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started site design. pic heavy.  RSS feed

 
Ray Cover
Posts: 132
Location: Missouri
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Ok I have been reading Bill Mollison's book Intro to Permacutlure and I have decided to take the plunge. A lot of what I read in his book is just good old common sense. I will probably spend a lot of my time carefully evaluating what I already have and planning where I want to go from here. Now I am not a master gardener. I grow a pretty mean tomato plant but I read you folks comments about a lot of plants I have never even heard of before so I will probably need some direction from time to time. I am trying to read and self educate as much as I can so I don't totally drive everyone insane with questions. Here is my starting point. As you can see with the exception of the house the fences and a few maple trees I pretty much have a blank slate.

I welcome comments and suggestions but one thing that needs to kept in mind is I live in town and I have building inspectors and neighbors that I don't want to rub the wrong way. As you can see I have VERY LITTLE privacy here and there isn't a whole lot I can hide so I have to keep everything on the up and up so to speak.

Site specifications

Land developed and house built in 1950

Lat Aprox 38
Longitude Aprox 90
Elevation 464 to 478
Hardiness zone 5B
Chill hours 1500

Primary winds. Our weather typically tracks up the I-44 corridor from northern TX. My primary wind direction comes from that W SW direction.

Average annual precipitation 40”. Tends to peak in the spring early summer months of Mar-June at around 3.5-4” per month then levels off for the later summer months to about 2.5 -3” then peaks again in Nov. at 4-5“

Our high temps in summer months of July & Aug play in the low 90s often shooting up to 100 for a few days at a time. Our humidity is very high during the summer months. Winter temps can get very cold but at about 15F but usually doesn’t stay that cold for long. Our typical winter weather consist of a cold fronts that come through and usually drop 4”-5” of snow. A few days later the temps rise again and it all melts off. Overall winters here are overall fairly mild.

The lot is .98 acre sitting about half way down a south-facing (sun facing) slope. According to my GPS, The backyard slopes about 9ft-10ft in thr 100ft from the back of the house to the back fence (approx a 1 in 10 drop)

There are already some subtle swales in the back yard that I may take advantage of and accent. These tend to follow the contour of the hillside and look as if they were originally some sort of terracing maybe originally for erosion control or maybe even gardens many years ago.















You have seen my place here is where I am at. I started this gardening journey from a "backyard orchard culture" or compact urban growing direction. A lot of their ideas overlap with permaculture ideas in the gardening area so I feel like a lot of my previous planning will fit in to a new permaculture design.

For example I have a list of Fruit trees for my area that progressively ripen. So I will start getting fruit in mid April with cherries and have fresh fruit all through the growing season unit the persimmons end in mid November. A lot of that kind of thing as far as the fruit trees and what should grow well here, etc. I already have worked out.

One thing I know I need to take care of is a major rainwater collection system because the only water supply I have on site is city water.

Another couple projects that I want to do fairly soon is turn my breezeway and back porch into growing rooms or mini greenhouses. I get a great passive solar effect in the breezeway in the winter as it is. Better windows and some insulation in the roof should greatly enhance that areas use.
I also want more family/people area in the back yard. We used to have a fire pit in the backyard and used it a lot for social events. But it fell apart and we never replaced it. I also would like a patio outside the back porch to use as an out door kitchen.

As I formulate my plan I would like to be able to post results as I go for feedback. I have a blogspot that I have not used for about a year. I am considering using that as a place to chronicle the progression so I don't bog things down here. Anyone have an opinion on that?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I have only known about permaculture for about a year now. I have been running willy nilly through this project and that and have been pleased with all of the results from techniques that go against everything I have been taught.

So now, I have been looking for some organization. I recently put out a thread on Bill Mollisons Permaculture Techniques pamphlet. In that particular pamphlet the first 5 pages talks almost exclusively about zone 1. So I have made up a checklist of things that he talks about for zone 1 - which is pretty much your back yard. This is helping me to have some sense of organization. Once I have completed all of the items that he talks about in zone 1 then I will move outward.

I am aware that a lot of what he says goes against all conventional teaching and processes - and that is exactly why I want to try each and every one of his suggestions. If he had followed all of the scientifically proven practices then we wouldn't have permaculture today. I'll try them, and if they don't work then I'll try something else.

I did the strawbox for potatoes already. I also already have one small pond and one teeny water feature full of tadpoles. As soon as the tadpoles mature I am going to modify them even further to match his suggestions.

My process is really backward though - according to his suggestion you should first determine your paths through zone one and then base your garden on that. So that will be next on my list.

So if you get a chance I would suggest that pamphlet and see if that helps with a layout and plan for your yard.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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It sounds like your rainfall is close to ideal. The common wisdom in vegetable growing is that you need 1 inch per week of water. You are close enough to that in rain, that you ought to be able to catch enough on roofs to make up the difference for the growing season.

I have heard repeatedly that earthworks should start at the top, and go downhill. With your layout, I would probably do the exact opposite. Since any runoff you have will be leaving your property, I would say a hugelbed near the south fence will capture (and store) any runoff before it goes to your neighbor's yard. With some luck, the hugelbed would receive enough water throughout the year to not need watering in the drier summer months. Since it is farther from the house, you probably don't want to drag hoses there every week.

The breezeway may not get enough sunlight to be a great growhouse, but could certainly protect some less hardy plants in winter time.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Looks just about perfect. If you want more privacy, you might want to put hedges of various fruiting trees and shrubs all along the fences. There's room for as many as you're likely to need.
 
