I was wondering, could we do that here? I think if a few people could show a couple of pictures and give a bit of a visual tour of what they're doing, what's going well, what some issues are, that could help lots of us.
jesse markowitz wrote:The author will walk you through what the grower wanted to do, the property's issues that the grower had to accommodate for, how things progressed, and what the author thinks can be improved within the system.
Hmmm. That would be a lot more compelling (to me) if the author's proposed improvements had actually been tried, and results reported. I find that all sorts of plants and animals ignore what books say they should be doing...it's easy to write how you think things would be better if you don't actually have to try it out and see if it works, especially if it's not in the place you are personally familiar with.
Which is a good reason to do as you suggest, and report actual results here, at least.
My chickens, for instance, never read the books that said they would not fly over a fence they could see through, and had to be caged from the top as well as on all sides. Before the hawks put an end to free-ranging, some chickens had read the book and would go back to the tractor/coop at night, and others just perched someplace inconvenient yet raccoon accessible. I don't recall that the hawks had read the books either. For my local hawks (mostly red-tails) trees are a nice place to perch and stoop from, not protection for the chickens. Meanwhile, our wimpy eastern coyotes can be heard singing from time to time, but were never implicated in chicken losses, while raccoons, skunks, and foxes helped the hawks pare the flock down.
I'm realizing that it's all about mulch in the beginning. I have to mulch everything I'm planting this time of year to protect it from the Sahara desert like conditions. And apply a lot of water too, which isn't too difficult here having our own well. We're supposed to start into the monsoon season around the end of May, and that will be nice when it gets here. I've decided I will have a traditional organic annual garden in my zone 1 area near the back porch, and I'm planting only perennials and self-seeding annuals in the food forest proper. I've figured out that any "weed" that wants to come set up a homestead in my food forest, outside of the mulch immediately around my mulched plants, is more than welcome. I need ground cover and shade. I'm using pigeon pea, lambs quarters, and soon, comfrey to carry the bulk of the mulch, nutrient accumulator, nitrogen fixer, nurse plant roles, in addition to the opportunistic early succession annuals that are moving in from the forest surrounding our property. I have identified a lot of plants that I will be planting, but I need to wait until fall because it will be easier for them to get established in the milder weather. It's interesting - some of the food forest plants will prefer summer and others will prefer winter. But, I'm trying to design this so that we will be harvesting lots of things every month of the year.
Hope that helps. What part of the country is your location?
I'm developing a corner of my kitchen garden as a little food forest experiment, and including several perennials in the rest of the kitchen garden though I want to reserve most of it for annual food plants.
Perennial and biennial edible plants in this garden:
Hog Peanut (might be an annual, I find conflicting info)
Native American Spanish Onion (can't find notation about proper name for these)
A little food forest corner:
That would be a lot more compelling (to me) if the author's proposed improvements had actually been tried, and results reported.
Agreed. And I think that's something we can do here. Someone posts their newish forest garden, tells us what's working, what's not, and we can all offer advice. Then that person goes out, tries something new, and shows us the results. I would love to see stuff like that.
I'm realizing that it's all about mulch in the beginning. I have to mulch everything I'm planting this time of year to protect it from the Sahara desert like conditions.
Funny. I'm mulching everything as well, even though I'm in a pretty different region (Finger Lakes- Zone 6, Clay). That reminds me in gaia's garden when Toby talks about every water technique helping no matter the situation. I think that's true. I've had mulch down since October and am shocked with the results so far. The soil was so clay-ey last year I could make 4 inch ribbons with the soil. Now it practically feels like topsoil.
For fungi production, and to decrease pH, add one liter of finished black composted cow manure to 4 gallons of dechlorinated water in a 5 gallon bucket. Pond water is even better. Add 2 tablespoons of molasses, 1000 mg vitamin C and a pinch of epsom salt. Bubble with an aquarium pump for 24-72 hours, depending on temperature until a good head of foam is formed (that's the fungi). Decant into another 5 gallon bucket, and discard the sludge on your compost pile, or some mulch. Strain with an aquarium fish net. Add strained tea to 25 gallons of dechlorinated water in a 30 gallon trash can. Mix well and foliar feed with a watering can. Don't use an air stone - it breaks up the fungi. Don't use a pump sprayer, the pressure kills the microbes. Molded oatmeal and/or leaf mold can be used in addition to the compost to make lots of fungi.
For bacteria production, and to increase pH, I use the same recipe but with the addition of 1 pound of fish puree, made with my bass-o-matic (my blender that my wife said I can keep "just for the garden"). This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of epsom salt to help breakdown the fish. I leave out the oatmeal and/or leaf mold when producing bacteria. This recipe makes a wonderful liquid fertilizer, but fair warning - it is quite "aromatic" and maybe not a good idea if the neighbors are real close.
I've seen aerobic compost tea made on a much larger scale, but I do not plan to go there because I want my food forest doing all that sort of work for me, hopefully not too long after it is established.
Anyone got any good tea recipes?
My family and I are working on making our urban lot into a food forest. You can see our progress, and our choice of plants (we are in hardiness zone 7a). After the initail inputs, our work load is mostly mulching and harvesting.
Lacy VC wrote: You can see our progress, and our choice of plants (we are in hardiness zone 7a).
Would love to see that.
Anyone got any good tea recipes?
I essentially do a similar recipe to yours, except I buy fish emulsion when I add it. I heard a great idea of cutting a section of bamboo in half length-wise, and fill it with cooked oatmeal. You then put the bamboo pieces together and wrap them together with rubber bands or twine. You drive this into the soil in a nearby healthy-looking forest, leave it until it's colonized and add it to your compost tea. I'm sure this would be better for fungal-based teas. You could also try this in a good nearby pasture for a bacterial-based tea?
A great book on this subject is Teaming with Microbes I think there is a free downloadable version.
here is a link to my updated blog regarding a few of our fruit trees.
I have only a very few full size fruit trees in guilds that are doing well, but then I have these nearly full size fruit trees in the photos that are taking off. I also have dozens and dozens of baby fruit trees and hundreds of fruit bearing bushes and vines, but in this update I only chose to talk about a few pears and a few others.
I am in zone 4b in North central Michigan. We have had a horrid spring here where it was in the 80's in February and then in the 20's overnight in March and April, the fruit trees all budded out very very early and then all the blossoms froze.
In my gardens this year I either have or have ordered 6 pear, 10 cherry, 10 apple, 1 medlar, 1 black walnut, 1 carpathian walnut, 1 butternut, 6 hazelnut, 2 hickory nut, 1 plum 4 wild plum 3 mulberry, 4 elderberry, 2 american persimmon, 1 fruit cocktail tree, 3 peach, 1 hardy almond, 2 sweet chestnut, 10 blueberry, 3 serviceberry, 2 juneberry, 2 honeyberry, 3 gooseberry, gobs of different kinds of raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, goumi and olive, hawthorne, buffalo berry, seaberry, goji, aronia, as well as a number of others (really too numerous to mention here)..All are planted in food forest guilds..as they mature and as the spring growth begins to show I'll try to take more photos.
I was stunned- in a good way- when the first garden they tour, Charlie's Garden, happened to be right over in Greensboro. We are about 20-25 miles west of his garden. Once I saw that, I knew for a fact that this was something we could do. Our largest obstacles so far have been dealing with our very poor soil (we are lucky to have free comprehensive soil testing from the state), our near drought weather (combined with asphalt shingles which has kept us from spending money on rainwater harvesting until we figure something out- like a sand filter), the grass that we are finally getting under control, and finally poison ivy. We have a privacy fence around our entire back yard which is a wonderful perch for all the birds. Which then turns into a perfect location for poison ivy to germinate and annoy us.
You can see our progress at finchj9b.tumblr.com .. My tumblr layout, which I'm not too fond of, has our newest posts first and the oldest way at the bottom (continuous scrolling, so when it hangs up it is just loading more). I have a ton of other photographs that have not made it onto the web. So if there is something you want to see, send me a message here and I'll put it up if I have a shot of it.
Edit- had to fix the url
I'm planning on sending out the comfrey tomorrow. You're more than welcome to stop in when you're over this way.
Great pics! I definitely did not read the whole thing but it looks great. Are you in NC?
Thank you for the compliments. We've made our share of mistakes, and continue to do so. But we are finally over the "paralysis of analysis" mode that most people tend to get into when first jumping into permaculture. (Here is a fun rant on paralysis of analysis in regards to cameras, but applies to permaculture as well imo).
