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bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Greetings,

I've been reading a lot over the past month, and looking at tons of videos online. I'm happy to have found this forum and come across the instruction on permaculture found throughout the net.
My family and I are finally able to get out of the big city and are moving to Oregon.
It's been a long time goal (about 7 years!) to live some place quiet, to have a small community to contribute to and grow food/medicinal herbs.
We found a property for a decent price that needed to sell quick. It didn't look like it was going to work but things somehow panned out and we are moving pretty soon.
Unfortunately, in primarily focusing on the real estate and not being very experienced with farming etc we overlooked things like soil testing and research that one would do when seeking land to grow food and have livestock on. Now I am beginning to see it will not be as simple as planting seeds and watering, and am just seeking some direction on how to begin this long journey ahead.

About the land:
10 acres, but really only 4 acres that are flat/pasture, the other 6 acres is primarily forest and slopes upward 100ft.
Of the 4 acres we can possibly plant on, I've learned we are in USDA plant hardiness Zone 8b, and the soil type is clay, and retains lots of water.
According to citydata graphs it appears that the area is mostly cloudy, but less so between mid June to early September.
Low temperatures compared to US average (below 70 degrees) except June through September
More frequent but low snowfall compared to US average except June through Setember.
Low sunshine compared to US average except June through September.

Here is what I am trying to figure out, (I can't seem to find information specific to my area anywhere)..
Will we need green houses or can we work with the land we have?
Would the above weather details mean that June through September are the times we should be planting the most?
Are we able to have meat and laying chickens, rotating with cattle, goats and pigs?
If so, what do people normally do with the animals when it rains a lot, gets very cold or snows?
What can be done with the forest? Can we setup fencing and have pigs there? What about during rainy season?
Are we able to grow medicinal and/or cullinary herbs, or is this impossible due to cold/lack of consistent sunlight?
How can we determine what grows best in the zone we are in (8b)?

Thanks for any information and sorry for the novel


 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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You will be fine, and the hills will end up working FOR you. you can dig in root cellars, and they collect water for you.

Read on this site about swales and contouring, and start there. Hegelculture works best IN forests, so you can put those in up on the hills too.

about half the herb seed companies are around your area, so it will be easy to find stuff that works for you.

Clay is tough, but holds water very well, so you are going to have to mix stuff in. But clay also has more minerals in it for plants.


Congrats!

 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:You will be fine, and the hills will end up working FOR you. you can dig in root cellars, and they collect water for you.

Read on this site about swales and contouring, and start there. Hegelculture works best IN forests, so you can put those in up on the hills too.

about half the herb seed companies are around your area, so it will be easy to find stuff that works for you.

Clay is tough, but holds water very well, so you are going to have to mix stuff in. But clay also has more minerals in it for plants.


Congrats!



Thanks Morgan, I'm glad to hear it can work. Definitely will read up on root cellars and Hegelculture
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Bill, welcome and I'm echoing what was said above. A lot of us are trying to build UP our flat areas into slopes, hills and swales. So you have a head start. We'll look forward to seeing your progress.
 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:Bill, welcome and I'm echoing what was said above. A lot of us are trying to build UP our flat areas into slopes, hills and swales. So you have a head start. We'll look forward to seeing your progress.

Thanks Jeanine. A long road ahead but determined to make it work
By the way, what is hegelculture? I'm not finding much about it online - was this a typo?
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I believe that was a typo.

Usually typed hugelculture or hugkekultur.

Here is a link to the basics in Sepp's own (translated) words:
http://www.krameterhof.at/pdf/presse/permaculture-pm68.pdf

You need to scroll about half way down to get to his article.

 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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As someone who grew up in rainy Cascadia... I just don't know any better! Welcome young mossback... LOL

Soil heat is an issue around here unless you develop a microclimate, particularly on a heavy soil. I'm farther north so I have more glacial soils--wish I had some clay some days. Some kind of topography is useful (like raised beds...) both for drainage and to warm up the soil in spring. Aspect and sun are important. Check out Binda Colebrook's Winter Gardening, and pursue the Sasquatch Books catalog. Let go of long season tomatoes and learn to love kale and cabbage, sourkraut, kim chee, etc... However if you are less maritime than me, you'll get more heat in summer, and so can grow the tomato clan more reliably.

Greenhouses can be useful particularly if you have lots of sun, since they cut down on light which can be limiting. Check out Eliot Coleman's 'the winter harvest handbook'.

