• 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 pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Beau Davidson
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • thomas rubino
  • Casie Becker
  • Mike Barkley

Thoughts on winter permaculture projects.

 
gardener
Posts: 1181
Location: North Carolina zone 7
385
4
hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging ungarbage
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As we get into the winter months I’m curious as to off-season permie projects. I usually do a bunch of mulching with shredded leaves and watching my cover crops grow. What do you do?
 
gardener
Posts: 678
Location: Zone 6b
467
forest garden fungi books chicken fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am doing the followings:
Building soil:
 Mulching garden with woodchips and leaves o0
 Collecting leaves for leaf mulch
 Building compost piles in future gardening site. The center part remains warm and moist when I cover the pile up with leaves and cardboard.  
 Making char out of invasive vines and bushes. Mix in with compost to become biochar.

Controlling invasives
 Japanese Honeysuckles, bush honeysuckles, multiflora Roses, poison ivy etc. It is more pleasant to work when weather is cool and not ticks bothering me.

Planting trees seeds of bur oak, pin oak, hazelnuts, black walnuts and pears

  I placed the burn spots for char making where I wanted to grow trees.  The sites were so clearly marked so i am not going to miss the seedlings. I planted several seeds in each spot,  covered with woodchips and hopefully new seedlings will come up next spring.

Making seed balls with wildflowers. I am still waiting for the weather to cool down more so the seeds won't germinate too early.

I also marked area with wild daylilies nearby for later transplanting, probably in feb/march. That is a pretty big patch over 200 sq ft and the plants are overcrowded. They will benefit from the thinning, a win-win situation.

So these are basically what kept me busy right now. I'd love to read about what other permies are up to for inspirations.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2437
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
610
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Naturally, I'm struck by the contrast in activities that are possible elsewhere vs. here. My ground is frozen, composters likewise, and essentially all soil activity is dormant. A foot of snow, so far, makes access a bit more interesting.

And yet, as the coldest months approach, I have been setting up tasks to stay physically active and set up next year's growing.

- The Slow Compost Pile. This is where all the dry, tough and fibrous stuff, like sunflower stalks, dry bean vines, etc. end up. This year, they were placed in a shallow soil pit, neatly lined up. I can now spend half an hour with a sharpened spade chopping this material into compost friendly sizes, speeding up what is normally a multi-year process. Chopping involves using full bodyweight, for those interested; an excellent workout.

- The Lumberjack Stacks: This is where otherwise useless green wood from trees that must come down, and scrub brush, will go, for the next year. I have noticed that small birds are crazy over these piles; I assume they are massive insect nurseries. Go get 'em, bird buddies. The year after, these piles go onto ...

- The Biochar Burn Pile: Generally, these are stacked in line so I can run a chainsaw through them vertically. This makes handling much more efficient. I'm currently using a steel barrel with cutouts, so I can have a bonfire, warm an outdoor work area, burn up this pile, and constantly pack the coals to exclude oxygen. This setup greatly reduces the amount of smoke I eat. Great winter activity.

- Peruse seed catalogues. The Vesey's catalogue came in the mail today. I guess wwe will read closely for ideas. And dream of May.
 
steward
Posts: 19174
Location: Pacific Northwest
9423
7
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This thread reminds me of what it seemed everyone was doing at Bootcamp last year when they had so much snow: shelf making! Getting organized and sharpening your tools seems like something most people can do no matter how cold and snowy it may be.

My winter gardening activities usually consist of:

-- Tapping maples for sap (if it's cold enough)

-- Organizing my seeds (and ordering MORE seeds!)

-- Mulching my gardens with duck bedding and kitchen scraps (I often take the bucket of compost out and dump it either where I'm building a new garden bed, or on top of something like my potatoes or raspberries, and then dump a big bucket of duck bedding on top of that...kind of like Ruth Stout composting, but lazier)

-- Building new garden beds (mostly with duck bedding)

-- Hacking back blackberries/salmonberries/etc. They're much easier to manage in the winter months when the leaves have fallen off!

-- Processing the trees the wind knocked over into firewood or garden edgings.
 
pollinator
Posts: 163
Location: Rutland VT
33
dog forest garden foraging trees bike homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
    Tree pruning is coming up for me.  Aside from the usual seed searching and veg garden planning . . . my main winter efforts have been in collecting stone for yard infrastructure.  I am blessed to work at a marble quarry/shop with copious geometric leftovers to gather.

