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Are there any permaculture summer warriors around? Benign neglect and permaculture

 
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Because at this time in my life, I am less interested in city life and I crave gardening without a clear objective, I had made my calculations and I could retire within 5 years.

I bought a piece of agricultural land in the North of Spain while I live in the USA for 9 or 10 months of the year. I get to visit Spain and I can stay near my plot of land a few weeks a year, and I get to dream about it for many months.  I also travel once or twice a year to the South of Spain, where I was considering buying a cheap plot of rural land instead of an apartment in the small town for under $15,000. The original plan was to retire early in the North of Spain, that is in 4 1/2 years. But since the winters are cold, and long, and dark, I would spend part of them in the South of Spain. I love the wet forests of the North, and I crave the arid semi-desserts of the South. Can I plant two gardens and do permaculture and be so dispersed?

I need a system of land management based on of benign neglect. I was thinking in creating one swell or pond in the highest point of the properties, set some stones, or something to slow down water and hydrate the soil, plant or encourage the growth of nitrogen fixers, plant a few trees, get some bees, and come back in a year. Is anyone envisioning something like this?

At home, since I have no garden, and no direct sunlight,  I have been experimenting with closed environments in small scale. Will these experiments teach me what to do when I finally decide what to do with the land?  I leave the States for 2 months every Summer, all plants and animals I leave at home must be self-sufficient for food and water and have to be in sealed terrariums. I have been studying the water cycle, creating undersoil medium with good bacteria and included small insects (springtails and roly-polies) and my closed terrariums are thriving. A few weeks ago I branched into a self sufficient aquarium. This one uses no pump and no electric filter, the only external output is the light on a timer. Right now, I am inoculating the sand of the aquarium with good bacteria that will filter and clean the water with the help of plants. I have added cherry shrimps that will live of green algae, the water looks really clear now.

Turns out I can retire in a few years as planned, by my husband needs to travel and even after retirement we will not settle down for about 10 years at least, but will be traveling in slow circles visiting the two plots in Spain a few weeks a year.

Could I build soil and hydrate the plots while being absent most of the time? Is my situation unique? In anyone here dealing with this?

.
 
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Location: The Balkans, Sofia
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Hi there, I think it is really great coincidence that you are able to visit your property exactly during the dry summer months.
Plant as many trees as you can, and water them, the strong sun during the summer is great but only if you can provide water, otherwise it just kills everything, figuring out how to provide water will be the most important thing imo, since we have that really dry and hot weather here too... during the other seasons your absence wont be that noticed, so dont feel that discouraged because of it.
I experiment with self sufficient aquarium too, I have left the process of formation of soil and I use direct sunlight, my plants are thriving, and everything is really clean(the glass(nerite snails) and the water(clams)). The bottom is a mess according to the general opinion though.
 
pollinator
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Mark Shepard's STUN system sounds pretty well matched... it began life as Sheet Total Utter Neglect; plant OODLES of trees and see what lives..

Now the acronym is Strategic Total Utter Neglect... what changed? Water the trees in the dry season, for the first 3 years or so.

Earthworks don't care if you're there or not..

Perhaps someone would like to graze their animals over your land, responsibly?
 
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Location: Banana belt of Canada, zone 9.
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I've been doing "hugelkultur" with whatever kind of wood scraps and compost I can find laying around the property and last year's effort, which was pine wood with a whole ton of sawdust and added nitrogen, did a surprisingly good job of keeping my plants going throughout the summer drought. I watered the pile only once during the whole summer (about 8 weeks straight of no rain at all) and nothing looked wilted or sad. I was doing mostly wildflowers since it was kind of nasty compost, but I did get some volunteer tomatoes and common nightshade spring up. The wood does a good job of absorbing water during the wet season and slowly releasing it as needed during the dry season. This year I'm going to be doing a lot more of the same and hoping for similar results.

Another option for a hands-off property might be starting up some useful lower-maintenance trees (nuts or wood for woodworking?) that can mostly thrive on their own. Get an inexpensive and hardy species and it should be ok on its own and if a few die it won't be too bad. If you can mulch around it or put some fertilizer in the hole when you plant, it might help.

