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advice needed, vegan forest garden diet

 
Steven Smallwood
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Hello!

Steven's my name. I come to ask for advice. I'm 23 now, getting married next year and moving back to the USA after two years of living in a huge city-- Busan, South Korea. While here in Busan, I went through some major life changes, one of which led me to re imagine my future. I changed my diet to only raw foods, a diet of mainly fruit, with a lot of greens and some nuts and seeds. Since I made this change, I became interested in permaculture and sustainable living.

Now for my plea for advice:

My fiance and I are moving to some property my family owns in Mariposa, California, at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. There are some fruit trees there, several natural springs, a large pond, some donkeys, a bay leaf tree, and maybe a few other things. We will be arriving in June, the start of June, and beginning work immediately. We will have around 10,000 USD.

My dream is to have a place where we can survive on fruit and greens, year-round, with a small amount of calories from nuts. I have read a few books on permaculture, but still feel so lost when I think of even the most basic things. I would like some book recommendations, and some information on if it is possible to have fruits hanging year round? Are there trees that ripen in colder months? I am an amateur.

Thank you for taking time to answer.

 
Chris Gilliam
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Location: Foley, Alabama
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I think the earliest fruit tree that I know of is the Loquat, which is supposed to be ready in April, but mine are small and haven't made yet so I can't say for sure. The latest I know of is the Persimmon. I have a Fuyu that might make next year. I don't know anything about Mariposa so I can't say how these will do there. I think you're gonna have to settle for a lot of annual veggies the first few years.
 
Leila Rich
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I imagine getting enough calories and protein will be a real challenge and you'll neeed a pretty long lead-in to providing your own from trees.
I'm not familiar with your climate, so I won't be much help with specifics, but I've read a lot about fruit trees and planted a few so I'll stick with them. This is  my experience and there's many. many different ways to go about it, but here's some tree-stuff that might help
I'd find out what nut and fruit trees do well in your area, design and  prepare where you'll plant, order so you can plant them while they're dormant, end of winter/earlyspring.
Get a laboratory soil-test, make sure they understand you're organic,.
Do what's needed to improve/maintain soil health.
Trees prefer a fungal-dominated environment. The book Teaming With Microbes has accessable and useful info.
Research/homework is really important.  Pollination requirements, fruit keeping qualities (some apples keep really well if stored properly), winter chill rquirements, disease resistance/suitability for organic growing etc.
Sourcing trees from a reputable nursery in your bioregion makes a big difference. They're unlikely to be cheap and personally I'd be wary of cheap trees.
Don't be sucked into buying big trees, go for young 'whips': They're heaps easier to establish and loads cheaper.
Read  up on different kinds of pruning/not pruning and make some decisions about that before you get the trees as they often need to be pruned as they're planted. After initially resisting the 'unnaturalness', my trees are multiple-grafted and espaliered.  My place is tiny and that's the only way I can squeeze my apples, pear and plum on.
It feels sadistic and masochistic at the same time, but I've just pulled all the blossoms and tiny fruit off all my trees. They're two years old, next year I'll let them bear a few fruit since they've had a few years to establish strong roots etc rather than putting their energy into fruiting.
Make sure the rootstock is what you want if buying grafted trees. It can determine the tree's mature size, but there's also rootstocks for specific soil types.
I think creating a healthy ecosystem under the trees is as important as the trees themselves. Attracting pollinators and other insects is vital.
Around my trees I have: a few kinds of clover, comfrey, phacelia, buckwheat, walking onions, garlic chives, spring bulbs, borage (flowers first round here and the bees LOVE it), cosmos, dandelion, yarrow, parsley, coriander, nasturtiums and loads of other things. The only thing I pull out is grass. Grass is not a good tree companion.

I'd hunt out a good local source of fruit/nuts asap while waiting for your trees to mature.
 
John Polk
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When selecting  trees to plant, you are much better off going to local nurseries, rather than far off.  What they are selling in ME, TX, or MN will probably not do as well as local trees.

