Win a copy of 5 Acres & A Dream The Sequel this week in the Homestead forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Kate Downham

A new adventure, began earlier then expected

 
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Many know that after 20 years, we put our farm in VA in the market (There’s a thread on permies).  Our future destination is a small spot in the mountains in NC, in an artist community.  The place we found, or that found us, was in dyer need of a rescue.  We’ve spent time on & off working on the place and doing fire safety and some hardscape.  We cruised up the last of Feb for a couple weeks to get some more work done and because of the virus, are still here.  It wasn’t planned, but things happen as they should.  I found myself on a plot without any food growing so being sequestered has worked fine.  Gardens have progressed pretty fast and I wanted to share a photo timeline. This journey began 15 months ago.  We are zone 6 (moving up that scale steadily), the worse clay, mica excuse for soil with 0 organic matter, no humus or top soil, on a ridge with impressive winds, 55” annual rainfall, but in 2018 almost 100”, an initial 18 degree slope.  Huge wild Rhododendrons, well over 12’, which are the fuel for wildfires here.  That where this log will begin.  
AE118559-4583-49B8-9113-6066A407C9C5.png
Stupid Rhodes draped over the deck, covered a garage etc
Stupid Rhodes draped over the deck, covered a garage etc
C1679407-8834-404C-9301-3881EFDC49FC.png
This shows the slope
This shows the slope
777A3781-208C-4EBE-94DC-9C6D189F955A.png
I left tall stumps to use as back-stops to build above ground hugels and have several level planting areas.
I left tall stumps to use as back-stops to build above ground hugels and have several level planting areas.
869EF839-57CC-4E27-9B95-B32CF74BC48D.png
[Thumbnail for 869EF839-57CC-4E27-9B95-B32CF74BC48D.png]
4A265A36-301E-42AE-A68A-F5CD56A7467C.png
I took the large grassy area and installed 2-8’ tall boulder terraces to help ease the impressive grade
I took the large grassy area and installed 2-8’ tall boulder terraces to help ease the impressive grade
997D8478-DF02-47A9-B015-D3A7F107A24D.jpeg
In December, we built a walkway and viewing deck
In December, we built a walkway and viewing deck
6B4291DA-7FF0-4EC6-8305-0FE5005B0DC0.jpeg
I had dug some ditches to direct water away from the future garden site before heading back to VA for Jan & Feb
I had dug some ditches to direct water away from the future garden site before heading back to VA for Jan & Feb
9B850717-5683-44E1-B42D-8893B8AE3936.jpeg
Since we realized we would be for a while- I quickly did a design and began getting veggies in the ground.
Since we realized we would be for a while- I quickly did a design and began getting veggies in the ground.
C391A5D1-AFA7-4B5B-8749-AA2EE22D443B.jpeg
[Thumbnail for C391A5D1-AFA7-4B5B-8749-AA2EE22D443B.jpeg]
D9E5D9A7-38B8-4668-A4D0-A6CA76D3D362.jpeg
I started cutting in beds, awake and berm fashion, and decided ditches with the rainfall made more sense, once I saw the initial ones fill with silt.
I started cutting in beds, awake and berm fashion, and decided ditches with the rainfall made more sense, once I saw the initial ones fill with silt.
3BACBAC2-4CC1-4FBE-866E-C521485FE113.jpeg
Several beds with veggies, asparagus bed, Potatoes are in, a couple seeded beds and beds ready for prep for warmer crops.
Several beds with veggies, asparagus bed, Potatoes are in, a couple seeded beds and beds ready for prep for warmer crops.
0C04F5CB-AB53-4AE2-B3A0-D53DAA2ED592.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 0C04F5CB-AB53-4AE2-B3A0-D53DAA2ED592.jpeg]
DABBD738-E95B-4AE7-869D-B3E5BDAF1ED9.jpeg
Going vertical with grape vines vs the traditional “T”
Going vertical with grape vines vs the traditional “T”
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are using what we find in the woods as well as some unscreened top soil I picked up last year.  We had to remove some mangled hardwoods last year and chipped them so there was a big pile of mulch, which over the last 8 months is loaded with mycelium. That was used as a base on the beds, followed by a thick layer of decomposing leaves from the woods, kitchen scraps, more leaves then coated with the top soil to seed and then another layer of mulch.  
We have cole crops, black and golden raspberries, blueberries, variety of herbs, flame grapes, garlic, onions, cherries, plums, mulberry, goji, crabapples, peaches and of course comfrey and perennials.  I’m sleeping much better now.  
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a farmer, not having food outside my door, scared the crap out of me.  I tucked it everywhere possible- even my herb spiral is half converted to a strawberry bed....for now.  
70D06E59-66C6-42F4-AF82-7D195E21EE60.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 70D06E59-66C6-42F4-AF82-7D195E21EE60.jpeg]
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a serious concern about water.  We have a well that only generates about 3GPM and certainly not enough to maintain a garden during the usual fall drought.  Couple that with being on a one lane skinny 15 degree dirt road and should wild fires get here- we’d be on our own- no fire trucks could make it up and there is no water to access anyway.  The opposite side of the property, although skinny was the only option for a pond and after searching for months for an affordable tank- we got a water catchment system finished this week.  
87712CFA-392F-45E3-BE95-B5D82535DDC5.png
[Thumbnail for 87712CFA-392F-45E3-BE95-B5D82535DDC5.png]
84B21E60-C78A-49F8-B00F-352C10AB9D27.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 84B21E60-C78A-49F8-B00F-352C10AB9D27.jpeg]
B3F9F0A6-9A5C-4169-985F-85AE849A7649.jpeg
[Thumbnail for B3F9F0A6-9A5C-4169-985F-85AE849A7649.jpeg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
181
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Marrianne

