After a little over three years I’m very happy to say our tropical forest garden is finished. The hard work of raising the garden beds 12” with about 60 dump truck loads of amendments is done. The trees are well established and many are starting to produce fruit. Many smaller plants such as pineapple, taro, vegetables and herbs are thriving. The beds are mulched with straw. The soil is rapidly improving by evidence of worm mounds (worm castings) popping up everywhere. The greenhouse is finished. Extra planters and CEB beds have been added to fill in extra space and increase plant diversity. Our first large batch of homemade compost turned out great. Eight wire mesh cages are full of leaves to make leaf mold compost. And, a special ‘wild area’ has been created along the drainage ditch for bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife to honor and show thanks to Nature.
So has the garden been worth all this hard work? Definitely! It’s already producing some of the best food I’ve ever tasted such as top notch organic bananas, papayas, marian plums, pineapples, sugar apples and sapodillas (Mmm). Nothing can compare to tree ripened organic fruit.
Future work will involve a gradual process of upgrading the garden by adding a wider variety of plants — primarily more small plants, making more compost and adding more organic matter to the garden every year, ramping up production in the greenhouse (primarily microgreens), pruning the fruit trees, keeping the garden mulched, and adding a thick layer of ramial wood chips to the garden beds if at all possible. So far we have not found any wood chips for sale in our area.
Big changes are on the way since we just bought new land adjoining this homestead. The fencing and other work is already in progress. Stay tuned for updates.
You can see the yearly progress of our forest garden on our Sustainable Homesteading channel as well as seeing how we built our recycled wood house.
Here’s the direct link to see what our garden looked like right after planting three years ago. I go back and watch these old videos occasionally and it’s incredible to see how quickly the land has been transformed.