I think it's really not ideal to only have a few weeks per year to be with your plot, especially as you're starting, since I've learned a lot by observing mine so far and "the best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow" and all that kind of thing. Your plot is not going to be as nice in 5 years as someone who had been living there and tending it full-time. But I think you can make it be nicer than if you'd waited another 5 years (when you retired) to buy, which is a more realistic comparison from your perspective. I think the same goes for the 50/50 split between two properties. If each property was being run by a full-time person of equal skill, they'd probably both be better and more productive. OTOH if you only want half a year's worth of food/materials then if each is 60% as good then you're already ahead. You also have the benefit that with two separate climates I bet you'll have a lot more freedom with what you can grow. If something isn't suited to the rainy north then you can try it in the drier south and vice versa. Most people don't have that option.
 
Ella Irati
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Borislav Iliev wrote:Hi there, I think it is really great coincidence that you are able to visit your property exactly during the dry summer months.
Plant as many trees as you can, and water them, the strong sun during the summer is great but only if you can provide water, otherwise it just kills everything, figuring out how to provide water will be the most important thing imo, since we have that really dry and hot weather here too... during the other seasons your absence wont be that noticed, so dont feel that discouraged because of it.
I experiment with self sufficient aquarium too, I have left the process of formation of soil and I use direct sunlight, my plants are thriving, and everything is really clean(the glass(nerite snails) and the water(clams)). The bottom is a mess according to the general opinion though.



Hi,

It is a very humid area in the North of Spain. I guess I just need to keep the water in the land, as it dries over the summer.

My water aquarium is developing a white film on top, but I have only sand, with what I hope is good filtering bacteria, plants and cherry shrimps. I have a very messy bottle with solid, sand plants and nerite snails...
 
Ella Irati
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Borislav Iliev wrote:Hi there, I think it is really great coincidence that you are able to visit your property exactly during the dry summer months.
Plant as many trees as you can, and water them, the strong sun during the summer is great but only if you can provide water, otherwise it just kills everything, figuring out how to provide water will be the most important thing imo, since we have that really dry and hot weather here too... during the other seasons your absence wont be that noticed, so dont feel that discouraged because of it.
I experiment with self sufficient aquarium too, I have left the process of formation of soil and I use direct sunlight, my plants are thriving, and everything is really clean(the glass(nerite snails) and the water(clams)). The bottom is a mess according to the general opinion though.



Hi,

It is a very humid area in the North of Spain. I guess I just need to keep the water in the land, as it dries over the summer.

My water aquarium is developing a white film on top, but I have only sand, with what I hope is good filtering bacteria, plants and cherry shrimps. I have a very messy bottle with solid, sand plants and nerite snails...
 
Ella Irati
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"it began life as Sheet Total Utter Neglect; plant OODLES of trees and see what lives.."

I want to do that, but like you suggest, have the water works embebed in the design first, it would be too sad for me to eliminate a good oak or fruit tree later on for engineering reasons... I am also experimenting with the idea of getting local small trees from the abundant forests around, specially, I would like to find sweeter oak acorns to to eventually use as food.



Perhaps someone would like to graze their animals over your land, responsibly?[

More than responsibly, traditionally. Y have a neighbour who has been using the field for his sheep, they keep the grass shortish and the field "clean" rotating sheep. I can not tell the neighbour to stop brining in the sheep until I am ready to do something real to the field, or it will become an impenetrable jungle in a couple of years. When I examine the soil (with a clueless city dweller eye), it does not appear to have a lot of humus. It does not retain water either, in the summer, in spite of all the yearly rainfall, grass dries out. Part of the field has this growing, with I keep in mind for the future, as I could enter the weedy area with an automatic saw and use it for hugelkulture or mulch.
 
Borislav Iliev
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Ella Irati wrote: "it began life as Sheet Total Utter Neglect; plant OODLES of trees and see what lives.."

I want to do that, but like you suggest, have the water works embebed in the design first, it would be too sad for me to eliminate a good oak or fruit tree later on for engineering reasons... I am also experimenting with the idea of getting local small trees from the abundant forests around, specially, I would like to find sweeter oak acorns to to eventually use as food.



Perhaps someone would like to graze their animals over your land, responsibly?[

More than responsibly, traditionally. Y have a neighbour who has been using the field for his sheep, they keep the grass shortish and the field "clean" rotating sheep. I can not tell the neighbour to stop brining in the sheep until I am ready to do something real to the field, or it will become an impenetrable jungle in a couple of years. When I examine the soil (with a clueless city dweller eye), it does not appear to have a lot of humus. It does not retain water either, in the summer, in spite of all the yearly rainfall, grass dries out. Part of the field has this growing, with I keep in mind for the future, as I could enter the weedy area with an automatic saw and use it for hugelkulture or mulch.



