I understand how overwhelming it is to start. I think you’re going to find a lot of folks suggesting to break it down into small pieces. Just giving what you’ve described you could lay the extra wood on contour and cover in as much organic matter as possible. Along the same line you could have wood chips delivered and piled thick. You’ll be surprised how fast that conditions the soil underneath. If you just want to start small buy some Austrian Winter Pea, pic a spot and plant. Lots of nitrogen and biomass for next season. The main thing starting out is getting some roots in the ground. Even things that I wouldn’t consider soil building plants help so much. Plain old winter rye grass seed does a great job and will grow on concrete. I tossed handfuls on hard Carolina clay (pretty much pottery) and bysummer it’s three foot tall and ready for chop n drop.
Happy Labor Day my friends! I hope you are all having a great day so far.
I am in need of some help. I want to grow some some lettuce for the fall but am unsure what varieties consider where I live. I’ve never been much of a lettuce guy until recently. I prefer a head lettuce but I’m open for any suggestions. I’d also like to know what your favorite companions are. I have a large cold frame that I can use and the garden itself has a decent amount of frost protection.
A good thread to start Lara. All of the replies you’ve gotten so far are excellent and far better than what I’m about to suggest. If you have the time and resources go with the comments above mine. If you don’t go to your local box store and get a bag of winter rye grass seed. That stuff will grow on concrete! If you want to go a step further grow some Austrian winter pea along with it. Late next spring the they both will die leaving a thick layer of biomass to recharge your soil. If you decide on just the rye the job is really easy. Just broadcast on top and water.
When I saw my first permaculture video I went out the next day and started digging holes. Holes everywhere. All shapes, sizes and orientations. I even dug straight down, dropped in a log and planted hops on top. I remember thinking that the Hugelcultures were a hedge against drought but I’ve found it to mitigate too much rainfall as well. In a typical year we get a decent amount of rain in spring and nothing all summer. In summer and into fall rain comes after a tropical system has hit another part of the southeast. This year has been an odd one one as far as that goes. Precipitation has been heavy and often. My neighbors have lost most of their soil to erosion and their veggies have rotted where the water stood. Not here though. Everything continues along its merry way of profound production. They really are the perfect weapon against uncertain weather patterns year after year.
I’m probably in the minority on this one. I chop and drop everything. If it’s something I eat (including weeds) I don’t care how many seeds drop. A great deal of my gardens are volunteer plants. Most things I like can be easily noticed if they regrow in spring. Things I don’t like are plucked out when small. When I plant I stomp down whatever’s there then walk on it while in the garden.
Here’s what I’ve done. A draw knife has worked wonderfully and using the tool has become pleasant. Here’s what I didn’t realize, I love using it like a left handed scythe. Now I want a straight lefty model! The blade angle isn’t right but the edge is sharp and it does ok. Way better than I’d expect.
Hello again Anne! You raise a good point because it does disappear quickly. Here’s what I do. I have veggie and flower gardens with comfrey planted right in the middle. When it’s of good size I chop and spread around my plants. I think that rapid breakdown allows it to get the the roots when it rains.
A buddy was in horticulture school and was trying out new fertilizers in their greenhouse. Of course I had thoughts on this I wanted to tryout. I made a drying table that would sit over a decent sized bin in the back of my explorer. I would put a single layer of comfrey on the table until it turned to a green powder in the bin. It only took a couple days during the summer then more would go on the rack. When greenhouse time rolled around he would mix in 1/4 cup per gallon of potting soil. It held its own against all synthetic fertilizers. The only one that blew it out of the water was fish emulsion which made everything else pal in comparison.
I love mimosa trees for this purpose. They can be pollarded or just the green fanlike leaves taken. I cut the same trees to the ground twice a summer here in NC. They are that robust and nearly unstoppable. If they die due to over cutting they release their nitrogen into the ground. No issue there. Right now I’m taking the leaves and small branches to prepare a planting spot for next spring. They are invasive so don’t buy any. If you’re like me and have them anyway you may as well use them for permaculture-type things.
On another note I want to bring up a Privet. Yes, it’s the devil but when cut in the fall and left to dry they make a dandy veggies support the next spring. One year and they fall apart right where they were of use that season! Talk about stacking functions.
Physical stuff is difficult for sure but the mental will have you second guessing yourself. I was a born writer with a great grasp of language, punctuation and flow. Now I struggle to stay on topic when I post here on permies. It gets quite frustrating. Sometimes I’ll type out a reply then delete the whole thing, log off and not show back up here for a few days. Sometimes it’s easier to pretend it’s not happening than to continue trying. When you don’t see me here for awhile that’s usually the reason. I doubt I’m the only one that deals with that though. Sorry to be a downer.
That’s actually in the plans John. We have a log cabin and my wife wants it to look appropriate and not some junk like I’d build. She says she has a plan and knows what it is she’d like to see there. She’s saving and ask for two years to save. Can’t argue with that! For now I use the south facing cabin as a season extension along with cold frames.
Hi there S! Made me a bit emotional reading your reply. MS is a very strange way to go through life but your plan sounds rock solid.
