Never Before Seen Footage! Backyard Food Forest Years 1,2 & 3 | How it all Began!

Hey there, how’s it going everybody? Dan here with Today I want to share with everybody some
of the earlier beginnings prior to the start of the You Tube channel. This picture here was shot back in 2010 just
prior to our move to the new location that you are all familiar with. Back then we had a small little cottage, my
wife, my step-son and I. Here’s a picture of me out in the front yard
watering my annual garden. I had some tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, corn. I’ve always loved annual gardening! It wasn’t until 2011 when we relocated to
our current location that we were blessed with this large blank canvas of a backyard,
southern facing. You really couldn’t ask for anything better
to start a project like what I was interested in doing. Which was a food forest! There was an initial clean-up that had to
take place. I stayed busy! I ordered one of those dumpsters and had it
delivered to the driveway. I kept filling it up. There was all sorts of debris in the yard. Even during this part of the process, although
it was laborious it was a labor of love. You can see I had to dig a hole here, I was
digging holes all throughout the yard just pulling trash out of it. I knew that I was starting the process of
rehabilitating this property and I was already feeling fulfilled by that. So after a lot of digging and a whole lot
of tilling cleaning up this landscape, I immediately started doing a sheet mulching using cardboard
and woodchips. So as I was laying down this cardboard and
starting to rehabilitate the property I was also planting fruit trees all along the boarder
of the fence-line. So that was the very beginnings of the food
forest! I was keeping busy plugging away doing row
by row; overlapping that cardboard making sure not to leave any areas where weeds could
pop up through, and then putting those woodchips on top. As I was doing that I was also planting out
annuals. And in just a very short time we started to
have the makings of a garden. You can see one of the bare-root fruit trees
I planted over there back by the fence, that was just a stick in the ground a few months
ago and all of that was new growth! I’ve also got a perennial tree collard getting
started there. Those two little trees right in front of the
mammoth sunflowers there, those were the pomegranate trees that I featured in many of my videos. Those are doing very well now! And check out how close together I planted
those guys. they’re like a foot, maybe a foot and a half
apart. That’s that Dave Wilson Nursery dense fruit
tree planting method. So I’ve been experimenting since the beginning. You can see I also had some of these little
chintzy raised beds that I picked up for ten bucks on blowout sale from a local store. The garden was beginning! I had corn goin’, beets, eggplants, swiss
chard, kale, tomatoes, melons… It was also during this first year that I
built a small chicken coop and started raising backyard chickens for the first time. I also did a bit of experimenting, like with
these seed balls you see here. This is where you encase a few different seeds
in some clay and soil, and you can just cast those throughout a landscape. What happens is, the seeds are protected by
that coating and then once it starts to rain and it begins to break down and softens up
the seeds will sprout and have their little bedding right there made just for them. So cool technique, I had fun with that! If you want to learn more about seed balls
or more about natural farming look into a book called “One Straw Revolution” about a
Japanese farmer and philosopher by the name of Masanobu Fukuoka. Definitely an enlightening text, I highly
recommend it! So for year two I came up with something totally
different and that was to make these raised beds out of cardboard, chicken wire and 3
foot t-posts. This actually worked out very well! It was a really cheap way to get these raised
beds built and start growing immediately. It also allowed me to create somewhat of a
template that was adjustable. Nothing here was permanent. So in the end I have to say this really worked
out and I was happy with the results. Here’s another view from the side. To this day my garden maintained this layout. In-between those raised beds, those are my
current pathways and where those raised beds were all became perennial garden beds for
the most part. To save on cost I filled these raised beds
halfway up with free local woodchips. I then filled the second half up with native
soil mixed with some organic imported compost. As a finishing touch, I mulched the top surface
using straw rather than hay. Hay will contain grass and weed seeds in abundance
and I’m not trying to propagate that. So unless the hay is thoroughly rotted down
I would suggest sticking to the straw. Many aspects of the design have changed and
evolved since this time. As you can see in this area, I’ve got this
swing hanging from this enormous tree. This tree was going over both sides of the
fence. You can see by the shadow being cast just
how large the tree actually was. So I knew from the gate that I was probably
going to take this tree out but I didn’t do it up front. So at this point removal was much more challenging
as I already had established plants everywhere below the tree. You can see I set-up a couple ladders as this
limb begins to fall. I was trying to block the fall from landing
on some of the smaller trees. Oh that worked great! Well some how I got really lucky and I only
busted up a couple trees. This all-in-one almond unfortunately. But had I not told you, you would have never
noticed as the tree looked great all season! Also this mandarin tree which had already
been struggling and I had already transferred from a different location so no real big loss. But learn from me. If you start a new project; if you are considering
taking out a tree, get it done in the beginning. Don’t feel bad. You will be planting a whole bunch of new
trees and you’ll be saving yourself a whole lotta headache. But back to year two now. Things were starting to grow in and coming
along quite well. I had set everything up on an automatic drip
watering system. I was also planting things out using the square
foot gardening method. Again, I had another great year! Everything was very productive. It turned out well! As you can see Alice is standing here in front of some Japanese long eggplants and some towering tomato plants! We had an abundance of produce coming out! It was a good feeling! I continued experimenting with other techniques
like this off the grid automatic plant watering system. An idea I picked up from Larry Hall. I may have to revisit a set-up like this in
the future. As year two came to a close I was feeling
happy, satisfied and again just looking forward now to year three to continue this project
forward. So year three arrived. A lot of the perennials were now starting
to get established. The in ground plants such as the purple tree
collards towering above me here. At this point I still had some of the cardboard
built raised beds going but many of them I had dismantled and started plugging in some
trees and such right into the ground. Things were really starting to develop at
this point! Check out the growth on these pomegranates
after just two years in the ground! And I was actually getting fruits on these
plum trees! Most of these I actually picked off to allow
the tree even more time to build structure. During this time I was tractoring my chickens
around the property. Now, they remain free-range most of the time
but I was using them in this instance to help me better cultivate and prepare the land for
garden expansion. So about halfway through our third year here
on the property things really started to take shape! Hey guys hows it goin’? I’m Dan, and this is Plant Abundance on You