My advice would be to plant chestnuts, your land appears to be really good for that! Even the best acorns wont come close to what the chestnut is.

Dont be afraid for your property to become a "jungle", this is the only way for the fertility to accumulate, and for the humidity from the rains to retain for longer during summer, buy a machete if needed and just create small paths if needed, when you have something to plant you can always clear the are and to use the material for mulch. If you plant trees just cut some branches to create some light for your trees.
You should start thinking immediately how to stop the sheep from stealing the fertility from the land and destroying vegetation, you can start looking for any thorny bushes, figure a way to plant as many as possible on the edges of your property to discourage the animals from entering. Also plant as many wild trees around too, so that when you plant your good trees they wont be the only thing to be molested by grazing animals.

Dont be afraid of any vegetation, just chop and mulch around the trees and dont let them being too shaded, the real killer in the med region is the heat and the lack of moisture.

I have experimental small jars with different types of stuff and the ones that get that white thing are these that are more shaded(especially during winter), maybe the light is not enough. Also you may try to measure the PH of the water, if it is too low(acidic), you can start adding a little bit of wood ash.
Also maybe you should change the water a little bit from time to time if you see something is not working well, the balance of small things like an aquarium can easily be shifted in a wrong direction.
(I change just 5% of the water every week, and I use it to water my plants)
 
Ella Irati
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"My advice would be to plant chestnuts, your land appears to be really good for that! Even the best acorns wont come close to what the chestnut is."


Borislav, you are correct! The village has a nearby field with 500 year old chestnuts! It is true that oaks do not do too well in this village according to a neighbour, beechs do very well and there is a beech forest that starts at 2km. What made you think the area was good for chestnuts? I am very impressed, what else should I do?
 
Borislav Iliev
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Well I am obsessed with chestnuts, so my advice will always include planting chestnuts lol, even if the conditions are not perfect.

If it was me I would plant seeds from the most expensive big chestnut varieties and also seeds from these old trees that were there for ages, and I will set it so that some crossbreeding can happen(trying to get the best from both), the bad part is it will take very long time, but we should trust the future generations to continue the work.

You can make nursery beds for the chestnuts(seeds), pick spots that are between  shade and full sun, also it should be a little bit not very obvious place so that they will be spared from the sheep, observe where small trees are already growing, these should be fine spots, dig a hole and fill it with really nice topsoil that you will find under the trees around, it will be hard to do it in the summer though... the best time is to go there when the chestnuts are ready and the ground is a little bit soft from the autumn rain.
Make as many such spots as possible, you can pick more sunny places, but you should kill the grass there first and to mulch it good so that the grass wont suffocate the small trees, try different places and observe what works, go around the villages and try to find other fine valuable trees and collect seeds, and do the same, you can plant in the same beds, you will transplant them later. Maybe you should not put too many on one spot because you can attract wild animals.

My dream land(which I dont have), is something like yours, but close to a river so that I can water the plants when the sun is stronger, our winter is very cold and not really perfect for chestnuts, but northern Spain sounds really great!

Here is a nice video about chestnuts


 
Posts: 339
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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Hello Ella,

I am in a similar situation with properties and timelines: largish urban garden in a ‘Temperate’ climate, and a rural property in ‘Subtropics/Tropics’ about an eight hour plus drive away – far enough to make a difference, but not something to do frequently i.e. need at least a week to travel, organise stuff, get things done, then travel again – hectic when working full time.

However, it is perhaps the easiest combination if you’re lucky enough to have two sites – one urban Permiesque garden, and a rural property being developed into a fully pimped Permie garden.

The major issue is keeping on top of the workload - it is hard work to establish, and regardless of what some people say, it is very time-consuming to maintain two properties particularly when there is significant distance between sites.

Other things also need to be considered, like the cost to keep multiple sets of tools and other resources on each property, unless you have a truck/van capable of ferrying all required gear between properties continuously.

The workload and travelling becomes more problematic as people age/health unexpectedly deteriorates.

Frankly, it would be much easier to have one site that ticks most boxes and develop it with all resources focused rather than spreading it out and (realistically) doing a half-baked job at both locations.