Landrace varieties are an overlooked progression by many. I planted three different varieties of tomatoes this year but have at least eight.
I’m lucky to have started my permaculture journey before any real symptoms started. I saw a link to a hugelculture video Paul posted and immediately signed up on the forums! I’ve been hooked ever since. Instead of a large permaculture farm I’ve now narrowed my focus to my yard and will expand beyond that gradually. My yard is a half an acre but things pretty much go by themselves these days. My instagram page is Stiller_Permacuture if you ever want to see what I do. It’s all informative instead of people taking selfies holding a tomato or something. You can always reach out to me through the Purple Mooseage part of the site as well.
For now be sure to get your vitamin D3 and omegas through either fish or flax oil. I look forward to keeping up with your progress! Scott
All your help has been greatly appreciated. Your knowledge is beyond com-pear 🍐😂. I have already pruned away as much rust as I can find. I plan on pruning back the nearby infected cedar as well. If you have any more tips on dealing with this problem please pass along. Scott
You have a lot of pear knowledge Greg. I wish I could get my Ayers to produce but it’s taken a beating from cedar rust the past two years. I really didn’t know you shouldn’t plant them close to cedars. The few that are close all suffer as well. I will be keeping a closer check on things next year.
There would be lots of unhappiness if I were stuck inside currently Julie. Like learning from nature we have to learn from our bodies too. What I’ve learned over the past six months is I need hobbies that can be done inside. I think I’d have been more prepared if things would have happened over a decade or more but eighteen months has been problematic. I would be lying if I said that it's not been a bit irritating.
Advice appreciated Jay. I feel that my sort of denial isn’t that bad. She wants to pay someone to mow. That isn’t happening because I know where and how I want to use the clippings. She just thinks I push myself to hard which is almost never the case.
My plan for exercise is getting a gym membership when Covid is over. I don’t know what kind of physical activity is best but I feel that’s a good way to try everything. I also plan to take guitar lessons again. I haven’t played in so long I’ve been afraid to try. Today I played for the first time in years and it wasn’t bad. Feeling better about that. I’ve been thinking of martial arts too. I took and taught karate for a decade earlier in life. The body has changed a bit but a little practice is what I’m after.
I was afraid you’d say that. 😂 I fully intended to prune the grapes I bought this winter. The wild ones are insane growers but not sure why. I use zero fertilizer on the farm. One of those was pulled from a tree top around fifty feet away. I had to wait an extra year for it to be long enough to reach my Pre made trellis. They all flower and what appears to be small grapes quickly fade away.
Your help has been very appreciated but I’d love to know more if you or anyone else can help.
I’m 47 but now dealing with new mobility issues due to MS. My wife the Nurse Practitioner says I’m in denial. I see nothing wrong with that. Since my very sanity is directly tied to being outside I’m way more careful than I once was. I’m even considering physical therapy to correct walking issues. Issues that I could have been working on already but was too damn stubborn.
With new problems come come new blessings as well. Working in healthcare all of my life left me with the bad habits of eating too fast, too much and terrible food. I now pay a serious price for dietary indiscretions so I’m more careful there too.
As far as mechanical help getting around I have walking sticks stashed everywhere. Cedar and tulip poplar are my sticks of choice.
The neurologist suggested yoga which I’ve discovered how much I despise.
I don’t know what will happen as I get older but I feel like I’m pretty well able to adjust. At least I hope I am.
Well, here’s the thing. I have MS so my smell and taste have suffered greatly. It’s not always a bad thing 😂. The pear was juicy and refreshing. That’s why I enjoyed it so much. I’m willing to overlook the fact that the peel was a bit tough. It’s more of a back to earth thing than the best fruit I’ve ever tasted thing. As a fellow Permie you definitely understand. It’s a real source of pride that everything I’ve grown has been done so without chemicals or off-farm additions.
Hello all. Five years ago I planted varieties that were suitable to my environment. So far I have not pruned them and they are quite unkept looking. I also pulled wild grapes out of nearby trees and trellised them also. So far I have no grapes. The purchased varieties get covered in rust every year with this year being the worst. The wild grapes grow like crazy but never produce. I have read that many wild ones only produce male flowers. I had hoped to correct this by planting cultivated grapes in between the wild ones. I have considered grafting but haven’t attempted as of yet. I love grapes and would love any help I can get.
Hello all. I have a lot of tomatoes. Here’s how we deal with them.
Slice one in half and place cut side up. Sprinkle your favorite Italian seasoning, and salt. Place a pat of butter and give it a heavy dose of Parmesan cheese. We had a little left over mozzarella so it went on as well. We usually leave it off though. Broil for five minutes and enjoy.
This was the first time I used cherry tomatoes also. They became mushy and unappealing. The full sized fruit are a knife and fork umami blast!
Hey Greg and Steve, check this mess out! I made my granddaughter a fruit harvesting/butterfly net. She’s only interested in fruit until a bug flys by.
Then I made myself one. Twelve feet of bamboo, old grass rake and a small planter’s pot. It’s a bit unwieldy with fruit in the bucket but I’m happy overall.