Slaughter and cull in fall for livestock. Most folks I know do one or two waves of meat birds and use a freezer.

I might be a little more maritime than you, so we have three waves of plantings... March/April for the cool season stuff. May-June for beans-corn-tomatos and winter roots and THEN... July for overwintering greens.

Learn about mushrooms, including medicinals (check out fungi perfecti). Learn edible weeds. Lots of interesting stuff in the big conifer forests, but not a ton of food.


 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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John Polk wrote:I believe that was a typo.

Usually typed hugelculture or hugkekultur.

Here is a link to the basics in Sepp's own (translated) words:
http://www.krameterhof.at/pdf/presse/permaculture-pm68.pdf

You need to scroll about half way down to get to his article.



Thanks John! Looks like we've got a LOT of homework to do lol!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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first of all, read Country living Encyclopedia by Carla Emery..it will give you a lot of info that you'll need..also..pick up Gaia's Gardening by Toby Hemenway and also Sepp Holtzer's Permaculture
 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Brenda Groth wrote:first of all, read Country living Encyclopedia by Carla Emery..it will give you a lot of info that you'll need..also..pick up Gaia's Gardening by Toby Hemenway and also Sepp Holtzer's Permaculture

Brenda,

I literally added all three of these to my wish list just a few hours ago lol. . seems like I'm getting on the right track.

Question for you all - Of all these things, for my family of 4 and one on the way, what would you say are the top three things we can do from get go to get us on the path of sustainability (and reducing grocery expenses)?
We have some fenced areas in place from the previous owner's mini farm.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9698
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Most important, from my own experience not doing it and failing miserably, start small and near the house, Zone 1.

1. Small intensive vegetable garden right near the house - larger extensive gardens can be done later. http://growbiointensive.org/

2. Small movable chicken coop with paddock shift system (something I have not yet done but learned my other methods are not optimum) http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp

3. Rainwater harvesting in tanks and small earthworks (emergency supply of household water plus storing water in the soil) http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/
 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Most important, from my own experience not doing it and failing miserably, start small and near the house, Zone 1.

1. Small intensive vegetable garden right near the house - larger extensive gardens can be done later. http://growbiointensive.org/

2. Small movable chicken coop with paddock shift system (something I have not yet done but learned my other methods are not optimum) http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp

3. Rainwater harvesting in tanks and small earthworks (emergency supply of household water plus storing water in the soil) http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/


Excellent suggestions! Thanks a lot!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
17
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Second the chickens. There's a ton of ways to cook eggs. I couldn't afford much meat when my kids were growing up so we ate LOTS of eggs. Also find a leafy green that works well for your area and doesn't require much work. Here it is mustard greens - they just about plant themselves.

We have tender mustard in salads, sauteed greens, minced greens in rice and beans, minced greens in strata and quiche, greens in scrambled eggs and omelets. A cheap and easy way to keep a good serving of green vegetable in each meal.

And zone 8b? The massive numbers of 'permanent' plant foods that you can grow!

I just started with sunchokes this year to add to potatoes as a starchy filler food. Hopefully the sunchokes will be less tastey to the voles than the potatoes.

 
khurram haroon
Posts: 10
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Hi Bill,

I'm a beginner too so I'm not expert to give you suggestions but I loved your novel and wanted to say you welcome. Dont ever think that you made wrong decision or chose a wrong land or weather conditions. Permaculture is a science of observing nature and applying natural remedies. Very warm welcome and you will surely progress quick with the help of our friends on this forum.

rgds,
KH
 
R Hasting
Posts: 183
Location: Mineola, Texas
11
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Hi Bill.
I think it is important to understand the time of year you will be moving. If it is July, you clearly do something differently than December.
I have learned a gob about this stuff, and I am three years out from my big move, so I am in the planning stages myself. But all my learning is from books, these forums, and Paul Wheaton's and jack spirko's podcasts.

Before you do anything permanent (Or expensive, really), learn as much as you can about the following topics:

(But don't think you have to be an expert to start doing any of this... get started and tinker with it as you learn more)

1. food forest systems
2. paddock shift systems
3. polyculture
4. water retention systems (Swales, Huglekulture, ponds)
5. good animal care practices.

If you can get a PDC that would be good as well.