And yes, we are in NC. I'll be here until June 17 when I emigrate to Finland. But my parents will be keeping on, so I'm really just getting the garden off the ground while I'm here.
That made me think of this topic again. Can we also compile a list of good large scale permaculture sights to see, but for the US?
For getting personal views of large scale permaculture, it seems like the only thing Paul would recommend would be the Bullock Brother's farm (from what I can tell). But what about in the midwest, or on the east coast? It'd be nice to have a list of a few places that (A) wanted visitors and (B) had some great examples of permaculture for people to see. I think it'd be great if we could make a list that has at least least one site in every state, if that is possible.
Why don't you start a list? You can put our food forest on the list for Florida. I'd be glad to walk through it and discuss permaculture with anyone interested. Maybe just post an update to the list from time to time?
That would be great. I think there's a lot of interest out there, and a need to filled. As of today, my previous food forest plant list that I posted about a week ago had been downloaded 93 times. When I google "food forest plant list" it comes up third. I have attached my latest revision, which provides more information about our food forest and our permaculture techniques. Feel free to use this as part of your list if you want to (as a link or whatever).
Nice idea. Always great to see how others are doing it and how they understand it is best done with their particular challenges.
I have pics of my Food Forest here on my blog... http://edenparadigm.com/
Actually I think the easiest would be to go to site navigation and check out the individual posts under the Forests and Food Forest Category. There are many things I cover on my blog... all to do with sustainable living.
the first photo is a photo of what WAS sold as a fruit cocktail tree..but only one of the grafts lived so it is a ? tree, but we have blossoms and the mason bees have been working them so there is hope as well. Also there are other fruit trees in this bed area as well but they are also ?'s as they came up from roots of stumps of fruit trees that died at the grafts..so I'm not sure what we'll get from those if anything..but they are also in bloom.
this bed is in an ornamental garden in front of my living room window where I have bird feeders year around (on my blog you can see deer feeding here in the front yard). This bed contains a real mix of things but there are common lilacs, purple leaf smoke bush, hosta, roses both climbing and landscape with huge hips, hibiscus, iris both bearded and siberian, sweet peas, peonies, hydranges, lychnis, sweet william, daylillies, etc.etc. etc.
It will be fun to see what ripens on these trees as they come into fruit.
Photo number 2 is a baby North Star Dwarf cherry tree, I planted 2 but the top part of the other died and I'm not sure if it will come back. I have a lot of other cherries on the property but this little baby is showing me some fruit blossoms for the first time this year (maybe a few last year but they froze). This is planted on the North side of our house where the other photo is on the south. This has a lot of different things planted around it but also includes hostas and lilacs, goatsbeard, privit, red leaf barberry, spireas, ferns, monkshood, siberian and bearded iris, mint, violets, strawberries, pachysanddra, vinca, roses, alberta spruce, honeysuckles, autumn olive, and much much more.
Hoping for a nice crop of cherries this year (I have sweet, sour, bush, ornamental and wild cherries on the property as well as chokecherries which make a lovely jelly). This tree is on a slight slope away from the house and is partially protected by a hedge of black spruce and overhung by a huge paperbark maple tree.
Hope to get more food forest photos soon, but in Michigan here, we are still just starting to have buds opening...and most of the perennials are still just little sprouts.
We have a couple of areas where we are trying to get a forest garden cranking. The comfrey is pretty obvious. In this sections there are 5 apple trees, around 80 currants, paw paws, siberean pea shrubs, spice bushes, new jersey tea, elderberries. On the right under the hawthorns, are gooseberries, nodding onions, some wild garlic, angelica and sweet cicely.
This is actually Good King Henry. We are growing it as a field crop right now, but will start moving it to some shade areas this year.
From there you can find links to more specific groups like Perennials
And another by Katrina Elaine Fulcher, specifically for pictures by people who are actively working on Forest Gardening.
If you are on Ello, check out @ellogreen for articles and pictures.
And on Flickr, you can follow the HardworkingHippy, Irene Kightley. https://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy/
I'm not on Instagram but I'm sure there are pictures there as well. Twitter keeps telling me about them. But I hope if you are posting on those other places that you also post here as well. Not everyone wants to be on FB or ello. Here's my super early spring picture, the new addition, Goumi and jonquils.
Happy Northern Hemisphere Spring!