing. In northern Thailand, seeds are sown in the rice field in which they will germinate after rice harvest. Young shoots (leaves) can be collected twice for food before the plants are ploughed in as green manure."

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Neem Tree was already mentioned previously.

From what I read so far, one tree one should definitely have in such a garden is mulberry (Morus alba). Basically everything on this tree is edible, from the leaves to the fruit. One can make juices from leaves, tea, fruit jam, wine, vinegar, etc. On top of it the trees grow vigorously, are salt-resistant, can exist through drought, have not many pests and actually work as attraction for birds to their fruit (eg planted with other fruit trees they protect them by deflecting interest from them).

I personally would be very interested to hear from people who have experience with mulberry trees, both for their use as human food and for sericulture (silk worms).

In Sweden i tried Black Mulberry (Morus nigra) once, and little did i know when i taste it what a powerful tree this is. I see on internet that they make a lot of research on the leaves in different areas. Diabetes for example. And for a protein source to animal fodder. I also read that it could be used as windbreakers.

This tree is now in my top 100 species collection. Thanks Jts-khorat for sharing.

http://www.life-enhancement.com/article_template.asp?ID=992

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Morus+alba

13006020.pdf

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Recently I have found two interesting websites which could be helpful to this project:

http://www.prosea.nl/ PROSEA stands for Plant Resources of South-East Asia

http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sea/produ...es/AF/index.asp

Agro Forestry Tree Database: A tree species reference and selection guide

Thanks for sharing hmj.

I can also add that Food Forest DVD is out now.

For me as newbie it was great because i could see how they work for real. A lot of new inputs.

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Fascinating post, I'm very interested with the outcome of your project, and the richness of info coming along.

To take a break from all the technical data being brought up from the shelves, I'd like to repeat what a friend just recently told me :

Around Chantanaburi, there is at least one such 'fruit garden'. People pay a cover charge of 200B, and then can eat as much as they can enjoy ! My friend told me the place is huge, they even have a golf cart to help you visit the place, and every body wa shaving a lot of fun.

I don't know wether this is the kind of place you have in mind.

This is a great idea for farmers who want to diversify their income, and may be couple that with homestay.

As a landscape architect, I am personnaly very interested into that idea, and will be going on a short investigation trip over there shortly (I love investigating fresh fruits ! ^^). May be this week-end.

++ ^^

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