Thank you much for sharing. You bring a wealth of experience to a project like this and your story will help everybody here. I think that the covid problem (!) may bring more of us to catch your nervousness about having growing food close around home!

Are you hiring out the site work? Or do you have equipment? That pond doesn't look like a shovel job...


Cheers,
Rufus
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Rufus. No- the pond and the boulder terraces were hired out- way beyond our 60 year old abilities -lol. I found a young guy, maybe 25, who’s dad has an earthworks company, that just ventured out on his own.  He’s been on heavy equipment since he was 10.  That boy was fast, affordable and could probably move a penny with that equipment.  I flagged it, he asked questions etc then off he went.  1 day to dig the pond and 1.5 days for the terraces.  
I am use to VA compacted clay, so digging the little stuff was a breeze in the soil.  Shovel, hoe and a good rake was all that I needed and happily traveled here with those.  
Thanks for checking this out.  When we realized we would “shelter” here, my first thought was - my seeds are in VA!!!  Seeds, some bare roots (like strawberries) and some whips were the first thing I got.  Toilet Paper never hit my gotta have list- hahaha!  Stay safe~
 
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate SC
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Marianne Cicala wrote:Hey Rufus. No- the pond and the boulder terraces were hired out- way beyond our 60 year old abilities -lol. I found a young guy, maybe 25, who’s dad has an earthworks company, that just ventured out on his own.  He’s been on heavy equipment since he was 10.  That boy was fast, affordable and could probably move a penny with that equipment.  I flagged it, he asked questions etc then off he went.  1 day to dig the pond and 1.5 days for the terraces.  
I am use to VA compacted clay, so digging the little stuff was a breeze in the soil.  Shovel, hoe and a good rake was all that I needed and happily traveled here with those.  
Thanks for checking this out.  When we realized we would “shelter” here, my first thought was - my seeds are in VA!!!  Seeds, some bare roots (like strawberries) and some whips were the first thing I got.  Toilet Paper never hit my gotta have list- hahaha!  Stay safe~




That is a wonderful looking property you found!
 
pollinator
Posts: 486
289
solar wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Glad to see you're catching rain!  Did you know that for every 10'x10' square of roof, your roof will provide you 62 gallons of water per inch of rainfall?

This means if your house is 30'x20', you will collect: 30*20=600ft^2 ; 600ft^2/(100ft^2/62gal) =372 gallons for one inch of rainfall.