Ive made a 4' tall sun dial, as my fav thing so far with the stone.
 
steward
Posts: 12908
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3647
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My main winter project here is making compost with my chickens.  Everything is frozen hard except for the leaves I packed into the chicken greenhouse/run.  The girls poop on it all winter and I add coffee shop coffee grounds to it twice a week.  Every day or two I dig a hole in the pile to turn it and mix in dry leaves.  It's cooking hard right now despite -15F last night.  By spring I'll have a cubic yard or two of mostly composted fall leaves.  Other than that I'm just doing inside stuff and wasting time on permies.  It's a good time of year to relax and recover before spring arrives.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1444
Location: Southern Oregon
419
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our winters are fairly mild so it's the best time to get work done outside. I tend to have indoor and outdoor lists and adjust to the days weather. Lately I have been working on paths with decomposed granite outside. And some remodeling and painting inside. Next is finishing the ground squirrel proof area of the vegetable garden for outside and improving a little room under the house for a root cellar for inside.
 
gardener
Posts: 4048
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
618
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm afflicted by a wandering mind, so its hard to focus on any one thing.
When the furnace failed, I had to make way for the new one so my unusable basement work space got a huge cleanup.
In the process I stole time to build a miter saw cart.
Before that the miter saw lived under a awning on top of the chicken coop!
The girls never complained about the noise , but I felt bad and the conditions were not ideal.
I hope to it in the new warmer location to continue making portable cold frames.

I also want to make space in the basement for a seed starting station, mostly for creating soil mixes and filling winter sowing bottles.
An indoor seed starting area is also a possibility.


Cold weather paused my rocket stove work.
Freezing temperatures make  wet cutting firebrick or casting refractory  difficult.
Again, cleaning out he basement could help.

The rocket stove is being built in the greenhouse.
Until recently most of my tools lived in the greenhouse,  and some still do.
Keeping your tools in the space you are building is useful, up to a point,and that point has come.
Another reason to make the basement work space usable.

In the process of cleaning up,  I rediscovered a great space filled with tools and materials I had somewhat forgotten.
I hope I won't abandon or abuse this space come spring,but for now, reworking it is good use of my time
 
pollinator
Posts: 385
Location: WV
93
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What I envisioned my winter permaculture projects being vastly differs from reality.  I was plagued with back issues and hubby knee issues last fall which landed both of us in therapy.  My back is much stronger but his knee is going to require surgery which right now is a waiting game.  So nearly all the fall and winter projects were put on hold.  

What I have accomplished so far is pulling an old cattle panel from an overgrown patch of raspberries.  It will very cut into two pieces and be used in the raised beds as a trellis.  We managed to chop up chestnut burrs, leaves and garden waste into a compost pile.  Adding kitchen waste in layers to the large pots I grow tomatoes in as I had excellent results doing this last year.  Decided the chicken house would make an awesome garden shed as it needs a bit of work to make it ready for chickens if and when the coyote population is under control.  Hauled in enough wood chips to cover over half the garden paths since hubby isn't able to run our chipper to create our own (and I can't start the damn thing).  I have seedlings started on a homemade light stand versus the greenhouse I hoped to have up and running by now.  Seed orders are all in and picked up a few forgotten things locally.  I think I'm only lacking seed potatoes.  

So while I didn't accomplish what I had hoped to I'm really surprised at what I have done.
 
pollinator
Posts: 231
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
76
forest garden urban bike
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The ground here is now frozen solid.  Late fall is time for new compost/ mulch to beds.  Had my son make me a stellar cold frame which grew lettuce well until last week...our 'greenhouse' which is unheated is still growing greens and kale (although I should have started them sooner).  Seed porn catalogs have already been ingested and seeds ordered.  Started some black pansies, purple peppers and lemongrass thus far on heat mats, under domes and lights in the basement.  As soon as this real cold snap passes I will go strew poppy seeds.
 
Posts: 36
Location: Schofields, NSW. Australia. Zone 9-11 Temperate to Sub Tropical
16
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the hills area of Sydney NSW Australia climate change is making itself more known. I have been watching my garden to see how everything is adapting, temps here varying from 107.6F/42C to 23F/5C. I have a green house which I will be growing temperate vegies in over winter, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, chillies and capsicums, did well last year through winter. It is becoming noticeable hotter each summer with less chill/cold in winter and some plants have trouble with the rapid change so I either need the covers or greenhouse depending on season.

I have a mini rocket stove which I have used in the greenhouse when any temps fall below 35.6F/2C and it seems to work really well. Outside, I use row frost covers on brassicas and leaf vegies so am pretty ok with food, the climate not being so bad as some I've noticed here.

What I also do like to do is get my seeds cleaned from autumn, and all seeds sorted and ready for the coming year. Finishing off late pruning, cutting up larger pieces smaller for a winter cover and compost heap.