The caveat being, if you intend to develop one and use it as an investment e.g. in later retirement, sell one as an established Permie garden.

Obviously, with very careful planning and design it can be done, but it may seem like a fulltime job rather than ‘retirement’.

Spain is a popular place at the moment and attracting people to assist you may not be a bad idea e.g. you could consider getting assistance via the WWOOFer network = World Wide Opportunities/Willing Workers on Organic Farms. That would fast-track progress – especially if you are a good cook!

Enjoy the challenge and best of luck!

 
Ella Irati
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Hi Borislav,

Thank you for the answer!

Borislav Iliev wrote:Well I am obsessed with chestnuts, so my advice will always include planting chestnuts lol, even if the conditions are not perfect.

"If it was me I would plant seeds from the most expensive big chestnut varieties and also seeds from these old trees that were there for ages, and I will set it so that some crossbreeding can happen(trying to get the best from both), the bad part is it will take very long time, but we should trust the future generations to continue the work."

This is amazing! There are the 500 year old chestnuts less than a mile away (I am attaching a photo) , but about 10 miles up another road, a garden that used to be my grandfather´s has prunes and I am sure I could get permission to get in and get some prunes too. What an amazing idea to mix the most expensive chestnut trees seed and the old one that has proven they are perfect for the area, In the field I have, there is an area that is wild and I could make some clearings and plant trees there, away from the sheep.

"You can make nursery beds for the chestnuts(seeds), pick spots that are between  shade and full sun, also it should be a little bit not very obvious place so that they will be spared from the sheep, observe where small trees are already growing, these should be fine spots, dig a hole and fill it with really nice topsoil that you will find under the trees around, it will be hard to do it in the summer though... the best time is to go there when the chestnuts are ready and the ground is a little bit soft from the autumn rain."

I will do this.


"Make as many such spots as possible, you can pick more sunny places, but you should kill the grass there first and to mulch it good so that the grass wont suffocate the small trees, try different places and observe what works, go around the villages and try to find other fine valuable trees and collect seeds, and do the same, you can plant in the same beds, you will transplant them later. Maybe you should not put too many on one spot because you can attract wild animals."

And this.

"My dream land(which I dont have), is something like yours, but close to a river so that I can water the plants when the sun is stronger, our winter is very cold and not really perfect for chestnuts, but northern Spain sounds really great! "

This land is on the border of an artificial lake that feeds the town of Pamplona ( of the running of the bulls fame) with water. I do not have access to the water, but I am hoping to make the land become a sponge and keep the water in it. Have you tried the groasis Growboxx? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRF2bUBPA90 I am obsessed with them and just want an escuse to use them. The North of Spain is where my family comes from, and I want to go back there.

Tell me about your obsession with chestnuts. I thought nothing could compare with oak, it is the only wood we can build with and is not eaten by insects within 10 years in this area. But I am willing to catch another obsession!

"Here is a nice video about chestnuts


"

I worry a little about the illness that wiped them out. What do you know about it? There are many tree illnesses that are attacking trees all over Spain, but I have not heard of anything that attacks chestnuts.

Ella Irati
chestnut.png
[Thumbnail for chestnut.png]
 
Ella Irati
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F Agricola wrote:Hello Ella,

I am in a similar situation with properties and timelines: largish urban garden in a ‘Temperate’ climate, and a rural property in ‘Subtropics/Tropics’ about an eight hour plus drive away – far enough to make a difference, but not something to do frequently i.e. need at least a week to travel, organise stuff, get things done, then travel again – hectic when working full time.

However, it is perhaps the easiest combination if you’re lucky enough to have two sites – one urban Permiesque garden, and a rural property being developed into a fully pimped Permie garden.

The major issue is keeping on top of the workload - it is hard work to establish, and regardless of what some people say, it is very time-consuming to maintain two properties particularly when there is significant distance between sites.

Other things also need to be considered, like the cost to keep multiple sets of tools and other resources on each property, unless you have a truck/van capable of ferrying all required gear between properties continuously.

The workload and travelling becomes more problematic as people age/health unexpectedly deteriorates.

Frankly, it would be much easier to have one site that ticks most boxes and develop it with all resources focused rather than spreading it out and (realistically) doing a half-baked job at both locations.

The caveat being, if you intend to develop one and use it as an investment e.g. in later retirement, sell one as an established Permie garden.

