Winter is the Perfect Time to Start Your Spring Annuals For the Food Forest

There are so many things that you can start during the winter that take a couple months to get strong enough to be transplanted outdoors. This gives you plenty of time to research new things that you may not have heard about before, to discover new varieties of foods you’ve already grown and had good success with, or to attempt to grow some things that have been on your to try list. It is also a great time to mark and plot where he would like to put these annuals when they are ready to go out in the food forest.

Winter is the Perfect Time for Pruning Your Fruit Trees and Fruit Bushes

In the winter, your fruit trees and fruit bushes are in there dormant season. This is the best time to go ahead and do your pruning and to take cuttings to propagate more fruit trees and fruit bushes. Plus, it’s not as hot outside, so the weather tends to be less insufferable, you won’t be dodging bees or running away from wasps, and the fruit trees and fruit bushes will be defoliated so you’ll be easily able to see the wood structure of these plants.

Okay…I’ve done all my fruit tree and fruit bush pruning. What’s else can I do in my permaculture food forest during this dreary winter season?

Propagating Fruit Trees and Fruit Bushes From Cuttings Is A Wonderful and Fun Activity To Keep You Busy in Winter

Sowing Perennial Seeds That Need a Cold Season to Germinate

Adding more perennials to your food forest and going about it the most cost effective way of growing from seed? Try sowing:

  • Asparagus
  • Camellia Sinensis Tea Plants
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries


…during the winter to add more variety of food crops to your permaculture food forest with the least amount of effort by depending on mother nature to do what she does and germinate your seeds. Eating your plants in place also negates any post transplant shock, because he will not be transplanting. This is better for the roots of the plants and will help your plants grow at top speed once spring arrives.

Winter Is A Great Time to Plant Your Dormant Fruit Trees in Your Permaculture Food Forest

But the ground is cold and hard and I don’t WANNA.

Be that as it may, I SAID WHAT I SAID.

Planting your fruit trees and fruit bushes during the winter time gives them time to grow new roots and settle into their new places without having to maintain foliage or flowers. Without their foliage or flowers, they require less watering and care. So after the initial struggle to get your fruit trees or fruit bushes into the ground, you’re looking at a lot less maintenance for you and a lot less shock for your plants.

If you’d like to think of it this way, it’s less stress for everyone involved. Be sure to add a nice, thick layer of mulch to keep the root zone protected from the elements, maintain moisture, and provide future nutrition for your fruit trees and fruit bushes.

Winter is Also A Wonderful Time to Avoid the Heat and Mulch Your Food Forest

For anyone who believes in mulching and has the time to and physical ability to, I feel that fall and winter are the best times to do this mulching. As someone who is growing in a Back to Eden, deep mulch, food forest system, I’ve been hauling in multiple truckloads of mulch during the cooler season. There’s less chance of you overheating, and it gives the mulch some time to start breaking down before the hot season starts up.

Will also be taking a vantage of the wet seasons of fall, winter, and spring and absorbing a lot of that rainwater to keep it in your food forest as a long-term irrigation system that doesn’t require you to remember to water it, helps build your food Forest floor, and provides a wonderful environment for healthy bacteria, earth worms, and the other critters that balance and add healthy fungi your food forest.

This way, there will be ample nutrients from the composting mulch readily available in spring for all the plants in your food forest.

It’s the cold season. Start some winter-hardy perennials directly in your food forest

  • Tree Collards
  • Lavender Bushes
  • Rosemary Bushes

This is an excellent time to really push the herbaceous layer of your food forest forward so that when spring comes it is ready with roots settled in to spring forth in a wonderful flush of new growth.

Reevaluate Your Past Growing Season and Look For Ways You Can Improve Your Food Forest

One thing about developing a permaculture food forest is that there is always room to try new things and to improve the system. I find winter to be an excellent time to go over the results of your past season in food forest growing I had to look for ways to improve those results.

For example, I would like to get at least 2 feet of new growth on my fruit trees this upcoming season so that my food forest starts to develop a tree canopy layer that will cast some shade and keep the ground cooler in the summer. This tree canopy layer will also provide additional humidity and shade protection for some plants that might not be as tolerant of full sun, thereby increasing the growing season for cool weather crops and creating microclimates where they can live and produce for a longer period of time.

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