[permaculture] Greetings

Armed With A Mind Armed With A Mind armedwithamind at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 18 00:23:50 EST 2009


Thanks for the replies,

 

Let me expand a bit on my situation; I'm fairly confident in my abilities to amend the soil properly and have been working with sheet mulching techniques for a few years now (using mostly woodchips, wood ashes, leaves, soil from the paths, compost teas, and grass clippings in various combinations). I'm heavily influenced by the 'one straw revolution', veganic farming, and natural farming in general, though I am no purist and do use animal manures sparingly as we keep horses here for recreation and eventually logging. (little does our young draft cross Amelie realize) I have also read the Mollison series, some of 'Edible Forest Gardens' by David Jacke, and Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway.  I am somewhat mystified about swales in terms of how to best place them in my situation. My farm is located in a flood plain and except for the high-points at the southwest corner and the northeast side of the property, the water table is extremely high, with standing water on many areas of the property this fall and I see this as our biggest limiting factor. Look at me, complaining about having too much water. Some of you must want to slap me right now. So since swales are mostly used to trap water in dry areas, how can I best use them in a wet area? The soil is mostly a sandy loam a small percentage of clay, and ranges from that to more of a sandbox type soil as it slopes very gently down east towards a lake which is about 2 kilometres from the edge of the property. On the eastern half of the property I can easily dig down about 4 feet into nothing but tan coloured loamy sand, and then hit limestone type gravel. 

 

The vegetation is split up into about 30 acres of young forest, and 70 acres of hay (alfalfa and, timothy mostly) The dominant tree species are (in general order of most to least prominent) eastern white cedar, white (paper) birch, balsam poplar, white ash, american beech, basswood, large tooth aspen, the ever-opportunistic european buckthorn, a pure stand of scots pine that is being decimated by disease , and a few windbreak rows of mature sugar maple. Other notable tree populations are willow, staghorn sumac, , manitoba maple, wild apple. 

 

The dominant bushes/shrubs/brambles are choke cherry, dogwood (oh if only I could market dogwood I'd be free of money troubles), wild raspberry, gooseberry, blackberry, wild grape, black currant, and I've found one highbush cranberry next to one black locust that is technically on my neighbors property. I've also found what I think to be one witch hazel bush but maybe its that one that looks like witch hazel, which I can never remember the name of.  If anyone wants clarification with scientific names I can dig them up. I can't give much info about understory plants because I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing the farm prior to early fall but what I've seen so far is; wild strawberry, aster, bracken fern, poison ivy, lots of different types of mosses and of course grasses, some small scatterings of thistle, jewel weed (aka spotted touch me not), tiny amount of asparagus, cattails, black eyed susan, and probably several more I'm forgetting.

 

I plan to plant according to the zone template, and sectioning off the two houses to plant them into prime examples of what one could to convert a suburban sized yard  into a fairly self sufficient kitchen garden. We'd like to bring in the public and other farmers as much as possible to educate and illuminate them to the ways of permaculture, which is barely a whisper around these parts.

 

Our plans for the land in the outer zones are still in the forming stages but we are nothing if not open and ambitious. The one thing we have started is a small planting of  four strawberry beds at 4' X 25' in a zig zag pattern. Over the next two years I forsee us focusing on starting between 2-5 acres of mixed mostly perennial and self seeding vegetables, establishing more strawberry beds, planting out some of the indigenous gooseberry, blackberry and raspberry into sunnier spots with trellis and better soil, going big on asparagus, and maybe doing U-picks of the aforementioned. Also planting several cedar dominant windbreaks due to the high amount of young cedar cramming our woods, and the apparent need for several more windbreaks on the property. Ideally all of the above would be planted in suntrap fashion, and filling in the suntraps once we somehow scrape money together for fruit and nut trees which probably won't happen for two to four years unfortunately. A hardy kiwi or grape maze is another dream of mine. We have a friend nearby who has a soap making business so we plan to cater her herbal needs and maybe expand to supplying nearby herbalists or tea companies depending on demand.

 

I would like to establish the orchards in a forest garden type pattern instead of strict rows, incorporating as many and as wide a variety of marketable crops in all the forest levels from root zone to upper canopy. The plan for the fruit trees is to focus on a few types of pears, apples, and trial other types to see what works, as I understand most don't like wet feet all the time. Maybe swales and/or individual mounds could mediate this factor? We have two vietnamese pot-bellied pigs as pets and would like to get some ducks and/or chickens for pets and are planning to run them in an electric fenced tractor system to establish new gardens and clean up the orchard leftovers and weeds.

 

 As soon as possible I would like to plant an alley crop system in the hay fields we wish to keep with something like walnut mixed with a nurse crop (does anyone know if alders are juglone tolerant?) or some other suitable hardwood either for nuts or high quality timber. That will be determined once I talk to local mills and explore the marketablility of nuts. I'd also like to plant a mixed red and sugar maple stand for eventual syrup production (I'm only 28 so it should be possible in my lifetime). Canada has loans specifically tailored to finance sugar bush stands so hopefully I can take advantage of that. I'm also starting to look into growing goldenseal on our forest floor but my government has some restrictions regarding it that I have to look into. Why they want to restrict the growing of an endangered native species I cannot understand...

 

We have one small pond near the south central edge of the property that is maybe 60-80 feet in diameter which has a willow on the south edge, and a sparse population of cattails, with an island in the middle. It'd be neat to get some watercress, and duck potato (arrowhead?) planted in there.

 

As I said, we are early in the planning stages and I realize that these are ambitious plans which may not all see the light of day but is it not better to think big and start small?  

 

Travis

 

PS- in an earlier post someone mentioned about mistakes within the mollison permaculture book or books. Could someone elabourate on that please, or am I opening a can of worms that I should leave shut?

 

 

 
> From: mtriplett at bctonline.com
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 19:23:25 -0800
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Greetings
> 
> That depends. What are your goals/objectives? And where do you & your
> ground stand in relation to those goals/objectives?
> 
> Mitch Triplett
> Tri-Pearl Family Forest
> Member - CCFFA/OSWA & OTFS
> Associate Member - FSC
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Armed With A
> Mind Armed With A Mind
> Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 6:20 PM
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [permaculture] Greetings
> 
> 
> I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself as I'm new to this place. My
> name is Travis Philp, I'm from Ontario Canada, and I just purchased a farm
> in November so I'm itching to get planting in the spring. I hope I'm in line
> with putting it out there that I'd love to hear any advice in the vein of '
> If I could do one thing over again...'
> 
> 
> 
> Travis
> 
> 
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