Alex Ames
Posts: 406
Location: Georgia
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:I have only known about permaculture for about a year now. I have been running willy nilly through this project and that and have been pleased with all of the results from techniques that go against everything I have been taught.

So now, I have been looking for some organization. I recently put out a thread on Bill Mollisons Permaculture Techniques pamphlet. In that particular pamphlet the first 5 pages talks almost exclusively about zone 1. So I have made up a checklist of things that he talks about for zone 1 - which is pretty much your back yard. This is helping me to have some sense of organization. Once I have completed all of the items that he talks about in zone 1 then I will move outward.

I am aware that a lot of what he says goes against all conventional teaching and processes - and that is exactly why I want to try each and every one of his suggestions. If he had followed all of the scientifically proven practices then we wouldn't have permaculture today. I'll try them, and if they don't work then I'll try something else.

I did the strawbox for potatoes already. I also already have one small pond and one teeny water feature full of tadpoles. As soon as the tadpoles mature I am going to modify them even further to match his suggestions.

My process is really backward though - according to his suggestion you should first determine your paths through zone one and then base your garden on that. So that will be next on my list.

So if you get a chance I would suggest that pamphlet and see if that helps with a layout and plan for your yard.



Well the suggestion about overwintering peppers works. I have one in its 3rd season and we are eating peppers in the middle of May. My pepper
seedlings are struggling mightily but we are not without peppers because of the 2 plants I put in the garage over the winter.

I catch rainwater off the roof and "float garlic oils" to keep down the mosquitos. That works less well, but it beats nothing. I think that was in the
pamphlet. I am using parsley in somewhat the manner he describes by shaking seed heads out where I want parsley.

My layout differs but everything in my zone one is easily accessible. My herb spiral is in one direction and my kitchen garden is in another but if
the trip is for herbs only, it is a few steps closer. He makes it sound fun and like there is no work attached kind of like ruth stout but I think it is
better put that the design is efficient for living.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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if you want some nearly instant summer screen on your fencing or property lines or by the road you could easily plant some jerusalem artichokes ..but don't put them in that small garden area..too invasive for that..they will grow 8 to 10 feet tall and have a beautiful flower in fall..you can search Jerusalem Artichokes on this forum for photos and links and info..OR you could plant evergreens to screen your neighbors..esp on that north road side and front yard..that will give you tons of privacy but also will eliminate a lot of road/neighbor noise pollution etc..Make sure you take into account mature width and height.

the fact that you have a south facing back yard and most of your trees are nearer the house is great, try reading gaia's garden by Toby Hemenway
 
Ray Cover
Posts: 132
Location: Missouri
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John Polk wrote:It sounds like your rainfall is close to ideal. The common wisdom in vegetable growing is that you need 1 inch per week of water. You are close enough to that in rain, that you ought to be able to catch enough on roofs to make up the difference for the growing season.

I have heard repeatedly that earthworks should start at the top, and go downhill. With your layout, I would probably do the exact opposite. Since any runoff you have will be leaving your property, I would say a hugelbed near the south fence will capture (and store) any runoff before it goes to your neighbor's yard. With some luck, the hugelbed would receive enough water throughout the year to not need watering in the drier summer months. Since it is farther from the house, you probably don't want to drag hoses there every week.

The breezeway may not get enough sunlight to be a great growhouse, but could certainly protect some less hardy plants in winter time.

Good luck, and keep us posted.


Thanks John, I was leaning in that direction. I had the thought to replace my current garden beds on the south fence with a hugglebed that ran the entire length of and parallel to the grape trellis. This would do three things It would give me more privacy by creating a wall of earth and plants, catch and store more water as you suggested, and it would route the excess water in heavy storms to the storm drain saving my neighbors back yard from some of the flooding he sometimes gets in the spring. That's gonna make him happy.

Your right dragging the hose around is a pain.

 
Ray Cover
Posts: 132
Location: Missouri
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Brenda Groth wrote:if you want some nearly instant summer screen on your fencing or property lines or by the road you could easily plant some jerusalem artichokes ..but don't put them in that small garden area..too invasive for that..they will grow 8 to 10 feet tall and have a beautiful flower in fall..you can search Jerusalem Artichokes on this forum for photos and links and info..OR you could plant evergreens to screen your neighbors..esp on that north road side and front yard..that will give you tons of privacy but also will eliminate a lot of road/neighbor noise pollution etc..Make sure you take into account mature width and height.

the fact that you have a south facing back yard and most of your trees are nearer the house is great, try reading Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway


I have to be careful about hedges in the front along the street. That runs into one of those city ordinances. I can have full size trees int eh front yard but any fences or hedgerows can only be 4ft tall. In the back yard they can be as tall as you want but int eh front 4ft is the limit.

I have seen that book. I have the Mollison book and I have a Sepp and Holmgren book on order. I will hav eot put the Hemenway book in my amazon wish list and pick it up on my next book order.

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I have about 4 dozen fruit/vine/nut trees and countless herb/groundcover growing on about 1600 sqft
So you have alot of land to work with compared to me. Check it out and tell me what you think of it.

Here is my current experimental boston. garden: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjpWBJwPQ0nMdEpjV1AwcVJ0dGFZbnVpVEw0RlFQR0E

A few pics of the kiddos in the boston garden : http://home.comcast.net/~beryluter/site/?/photos/
 
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