There is an organic tree nursery in SLO (San Luis Obispo) county that has many varieties of very old apple varieties (as well as other fruits).  Read their catalog carefully, as some of their newer listings are not yet certified organic.  They have been specializing in antique varieties for decades, and are very well respected.  Their climate is not that much different than yours.  They have many varieties which are next to impossible to find elsewhere.

http://www.treesofantiquity.com/
 
Paul Cereghino
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Unless you like the tropics, I don't think there could be a lovelier climate than the CA foothills.  Water management, and maybe fire is your challenge.  Looks like you get enough frost for chilling apples, but enough heat to ripen interesting stuff.  Water...

A harvested diet changes over the seasons.. following the energy flux in plants and how much you put up for storage.  You could have some kind of green leaves year round.  By December your heavy on roots and hardy greens, canned and dried fruit, apples, pickles, potatoes.  There is always a hungry period from March to April when you still have canned, dried and pickled goods, but only greens are growing.  You have the sunlight to have a lovely greenhouse and year round production under plastic.

I believed your tribes lived off acorn flour and deer.  Lots of nuts do well in your climate. 

There are some graphs around half way down this page... so you can become conversant in you climate.
http://www.city-data.com/city/Mariposa-California.html
 
John Polk
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The mid-west is America's bread basket; California's Central Valley is America;s salad bowl.  You will be just inland, and above the valley...you may actually benefit from the evaporation of the valley's irrigation...what evaporates off of the immense valley floor may fall as rainfall in your locale.
 
Steven Smallwood
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Chris Gilliam wrote:
I think the earliest fruit tree that I know of is the Loquat, which is supposed to be ready in April, but mine are small and haven't made yet so I can't say for sure. The latest I know of is the Persimmon. I have a Fuyu that might make next year. I don't know anything about Mariposa so I can't say how these will do there. I think you're gonna have to settle for a lot of annual veggies the first few years.



Chris Gilliam, I eat a lot of Persimmons here in Busan, two kinds. One is hard, the other is soft, almost gelatinous in texture. I prefer the soft ones, and I think they are Japanese persimmons. I plan on growing them if I can in California. I've never had loquat's, but I just read about them and I am super interested now. I looked into their growing Zone, and saw that the lowest is 7a, which is my growing zone. I wonder if I can make a microclimate to suit these plants, or if they will do okay without help.

Leila Rich wrote:
I imagine getting enough calories and protein will be a real challenge and you'll neeed a pretty long lead-in to providing your own from trees.
I'm not familiar with your climate, so I won't be much help with specifics, but I've read a lot about fruit trees and planted a few so I'll stick with them. This is  my experience and there's many. many different ways to go about it, but here's some tree-stuff that might help
I'd find out what nut and fruit trees do well in your area, design and  prepare where you'll plant, order so you can plant them while they're dormant, end of winter/earlyspring.
Get a laboratory soil-test, make sure they understand you're organic,.
Do what's needed to improve/maintain soil health.
Trees prefer a fungal-dominated environment. The book Teaming With Microbes has accessable and useful info.
Research/homework is really important.  Pollination requirements, fruit keeping qualities (some apples keep really well if stored properly), winter chill rquirements, disease resistance/suitability for organic growing etc.
Sourcing trees from a reputable nursery in your bioregion makes a big difference. They're unlikely to be cheap and personally I'd be wary of cheap trees.
Don't be sucked into buying big trees, go for young 'whips': They're heaps easier to establish and loads cheaper.
Read  up on different kinds of pruning/not pruning and make some decisions about that before you get the trees as they often need to be pruned as they're planted. After initially resisting the 'unnaturalness', my trees are multiple-grafted and espaliered.  My place is tiny and that's the only way I can squeeze my apples, pear and plum on.
It feels sadistic and masochistic at the same time, but I've just pulled all the blossoms and tiny fruit off all my trees. They're two years old, next year I'll let them bear a few fruit since they've had a few years to establish strong roots etc rather than putting their energy into fruiting.
Make sure the rootstock is what you want if buying grafted trees. It can determine the tree's mature size, but there's also rootstocks for specific soil types.
I think creating a healthy ecosystem under the trees is as important as the trees themselves. Attracting pollinators and other insects is vital.
Around my trees I have: a few kinds of clover, comfrey, phacelia, buckwheat, walking onions, garlic chives, spring bulbs, borage (flowers first round here and the bees LOVE it), cosmos, dandelion, yarrow, parsley, coriander, nasturtiums and loads of other things. The only thing I pull out is grass. Grass is not a good tree companion.

