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Julie Carney
Posts: 76
Location: Silicon Valley
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I would like to hear from others working on their land in CA zone 9......
We have 15 acres in the foothills...Zone 9a....The soil is clay...
We only get out there at weekends, and are just starting up.....
I would love to hear what others are planting etc in this zone.....
And where they get the seeds etc.
Are there any permaculture people out there who keep horses for the fun of them??
I have a disabled son who benefits from therepeutic riding, and I'd love to somehow incorporate having the horse in a permaculture setting....
What would this look like? Just planting prairie grasses and moving the horse around so the grass doesn't all get eaten down to the nubbins??

Thanks.
 
Doug Hack
Posts: 15
Location: Sacramento, CA Zone 9
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I'm in Zone 9 just North of Sacramento in the valley. You don't say what your water supply is. Horses need either a substantial amount of unimproved pasture (five acres+ each if unimproved and not-irrigated) or a couple of acres of improved, irrigated, fertilized pasture, or a whole lot of money spent at the feed store. To my way of thinking, horses don't really fit into permaculture, unless they are work horses and you have LOTS of acreage. Horses also have problems with plants that sheep and goats thrive on. Starthistle comes to mind - as it has invaded almost everywhere in Northern California. If your future horse pasture is knee deep in starthistle, start with sheep and goats - they won't exterminate it (the seeds last in the soil at least five years), but they will get it down to a manageable level (although possibly still not safe for horses).

I have no budget to buy a lot of plants, and even seeds can add up. Lately, I've been looking for native plants (or well adapted imports) that are producing seed - and collecting it for free. There are LOTS of ceonothus and mountain mahogany in the foothills. They survive on essentially no extra water, and many of the ceonothus fix nitrogen, and if the deer don't get them first - supply good browse for sheep and goats. Your land may already have several established plants to get seeds from. Grey Pine (Digger Pine), and black oak are native and produce food for humans.

An exotic that can help forest your land (and feed birds) is chinese pistache. These trees are used in planting strips and parking lots commonly - and are covered in seeds at this time of year. Harder to find, but native is Western Hackberry, which also survives with little water and feeds birds.
 
Julie Carney
Posts: 76
Location: Silicon Valley
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Our water is good! Wells and pond......
The locals around us keep horses to keep the grasses down..... They are all fat w/o extra feed ...
We have 3 - maybe 4 patches of start thistle left that 's not yet been pulled...It seems to come up less each year.....
The deer and gophers are real pills here......I have to fence everything I want to establish......
Otherwise it gets eaten down to the nubbins....
Don't know if we'll ever be able to get a horse for our son.....Sad they don't seem to fit into permaculture........ Wonder what it would look like where they're a wild part of the environment...............
Just planted some chokecharries Grandma sent us, and tried starting some Yerba Santa outside our fence line by the road....... The Yerba Santa tends to be alleopathic, so they may stop the star thistle growing there...... The curbside seems to be the worst place the thistles grow....... The Yerba Santa leaves make a refreshing cup of tea too........
I can forage carob tree seeds too.... I've sprouted a couple of the seeds........ I'll need a strong fence around them for several years
I want to find some wild hazelnuts.
Are you located near highway 49??
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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An excellent source for seeds is J.L.Hudson.
He has many varieties of hard to find seeds, and his prices are very reasonable. Shipping/handling is just about what the post office charges.

He is in La Honda, about half way between Silicon Valley and the coast.
Be sure to order a catalog, as it is full of good info.
(I think he's one of those hippies that moved into the area in the 60's) lol

His catalog is set up by Latin name, but on the web site, if you plug the common name into the search box, it will take you to the correct page. You'll just need to scroll down and find the common name.
He's a good guy to work with. I've never been disappointed.

 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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You can lay down metal fence, and deer won't walk on it.

That way you dont have barriers all over the property. may want to get a solar electric fence charger, and run it "hot" every once in a while to keep the raccoons surprised too. Just make sure it isn't wet or dewey, or so dry it can ignite. it is just to keep em wary.

plant mint around the boundries to keep out tunneling creatures. we have found them to be good for areation once everything is established. stone fruit trees are attaractive roots for them, so let some very low branches grow WAY out, and they will nibble those instead of the roots.
 
Julie Carney
Posts: 76
Location: Silicon Valley
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John, Thanks for the suggestion..... I have bought seed from Hudson seed before, and have been pretty happy with them.... When I looked, I did not find hazelnuts..... Also went by x2 nurseries in Santa Cruz last week, [One specializing in Natives], and neither had them / stocked them.....No demand!
Morgan, can you explain a little more about the metal fence.... Not sure I understand.....Won't they just jump over it? What size ?...Do you use it like a horizontal fence around the area you want to protect....but just use 5 ft instead of 8 or 9 ft?.........Can I just use wire or are we talking metal corral sections?
I was thinking of using mint under my trees...with some garlic and comfrey...... would other "smelly" herbs work? [maybe sages / curry plant
 
Julie Anderson
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 9B Santa Rosa, CA
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Julie Carney wrote:John, Thanks for the suggestion..... I have bought seed from Hudson seed before, and have been pretty happy with them.... When I looked, I did not find hazelnuts..... Also went by x2 nurseries in Santa Cruz last week, [One specializing in Natives], and neither had them / stocked them.....No demand!