Obviously, with very careful planning and design it can be done, but it may seem like a fulltime job rather than ‘retirement’.

Spain is a popular place at the moment and attracting people to assist you may not be a bad idea e.g. you could consider getting assistance via the WWOOFer network = World Wide Opportunities/Willing Workers on Organic Farms. That would fast-track progress – especially if you are a good cook!

Enjoy the challenge and best of luck!



Hello,

Your situation is very interesting, 8 hours drive does require a week to visit the site. I will be retiring in 4 1/2 years, and I am not thinking about making an investment with this, I am thinking my teaching career was my investment, the little money I will get needs to suffice then. But to the question: What do I want to do with the rest of my life? The real answer is: Gardening (and swimming). I just want to be playing with water and plants. My health is not good now, I got vaccines 20 years ago which destroyed my health, but I hope I will get better and have a healthy old life. (Anyone interested in vaccines, mercury and curing autism should check Andrew Cutler). The North of Spain is where I expect to be most of the time, but the weather can be very harsh. I have a lot of love in my heart for a place and a people in the South of Spain, not to mention it is hot and sunny and very dry. I have a great desire to turn a desert into a lush garden all by natural means, waterworks, clever ways to store water underground with rocks or sand and natural man made ponds, but it is impossible to do that in a humid,  fertile area. I am sending you a picture, side by side of the two places, and you may understand why my heart is divided!
Untitled.png
[Thumbnail for Untitled.png]
the desert area I am looking into
Untitled-3.png
[Thumbnail for Untitled-3.png]
the bigger site I got
 
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This is a magnificent conundrum. I don't have any advice, but I love the problem and learned a lot reading the replies and watching the Chestnut video.
 
Borislav Iliev
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Location: The Balkans, Sofia
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Ella Irati wrote:

I worry a little about the illness that wiped them out. What do you know about it? There are many tree illnesses that are attacking trees all over Spain, but I have not heard of anything that attacks chestnuts.

Ella Irati



This with the illnesses happens all the time, it has happened with humans too many times back in history.
It comes down all to mathematics, bigger population means more trials from all sorts of pathogens to adapt to use you as food, on the contrary the means of protection for the species is the random mutations that will accumulate diversity, and then it comes the sexual reproduction that can create any combination that will manage to survive.
It happened a lot, it happens now and it will continue to happen in the future, its how nature is, no need to worry about it.
There is no need to worry for things you cant control or change, the only thing you can do is to trust nature, providing as wide genetic diversity as posible, then letting sexual reproduction to take place(using seeds), and then giving chance for the future generations to prove their virility is how things work.
With trees the big mistake humans do is that they use grafting, they dont want to sacrifice with using sexual reproduction because trees take too long to mature, and having unpredictable results at the end indeed costs a lot, but this way it is inevitable that you will end up with lots of problems, and you will need various poisons to solve these problems.

So my point is it is very predictable that a nasty disease will come from Asia(in the case of chestnuts too), because of mathematics and numbers, but then there is sexual reproduction who will come to fix that problem and save things, America was too isolated from the old world, so the chestnuts were really not prepared, and Europe had some from that disease and trees here are more resistant, but still they are not as good as the Chinese chestnuts when it comes to dealing with diseases. I managed to find and plant Chinese chestnuts too(despite crossing with that distant relative has some bad sides too, but that can be worked out later down the line), also I am asking people who travel in different countries to bring me chestnuts lol.
The American chestnut has its protection from the Chinese one now, and this problem is fixed for now.
Its really a long topic, but all people should know is that planting trees from seeds is more important than they may think, it is the only way nature works, and solve problems...
 
Ella Irati
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Hi,

You are very confident on the issue of planting the trees from seed (you make total sense) and crossbreeding for protection. It seems that the chestnut is still fine in Spain. Funny you mention the chinese chestnuts have some immunity. There have been some plagues coming from China like graphiosys that wiped out wild elm in Europe, and lately, el picudo that was demolishing for the palm trees in Valencia and the Tristeza which has almost done away with orange trees... I do think that part of it is the methods of graphing and artificial raising of trees, I wonder if good fungus in the roots and a more natural type of raising trees could offer protection to some of the tree plagues now. Do you know about any of these?
 