I'd hunt out a good local source of fruit/nuts asap while waiting for your trees to mature.



Leila Rich, I've had what you've said in mind over the last few weeks. I ordered the book Teaming with Microbes, and I have been looking into nurseries that are near Mariposa, California. You say your place is tiny, so I would like to ask you how big it is exactly? What makes grass a bad tree companion? Thank you.

John Polk wrote:
When selecting  trees to plant, you are much better off going to local nurseries, rather than far off.  What they are selling in ME, TX, or MN will probably not do as well as local trees.

There is an organic tree nursery in SLO (San Luis Obispo) county that has many varieties of very old apple varieties (as well as other fruits).  Read their catalog carefully, as some of their newer listings are not yet certified organic.  They have been specializing in antique varieties for decades, and are very well respected.  Their climate is not that much different than yours.  They have many varieties which are next to impossible to find elsewhere.

http://www.treesofantiquity.com/


John Polk, I went over to treesofantiquity and have been looking around at their selections. I think I will order from them when the time comes. They have too much to choose from. Right now, I am looking at the blueberries, and have become curious as to how I might permanently turn an area of soil acidic in order to sustainably support these plants and others similar to these.

Paul Cereghino wrote:
Unless you like the tropics, I don't think there could be a lovelier climate than the CA foothills.  Water management, and maybe fire is your challenge.  Looks like you get enough frost for chilling apples, but enough heat to ripen interesting stuff.  Water...

A harvested diet changes over the seasons.. following the energy flux in plants and how much you put up for storage.  You could have some kind of green leaves year round.  By December your heavy on roots and hardy greens, canned and dried fruit, apples, pickles, potatoes.  There is always a hungry period from March to April when you still have canned, dried and pickled goods, but only greens are growing.  You have the sunlight to have a lovely greenhouse and year round production under plastic.

I believed your tribes lived off acorn flour and deer.  Lots of nuts do well in your climate. 

There are some graphs around half way down this page... so you can become conversant in you climate.
http://www.city-data.com/city/Mariposa-California.html



Paul Cereghino, thanks for the advice. I have only visited the property I will be transforming a few times in my life. It's my grandfather's land, and a haven for him, a wonderful place for sure. March-April, the hungry period? Sounds daunting. I want to avoid a hungry period if I can find a way, while only eating harvested food, but I have another kind of requirement I did not make clear. I only eat fruit, greens, some vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts, but nothing that is not appetizing raw. I do not like potatoes or onions or carrots as they do not appeal to me as raw foods. So, I am really looking to know if it is possible to have fruit year round, literally, and maybe a month or two of little-to-no fruit and a lot of nuts. I am researching still. Thank you again for the reply, I have been contemplating what you said.




 
jacque greenleaf
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Take a look at Eliot Coleman's Winter Harvest Handbook. In your climate, I think you could grow all your greens and quite a few veggies over the winter in a polytunnel. Given your diet preferences, with sufficient nuts and tree and berry fruit stored up, I think you really could grow just about all your annual food requirements in that climate zone.

It will take a few years to get there, though.

You might also want to read Carol Deppe's The Resilient Gardener, for her approach to deciding what to grow. Her choices for food staples will not be yours, but following her thought process will help you clarify your priorities. Get it from a library, and then decide whether it is worth it to you to buy it.

Also, see bountifulgardens.org. They are not real far from you, and offer a lot of practical advice as to what and how to be mostly food self-sufficient.

Since you are new at this, you will significantly truncate your learning curve by spending some of your cash on workshops. See http://www.growbiointensive.org/

Those resources will get you going on the gardening part of your project. But permaculture is much larger than gardening/farming. Start with Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden, which will get you going on the design aspects of your project.

You can do this.
 
jacque greenleaf
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An addendum - keep in mind that the gardening resources I mention require more physical labor than a permaculture/food forest approach. But if I understand you correctly, you have little or no gardening experience, and the biointensive method has a substantial track record of showing people how to think about what they need from plants, and what plants need to thrive.
 
Fred Morgan
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A few things, learned the hard way. Go for a walk about, and see what is working for your neighbors. Not so much those who are growing large, monocrop, but those who have food growing for their own use. Especially watch them, how they work. Even if you disagree with their methods, there is a lot to learn, for example, if you see everyone using lime, you can assume you are going to have to deal with acid soil.

