[permaculture] clearing land

RiverValley madhava at fidalgo.net
Tue Jan 28 20:55:51 EST 2003

Re: [permaculture] clearing landSorry about the lack information given in the first post.  The land we are currently is 3 acres growing raspberries, apples, vegetables and flowers.

The land we will be moving to (the one covered with alder) is 21 acres.  It is located about 50 minutes east of Bellingham, WA near the town of Maple Falls.  Not all 21 acres are suited for growing row crops.  I would like to clear about 2 acres this year and total about 5 in the the coming years.  The cleared land will be used for a diverse market garden.  I would like to have some type of crop for market this season just so I can maintain some presence at the market.

I like to use low impact, low/no till methods.  Ideally I'd like to clear the land by hand and garden/farm around the little stumps maximizing practices that would make them decompose the fastest (mulching, spraying compost tea etc..).  

Basically I have no experience working with land with little trees.  Any ideas advice about practices or tools would be most appreciated.

Rick you mentioned some interesting tools and methods I'm not familiar with would you be able to send me your phone number off list so I could all and ask some questions?

I'm also interested in learning about ways to make the rest of the land productive and useful and hopefully income producing but have little expierence with forest/agroforesty  systems.  Any advice or books on this topic would be great.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Rick Valley 
  To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 11:27 PM
  Subject: Re: [permaculture] clearing land

    Where are you? What species of alder?

    I"m moving my farm to land that was logged about ten years ago and now is
    covered mainly with alders 8 to 10' feet tall 7 inches or less in diameter.

    I'm wondering what would be the best way to clear the land.  Several ideas
    have been proped to me.  1.  use a cat with tines on the front similar to a
    subsoiler to push the trees over then use an exavator to pile them up then
    chip the trees.
    Works with a drum chipper. $$$$  How many acres are you planning to clear?

    2.  Use an excavator to pull the trees up and pile then
    Same deal because of the soil on 'em,

    3.  Cut trees with a chain saw then let lie to decompose or chip.
    Not fun cutting with a chainsaw at ankle height. Can you afford a forestry-type brush cutter w/a chainsaw-tooth disc blade and full harness? A "Swede axe" brush axe is a good manual method. Haglaf and Sandvik made 'em. You def. want to take them out while in leaf, make stacks "butts in one direction". Then they can be safely chipped with a regular chipper, no roots, no dirt, no rocks.

    I would love to hear any ideas or comments.  Does anyone know how long small
    alders would take to break down?  
    a few months in compost conditions; or you can feed them to stock, fresh or "haystacked" And they are excellent in hugelkultur beds.

    Are there any drawbacks to subsoiling?
    Alders tend to grow on ravaged soil. Is good to re-ravage?  Then all the land will grow is weeds and alders, unless you put alot of inputs in.

    I'm interested in mainting as much of the exsisting soil structure as
    This is good. Alder roots do amazing things.

    Every place in the world alders grow, they have been an important part of traditional agriculture.

    Benton Co. Oregon "Go Beavers"

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