Owner Operators, Skip & Jennifer Uldricks
558 food forest farm & nursery is a 2.41 acre micro-farm. Currently growing 90 varieties of edible tree crop. Roughly 600 trees, fruit bushes and vines in 20 raised wood chip mounds. We also produce grow-bag vegetable gardens for our lake neighbors with decks who like to garden the easy way. The permaculture approach to a forest garden makes sense when farming such a small section of land. We are in USDA Zone 6, in Coldwater, Mi 49036 We started in 2010, looking like piles of wood chips and plastic tubes (tree Guards)., but it's gotten much better....
- Our goal is to reach $50,000/year in 3 to four years. A special focus on the fruit and nut tree nursery and value added products like fruit vinegars and natural honey fruit preserves in our on-site farm market.
- Harvesting crops from 4 or 5 layers of a self sustainable forest garden should allow us a reasonable return from our planning and labor.
- Perennial and annual vegetables grown in raised beds. Berries and herbs from the bush levels. Peach, pear, kiwi and pawpaw harvested from small tree and vine level. Finally cherries, chestnuts, persimmon and serviceberry from large tree canopy level.
- Farm Management Approach: Sep Holzer's book, A Practical Guide to Small-Scale Integrative Farming and Gardening, is a type of permaculture practiced in northern europe. It has worked well for us here in southern Michigan, so far.
The mounds mitigate the need for irrigation and help jumpstart natural soil fertility almost eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers. Striking an ideal balance between bacteria and fungus speeds up the early growth of tree saplings and vegetables.
The hugelkultur type of mound growing system is two-fold, a very high retention of moisture within decomposing wood chips and also a large percentage of mycelium is present. Fruit trees and mycelium have a beneficial symbiotic relationship.