This means if that is a 500 gallon tank next to your house, it will overfill if you get more than two inches of rain in one storm!
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1510
Location: southern Illinois.
298
composting toilet food preservation homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live pretty remotely. While fire trucks can reach me, the time frame becomes a serious question. Giving credit where it is due, the closest fire department is volunteer, but it is excellent. But no matter how good they are, time becomes a serious factor. At last count, I keep 10 fire extinguishers on the property. That includes one attached to my tractor and another to my mover.  I have had to use them 3x in the past 20 years.  Once, it was serious, and I used up all 10 extinguishers. I had a brand new mower go up in flames in its first 10 feet of use.....beside some tall dry grass.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Orin Raichart wrote:Glad to see you're catching rain!  Did you know that for every 10'x10' square of roof, your roof will provide you 62 gallons of water per inch of rainfall?

This means if your house is 30'x20', you will collect: 30*20=600ft^2 ; 600ft^2/(100ft^2/62gal) =372 gallons for one inch of rainfall.

This means if that is a 500 gallon tank next to your house, it will overfill if you get more than two inches of rain in one storm!



Hey Orin
Yes, I calculated roof/runoff.  I have 850sq’ roof that is feeding into this 1500G tank; 2” will be easily accommodated. Since we have gotten far more
then that in a storm, there is an overflow, on the downhill side, connected to a 4” hose that dumps down the hill.  
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John F Dean wrote:I live pretty remotely. While fire trucks can reach me, the time frame becomes a serious question. Giving credit where it is due, the closest fire department is volunteer, but it is excellent. But no matter how good they are, time becomes a serious factor. At last count, I keep 10 fire extinguishers on the property. That includes one attached to my tractor and another to my mover.  I have had to use them 3x in the past 20 years.  Once, it was serious, and I used up all 10 extinguishers. I had a brand new mower go up in flames in its first 10 feet of use.....beside some tall dry grass.


Thanks!!!  I will certainly add to my fire extinguisher collection.  I have a sump pump & 400’ of collapsible fire hose, that I used for flood irrigation in the farm, which should the need arise, I’ll drop in the pond...assuming it fills this spring.  The house is cedar so hopefully that will buy us needed time.  The local forest ranger and Blue Ridge fire chief were awesome when I called asking for advice.  This is such a new area and I had no wildfire knowledge.  They popped right over and educated and sent a list of suggestions.  Fire extinguishers weren’t on their list - so thanks again!
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
An update to the string or a few check offs on the todo list. Amazes me how much food can be grown in a small space ( compared to the farm). Decent size pond beginning to fill up and small pond will get filled up today via the water catchment tank and hopefully small fountain turned on. More then enough on this 1/2 acre for us and just about anyone we know . The swales/ditches are moving this abundant rainfall just fine- a rock path will get laid this week on the currently empty berm.   A variety of herbs, crabapples, plums, cherries, mulberries, Pawpaws, peaches, blueberries, black and golden raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, elderberries, grapes, currents not to mention beds a plenty for annuals: potatoes are coming up, asparagus bed is rocking, peas, greens and brassicas.  Don’t even get me started on perennial flowers & plenty of annual bloomers are seeded. Lol.  Content to say the least.
29948E36-2792-4A39-A082-F53A205ABC16.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 29948E36-2792-4A39-A082-F53A205ABC16.jpeg]
D2179846-A73F-4F7C-AC9C-FC7C5A65AB6B.jpeg
[Thumbnail for D2179846-A73F-4F7C-AC9C-FC7C5A65AB6B.jpeg]
9DEBB715-F922-4B98-BD4D-4D0363D7DB89.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 9DEBB715-F922-4B98-BD4D-4D0363D7DB89.jpeg]
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 824
Location: south central VA 7B
129
forest garden fungi trees books bee solar
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is time to head back to the farm- feeling pretty good about what was accomplished in a couple months. Patience as tiny plants and hundreds of seeds find their way.  I’m pretty confident that over the next month or so, while these gardens will be unattended, spring rains and warmer weather will be all that’s needed.  
My neighbors are aware of what will have harvestable over the coming weeks and they’re pretty happy to oblige.
FE51C048-294C-482A-B5C4-B9480EB1EDFC.jpeg
[Thumbnail for FE51C048-294C-482A-B5C4-B9480EB1EDFC.jpeg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 309
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
62
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just catching up on your latest adventure - looking great!
gift
 
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic