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Advice on converting new land  RSS feed

 
C Snyder
Posts: 7
Location: Upstate South Carolina
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I have two areas of land, both sloped, that I would like to convert to a Holzer-style permaculture that provides lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables. I have read through much of the forums and gotten some ideas but still have some questions. Any advice on the best ways to do so would be greatly appreciated. The land is in Upstate South Carolina.

Area 1: Currently covered in Bermuda grass and dandelion and probably a bunch of other weeds. The area is large enough to be turned into 2 or 3 terraces where it is currently one gradual slope facing west.

Area 2: A large slightly steep, east-facing slope that was logged (slash and burn my guess) within the last 8 years then left to turn into rock hard dried out red clay devoid of growth and life. Then 5 years ago it was mechanically churned up and "terraced" with a couple breaks to slow waterflow and then grass seeded and straw covered. The grass never took off and the area was left wild. Now there are some pine trees and lots desert-looking grasses growing over about 60% of it. The soil is still mostly red clay but probably has more organic matter than it did before (the straw and grass seed at the very least). The slopes are too large and steep to cultivate, in my opinion.

My questions are:
1) For Area 1 is it wiser to hand dig a few breaks/paths so as not to disturb the top soil but then have to find a way to get rid of the grass or to mechanically turn everything up and terrace it?

2) I know Area 2 most likely needs to be properly terraced (probably mechanically) to function well but I cannot do that at this time. However I want to do whatever I can to amend the soil now or is that a waste since it will just be dug up and disturbed in a year or so?

3) How can I increase the organic matter for Area 2 quickly so that it is not mostly red clay and will support vegetables and fruit/nut trees? Clover or buckwheat cover crops? Heavy straw cover?

4) When I do terrace Area 2, can I hack up the 6-8' pine trees to be put back in for organic matter or will they have an allelopathic effect on future growth? Should I get rid of those in the interim or do they provide any benefits?


Thanks for reading and, again, any advice is greatly appreciated.

 
C Snyder
Posts: 7
Location: Upstate South Carolina
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Somebody? Anybody??...Is this thing on
 
Mike Underhill
Posts: 53
Location: N. Sac. Valley
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Not that I'm qualified, but I think that Holzer-style may very well involve an earth-moving machine at both your sites. If you're not in a position to do that at either site just yet then it might be good to focus on improving areas within each site that are least likely to be impacted by future/potential disturbance (perhaps corners and borders, near any improvements, etc.). Handwork in Area 1 may be difficult if there's much dandelion, perhaps other tap-root plants could help break up the soil if it's compacted. I like the living-plant option for Area 2, maybe a cover crop mix, but I don't know what your rainfall is like and how much immediate surface stabilization is warranted. Re: pine trees, I know that the buildup of needles underneath pine trees makes soil acidic, but I am not sure if the wood carries the same effect.
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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The permaculture answer to every question is usually "Well, it depends..." (mainly on your goals, resources and site specifics) so with that in mind...

1) You described it as a gradual slope, so I would say mechanical terracing might be somewhat heavy handed. Handdug swales may be all that's required. A friend of mine recently attended a forest garden installation at Warren Wilson where they were trying three different methods for eliminating bermuda grass, method one was densely planted pioneer trees (mostly black locust i think), the second method was pigs, the third method was horse-tilling followed by sheet mulching followed by planting. My friend who was there likes the pig method for ease of installment plus the yield of meat. I like the sheet mulching for effectiveness and soil building, although sheet mulching takes a lot of manual labor.

2)This one is heavily dependent on your goals. I would suggest clearly defining what you mean by "to function well". Grapes can grow in fairly poor soils on slopes, how steep is your slope? What do you want to grow? If you plan on doing lots of earth moving in a year or two then I would say that cover cropping now is probably inefficient.

3)This is totally dependent on what you decide about terracing. My experience suggests that clover seed on a steep slope of red clay is not going to grow well, buckwheat maybe. Either way it's not going to give you luscious topsoil that you can scrape off before terracing. I would suggest doing the earthworking first, then thinking about soil improvement and cover cropping. Once the terraces are in place, I'd suggest more perennial support species in addition to those you mentioned, comfrey, burdock, bayberry, coppiced black locust, goumi, sea buckthorn, basswood, mulberry, etc. Also, sweet potatoes will grow fine in poor soil, if you leave them in they'll just rot in place, which acts to break up the clay and leave lots of rotting organic matter. I find it to compete well with grasses.

4)As Mike said above the pine will acidify the soil, depending on how much pine per area, so if you plan on growing acid-loving/tolerant plants that would be a plus. Examples would be blueberry, cranberry, aronia. Otherwise you could use the timber for something.
 
C Snyder
Posts: 7
Location: Upstate South Carolina
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Thanks for your replies Mike and Oskar. Great information. My goal in both areas is to grow as much edibles as possible, including fruit and nut trees, and ideally have them producing food year-round. I have decided to leave the shape of Area 1 as is but hand dig out small walking/wheelbarrow paths/swales to create more of a terrace effect and slow/collect runoff. (wow that was a lot of /'s) For the growing "beds" I am covering the lawn with many inches of leaves, grassy straw, clippings and either chicken or aged horse manure. Area 2 I am going to mechanically terrace as soon as I can and I like your buckwheat, perennial and sweet potato ideas Osker. As for the pine trees, I am thinking of chopping them smaller and scattering the pieces before having them worked in mechanically. I plan to do a soil test on this site though to determine how acidic it already is.

Questions:
1) I do wish to plant blueberries so would it be wise save the pine needles and/or pine timber to be buried where I plan to plant those?

2) Should chicken manure be aged or composted before being used in a vegetable bed or is it safe as is?


Again, thanks for any and all advice and suggestions.
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 357
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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1. making a hugelkulture mound for your blueberries with the pine would be a good idea.
2. Age that shit.
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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1)Yes. My preference would be to chip the pine and incorporate some into the holes and use the rest as mulch.
2)Depends on the condition of the manure, if it was from a deep littered system it should be fine, if it's thick goopy grey/green then it needs to be composted for 3 months to a year, depending on methods.

peace
 
Alan Stuart
Posts: 42
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If you are going to Holzer style permaculture like you said you want, buy sepp holzer's Permaculture it has all the answers to your questions. You can read bits and pieces of it in the preview on Amazon.com. Luckily for you the part you can read it about terracing and how to do it.

To build soil the best thing you can do it add organic matter. Whatever you have that will break down as compost add it to the Area 2. I would say you are lucky for the weeds being there because they are indicators (except the Bermuda grass!). "The dandelion plant is a beneficial weed, with a wide range of uses, and is even a good companion plant for gardening. Its taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil. It is also known to attract pollinating insects and release ethylene gas which helps fruit to ripen" Wikipedia. Learn the names of your weeds and research why they are growing on your property it will give you a better understanding of what you need to fix.

Prairies built their great soil by over long periods of time where grass grew, seeded, die, and decomposed. Over time the organic matter just built up. You could mow the weeds down, cover the entire thing with cardboard then cover in mulch and with whatever other organic matter you can get. I would recommend putting in the terraces want to have in the style you want them before had becuase if you do it after you build your soil you risk harming the soil ecosystem. If you have the money spray with compost teas and mycorrhizae to speed up the process and increase the nutrients in the soil [both can be made cheaply if you are a DIYer]. This is also a good time to add the plants that you want to be there. I would recommend tap root plants for Area 2 because they will literally break into the hard pan. I recommend Daikon radishes [I am not from nor have I ever been to your area, so I am not really sure what you can and can't grow as I do not know your climate]. Daikon radish can either be harvested or the better option is to wait from them to grow then chop the tops off and just throw them on the ground. The radish will decompose in the soil adding a pocket of humus and the leaves are a great mulch. The humus will attack worms and insects and other sorts of organisms that will help with the soil building process. Other plants you could use is fava beans, comfrey, sepp holzer recommend Lupine (which is beautiful), and any other plant that is a nitrogen fixer would be good to add ("weed" or not), cover crops area a good thing. Also chances are pretty high that the sheet mulching will not get rid of all you original weeds. To do that, the best you can, just try to pick/mow them down before they can get to seed. I don't ever remove weeds from my soil anymore I just rip them at the base of the soil then throw them on the ground [except with plants that are aphid hosts like annual sow thistle and the like] this causes the roots to die off or back releasing nutrients into the soil and the weed tops are good mulches, which also adds organic mater, which is the key!

After awhile you can add trees from the Fabaceae (legume) plant family. This plants are not only nitrogen fixers but they all produce pods which will be dropped on the ground (mulch and organic matter!). Trees include Tipuana Tipu, Jacaranda, Silk Tree, and various acacia, to name only a few of tens of thousands. Here is a list to acacias and their uses in permaculture http://www.permaculture.org.au/pages/acacia_chart.htm. They are drought tolerant, yet fire resistant, they attract birds and pollinators. If you live in a humid area you will have to do a little research as to what species you use. All of these plants can be taken out of the area as you build soil and move in edible plants. The trees removed can be chipped and used as mulch (add organic matter!).

Isaac mentioned using your pines for hugelkultur beds, sounds like a solid idea to me. I don't know how much pine you have but you might want to think a little bit before you take it out. Yeah it will acidify your soil but if you are growing blueberries leave it there for awhile. If you are able to remove the Bermuda grass like a sod you can add that too this picture here shows a hugelkultur bed with a turf layer, grass down, right above the piled up brush.

Hope that gives you some ideas. The key is to add as much organic matter as possible. Do you have any pictures of these areas? It'd be interesting to see what you are working with.

Stay in trouble,
-Alan
 
J D Horn
Posts: 155
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Having grown up in east AL dealing with red clay I have a few ideas, though I'm new to the permaculture thing. First, the folks advising you about the N-fixing are correct. And probably the most hardy N-fixers for the acidic red clay are the most pervasive pest plants - kudzu and mimosa trees. They'll grow when nothing else will and provide some cover for the soil and help break it up. Mimosa trees propogate seed pods and can be collected this time of year, and sucker like crazy - and kudzu can just be pulled up and reset. Catalpa trees, a light N-fixer, also did well on our plot in the red clay while attracting great caterpillars that would feed chickens/serve as fishbait.

If I were in your situation, I'd start by trying to find farmers looking to get rid of old/moldy hay - post on Craigslist, talk to neighbors, etc. Sow the barley and alfalfa, then spread the hay. I think you'd be ok going back over that with a light coat of the chicken manure - basically the whole area would become compost. The chop and drop the green stuff whn it grows up. A couple of cycles of old hay/manure/green manure will go a long way towards creating a humus layer on that baked clay.

Anyway, thats my 2 cents - good luck!
 
David Miller
Posts: 286
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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http://www.keylinevermont.com/Keyline_Subsoil_Plowing.html

Contour and Keyline plow rows while skipping every other row to limit erosion. Seed a mix of alkaline loving cover crops. Switch your plowing regimen back and forth and you should be able to build top soil at or around 12" in three years. All the other advice was pretty spot on though.

That all depends is the best qualifier ever
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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C Snyder wrote:
Area 1: Currently covered in Bermuda grass and dandelion and probably a bunch of other weeds. The area is large enough to be turned into 2 or 3 terraces where it is currently one gradual slope facing west.

1) For Area 1 is it wiser to hand dig a few breaks/paths so as not to disturb the top soil but then have to find a way to get rid of the grass or to mechanically turn everything up and terrace it?



1st, how about some pics?
2nd, hugelkulturs/swales might work better than terraces.
3rd, why do you want to get rid of the grass? If you are worried about grass & fruit trees, plant the trees on hugelkulturs with appropriate guilds to keep the grass down. When the trees are big enough, they will keep the grass down themselves.

If you want a clean slate then chickens or pigs will give you that.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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C Snyder wrote:
3) How can I increase the organic matter for Area 2 quickly so that it is not mostly red clay and will support vegetables and fruit/nut trees? Clover or buckwheat cover crops? Heavy straw cover?

4) When I do terrace Area 2, can I hack up the 6-8' pine trees to be put back in for organic matter or will they have an allelopathic effect on future growth? Should I get rid of those in the interim or do they provide any benefits?



Read Sepp's book and the whole hugelkultur thread.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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@C Snyder - You have collected a lot of good advice in this thread already. I will chime in to support the posters who have recommended cover cropping and using taproot plants for their clay-busting effect on your larger area, rather than sheet mulching. Sheet mulching is great for building top soil, but better for smaller areas, i.e. raised garden beds. Over a larger area, it's just too much labor. The cover crops will do it for you much more efficiently, if perhaps taking a bit longer. Besides, I have discovered that sheet mulching is next-to-useless when it comes to suppressing Bermuda Grass. That stuff will crawl right over top of it and through it and make your sheet mulch into one big Bermuda mat! When you can get some heavy shade going, the Bermuda should recede, and the best way to do that quickly is a thick cover crop.

I live in your same area and, though I'm just beginning on my own site, I have experienced most of this first hand. Here are some soil building species that I have used or attempted to use: dandelion and wild chicory are always great and will take in any soil conditions; people here have already mentioned comfrey, always a good choice; yarrow is also a good soil buster, and red yarrow (var. rubra) is native to southern Appalachia; rape and/or mustard has strong roots; and then daikon and sweet potato that others here have mentioned. I seeded some daikon in my problem area of hard clay suboil last spring and just left it throughout the season to be killed off over winter. It grew huge! In one spot this spring I have a dead daikon that has hollowed out with rot to the point I could literally put my whole fist and arm inside it and down into the ground! And I always mix in some white Dutch clover seed.
 
Alan Stuart
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Matthew Nistico wrote:

I live in your same area and, though I'm just beginning on my own site, I have experienced most of this first hand. Here are some soil building species that I have used or attempted to use: dandelion and wild chicory are always great and will take in any soil conditions; people here have already mentioned comfrey, always a good choice; yarrow is also a good soil buster, and red yarrow (var. rubra) is native to southern Appalachia; rape and/or mustard has strong roots; and then daikon and sweet potato that others here have mentioned. I seeded some daikon in my problem area of hard clay suboil last spring and just left it throughout the season to be killed off over winter. It grew huge! In one spot this spring I have a dead daikon that has hollowed out with rot to the point I could literally put my whole fist and arm inside it and down into the ground! And I always mix in some white Dutch clover seed.


Where is a good place to get bulk seeds for things like comfrey, clover, and vetch. Also do you know any good places for sweet potato and yarrow?
Thanks
 
Christian McMahon
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From what I put together you need to start planting nitrogen generating cover crops for your geographical area. Seed them everywhere. Ground cover nitrogen plants first, then bushes, then trees. You want a 90% nitrogen producing cover crop and 10% production plants. You will have of course over seeded with nitrogen plants and that is a good thing. You should then let them start up. Once they get to a nice size top them off and use their branches to fertilize the production plants. It's ok if the nitrogen plant dies as you should have way more then you need, though at first you may want to try to trim them.
There is a lot more to it of course. With any luck this will get you off to a good start.



 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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@Christian - Yes, I understand that is the textbook way to establish your food forest, just as you described. I have done it all at the same time, instead of in progression like that, but am trying to keep to the same concept. I am seeding and re-seeding white Dutch clover everywhere. Compared to other clovers, I like that its small and that its perennial, so it can form a permanent ground cover layer beneath whatever else I'm planting. Even in the more open meadow spaces between trees, it can fit in with the native grasses I'm trying to establish and (hopefully) compliment rather than compete. Next up the scale, I've mostly gone with goumi and sea buckthorn (AKA seaberry if you prefer), with one or the other planted in the same hole as each of my trees. Any other useful N-fixing shrubs for our area that anybody knows of? Finally, for the tree layer I'm planting black locust seedlings, though not outnumbering my production trees quite so much as recommended, even though I do understand that the predominance of the N-fixers is intended to be only temporary. Still, I just don't have the space.

An important note to remember about black locusts... They sound like great trees from everything I've read: fast growing, drought resistant, easy to manage by coppicing, good nectar source, good quality firewood, great quality timber, and the list of virtues just goes on. And, they are native to our area (southern Appalachia). But don't forget that the saturation of naturally-occurring fungicides that makes the wood so useful as outdoor timber also detracts from its value as mulch because it will be so slow to decompose. You will still get leaf fall for mulch each year, plus the growth and die-back of roots adding goodness below the soil, but slashing branches for mulch - by pollarding, for example - will not be quite so useful. Nor will adding the wood to the compost pile or the hugelkulture mound. I plan to control mine by coppicing them, and to use the larger woody bits for firewood.

@Alan - You can probably get comfrey seed somewhere, but I don't know where. I bought mine as root cuttings, which I think is more common. Moreover, I bought the Bocking 14 cultivar, which is also the most common one I believe, and it is sterile. Therefore, you're only going to get it from vegetative propagation, not from seed. Its a bit pricier this way, I'm sure, but if you have the patience there is a way around that ; ) Buy a pack of 40 sprouting comfrey roots from horizonherbs.com. They are hardy little things, so you can count on near 100% successful transplanting. Believe me, I abused mine about as shamefully as one could imagine, and I still got at least 85% success. Let them grow the first year without cutting them back at all. After they go dormant in the winter, or just as they start to come alive in the spring, dig up 20 of those and chop the crown and the larger roots into pieces. The other 20 are a reserve just in case some unforeseen disaster befalls your propagation enterprise. If you pot up each piece, you should get a sprout out of it that you can transplant again. Comfrey is notoriously aggressive about spreading this way, so even a short chunk of root should work, and comfrey has a big root system (hence our use of it to improve the soil!). So, let's say you get 20 new sprouts out of each plant sacrificed. Plus you will probably get at least one spontaneous plant sprouting from bits of root left in each hole where an original plant was dug up. Now, from our 40 purchased plants we have 440 plants! Its just that you'll have to do the work potting and transplanting yourself; a lot harder than broadcasting seed. And you'll want to give the new transplants a full year unmolested in order to grow strong before harvesting. So you will have waited two years altogether since initial purchase before starting to graze or chop-and-drop in earnest.

As for the Yarrow rubra, I got seeds from daineseeds.com. It's also available from wildflowerfarm.com or seedsofchange.com, or at least it was. But honestly, if any yarrow will do for you, then just like the clover and vetch you will probably find the best bulk prices just by searching amazon.com or ebay.com. That or check your local feed store or similar farm supply outlet. Probably the latter would be a good source for sweet potato slips, too, or else go back to one of the online seed merchants, like seedsofchange.com.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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How much area are you talking about?
 
C Snyder
Posts: 7
Location: Upstate South Carolina
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Thanks so much to all for the replies and great advice. I haven't had time to respond because I have been hard at work on Area 1. I've been turning over the sod and making pseudo-raised beds by piling on compost, leaf litter and some old hay to help add organic matter, making swale paths between them and planting fruit and nut trees and berry bushes. I was pleasantly surprised when over-turning the sod I came across lots of earthworms and other critters. That tells me letting the dandelions and other "weeds" take over last year has paid off in fairly loose, brownish soil. Lots of rock though.

I have been meaning to take photos but haven't yet. I'll try to post some soon.

My next step is to guild my fruit trees but I have a question about how to go about it. I want to do comfrey, yarrow, nasturtiums, chicory, dandelions (already present in abundance) and an N-fixing cover crop. What is the best way to plant these from seed? Do I need to overturn the sod around the trees, add some compost, sew seeds and mulch or is there a simpler way that doesn't involve pricey compost and disturbing the dandelions that are already there?
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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Earthworms and critters is a good sign. Tells you the soil is at least somewhat fertile and little pollutants.
Don't forget to add leaf mold, and in no small amount. You'll have to make it, just gather a massive amount of leaves, let this rot down for a year or two.
The sod serves the land. It gives the worms and critters an environment suited to their survival. If it did not they would not be there. If you want to preserve these critters, preserve the sod. Turning up a bit of sod here and there is allowed.
Vetch can be broadcast and will readily grow without turning over all the sod.
Those rocks can be handy-stack them for the stem wall of the terraces.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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@C Snyder - Congrats on all the recent progress! As for your question, my gut tells me that Ken has the truth of it: all things being equal, the less disturbance to the soil in any situation, the better. As far as compost goes, permaculture rule of thumb would say do as little work as possible. So, if you're going to be making your own compost/leaf mold instead of buying bagged stuff - and goodness knows I would definitely never buy expensive bagged stuff in any serious quantity - consider composting-in-place rather than ferrying material to/from a compost pile. I mean, that's all sheet mulching is, really: composting in place, plus some newspaper or cardboard as a bottom barrier to suppress weeds. If you like the weeds already there (yay, gooooo dandelions!), skip the barrier. Starting new plants from seed, rather than transplanting seedlings, makes it a little bit more difficult I would think, because you don't want to smother your own seeds. But there are ways around this. Do a search here for "sheet mulch" or "lasagna gardening" and I'm sure you will find it much discussed already.

You might try building up your mulch/compost in progressive layers, rather than all at once. I.e., instead of piling your bulk matter - straw, leaves, old hay, whatever - 12 inches high, add an inch and throw a couple handfuls of manure over it. Then next month add another inch around and beneath the growing plants, and in another month another inch, and so on. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

You should also consider your bulk material. Leaves from your own site are great, if you have them. Leaves can form mats, though, and block air and water to the soil, so you might consider shredding them first. There is another qood question for the forum: what do people feel about the trade-off of extra work for less risk in terms of shredding leaves as mulch?

If trucking in organic matter from off site - straw, old hay, wood chips - there is extra expense to deal with, and also be sure to consider from where this stuff is coming and the likelihood of toxic chemicals sprayed on it when it was still growing. I know in his podcasts Paul Wheaton talks a lot about the half-lives of persistent synthetic herbicides being 5 years or more. Yuck!

Going back to the subject of starting seeds with minimal disturbance to the soil, perhaps you should try seed balls. If I understand, that is why Fukuoka invented them: as a method for broadcasting seed in a no-till system, right? I can't say I have any first hand experience in this space (ask me again in another month!) but, again, I am sure it is much discussed already in other threads on this forum. And if you don't have Fukuoka's book, do a search on YouTube and you will find instructions on how to make and use.
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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just an alternate suggestion of seed sources:
yarrow, you may be able to find wild seed, if you know what it looks like, this time of year many of last years flower heads still have the seeds on, alternately you could dig up wild plants and transplant to your place

cover crops, Seven Springs Farm is a family run operation from Floyd virginia, they have good bulk prices and they are not Amazon

sweet potatoes, start your own. For a couple dollars worth of store bought potatoes you can easily make a couple hundred plants. Just bury them in pots, cut the sprouts as they come up and plant them directly, water in well, nothing else to it.

Also, I just got back from Tradd Cotter's workshop at Mushroom Mountain, so I'm eager to suggest using his Stropharia spawn for innoculating fresh wood chip mulch, and his Blewitt spawn for innoculating manure/compost/leaf mould mulch. You'd get very quick breakdown, plus edible mushrooms, plus tons of worms eating the spent mycelium in a year.

good luck
peace
 
C Snyder
Posts: 7
Location: Upstate South Carolina
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To answer Ken, Area 1 is my suburban backyard which is about 75'x50' running north to south and the slope runs east to west. My trees and bushes I have planted on the north side to eventually become windbreaks and to not block the sun from the vegetable beds/terraces.

I just bought my comfrey, yarrow and other seeds from horizonherbs.com. They seemed to be one of the only places with True Comfrey (not the sterile Russian hybrid like Matthew is using; not that there is anything wrong with that) and all the other guild herbs I wanted. Plus they had an Anasazi four sisters mix I wanted to try.

Matthew: Where did you get the Goumi and Sea buckthorn you planted in the same hole as your trees? I want to do the White Clover cover crop as well. Did you just get your seed from Amazon? What about your black locust seedlings?
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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@C Snyder - The black locust bare root seedlings were from willisorchards.com. From where, actually, I need to be buying more real soon if they still have some. Raintree.com also carries them, and for less $, though willisorchards.com has larger trees available and is located much much closer (to us, at least). I figure it's always good to buy trees raised in your own climate. The goumi grafted transplants were from raintree.com. They always have a good selection and are a big, reliable retailer. The sea buckthorns were from onegreenworld.com. I have more coming from them this spring that still have not arrived, come to think of it. Regarding goumi and sea buckthorn, there are actually several companies selling them. I chose my sources just because they had the right combination of cultivars and price. Raintree's selection and prices are hard to beat! I think my clover seed was from amazon.com, yes.

Anasazi four sisters mix... sounds like fun : )

Best wishes on the establishment of your project. Sounds like you are keeping yourself busy! Well, I guess you would be foolish not to given our non-existent winter and the spring rapidly transitioning towards summer. Where are you located? I would love to stop by and see what you are doing first hand, if you had a half hour to spare some day. I sent you a PM... you can respond in kind if you like.

Peace!
 
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