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Getting started in San Diego, CA  RSS feed

 
christopher shooski
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Hi Permies,
I'm so excited to be here. I'm a long time gardener and outdoor enthusiast. I've moved to a new house...this time I have over 2 acres of gently rolling slope facing perfectly southwest with large terraces that I would like to create a permaculture Food Forest with.
I've been using the search feature a lot and I have a broad strokes idea of where I'm heading...but I'm hoping Permies can point me to the right information for my location.

This is what I think I'm looking for: Plant/Guild lists for my specific region (San Diego/ Southern California)

Also any local resources for help in getting started. Most of the information about food forests I'm seeing are for areas that have very different climates than I...I'm hoping its been done here and I just need to get plugged into the right information or people...

Thanks very much,

Chris
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies Chris
I'm rather far away geographically and climatically, so I'll just say hello and I'm sure you'll get the help you need!
Oh yeah, posting in the Southwest USA forum might get you some specifics too.
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1014
Location: Northern Italy
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christopher shooski wrote:This is what I think I'm looking for: Plant/Guild lists for my specific region (San Diego/ Southern California)


That's the question, isn't it?

Somewhere on these forums and in Paul's podcasts, there is discussion of exactly what you are looking for. 1 page explanation of rock-solid plant guilds designed for your macro-region, and on the other side some suggestions for things that may or may not work according to specific positions in that macro-region (on a hill, valley, south-north facing slope, etc).

Something we all wish a county extension office would have on hand, ready to distribute.

Your best bet might be to find someone (http://permacultureglobal.com/users) who is already doing something in your area and ask that person directly what guilds would be best.

Than again, I'm sure someone here has some ideas for you.
William
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i was in a similar situation here in the 70's reading bill mollison and all his plants were very "foreign' to me..

So I used the basic info of canopy, understory, herbaceous, vine, root, etc.. to decide on what to plant here..although I've had to start over since a housefire destroyed a lot of my surrounding area as did moving house and son's house..so a lot of our trees are babies again.

first think about what you like to eat (self sustainability) and go with that if you have the property situation for those plants, OR think about what you can sell if you are going commercial.

Personally I get a bunch of seed and plant catalogs and go through and make a list of what I like, what grows in my zone and climate and what plants will work together (acid, alkaline, etc) and try to fashion some plantings in that way.

I generally here start with a tree, but when I have a tree loss, sometimes I just work around that...as here I had some serious rabbit damage which killed several trees above the graft this past year and am replacing them, but not in the same place.

welcome and best of luck
 
Tony Gurnoe
Posts: 21
Location: Encinitas, California
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Do you have supplemental irrigation? I'm guessing so if you're on an established lot with a house. If you don't mind me asking where in San Diego? I'm in Encinitas (if you have two acres of rolling hills here congratulations on being rich) which is a significantly different microclimate compared to lakeside/el cajon/ anywhere inland. I guess telling us whether you're on the coast or not would be enough information. Certain plants don't do well on the coast and others don't like the inland heat. Where I'm at the soil is sandy loam with sandstone as the parent material... very low in CEC, water and nutrient holding capacity and natural fertility but with great drainage. about 70% of our soils are similar to this but some of them are pretty intense clays so that will also make a big difference. I've been adding compost/manures/mulches for almost 2 years and am really noticing a revolution in the productivity of my garden.

One thing I would recommend heavily since you're on a slope and our water is getting saltier and more expensive each year is to form some kind of swale/rainwater catchment system. In regards to the food forest, I'm currently studying Subtropical Fruit Production under the UC farm advisor who also teaches this class every other spring. I'd be more than glad to help suggest varieties of your choice tree crops that do well in our area. I hope you like Citrus because this is one of the best areas in the world to grow citrus.

If I were to suggest one plant based on my experiences in my own yard it would be borage. The plant grows well in poor, dry soils producing a huge taproot and lots of quick decomposing biomass for chop/drop mulching. The flowers are abundant, edible, and attractive to beneficial pollinators like bees. Borage will also produce lots of seeds so a handful of seeds could be all that you need. The leaves are also edible but leafy greens is one thing in huge abundance in my garden and the bristly hairs are slightly unappetizing.

If by chance you do find plant guilds specific to our area please do share with the rest of us! Otherwise you might have to do some experimentation in which case it would still be great if you shared your results with us.
 
christopher shooski
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Thanks so much for the advice everyone!

Does anyone have a link to the podcast and the forum post he mentions? Sounds like exactly what I'm looking for.
 
M Marx
Posts: 57
Location: Los Angeles
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these folks might be of some help http://www.quailsprings.org/event/quail-springs-open-house/
open house on June 2nd --- lots of courses -- Warren Brush is also giving a PDC at Zaytuna farms this year, so geoff lawton must think his methods are good -- for what its worth.
I think the wife and I will be heading up there for the open house, should be informative.
 
Diego Footer
Posts: 182
Location: San Diego, CA
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There are a couple Meetup Groups and other groups doing this in San Diego. I would suggest getting on the ground and meeting up with them. The best way to figure it out is to just try different things, expect some not to work, and learn from there. You can look for lists specific to SD, but there aren't any. You will have to make your own. San Diego is so diverse with micro-climates that there aren't any easy answers. For the most part you can pretty much grow anything that isn't truly tropical or requires a lot of chill hours.
 
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