Borislav Iliev
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Hi Ella

Yes for sure looking after every species the way nature intended cant be wrong, after all every species exist exactly because it is doing something very specific in the best way there is, so thats what is earning its place under the Sun.
Here people have planted a lot the horse chestnut, as a decoration tree, you can see it all over the city, the trouble is in the end of summer its leafs are all sick and dead, it is some disease, but in some places  it is not the case, the difference is that they are being provided some water.
It is exactly like humans, bad nutrition, stress, lack of other essential things will rise the chance  for developing or catching any disease there is.
Planting trees from seeds is really the long term solution of problems, I understand well I may not benefit from it myself, for me the end product of raising plants(the food) is not the most important thing, otherwise using grafted varieties and poison makes the most sense(its how most people see it).
But I am lucky not to rely on this as my main source of income(otherwise I would be doing all the wrong things too), I am not blaming farmers for what they are doing. It will be good though if more people sacrifice a little bit for the better future.
 
Ella Irati
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Christina Mulchmuch wrote:This is a magnificent conundrum. I don't have any advice, but I love the problem and learned a lot reading the replies and watching the Chestnut video.



Well Christina, I am really into the conundrum. what I am doing at home, and then bring to my 2nd grade students, is making small self contained environments. Things I can just leave and not water nor feed ever, I just have a lamp on a timer. It helps me learn about the water and practice utter neglect. Here is what I have going on:

A self contained terrarium, so far, it has decaying leaves and wood, plants, moss, and springtails and hopefully rolly pollies. This one has been going on for since September.

A self contained cold water acquarium with live red shrimp, I am growing good bacteria in the ¡bottom sand that will act as a natural filter for the water, and a few plants give the oxygen needed. No air pump, no noisy electric filter. This one has been going on for a month and I am going to use the sand to inoculate the sand of new jar aquariums to have the pond snails that arrived with the plants.
 
Ella Irati
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Borislav Iliev wrote:Hi Ella

Yes for sure looking after every species the way nature intended cant be wrong, after all every species exist exactly because it is doing something very specific in the best way there is, so thats what is earning its
Here people have planted a lot the horse chestnut, as a decoration tree, you can see it all over the city, the trouble is in the end of summer its leafs are all sick and dead, it is some disease, but in some places  it is not the case, the difference is that they are being provided some water.
It is exactly like humans, bad nutrition, stress, lack of other essential things will rise the chance  for developing or catching any disease there is.
Planting trees from seeds is really the long term solution of problems, I understand well I may not benefit from it myself, for me the end product of raising plants(the food) is not the most important thing, otherwise using grafted varieties and poison makes the most sense(its how most people see it).
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Hi Borislav,

Thank you for answering, I am enjoying our conversation because I like your thinking and your observations of the natural world around you. My little cold water aquarium with no filter nor oxygen pump is doing very well, the white film on top is diminishing thanks to your advice of giving it more light. I am really pleased that the sand itself is becoming the bacteria's home and I will not need the matala net I put at the bottom to hold bacteria. My original idea was to figure out how to naturally hold water inside the ground like Zephaniah Phiri did in his piece of desert and eroded land.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXLD0akTmrI
I am obsessed with water, that is why I am looking into very cheap pieces of land in the South of Spain, so I can convert a piece of desert into... I do not know yet. This is my big project in the making.

That you are obssesed with chestnuts is fascinating to me. My mother remembered eating roasted chestnuts as a little girl, and 500 year old chestnuts in the area tell me that in spite of the Roman´s wheat introduction, in the harsh cold mountains, the original diet of mu people was meat and milk, of course, but for carbohydrates that stored over the winter, it had to be chestnut, introduced maybe 5000 years before, that substituted the oldest staple, that had to be beechnut, which I suspect was loosely cultivated or promoted by the people and acorns, which I now suspect where promoted too. I am beginning to suspect that the beech and oak forests we enjoy now are not as pristine and primordial a we thought. Traditional fields for cows or sheep have one oak in the middle that gave shade in the summer, and probably more grass and acorns in the fall... Now, can to the chestnuts, I would love to know what about chestnuts obsess you, types of chestnuts etc.

Another topic you mention that interests me intensely is the issue of planting trees from seeds, which takes so long, but also transplanting older trees, which can shorten the wait for an impatient late come gardener like me. I see that in the local paper they sell old date palms and old olive trees, and I wonder about it, if I get a few older trees I could get an insta-garden, with shade.

 
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