"I am thinking now that some of my raised beds are empty taking them out and turning that area into a food forest. It's on a north facing slope with lots of sun with some tree and bush shelter and about 12 x 6 meters. any ideas anybody."
Sounds like a great idea. In that space you can fit two semi dwarf apples 106 0r 793 rootstock) or 4 dwarf fruit or nut trees. Half a dozen berries, some other perennials like rhubarb. Include a range of other plants to make it a stable system:
Nitrogen fixing, deep rooted to mine minerals, others to attract insects, a vine, some root crops, bulbs etc.
do you have a photo of the area ? placement is important
Hi Shaun - How much ground have you got? Are you a straight row gardener wanting to try permaculture? If so have you read Mollisons books? My food forest project is 250m2 and is 6 months old. Ive made a few mistakes but nothings died yet. Youve got the fork up the right way so you should be OK. I read a lot and follow the suggestions of the pioneer permaculture teachers (Bill Mollison, Masanobu Fukuoka, Sepp Holzer). Im currently reading Gaias Garden by Toby Hemenway.
Just read in Toby Hemenways 'Gaias Garden' that most fruit forest gardeners retain intensive veg beds to secure their veg supplies. Have you got another area for a fruit forest that wouldnt result in removing existing raised beds?
The biggest thing you need to decide is what do I want from this space? What type of fruit you like? What types of fruit can I get easily from the local markets that I am prepared to buy. I would then look at the types of fruit that you can't get and would like. How much work you want and can put in. With trees it is a lot less than garden beds.
For me I just had to put in a Fig tree. You can't buy good figs!! The next thing on the list is a sour lemon and a Clementine mandarin as again they are hard to find at the local fruit shops and markets. Then I would just look at my land and decide how I am going to plant according to what the trees need. I also have a banana that I have had for over forty years. I like espaliered trees because I can put in more around them. But on my current property haven't planted much yet.(keep hoping that we will move to where i will have more space). Don't forget the use of heat sinks and shelter that might mean extending or speeding up you fruit harvest.