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Reader Comments

  1. LJ E

    Can you please explain how you used the cardboard and woodchips to rehab your yard? Which goes on the bottom?
    Thanks for your helpful videos!

  2. Stefanie Baggott

    Yeah…I live in Zone 3B…right now I have 2 feet of snow on the ground…It takes way more than 3 years for fruit trees to grow here! I buy 1 fruit tree a year , because they are expensive here, but I have 3 cherry trees, a raspberry bush that refuses to grow and a strawberry patch. I also plant as many veggies as I can, in my 12X8' garden. I wish I could garden all year round!

  3. No till life

    Nice to see the start of your journey, one straw revolution is a great book, I read it last year and I found it quite a page turner. 🙂

  4. rosebudforglory

    Or use alfalfa hay if very green premium it makes great to mix in with compost to accelerate it. I use it as mulch and it provides nitrogen and calcium plus other nutrients and is usually not weedy unless you buy low grades. But i CA they grow super nice alfalfa which is a legume and fixes its own nitrogen when growing. You want green with very leafy x it’s those tiny little leaves that do the work. It is normally cut rebloom so no seed formation. As I say it is excellent to shake the leaves out and then chop shred the stems and use as mulch or in the compost. Or just shook apart over the beds and left – works wonders. Put it over beds in fall and winter and till in inmthe spring – really improves the soil.

  5. JF W

    Masanobu Fukuoka was an Australian inventor, and engineer. He certainly doesn't look like what most people expect. He was from Sydney, Australia. His children still reside in New South Wales.

  6. Ming Song

    Yeah I can see ur garden is definitely a great canvas to start with. U r so lucky that it’s also southern facing. How big is ur lot?

  7. AJ Burton

    I have had a nice crop 😉 of oats from straw … I've actually had better luck with some hay which was of unknown age – pretty old- but not rotted at all. Anyway, now I use wood chips, free from neighbor. Love your place !

  8. Dane Hart

    the germans used trees to raise up ground levels in swamps and tossed dirt over the felled trees 2000 years ago for crops and roads , this wood based rot still giving best production spots over 100s of years of recorded farming . cheap and long lasting going on the next 1000 years


    Wow 😮 just wow. Thank you so much for this video. There are not many videos that show you how to make a beautiful garden from blank and raw. I was starting to get discouraged, but now I have inspiration. First time viewer and new subscriber. I slapped that bell.

