Farm, Garden and The Land > Permaculture, Land Management and Foraging

Pine Tree Land

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Tyler Durden:
Not sure if this belongs here or the gardening one but...

What are the chances of growing decent gardens and even apple and pear trees in Highly acidic soil?

We are in western Montana and are looking for a house right now. We just looked at one in our price range on ten acres but it's all forested property. Pine tree forested. I have been waiting for this opportunity for almost ten years and I want to start producing alot of my own food. There is another property on nicer land- more open land right next to a creek, but it's a smaller house and costs about $80,000 more and is toward the upper end of our price range.  If growing food is an important part of my future should I pass on heavily pine-forested land and hold out for something better or can good crops (fruit trees included) be grown in pine forests?

mountainmoma:
get the better soil by the water, if the soil is truley better.  GO check it out, bring a shovel.  If they are both the same soil/pine forest but one the just already cleared it, not worth the money more -- But, if that open area is actually already good, darker colored, deeper soil that is worth it.  It takes a long time to improve soil, and those pines will grow on thinner worse soil than your garden. 

LvsChant:
I'm thinking it depends on just how much land you need for your garden... We have had most success in using raised beds, which you can pretty much fix the soil for those beds immediately and then continue by composting, etc. Just sayin'

Now having access to the creek is valuable in itself, but you'd have to make the decision about how much more it is worth... and what else is around the two properties... etc.

Tyler Durden:
The house on the creek already got an offer and I think might be in a bidding war. It looks like a house on good soil might be a long shot. I assumed that raised beds would be my best hope for gardens. Any thoughts on the ability to grow fruit trees on the aforementioned soil? Have any of you successfully done it? Thanks for the help!

bigbear:
No personal experience, but your thread got me curious (partially because I just dropped a pine tree that left a circle of death...).

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-10-16/hornshurst-forest-garden-growing-food-forest-clearing/

Here's a story of transitioning from a pine forest to a food forest.  You'll be interested in how they addressed acidity in two ways:  soil improvement and grafting to more acidic tolerant rootstock (clever). 

https://www.facebook.com/Hornshurst/

Sounds like it's a slow process, but doable.

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