Also, older people may well have lots of ideas, and free plants, to share with you. And they have time, many of them, to show you what often is assumed in books. For example, did you know, if you have a long enough growing period, you can use the suckers from tomato plants, to start new tomato plants...

The book by Sepp Holtzer (if I spelled that right), is really good in explain you have to learn to work with nature, not against.

It isn't so much about technical knowledge, as about opening your eyes, and watching what is happening around you, and taking the time to learn, experiment.

 
Jordan Lowery
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send a private message to Glenn Kangiser, he lives in mariposa and has an amazing permaculture property.

fresh greens are no problem in the late fall, winter and spring, but summer is tough without irrigation. you also have to eat other greens. considering you lived in korea im assuming your familiar with sweet potato greens. they are a great summer green for the foothills. you can also rely on edible greens that grow in water sources. though water quality becomes an issue for me when eating water plants.

fruit is not a problem, these hills are full of fruit.
 
Leila Rich
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Hi Steven,
I have about 100m square of plantable land. That's about 1080 square ft.  A workable amount of space if I utilise it well, but my tree choices are limited by space, more than climate.
Grass is pretty greedy stuff. Grass roots are generally shallow and compete with tree feeder-roots for water (lots and lots of water)  and nutrients.
Grass makes good mulch and compost food, but I don't want it growing at my place! I score grass clippings from the lawn guys when I need it.
I'll jump in on your question to John about blueberries...there is no way to change the ph permanently.
My place is dry, sandy, sunny and on the alkaline side. Blueberries would die or be utterly miserable!  Do you know you ph? Be warned, home tests are very unreliable.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Not sure how cold it gets where you are.  Is anyone growing avocados area?  If not, what about lemons, as they have similar temp requirements?

If it is warm enough to do avos, it is possible to have them ripening year-round.  Getting the right mix of species is key.  Haas has a very long season, but other varieties will be needed for the summer/fall months.  Further, avos store very well in the fridge prior to ripening.  They are a decent source of calories, fat & protein in a raw diet.

Late apples should store well through the winter.  Asian Pear should ripen quite late. 
 
Fred Morgan
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Perhaps another bit of advice, go with what is the easiest, and learn to like eating it. Hunger makes a great appetite stimulant and it is better to have plenty of something you aren't crazy about, than nothing of something you love.

Add in the more difficult things, when you have plenty of calories.

I have been reading "The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times" by

Carol Deppe recently and I think she does a good job helping people think straight about supporting yourself. After all, before you learn to garden, you sort of need to know what to grow as well. It isn't exactly a permaculture book, but well worth reading in regards to what to focus on.

A case in point. I like potatoes, they don't like me, and they sure don't like growing in tropical lowlands. Total failure so far. Well, better to think, "why eat potatoes?" Chinese yams grow in our area wild (they have naturalized, all I have to do is go harvest them. Would you believe it took me a while before I started to do this? Also yuca is very good, so is lots of other things that taste very good, and serve the same purpose.

Regarding blueberries. Rather doubtful I will ever be able to grow them, but guava grows all over the place, and is an even better antioxidant than blueberries.

Just as you might find it a challenge to grow pineapples, coconuts, bananas, cacao (think chocolate), coffee, and many other tropical foods, I can't grow what you can grow easily, or most of you, like cauliflower, for example, or potatoes. Learn to live where you are, which means like what grows there, naturally.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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These folks claim to be picking apples in Riverside from June through February.  Thinking of ordering some benchgrafts from them this year.  Inexpensive way to get a bunch of trees.  

http://www.kuffelcreek.com/apples.htm
 
Tyler Ludens
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Fred Morgan wrote:
After all, before you learn to garden, you sort of need to know what to grow as well.


The difficulty with that approach, I think, might be that you won't know what will grow until you start learning to garden.  It's taking me many years to learn what will grow here and how to grow it. I didn't learn it from a book.  Not to say books aren't useful and I'm sure Carol's book is great, everyone seems to love it.  But her growing conditions are very different from mine.   

 
Fred Morgan
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
The difficulty with that approach, I think, might be that you won't know what will grow until you start learning to garden.  It's taking me many years to learn what will grow here and how to grow it. I didn't learn it from a book.  Not to say books aren't useful and I'm sure Carol's book is great, everyone seems to love it.  But her growing conditions are very different from mine.      