Winter is when I catch up on clothing repairs, sewing, knitting, tool sharpening and care, catching up on podcasts - permie of course - and lots of reading. I also find a bit more time to socialise and have catch-ups, winter BBQ lunches go down well here :-)
 
Posts: 30
4
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Michelle Heath wrote:What I envisioned my winter permaculture projects being vastly differs from reality.  I was plagued with back issues and hubby knee issues last fall which landed both of us in therapy.  My back is much stronger but his knee is going to require surgery which right now is a waiting game.  So nearly all the fall and winter projects were put on hold.  

What I have accomplished so far is pulling an old cattle panel from an overgrown patch of raspberries.  It will very cut into two pieces and be used in the raised beds as a trellis.  We managed to chop up chestnut burrs, leaves and garden waste into a compost pile.  Adding kitchen waste in layers to the large pots I grow tomatoes in as I had excellent results doing this last year.  Decided the chicken house would make an awesome garden shed as it needs a bit of work to make it ready for chickens if and when the coyote population is under control.  Hauled in enough wood chips to cover over half the garden paths since hubby isn't able to run our chipper to create our own (and I can't start the damn thing).  I have seedlings started on a homemade light stand versus the greenhouse I hoped to have up and running by now.  Seed orders are all in and picked up a few forgotten things locally.  I think I'm only lacking seed potatoes.  

So while I didn't accomplish what I had hoped to I'm really surprised at what I have done.



Well.  This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this thread, but if you are not allergic to shellfish, I would highly recommend taking some Perna (with or without deer antler) for those knees and back.  Even if surgery is required, they help with regeneration.  And I can't tell you how many people have actually gotten off the surgery lists.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 191
Location: Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Europe
44
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mild winter here, so I'm adding taking cuttings, multiplying mushrooms, crop planning, willow structures.
 
pollinator
Posts: 463
Location: Málaga, Spain
154
home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since we don't experience snow here, I was busy with prunning and now digging some new beds where I plan to bury the logs. It's a 4 hours a week hobby, so not much more that I can do.
 
master steward
Posts: 9251
Location: USDA Zone 8a
2782
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Scott, great thread idea!

I like to do a lot of things indoors.

I love to make sprouts to eat.
I like to read seed catalogs and do a lot of planning.
I also make ferments like sauerkraut and pickles:

https://permies.com/wiki/10/105983/pep-food-prep-preservation/Salt-brine-ferment-pickle-PEP

Winter is a great time to make bread:

https://permies.com/wiki/40/102815/pep-food-prep-preservation/loaves-bread-PEP-BB-food

I love soup so winter is when I like to have soup:

https://permies.com/wiki/40/102827/pep-food-prep-preservation/cook-soup-stew-pottage-chowder


 
Posts: 35
Location: Piedmont, North Carolina - 7b/8a
13
forest garden fungi urban
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This picture sums up most of my winter projects.  This is the current state of affairs as I sit here and watch a cold drizzle fall...

Most of the wood for the hugel style bed came from two trees which were in the back corner where the wood chips are spread.  Soil is currently in the driveway waiting to be moved in so the bed can be completed.  There are also more wood chips in the front that need to brought back into the corner.  The current plan is for this corner is to become a serviceberry/paw paw guild.  Completing the planning and sourcing for this may be my rainy day activity today.  Any thoughts on that guild are appreciated. That also means that azalea will need to be moved.  It will go over to the other side of the yard where I am working on a hedge style mass planting.  There is no fence over there so that is a big hole for the deer to wander through. You can also see a couple of small brush piles from winter pruning that still need to be chipped. That post to the far left is a part of an undersized trellis holding up some blackberries.  That needs to be rebuilt, and I plan to expand the blackberry bed a bit.

Peas, mustard and bok choy are already sprouting under the row cover.  Some lettuce, radish and parsley were sown under there last week, too. The rest of that older bed needs to be topped up with some fresh soil.  Kale, cabbage and collards are living in the attic under lights and will be needing their outdoor home soon.

Feels like a lot to do and not much winter left to do it in!

DSC_0054.jpeg
[Thumbnail for DSC_0054.jpeg]
 
Posts: 1
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am wanting to make walking/hiking sticks out of my sunflower stalks. Does anyone have advice on what to use to treat these stalks with? What about tips for the bottom?

I also plan on using the really large stalks for building a small structure for gourds to hang from.

 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 2437
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
610
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bob Formhals wrote:I am wanting to make walking/hiking sticks out of my sunflower stalks. Does anyone have advice on what to use to treat these stalks with? What about tips for the bottom?


