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Give back to the land this holiday season

 
gardener
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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The holidays are here and during this time of giving you're likely to be thinking about how to give back to the people in your life. But what about your land? What are you doing to give back to the land that supports you? This week's blog post -- A Gift Worth Giving—How to Give Back to Your Land --- covers 11 different ways broken into 3 general categories that you can give back to your land.

For me the core part of giving back to your land is working with nature. This is the central theme that runs through each of the 11 methods outlined in the blog post. So often human impact on the land is negative but as wild homesteaders we know that we can cultivate abundance for people, plants and animals.

Below you will find all 11 methods listed in the blog post but I would love to hear from you--how are you giving back to your land? Leave your answer in the comments!

11 Ways to Give Back to Your Land



The 11 ways to give back to your land covered in the blog post are broken into the following categories:

1. Build Soil
2. Retain Water
3. Support Wildlife

When you do these 3 things on your wild homestead you're giving back to the land and in return the land will give back to you in the form of abundant harvests. Plus, you will gain a connection with the natural environment around you!

There are many ways to build soil, retain water and support wildlife on a wild homestead. The 11 following methods are just a snap shot. Got a method to add to the list? Please share it in the comments!

Build Soil

1. Mulch your soil
2. Add woody debris to your land
3. Chop-and-drop your plants
4. Plant perennial vegetables

Retain Water

1. Plant a food forest
2. Practice low-water gardening
3. Install swales on contour
4. Install hugelkultur beds

Support Wildlife

1. Plant native plants
2. Install habitat features
3. Plant hedgerows

The blog post has links to more information about each of these 11 methods. Make sure to go check it out to learn more!

How Do You Give Back to Your Land?



So what about you? How are you giving back to your land? I would love to hear from you!

When you are over on the blog post make sure to leave a comment sharing how you're giving back to your land!

While you are over on the blog most make sure to leave a comment! If you are the first to do so you will get a piece of pie! The pie will get you access to some special features on perimes, discounts at some vendors, and you can use it to purchase some products on the permies digital marketplace.

If you leave a comment on the blog post make sure to leave a post here on permies too so I can easily give you the slice of pie.

On my own wild homestead mulching is one of the biggest ways I'm trying to give back to my land. But I'm also using a diverse mix of methods from each of those 3 categories. By doing so I have noticed my land really taking off in the last 3 years since my wife and I bought it. There is far more wildlife then there used to be and our harvests are growing every year.

I really can't wait to see how much my land changes over the next 3 years!

But you don't have to do all 11 of these methods--just picking 1 to 3 methods and using them consistently on your wild homestead is a great way to give back to your land. Start small and then build from there.

I hope you have enjoyed this week's blog post and don't forget to leave a comment!

Happy holidays!
 
gardener
Posts: 566
Location: Central Texas
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I'm glad you shared this post. I was just thinking about my 2020 goals with my land. Now that the soil is finally becoming alive, now it's time to nourish it and bring it to it's full potential.
Staff note (Daron Williams) :

Thanks for the comment on the blog! You were the first so pie for you!

 
pollinator
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Daron, this is a wonderful post. I'm sitting here on Christmas Day, all the cooking activities under control, enjoying the incredibly beautiful weather we're having here in Athens, GA. Your post makes me feel so very good about all the leaves and wood chips I've been working hard to integrate into the land and also all the seeds and transplants I'll be planting soon. I joined our State Botanical Garden this year and bought a lot of their native plants, and I intend to get more come Spring.

My gift to my land? Trying to understand better how to help it do what it does best. A while back I'd bought the Kindle editions of Jeff Lowenfels' Teaming with Microbes/Nutrients/Fungi books but had never read them. So my gift to my land is to READ them! I know that by doing this I'll have a far greater understanding of what I'm trying to accomplish and will have a better sense of how to co-create with nature to achieve our goals. I'm about halfway through the first book, Microbes, and already I'm majorly excited. So I give the land my excitement and wonder, too!

Wishing everyone a very happy New Year and the stamina we all need to do what we do.

 
pollinator
Posts: 268
Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,500' Zone 8a
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Put an Autumn Olive and Seaberry in the ground today. 🙂
 
Daron Williams
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Kc – Thank you! I’m really glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comment on the blog post!

Diane – Thank you so much! That book sounds like a great one! It’s on my list to read too. I should get around to reading it… Happy New Years to you too and good luck with everything! Thanks again!

Wayne – Nice! I’m getting ready to plant 3 goumi berry plants on my land. Got to love the edible nitrogen fixing plants! 😊
 
steward
Posts: 5266
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I love giving the land a bit of tobacco which she provided for me in previous years. Very ritualized. Humbly returning that which was so graciously provided for me.

I love giving her the effluents of my body, and kitchen. A saying in my home is, "Don't throw away your wealth.". In other words, potato peels and kitchen scraps are not to be discarded like rubbish, they are next year's soil fertility.

I love dancing for the land, and singing for her. She seems to thrive on the attention.

In my world view, every plant that grows on or near my farm is a beloved native, and gets honored and respected as such regardless of where it was growing in previous epochs.  



 
Wayne Mackenzie
pollinator
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Daron Williams wrote:Kc – Thank you! I’m really glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comment on the blog post!

Diane – Thank you so much! That book sounds like a great one! It’s on my list to read too. I should get around to reading it… Happy New Years to you too and good luck with everything! Thanks again!

Wayne – Nice! I’m getting ready to plant 3 goumi berry plants on my land. Got to love the edible nitrogen fixing plants! 😊


That’s funny. My wife and I put in 3 Carmines today.
 
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Location: rural West Virginia
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On planting autumn olives--NOOOOOO! That is the worst of the invasives I deal with--DON'T plant it on purpose. But the related goumi, which all sources I've seen say is not invasive, and also has bigger tastier fruit, and does fix nitrogen--well, I planted a pair about three years ago and have gotten two decent crops so far. Fast growing and healthy but not spreading, and they have stiff twigs but not thorns. I spent most of a day picking all the berries this year. Trouble is, I don't want to swallow the pits and see no way to excise them, so i wind up boiling and squeezing out juice, to make a topping for ice cream or additive for jam. I'd like to find more ways to use goumi fruits.
On the general question here, I was surprised not to see compost mentioned. In addition to my pair of compost bins above my garden, I have smaller piles in my two other crop fields sometimes, and several piles of half rotten logs in the woods. Also, two wire bins for shredded leaves. We have a composting outhouse, and a pair of poo bins. The proceeds of the one that has sat untouched the previous year are used in spring in my orchard and flowerbed. I time the cleaning out of my chicken coop so I can layer it in with a compost pile I'm turning, the one above the main garden. We also have a pisseria in the house--another bucket with a toilet seat lid arrangement. I dump the pee on my compost piles, in a rotating sequence. Pee contains most of the nitrogen and phosphorus your body emits.
On the wildlife fostering section, seems to me it's mostly about NOT doing things. But I did plant some milkweed in a semi-fenced circle around a persimmon tree, which has enhanced butterflies; I refrained from eradicating most of the related butterfly weed that comes up in my garden, and leave one clump of yarrow in there; I planted tansy for predator bugs; I plant fennel for me, for the seeds, but some bugs like it too.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
pollinator
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Mary Wildfire wrote:On planting autumn olives--NOOOOOO! That is the worst of the invasives I deal with--DON'T plant it on purpose.


I’m planting 2 more today.
 
pollinator
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We have a saying in France that "the prettiest girl in the world can only give what she's got. And so it is with the land: It can only give what it's got. It is not 'magic'.
Magic exists only in the imagination when a land is plentiful; it is not a coincidence. Or rather: This type of coincidence takes a lot of planning.
While we may feel more mellow and nurturing in this time of holidays, it is really each and every day that we need to nurture our land. It has to be a mindset.
I use comfrey tea as fertilizer. Also mulching, mulching, mulching. Get to the weeds before they flower, this way, you can do chop and drop in minutes without preparing a lot of future work for yourself: I use my little electric weed eater. Since I mulch my alleys abundantly with wood chips, I can breathe for a while before I have to weed them. When I do, the electric weed eater comes out and does short work of that task.[15-20 mins] Then, I can concentrate on the beds themselves and pull weeds there. They in turn go to feed the chickens. The chicken litter is ... you guessed it: Wood chips. When I clena up their coop, the enriched chips go around the trees or in the garden if that is where I need them.
I should compost but don't, although, in a way, I do: What I mean is I don't fret over making a big pile with the right proportions of green and brown material.
I'm lazy and at 70+, I'm not as strong as I used to be to turn the pile over, I don't have enough to compost since my chickens eat the scraps and it bugs me to make great dirt in a corner of the garden and then have to move it way over to the beds. Plus, aesthetically, having a pile that sticks out like a sore thumb... nope.
Free wood chips that I spread once and never have to turn over is more my speed. And since the chips are all around each bed, when they have turned to good soil, all I have to do is toss it right over the bed boards. Easy peasy.
 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:The chicken litter is ... you guessed it: Wood chips.[/quote

I never would have thought to use wood chips as chicken litter! I'll have to try it!

 
Daron Williams
gardener
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
944
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Mary – Thank you for your comment! The invasive issue with autumn olive is an interesting one. While it does spread in some areas in others not so much. I don’t know about AZ where Wayne is but here in western WA it never spreads and is not classified as an invasive. But as you mentioned goumi is a similar plant and if someone was worried about autumn olive it’s a great alternative.

As far as compost goes – can’t list everything! 😊 But you’re correct that compost can be a great way to give back to the land. I’m enjoying seeing what others like yourself are doing—as this discussion continues we are getting a nice list of ways to give back to the land.

For wildlife I have found that adding things like snags, logs, rock piles, planting natives, etc. have resulted in a huge increase in the amount of wildlife on my wild homestead. But my land is almost all old degraded pasture with little diversity except where I have been improving it. If someone had land with healthy existing habitat then letting that area be would likely support a lot of wildlife—this is essentially the idea behind zones 4 and 5 in permaculture design.

Thanks again for the comment!

Cécile – Thanks for the comment! I agree giving back to the land on a daily basis is the best approach. But I this time of the year is also a good time to remind ourselves about this 😊
 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
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And now that we're on the subject of compost, there's this going on in another thread:

permies.com/p/1037164

So I'll be trying this, too.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Diane Kistner wrote:

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:The chicken litter is ... you guessed it: Wood chips.[/quote

I never would have thought to use wood chips as chicken litter! I'll have to try it!



I go to Tractor Supply and 3-4 bags fill the coop. It is less than $6 each, so yeah $18 but then, I get to reuse it in the garden or in the orchard, so it is pretty good. The really small shavings may not be the best for babies because they don't know they are not supposed to eat it! in a month, they know you have better stuff to give them!

 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:
I go to Tractor Supply and 3-4 bags fill the coop. It is less than $6 each, so yeah $18 but then, I get to reuse it in the garden or in the orchard, so it is pretty good. The really small shavings may not be the best for babies because they don't know they are not supposed to eat it! in a month, they know you have better stuff to give them!



I hadn't seen wood chips at Tractor Supply. I get those pine shavings that are pretty big. Is there any reason why wood chips from a tree service couldn't be used? As far as the babies, I've sworn off baby chicks after nine of the eleven I got last year died. I've got two hens now and may add a laying-age pullet next year. I live in a suburban area where we can only have up to six hens and no roosters, so I think I can avoid the baby chick situation.

 
Daron Williams
gardener
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Wood chips from a tree service company should be fine for a chicken run. I'm planning on using wood chips I get for free for my chickens once I get them. I'm also going to use fall leaves when I have them. I don't have personal experience on this but I'm going off what I have seen other people do and what worked for them.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Daron Williams wrote:Wood chips from a tree service company should be fine for a chicken run. I'm planning on using wood chips I get for free for my chickens once I get them. I'm also going to use fall leaves when I have them. I don't have personal experience on this but I'm going off what I have seen other people do and what worked for them.



We had a big storm in the Central Sands of Wisconsin earlier this year, and so there were quite a few tree service companies that were out and about. Before I asked them to bring some to my place, I looked at how fine they chipped it. They were fine but since then, I've seen chipping that was done in spite of good sense: Their product was so chunky that I would not have gotten that even for my winter chicken run: Some pieces were big as my wrist and 5-6". Make sure you specify that you want it chipped fine. If you get it delivered sight unseen, you may be asking for trouble.
For inside the coop, I get the fine stuff from Tractor supply, even though I have to pay to get it. At $6 a bag, it is still affordable, clean and absorbent and especially, easy to shovel out!
My coop has a wood floor, so keeping it dry is important. It has to be changed at the very least every other month. In the winter, even with the 6" of snow we got yesterday, I will clean the coop.
I think I mentioned in another thread about the stirrup shovel I use: All metal, 2' wide, it makes a big scoop that I can slide under the snow. then I can drag that big scoop anywhere I want and dump it under trees, in the garden... anywhere. The design is great because I never have to lift the scoop: Just push and tilt. This is what it looks like:
https://scoopsandrakes.com/
Send all the plastic ones back to China!
If making compost is the goal, leaves are still better. This year, we were robbed of that opportunity because our first snow fall happened before most folks could rake the leaves off. Most leaves were still on the trees.
 
Kc Simmons
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This land has been in my family for the last 70 years and, as the current steward, I feel I'm responsible for helping it reach it's full potential & health level... The front half has been well-cared for, as that's the original Homesite where my great grandparents built the house, and is where my parents live (since I wasn't able to live there when I inherited the property, due to my job location). Unfortunately the back half became neglected and used as a "junk yard" of old cars & lawnmowers, etc, for many decades, so I spent a few years having it cleaned up. When my job allowed me to move back to my hometown, I decided to make my homesite on the back half, which resulted in more degradation, due to having the area cleared, and installing the foundation, septic, electric, and all the other stuff required by the state & county. Once all of that was done, I jumped right in to the restoration. After a couple of years, it still has a long way to go, but I'm finally seeing the positive impact of the tons of wood chips I've brought in and carried/dispersed around the land, as well as the waste I've composted to help feed the soil.
And it's totally worth the work, because the land and it's wild inhabitants seem to be happier than I have ever seen in my 34 years. I'm so excited to see how it continues to progress in the future.
 
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the permaculture bootcamp in winter
https://permies.com/t/149839/permaculture-projects/permaculture-bootcamp-winter
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