It is generally easy to find out what grows well in your area. Just visit the local gardening clubs. Master gardeners will know what grows, nearly like weeds, and what doesn't.  And neighbors can tell you as well.

No reason to have to work too hard on the basics, you can experiment when you aren't starving.
 
                        
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learned about this at a pdc i went to in july:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_melon

grew in northeast missouri, maybe it can grow out by mariposa?  it stayed in their root cellar through december.  you don't need fruit to be attached to trees year-round, just be able to keep it in un-pasteurized.
 
Steven Smallwood
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jacque greenleaf wrote:
Take a look at Eliot Coleman's Winter Harvest Handbook. In your climate, I think you could grow all your greens and quite a few veggies over the winter in a polytunnel. Given your diet preferences, with sufficient nuts and tree and berry fruit stored up, I think you really could grow just about all your annual food requirements in that climate zone.

It will take a few years to get there, though.

You might also want to read Carol Deppe's The Resilient Gardener, for her approach to deciding what to grow. Her choices for food staples will not be yours, but following her thought process will help you clarify your priorities. Get it from a library, and then decide whether it is worth it to you to buy it.

Also, see bountifulgardens.org. They are not real far from you, and offer a lot of practical advice as to what and how to be mostly food self-sufficient.

Since you are new at this, you will significantly truncate your learning curve by spending some of your cash on workshops. See http://www.growbiointensive.org/

Those resources will get you going on the gardening part of your project. But permaculture is much larger than gardening/farming. Start with Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden, which will get you going on the design aspects of your project.

You can do this.


"A passionate advocate for the revival of small-scale sustainable farming, Coleman provides a practical model for supplying fresh, locally grown produce during the winter season, even in climates where conventional wisdom says it “just can’t be done.”

Looking into this book, it seems like a good purchase. There's a kindle edition, so I will get it that way. Thanks for the two suggestions. bountifulgardens.org looks great as well and I will probably buy a batch of seeds from them. Gaia's Garden happens to be one of the books I own, and am still digesting it-- there is so much information. "You can do this:" thanks a lot, I hope I can. I do plan to do a garden when I get to the property, plant trees, and put up a greenhouse. You are right, I have almost no experience. I will be calling on the help of some others, mainly my brother who is a true gardener, also interested in learning permaculture and sustainable living, and my grandfather-- he has farmed and gardened his whole life.

Fred Morgan wrote:
A few things, learned the hard way. Go for a walk about, and see what is working for your neighbors. Not so much those who are growing large, monocrop, but those who have food growing for their own use. Especially watch them, how they work. Even if you disagree with their methods, there is a lot to learn, for example, if you see everyone using lime, you can assume you are going to have to deal with acid soil.

Also, older people may well have lots of ideas, and free plants, to share with you. And they have time, many of them, to show you what often is assumed in books. For example, did you know, if you have a long enough growing period, you can use the suckers from tomato plants, to start new tomato plants...

The book by Sepp Holtzer (if I spelled that right), is really good in explain you have to learn to work with nature, not against.

It isn't so much about technical knowledge, as about opening your eyes, and watching what is happening around you, and taking the time to learn, experiment.




The first book I read was sepp holzer's book. I got a lot of inspiration from hearing about his methods and his farm, but yeah, it did not seem like there were a lot of technical pointers. I am reading it again to try and solidify exactly how he does certain things. I would eventually like to have animals like he does, older breeds, and be able to grow as prolifically.. he is so inspiring. I will take your advice and Sepp's and be as observant as I can.

hubert cumberdale wrote:
send a private message to Glenn Kangiser, he lives in mariposa and has an amazing permaculture property.

fresh greens are no problem in the late fall, winter and spring, but summer is tough without irrigation. you also have to eat other greens. considering you lived in korea im assuming your familiar with sweet potato greens. they are a great summer green for the foothills. you can also rely on edible greens that grow in water sources. though water quality becomes an issue for me when eating water plants.

fruit is not a problem, these hills are full of fruit.


Okay! I am going to message him. Great news there is someone I can message on here who lives in Mariposa. They don't sell the sweet potato greens here, from what I have seen. Is that common in Korea, to eat sweet potato greens? I have bought every green I could find here, but never from sweet potatoes. "These hills are full of fruit." Great... Where do you live?