  10. B Hawthorne

    tie off small 3ft sections starting at the end of whatever you want to trim…anchor that to a thicker part of the branch next to the trunk. by tying off and wrapping around the branch, you end up with a swinging cut branch that you can lower and control the drop with…..awesome garden! new sub

  11. B Mell

    This may be a stupid question, but why do beds need to be raised?
    Oh, and does the cardboard just stay there… under all the other stuff? It rots quickly? …I guess?

  12. Riverside Transmission

    Tie a rope up high to branch , then run it to ground (someone holds it) tie another rope above where you cut tight to tree with long rope inside it , then cut , lower the branch down (guy on ground holding rope)

  13. Ardalan Haddad

    This is the spirit that every urban gardener should maintain. I totally admire how you have been working on such a wonderful transformation of a bare land into a productive food forest and that feeling of satisfaction and independence you gain by all those hard work put in is unbeatable and so uplifting.
    Thanks for sharing your gardening progress with us. Cheers to many years of delicious and healthy food and vegs. Those chickens 🐔 are so lucky.

  14. Simply Impish

    Thank you so much for sharing your garden! As well as successes and learning opportunities
    Im Definitely working on my food forest and can see some ideas I can use 🌸🦄🌈💖

  15. alice nakajima

    Watching your garden from lawn to food forest is so inspiring. I love how you try out the different methods of gardening. Since your new videos still show the hugulkulture beds in place, does it mean that is your preferred method?

  16. Julian A. A. Young

    Or you could just not cut down that tree a giant section at a time and actually get someone who knows what they're doing to go further into the tree to cut a smaller section? That was painful as a gardener and forester to watch you incorrectly cut down that tree which then destroyed your almond tree. Oof. Completely preventable. You tie a rope onto the branch, then you tie the other end of the rope onto the tree. You never cut a chunk off big enough that would bring down the limb the rope is attached to. It's not that hard, bud

  17. Jennifer Turner

    It just keeps getting better! 😁 I hope ours will do the same thing. We are in the midst of our first season of the first year. Looking forward to 5 yrs down the road is mind blowing if we grow like you did! Thanks for sharing your journey. 😁👍🏻

  18. The Back Porch Farmer

    Hey Dan! Some great ideas and a ton of information. I appreciate how you use every square foot possible for growing… I subscribed!! Have a great day!

  19. Robin Conkel-hAnnan

    You should have some wild food plants too.. I have poke, dock, plantain, and a few others that I now cultivate in my garden..

  20. c fedyszyn

    You did a really nice job transforming a plain grass yard into a beautiful garden that is pleasant, full of variety and offers up nutritious food. . I've replaced much of our lawn into garden and am so glad I did.

  21. Sean Reed

    Dan, you and Alice have accomplished a lot of incredible work, effort, purpose and progress in three years. Thanks for sharing. Looks like the prep work made a great deal of difference.

  22. Денис Шутов

    Nice garden you got after all. Great work. My greetings from Russia. But i read that in USA its prohibited to grow food for yourself. It was told, one can only grow green lawn. Its all supposed to be bought at stores and made by corporations, isn't it?

  23. CrossGrain Wood Products,LTD

    What happens when the card board breaks down? What will hold the soil back from coming through the wire fence? Did you buy the soil by the truck load or baged soil? I would love to turn my back yard into a food forest too, but I have a HUGE black walnut tree on the side of the lawn which is toxic to most vegi plants. It killed off the tomatoe plants I planted about 75ft away from the tree. I can't afford to hire someone to take it down and it is a beautiful tree.

  24. Valerie K

    That is one hell of a beautiful & very productive garden! You mix & match various ways of putting your garden together, the diversity works. It's a credit what you have achieved in a relatively short time. No big story needed here, your patch speaks volumes. As for cutting down that tree on your own, majority of ppl have done the same, my hubby did what you did & wouldn't have done it if he didn't know what he was doing, like yourself. I understand what others are saying about insurance, but then we would need insurance from the moment we walk outside our door first thing in the morning, just in case a brick falls from the sky 🙂 love what you have done, just subbed 🙂

  25. The Planetary Archives (BlackHorseMedia)

    Beautiful! But next time hire a professional to trim or remove trees! Many a homeowner has been injured or killed trying to remove a tree. They are heavier than they look!

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