I recently purchased some Hazelnut starts at Cal Flora Nursery in Fulton, CA (near Santa Rosa). My daughter works at Cal Flora. They specialize in natives and do most of their own propogation. If you're in the mood for a wine country visit, you could pick up some Hazelnuts (and a lot of other nice natives) as well.

Julie
 
P Thickens
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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We're coming up on the rainy season, a great time to get perennials started as they won't have to be hand watered! I'm planning what trees and bushes I want to get in the ground and saving up money, starts and seeds for the first big, soaking rains. You might want to do the same to reduce your total workload. Here, check out Feral Kevin, he has some acerage and talked about putting in Elaeagnus so that future plantings are more successful (IE nurse plants): http://feralkevin.com/?p=12

Rain... so exciting!
 
Julie Carney
Posts: 76
Location: Silicon Valley
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YES!!! Thank you for the info...SOOOO valuable .......I have checked several other native nurseries to no avail.........The Cal Flora has it in stock!!! I find I value something a lot more when I,ve struggled to find it!!!
I can't wait for the heavens to open and pour out their sweet rains...... Things are so dry and dusty.....
I'm hoping to get a couple of boundaries started when the rains come.........
I like the sound of the evergreen elaegnus...... Sounds like a useful plant - edible and N fixer. Sounds like they'd make a great starter....
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Just lay the fence on the ground, deer wont walk on it !

If you roll out a roll on each side, you can go down a row, then roll it back up to do dirt work. Or cut 10 ft sections and lay on either side. hate to cut it if you dont have too tho. Can use cheap field fence wire for this, and save money for a chain link, (ask around the school district yards, they had to raise the heights 10 yrs ago....).

I would still plan on putting up a 6 ft chain link, but wait till you can trench down a foot, pour a footer, and set the pipe in front of it. This will be required to keep out the javalina, skunks, and rats.
Electric wire at the top will keep out racoons, and usually bear.

Don't plant mint under trees, it mats up, and wont let water or nutrients thru. Comfrey adds some nutrients, opens the soil, and degrades well. It is also completely non-removable, and will spread if you ever dig it. I wouldn't plant it, unless it is full shade, and you will have trouble getting anything else to grow.
Look around for some desert nitrogen fixers, that don't grow too tall, or just put in lambsquarter, and chop and drop a couple times a year.
we have a spreading ground cover, no idea what it is, looks like caltrop/goatshead, but no stickers, and wider leafs. You just need something that keeps the soil open by punching down roots.

Use mint out at the boundries, to keep out other weeds from competition, and moles and voles won't tunnel thru under it.


edit:
Garlic / onions are ok, but they suck sulphur out of the soil, so dont harvest em, you have to cut and drop em to recycle the sulphur.

Best thing you can do for trees, is bury wood down at least 2 foot below root ball, or at least 3-4 ft total. out around the center is best. leave a channel of rocks to the surface, to get water down to the wood.

Best seeds for the desert are from Native Seed Search in Tucson.

http://www.nativeseeds.org/

Groundcovers
http://70.47.99.86/contactus.asp

also for ID http://cabezaprieta.org/plant_identification.php


The other things i would do right away.

Get a el cheapo laser level, one with a tripod mount on the bottom. In the evening , you can go out and see which way the water will actually flow on the lot.
Helps to decide where to grade in swales for rain catching too. If you are going to build stuff, then start trying to bid on a Gizmo on ebay, so you can do vertical stuff, and cabinets later.

Read up on Belgian Fence.
You can plant cheap Autumn Berry, or Buffalo Berry, and train it with VERY little water in the desert. Then plan on in-filling with wine grapes later. Do it out where you can put up a 3 wire fence later.
Espalier is fabulous for breaking up the properties areas.
 
Julie Carney
Posts: 76
Location: Silicon Valley
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Thanks for all the info Morgan....You took a lot of time to help me out and I appreciate it...
One thing though... I'm in Ca foothills....Not desert....... I believe we are considered SW USA.....NW seems to start in Oregon and northwards.......
I have never heard of Belgium fences before...they're really cool!
Wonderful links...Thanks!
Thankfully we don't have javalina here...They look creepy!
As I'm not desert, could I harvest the garlic, or do I still need to conserve the sulphur?
Good info re: mint....You've saved me messing up there!
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Don't bet that you don't have javelina.
Look up the wildlife list at your closest state park !

The Native Seeds has plants that are set up for low water, and/or cold nights. They are exceptionally hardy, and old, non hybrid stock. Good stuff.
That was oak woodlands back in the indian days ?, they didn't have much to live on there, except acorns. Plant for no water system, and it will grow with less inputs.

You can harvest, but you will have to replace. You can also add sulpher pastiles (chunks) that don't break down quickly , when you plant the trees, will last 10 years.
but garlic needs sun and dry soil, or it will rot. Trees want moist. Figure out something that has better fit to the trees needs.
usually a shrub or a groundcover with shallow roots.

Hav fun with it, and don't stress !

Look up the gaia's garden book at the library if you are new to this, they have a lot of other books ideas condensed in it.

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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