Leila Rich wrote:
Hi Steven,
I have about 100m square of plantable land. That's about 1080 square ft.  A workable amount of space if I utilise it well, but my tree choices are limited by space, more than climate.
Grass is pretty greedy stuff. Grass roots are generally shallow and compete with tree feeder-roots for water (lots and lots of water)  and nutrients.
Grass makes good mulch and compost food, but I don't want it growing at my place! I score grass clippings from the lawn guys when I need it.
I'll jump in on your question to John about blueberries...there is no way to change the ph permanently.
My place is dry, sandy, sunny and on the alkaline side. Blueberries would die or be utterly miserable!  Do you know you ph? Be warned, home tests are very unreliable.



You have so little space, wow. Hmm, feeder roots. So, smaller roots, short lived, in the top area of the soil. I did not know about those either. Makes sense though, like trees are picking up the leaves they drop as a meal. So interesting. Okay, well, with the blueberries, I hope I can find soil on the property that is acidic. I think there are trees around that will make some areas acidic. I actually do not even know that right now.

yukkuri_kame wrote:
Not sure how cold it gets where you are.  Is anyone growing avocados area?  If not, what about lemons, as they have similar temp requirements?

If it is warm enough to do avos, it is possible to have them ripening year-round.  Getting the right mix of species is key.  Haas has a very long season, but other varieties will be needed for the summer/fall months.  Further, avos store very well in the fridge prior to ripening.  They are a decent source of calories, fat & protein in a raw diet.

Late apples should store well through the winter.  Asian Pear should ripen quite late.  



Avocados. When I first gained interest in moving up to my property there, I looked into avocados. I think it may be too cold for avocados. Could someone else weigh in on this? I may just have to ask someone who lives there. If I could choose one tree to work well that probably will not, it would be avocados. I love avocados. They are $3.50 here, so I barely get to eat them. I do eat asian pears a lot, though, usually every day (they're everywhere right now). Ah, I'm hungry now.

Fred Morgan wrote:
Perhaps another bit of advice, go with what is the easiest, and learn to like eating it. Hunger makes a great appetite stimulant and it is better to have plenty of something you aren't crazy about, than nothing of something you love.

Add in the more difficult things, when you have plenty of calories.

I have been reading "The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times" by

Carol Deppe recently and I think she does a good job helping people think straight about supporting yourself. After all, before you learn to garden, you sort of need to know what to grow as well. It isn't exactly a permaculture book, but well worth reading in regards to what to focus on.

A case in point. I like potatoes, they don't like me, and they sure don't like growing in tropical lowlands. Total failure so far. Well, better to think, "why eat potatoes?" Chinese yams grow in our area wild (they have naturalized, all I have to do is go harvest them. Would you believe it took me a while before I started to do this? Also yuca is very good, so is lots of other things that taste very good, and serve the same purpose.

Regarding blueberries. Rather doubtful I will ever be able to grow them, but guava grows all over the place, and is an even better antioxidant than blueberries.

Just as you might find it a challenge to grow pineapples, coconuts, bananas, cacao (think chocolate), coffee, and many other tropical foods, I can't grow what you can grow easily, or most of you, like cauliflower, for example, or potatoes. Learn to live where you are, which means like what grows there, naturally.


It is tempting while browsing the internet to think of what I will be growing based on everything I see, but I do plan to eat as much as possible from what grows naturally in Mariposa. I imagined you would be able to grow most anything in the tropics. I guess the soil is just too warm for some plants? I think I would rather always have bananas, pineapples, coconuts, guavas, and other tropical fruits, than always have apples, peaches, persimmons, and other similar fruits. The tropical fruits are the best.. you're lucky.

 
Steven Smallwood
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yukkuri_kame wrote:
These folks claim to be picking apples in Riverside from June through February.  Thinking of ordering some benchgrafts from them this year.  Inexpensive way to get a bunch of trees. 

http://www.kuffelcreek.com/apples.htm


I spent a few hours on this website yesterday and am thinking of buying apple trees from them. However, they suggest for people in the North to buy from Trees of Antiquity. Trees of antiquity are much more expensive, though, so I am not sure what to do.