If it were me, and sadly it isn't, I would make sure that the first thing I prepared for is the polyculture food forest system and support species with swales to hydrate the landscape.
This might include twenty different fruit or nut trees, several support trees like honey locust, alder, comfrey, vetch, clover, alfalfa, and other legume and mineral accumulators.
You don't have to do it all at once, but you do need to get started as soon as you can so that you might plant one acre of it each year for three years. This is your investment plantings, that will pay off for the next forty years. Since it takes 4-6 years before they pay off, do them first because it will accelerate your ability to start harvesting instead of farming.

Next, I agree, zone 1 garden area, then chickens, then goats.
Paddock the goats on the hillside, moving them every few days. They will really help to open that space up. Eventually, you may be able to plant some understory plants on those slopes.

I am really excited for you. Joel Salatin says that anything worth doing is worth doing wrong. It is better to give it a shot and do it wrong that to be stuck in paralysis by analysis, if you know what I mean.

Best of luck to you. Keep us posted on your progress.
 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Hey Everyone! I never got to thank you for all your replies. THANK YOU! I've been stewing over them these last couple of months, reading more stuff and get the general concepts. I didn't get to order some of the books yet that I'd really like, the move and just getting the family up here to Oregon depleted savings to say the least!
We've been here for about 1 month now. Seller left the house with a lot of work to do to make it habitable (plumbing, electrical, a squirrel problem, lots of debris) and aesthetics will have to wait until Winter as we're trying to take advantage of the amazing summer here. With 3 of 4 kids starting school soon and my wife expecting there has been a ton of work to do, but we are shifting our focus to the outdoors. One of the first thing we did when we got here was get a companion for our female goat that my brother in law gave us.. We also got 4 chicks and 3 hens to make use of the existing coop which also needed some work. I'm going to post a video soon on the property. To be honest, I hadn't seen the place in person before buying it. I knew we were getting a good deal even with work to be done, and I knew it was in decent shape as my mother who lives 3 hrs away went to have a look with a friend who knows about land, as so far getting out of Los Angeles has probably been one of the best decisions I could ever make for my family.
I will post some pictures of zone 1 (garden) and would appreciate any feedback. The last couple of days we have really started working on it. There was a foundation left that used to hold an outdoor jacuzzi (sadly the jacuzzi was not left here, just the wood foundation!). I took all the top wood of as a lot of it was rotting, and nailed everything together to make it more sturdy. I work in technology btw and have never built anything with my hands, so this will be interesting. I don't know what to do with this area, but think we can reuse it. My wife says raised bed, and I kind of see hugelkultur working here. we've even thought of doing both and going with whatever produces better and faster. Or, foundation for a small (cheap) greenhouse? What are your thoughts? There is also a 10x10ft concrete slab next to it, and a small concrete walk way. My ultimate goal is to begin growing enough nutritious food to supplement at least 50% of our grocery bills, 100% would be ideal, and be able to donate food to food bank/families in need etc while spending the least amount of money possible. Thankfully the seller left some pretty good hand tools, plenty of wood and even some screws so we've been trying to reuse what we can to save money.

http://flic.kr/ps/2jqLTP
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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if you already have property with a good water source the top three for me would be to :
1. plant every kind of fruit or nut tree that you can get your hands on that your family likes to eat and that will do well in your climate/zone
2. plant every kind of perennial fruit/vegetable bush, vine, plant that your familhy enjoys that will do well in your climate near those above fruit trees
3. find a good source of seeds that are open pollinated and organically grown (bountiful gardens is one but there are otheres) and order yourself some seeds of annual vegetataion that your family generally buys from the store on a regular basis or you wish you could, and begin to grow them in any blank areas around those baby trees as long as there is still plenty of sunshine for them..and use as much mulch as possible
 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Brenda Groth wrote:if you already have property with a good water source the top three for me would be to :
1. plant every kind of fruit or nut tree that you can get your hands on that your family likes to eat and that will do well in your climate/zone
2. plant every kind of perennial fruit/vegetable bush, vine, plant that your familhy enjoys that will do well in your climate near those above fruit trees
3. find a good source of seeds that are open pollinated and organically grown (bountiful gardens is one but there are otheres) and order yourself some seeds of annual vegetataion that your family generally buys from the store on a regular basis or you wish you could, and begin to grow them in any blank areas around those baby trees as long as there is still plenty of sunshine for them..and use as much mulch as possible


Thank you Brenda. Does design ever come into consideration? Is this something that should be planned carefully, or it doesn't really matter where things are planted? Perhaps trees should be planted away from herbs/vines to avoid too much shade in the future.. any other considerations? thanks
 
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