I don't know if a sunflower stalk would be very comfortable to hold because of the fine spiny prickly hairs. The holdfast and root ball are tough materials -- if you could shape them a little with a saw they might serve as a durable tip.
 
pollinator
Posts: 221
Location: South Shore of Lake Superior
61
homeschooling hugelkultur home care forest garden foraging trees chicken fiber arts medical herbs writing wood heat
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Once the Christmas decorations come down and the house is back to normal (later this week), I have a fun winter project to do, cold-stratifying seeds. A lot of native species up here need freeze-thaw cycles to break dormancy and germinate. So my project, or this phase of it, is to bring in all the milk jugs, ice cream buckets, and other clear containers people have been saving for me, cut them in half, mix up the brick of coconut coir with water and perlite in a big tub, and get the seeds started in those containers, label them, tape them back together - and then get them all back outside, of course.

I collected about 80 species of native seeds. Some are edible/medicinal and some are "just" wildflowers or grasses. Those that can be direct-sown in spring will be stored until then, but about 3/4 need the cold. Since I also received additional seeds through swapping, I actually do have about 80 species to start. If I don't have enough containers, some will accept artificial stratification on a moist paper towel in a plastic bag in the fridge or my unheated porch.
 
gardener
Posts: 424
Location: 5,000' 35.24N zone 7b Albuquerque, NM
285
hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation building solar greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sunflower stalk walking stick!  Who would ever...um...sorry for doubting:
https://www.lumberjocks.com/projects/28787
 
master gardener
Posts: 4779
2311
2
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've begun cranking out the fiber processing projects. There's a pile of 25 or so pounds of alpaca seconds(the stuff that's not good enough to spin into yarn) to pick, card, and turn into felted things. When the alpaca is done, there's a Shetland sheep fleece, then 5 Nigora coats.

Beyond that, I'm making shampoo/body bars, ointments, salves, lotion bars, and trying my hand at conditioner bars, again.

Then, there's pulling the late summer & fall produce out of the freezer, to can or dehydrate it.

Then, there's reorganizing the garage workshop, so I can get to...

my pie safe, that is sitting in the garage, waiting to be refurbished, and turned into a China cabinet; and that murphy-style cutting/ crafting table to build, paint, and hang in the craft room...

Then, the craft room to organize, so all the fiber processing stuff can be moved in, and the room can fulfill its destiny, lol.

I'm tired just thinking about all that! Maybe... maybe I'll pick and choose, and do what I can, in between hibernating!

 
Marisa Lee
pollinator
Posts: 221
Location: South Shore of Lake Superior
61
homeschooling hugelkultur home care forest garden foraging trees chicken fiber arts medical herbs writing wood heat
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Carla, that's amazing. I mean, even if you only got through a couple of those things, that's amazing!
 
Carla Burke
master gardener
Posts: 4779
2311
2
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Marisa Lee wrote:Carla, that's amazing. I mean, even if you only got through a couple of those things, that's amazing!


Thanks! The fiber and list of herbal stuff to make is absolutely a must, and most - if not all of it needs to be done this month. Especially the herbal stuff, because I've run myself out of everything. The fiber is mostly for a contract, so...

The pie safe & cutting table are pretty high priority too, but will have to wait until after the fiber.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 2437
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
610
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Amy Gardener wrote:Sunflower stalk walking stick!  Who would ever...um...sorry for doubting ...


That was my first reaction too. I don't know how they'd last in the great outdoors either.

But then I got to thinking about places where people might use and appreciate a single-use walking stick that's sustainable, disposable, non-weaponish and compostable. Think of events: historical sites, fairs and exhibitions, music festivals, Disneyland (kidding) ...?

Kids would like them even more. Most urban kids haven't been exposed to the wonders of the simple walking stick, and you should see their eyes light up when given one. You see, with a walking stick in hand (plus hat, water bottle and snack bag), a tiresome slog is transformed into an expotition.
 
Amy Gardener
gardener
Posts: 424
Location: 5,000' 35.24N zone 7b Albuquerque, NM
285
hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation building solar greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Absolutely Douglas: so many possibilities with sunflower stalks that I never imagined! Bob Formhals and you (and Pooh’s expotitions) really enlarged my vision of what is possible and I am really grateful for that. I was shocked by the way the skillful designer replaced the soft core of the stick with a ski pole, an old golf club and another with a dowel. The Danish oil sounds like it finished up the sanded sunflower stalk nicely and made it soft and durable. The deer antler handle is beautiful! I really am so impressed with people’s ingenuity and what is possible on a cold winter day. Permies can be so inspiring!
 
This tiny ad is guaranteed to be gluten free.
Thank you & 30% off everything in the nursery!
https://permies.com/t/181445/perennial-vegetables/nursery
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic