I've never noticed the allopathic effects your talking about and I let sunflowers self seed all around my plot and leave one here and one there every year. Can't say why your noticing more growth with plants around atm. but in autumn when the seed develops I net up the big heads for myself and let the birds 'go nuts' on the smaller ones, I've observed birds eating the seed and pooping on my garden as they chomp down giving me free fertilizer I will often let sunflowers grow around young fruit trees to take advantage of the bird poop.
I also leave to sunflowers standing in the ground as the ladybirds (I think yanks call em ladybugs) overwinter in the stems.
When it comes to the fourth sister I use borage. the bees love it, and after visiting the borage visit my pumpkin flowers. The great thing about borage is once you plant a few they self seed themselves freely around your garden, and the flowers taste and look great in a salad
In my cool climate I never got the beans to climb my corn, no matter how I timed the planting. But I've had success with planting broad beans [Faba] (which don't climb) in the Autumn before which are harvested May when the last frosts have passed and it is warm enough to plant out my corn and pumpkin (or courgettes) and I mulch the Faba plants in situ and plant super dwarfing french bush beans at the front edge of the raised bed for a later bean crop and more N fixing. Its just a matter of training the pumpkin leaves so they don't cover the beans by moving them or pruning them back
One of my teachers from my PDC was planting willows to dry out area's. he told me how many litres a tree would take out in a day. I forget the numbers, but it sounded unbelievable. The easy thing with planting willows is of course you don't need to buy trees, just stick fresh coppiced branches in the ground, and most of them will make roots and become trees.
I'm also planning to fill up my allotment with as many perennials as I can this spring. Last year when I started renting I had already a rubarb Rheum x hybridum patch from the previous renter, and I planted sunchokes Helianthus tuberosus and asperagus Asparagus officinalis
This year I plan to plant Lovage Rheum x hybridum which is a very strong flavored celery replacement and makes a great base for any soup. and nine star broccoli and tree kale (sorry don't know the latin) as perennial cabbages. Then perpetual leek Allium ampeloprasum var porrum Which I've heard that in a few years I will be over run by leeks if I plant every offset, but I will never have to plant onions again, and treating some of my garlic as a perennial rather than an anual, which I've been told will give me smaller garlic, but it will do wonders for the soil.
I'm not sure how any of this will work in your climate, but I hope you get some Ideas from it.
Another question to anyone out there is if they have perennial lettuce and how could I get my hands on some?
brice Moss wrote: my thoughts re: toxic chemicals in pod liners paints ect 1) we get plenty of exposure to toxics through the air we breath and everyday contact with th stuff of life 2) kept moist in the solid is the best place for these toxics to find something on the foodchain that will absorb them and render them non toxic 3) plenty of naturally created toxins out there too so its a balance of risks and work, I try not to worry about anything less risky to me than taking a shower that is to say if the risk of serious injury statistically is less than the approximately 1-10000 chance I will dies by slipping and cracking my head in the shower I shrug ignore the risk and move on with my life cause the stress of worrying about it is more likely to affect my health than it is.
OK sure, we get plenty of of exposure to toxins through the air, but just for that reason shouldn't we try to minimise the other toxins in our lives?
And when the toxins rot down into the food chain (in our veggie beds) is it not rotting down into our food?
And also what about the permaculture ethic of care for the soil? shouldn't we be doing our best to keep toxins out of the earth instead of intentionally putting them in? I know when I dig up a piece of plastic twine from a previous renter of my allotment, I always take a moment to pick it up and put it in my pocket. I think it is always good to remove plastic, and not put it in.
Travis Philp wrote: I stay away from plastic pond liners because it's likely that they will leach harmful synthetic chemicals into the soil and water.
I was thinking the exact same thing when I heard of the Idea.
I was also wondering if people are concerned about the tape and the ink in cardboard when using it for sheet mulch.
I'm going to be experimenting with sheet mulch next season for the first time, but I am feeling a bit cautious about the ill effects of the chemicals in the ink. I do plan to remove the tape although I have watched countless youtube videos of people spreading the cardboard with the tape still attached, and people using white cardboard which must have been bleached.
I'm planning to plant a black alder on my allotment for a number of reasons ie: shade (as I have none). to take advantage of the extra nitrogen, and as it is indigenous to northern Europe I hope it will attract more wildlife (birds insects etc)..
I've been looking on line for quite some time but I haven't found any mention of an alder guild. If no one has read/created one could someone please have a look around their alders, and let me know whats growing under and around them?
For at least the past ten years, there has been a lot of talk, primarily among those whose alleged concern for sustainability is a cover for exploitation but also among those who should know better, of something called sustainable development. In this phrase, development is essentially a synonym for industrialization, for destruction, as in the development of natural resources. Under this rubric, sustainable development is an obvious oxymoron. Industrialized people consume more resources, and cause more damage, than non industrialized people. The “development” of the industrialized nations has been and continues to be unsustainable for the industrialized nations and for the world at large, and the further “development” of the world will only make things worse.
According to English wikipeda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardiness_zone#Central_Europe_Hardiness_Zones) We (Amsterdam) are in zone 8, but I'm pretty sure when I was reading up on the USDA zones last year, it said we were in zone 7. The reason we are higher than 5 is because we are considered a coastal climate. the science of the USDA climate zones is not very accurate on it's own. It has to be combined with other factors considered. It's more a rule of thumb on what you can grow rather than a set of rules.
(nice to see you here too, see you in the pub Thursday!)
As I understand it the grass and the fruit trees both feed from the top layer of topsoil, while most other plants in the guild will feed from different depths. also the other plants in a guild should serve at least 2 functions while the grass serves none. unless you have kids I really don't see the point in grass. green cancer I call it. but If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.
the first frost is usually just after Halloween, then the temprature drops to -15C (-5F I think) around Xmas, I start plating my broad beans sunchokes and first salads arounf the end of march begin april as the soil warms up again although there is still risk of a freak frost untill the middle of may.
I'm living in Amsterdam Holland, and working a 200 square meter permaculture allotment. I'm going to be building a small house (shed with a bed actually) on the site, which I was planning on training kiwi vines to grow up the south facing wall.
I know I'm not really in the right climate for kiwi, but I thought about harvesting heat with stones, and maybe painting the south wall of my shed black. Does anyone have any experience with trying this? or know any types of kiwi which I would maybe have a better chance with?