H Ludi Tyler wrote:
The difficulty with that approach, I think, might be that you won't know what will grow until you start learning to garden.  It's taking me many years to learn what will grow here and how to grow it. I didn't learn it from a book.  Not to say books aren't useful and I'm sure Carol's book is great, everyone seems to love it.  But her growing conditions are very different from mine.   




I have a plan of what I want to grow, and I think my granfather will know what will grow, but now that I know there is another permaculture farm in Mariposa, I will try to see if I can learn from them.

Fred Morgan wrote:
It is generally easy to find out what grows well in your area. Just visit the local gardening clubs. Master gardeners will know what grows, nearly like weeds, and what doesn't.  And neighbors can tell you as well.

No reason to have to work too hard on the basics, you can experiment when you aren't starving.


Great ideas.. yes, I will grow first what grows like weeds, then expand to other things I want to experiment with.

kazron wrote:
learned about this at a pdc i went to in july:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_melon

grew in northeast missouri, maybe it can grow out by mariposa?  it stayed in their root cellar through december.  you don't need fruit to be attached to trees year-round, just be able to keep it in un-pasteurized.


Well, it says it will grow in California. I lived in Missouri for most of my life. I think it will grow in Mariposa-- plenty of sun and heat there. I love melons. My favorite melon is this one: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Korean_melon. They are as small as baseballs with thin yellow skin. The taste is so sweet and unoffensive in any way, I ate them every day all summer long. I proved to myself that I could never get tired of them. Because of those melons, I ordered quite a few seeds to try new melons. Melons have to be one of the best foods on our planet.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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@Steven - I am glad to read that you already own Gia's Garden. I think that is an excellent foundation for home-growers who want to learn about natural gardening. It was the first permaculture manual I read and I still think the best so far. I think you (or perhaps someone else on this thread) mentioned reading Sepp Holtzer's book, which I have also read. Of course he has several, but I read "Sepp Holtzer's Permaculture," which I think is the most recent. The man is a genius, clearly, yet the book is just not as useful as a practical guide. Since you described yourself as an inexperienced gardener, I will parrot Paul's advice and recommend that you start with Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening. Though its not based on permaculture, Paul always says that this book is the best primer on the need-to-know fundamentals of gardening.

Regarding your quest for all-season fruit production, I'm not very familiar with loquats, but I think that apricots are also relatively early fruits, and you might try peaches if they grow in your climate. As for late season fruits, chose your cultivars of apples and pears very carefully. Both are fall harvest fruits, but there is a lot of variability between cultivars both in just how late they ripen and also how well they keep. I know where I live in the South there is at least one heirloom cultivar, Arkansas Black, that is well known for storing well for months on end. Persimmons are definitely a good choice for late season fruit, as someone here already suggested. You should also look into a relatively unknown fruit tree called a medlar. Like persimmons, they require bledding (that is, the fruit needs to over-ripen almost to the point of decay before they are edible), but if left on the tree you can harvest them right through your first winter freezes. They are also, reportedly, extremely versatile trees in that they will thrive in a huge range of temperatures. I learnt about them in Lee Reich's Landscaping With Fruit, which BTW is also an excellent reference book you should look into. I have planted several medlar, but they're only a year old as yet so I can't really report on how they will perform.

Regarding your need to create an acid-soil patch for planting blueberries, you can do that by adding sulfur. And for mulches/organic amendments that will help maintain acid soil over the long term, try pine needles, pine wood chips, peat moss, and coffee grounds. Be sure to get your soil tested first and often so that you have some idea how far you need to go and how quickly you're getting there.

Otherwise, I have a question: does your raw-foods diet preclude preserved foods? I would think that building a solar food dehydrator to make dried fruits and veggies would be a good choice. I plan to do so myself. Check out Paul's video (go to richsoil.com, where I'm sure he has an index of his videos, or just do a search on YouTube) on the subject. It's a great one, showing three different models, all of which look as though they should be fairly easy to construct.

Good luck to you!

~ Matthew N., Southern transplant
 
Chris Gilliam
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Location: Foley, Alabama
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Hey Steven, how bout an update? I'd love to know how it's working for you.
 
No prison can hold Chairface Chippendale. And on a totally different topic ... my stuff:
The stocking-stuffer that plants a forest:
FoodForestCardGame.com
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