[permaculture] Permaculture in Coastal SC

Tripp Tibbetts slowfoodguy at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 5 00:29:07 EST 2010


Carolyn,
I'll take a stab at this as I'm mentally involved in returning to the south where I grew up, after being away for some time, and adjusting my garden/food forest regime to accomodate the climate differences.  And in the process hopefully I can ameliorate some of Isabel's (Udan Farm) concerns about fruit growing in these conditions.  As you are well aware I'm sure, you're in a hot, humid subtropical climate that gets a lot of rain, and the majority of that during the long hot summer growing season.  As a physical construct, I might suggest trying out an Emilia Hazelip-style, French intensive system:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugFd1JdFaE0
 
This would not only focus your fertility in sandy soils, but it would lift your crops up out of the regular heavy downpours that can wash a well-intentioned garden away like a sandcastle at the beach on a rising tide.  As far as WHAT you grow, I haven't done a lot of specific research into varieties, but you can grow damn near anything in that climate.  The key to disease prevention, besides the usual permacultural IPM strategies, is air circulation.  Keep prevailing breezes moving through your crops.  Don't close down your garden.
 
Any good permie would start to replace annuals with perennials at their earliest convenience, and I assume you'll be heading that direction.  Isabel mentioned that apples, pears, and plums don't do well in our southeastern U.S. climate, but fruit breeding has made just about anything possible these days.  My suggestions: pear - Comice (which is, happily, the flavor standard for pears); apple - Anna, Golden Dorset, or anything that blooms early and matures late like a Brown or Golden Russet (for the permie in you, these are great multi-purpose varieties - fresh, cider, keeper); for plums - try Japanese plums - they usually require far fewer chill hours to produce and are VERY easy for a beginner; cherries - I highly recommend the sweet black cherry 'Lapins' that requires only 500 chill hours; and of course there are lots of blueberries, peaches/nectarines, persimmons, pawpaws, blackberries, and maybe even a Mandarin, like Owari Satsuma (grown by
 Fukuoka himself I believe!), that might do if you could find a warm microclimate in your system.  Plenty of figs would fit the bill, pomegranates, guavas, loquats, medlar, kiwis, grapes, Italian stone pines for nuts, hazels and walnuts (if you get enough chill), pecans, almonds, and the usual suspects in the Nitrogen-fixing category like goumis, pea shrubs (for poultry), and seaberries.
 
If you just have a small garden, choose one or two semi-dwarf fruit trees (you can get 3- or 4-in-1 trees with multiple fruits), a couple of flowering quinces perhaps, bush and bramble berries, goumis, asparagus, strawberries, artichokes, and all the usual annual veggies to keep you happy.
 
Have fun!
 
Tripp



The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
-Chinese proverb
 

--- On Fri, 2/5/10, carolyn anderson <cschampagne at gmail.com> wrote:


From: carolyn anderson <cschampagne at gmail.com>
Subject: [permaculture] Permaculture in Coastal SC
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Friday, February 5, 2010, 2:46 AM


HI,
I'm totally new to permaculture, although I've been peripherally aware of it
for about 9 years.  I recently relocated to Charleston SC and want to grow a
veggie garden using permaculture.  I have limited space and resources, so
it's important to me that I start small and make as few mistakes as
possible. Can anyone refer me to a resource for learning where to begin and
how to proceed in coastal SC conditions?  I have a gift certificate from an
heirloom seed catalogue, and don't even know which varieties will do well
here.  Thanks so much.  Carolyn
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