I'm super excited to read this thread! We have 15 acres, mostly hay and annual vegetables, but we are slowly trying to transition to a more permie-style model. I'm looking for ideas for fall plantings- what I should be doing in the fall to pre for next season, and perennials that can go in before the snow flies...
I am also wondering this....especially about trees and shrubs, and how big do they have to be if I want them to survive the winter......
ie Can I start anything from seed NOW and let it's roots grow through the winter or will it just die......nitrogen fixers....pigeon peas / vetch etc???
If I cannot afford to plant tons of trees / bushes etc, and then reduce them IF they all "take", can I start some in containers and transplant before the roots get big, or will that kill off the taproot? And can any of this be done now???
It seems several posts are similar, with people like us wanting to be more "permie", to plant something and get some green stuff growing, but not knowing what to plant together, and how to plant them together....
...How close etc etc and when......
What zone are you Rich?
Well it depends... On location and microclimate. In most places clover is a great winter crop. I am personally sowing clover (to prepare my garden plot I'm using next year), and my winter salads (mustard, lettuce, spinach).
We always sow winter rye, vetch etc as cover crop and usually get kale etc well into the winter. This year I have some woodlands stuff like bloodroot and goldenseal that I'm going to split up and replant. I started building some hugelkultur style beds, and I'm wondering what are good things to start in them this fall.... are their edible perenials that are well suited to fall planting in zone 5? Any thoughts are appreciated!
In the fall you can transplant almost all perennials (Ontario) I plant a lot of garlic chives leeks and onions in the fall easy for me because I grow most of my own seeds. Asparagus should be started now in the ground in all but the coldest climates. Lettuce can still produce if planted now in a lot of the northern states. If your in Washington you may be able to grow rhubarb still this fall from seed. Broad bean is good for coastal Washington and can be planted as late as November (plant too early and it may winter kill)
A lot of crops will winter kill if planted too early like winter wheat and (in Canada and northern states). I once had a field of corn with vetch underneath but the vetch was too big when the frost hit and died, that was in Mexico though.
Plant Nuts most nuts should be planted in fall
Diversified Food forest maker . Fill every niche and you'll have less weeds (the weeds are the crop too). Fruit, greens, wild harvest, and nuts as staple. Food processing and preservation are key to self self-sufficiency. Never eat a plant without posetive identification and/or consulting an expert.
not sure of your area but there are generally some fantastic sales on fruit and nut trees this time of year..also the nut trees are dropping nuts so they can be gathered and the seeds planted in the fall for spring sprouting..remember to mark them.
you can also divide some of your perennial crops and move them into the food forest areas around the babies as a permanent mulch, good items for this are rhubarb, horseradish, comfrey, etc..they'll make big fat leaves that can be chopped and dropped as mulch around your trees.
you can put in some annuals yet for fall..like greens and lettuces..
Bloom where you are planted.
I'm very excited to see how much interest there is here on permies about farmer–scale permaculture. I really feel like this is a central challenge for our movement in this period of history. Those of you with already established farms can easily transition using some simple techniques. You can start to lay out contour or key line strips of perennials on your farm, right between your annuals or in the middle of your hayfields and pastures, as long as they do not interfere with your machinery access needs. Why not plant a contour strip of Badgersett hazelnuts or false indigo shrubs? What perennial crops are suited to your region, of interest to you, and seem to have potential to integrate with the other aspects of your operation on a production, processing, and marketing level? How can livestock be used to tie the pieces of your farm together more tightly and to substitute for labor, fossil fuel, and machinery?
As for fall planting I guess I've covered this some in other threads. Here in Massachusetts I mostly spring plant when things are still dormant. I have almost universal success at that time of year. I do some plantings at other times of year like anybody because sometimes things just have to get done when you have the moment free. Tough natives and species which are very reliable in your climate are probably a better bet than marginal or pampered crops.
There are a number of things that set seed this time of year that work best if you sow fresh seed in a flat of potting soil (or on a patch of bare ground) and allow the winter to cold stratify the seed. I have found that everything in the parsley family loves this kind of treatment, as do most of the legumes. Obviously many nuts want to be planted from seed this time of year as well, as do fruits like persimmon and pawpaw. But again, for moving things to their final location in my experience (please post yours) early spring is best. Maybe in fall I'm just not thinking about planting because I'm too busy eating fruits and nuts.
Thanks for the thoughts!
Julie- we grow for ourselves, but also we grow for market and online sales of heirloom seeds and dried herbs. The hay goes to a neighbor with a cow/calf operation. ERic- I love the idea of working food trees into the hay field. I have been talking to a friend with some PC design training about a keyline design for the field. I want to work a couple of ponds in and slowly start shrinking the hay and maybe transitioning to pasture and food forests. I'll attach some interesting aerials I came across from the 30's 50's 70's and now from the geologcal sevice. It's interesting to see that there were a lot more trees in the old days (it also shows a pond in the 70s- gone now). As you can see, we have brought back a lot of trees- primarily a native heirloom peach that my wife has made her "legacy project". It grows true from seed and produces fruit in 3 years. They definitely like to go in the ground in the fall- in fact, the groundfall often provide great young seedlings in the spring that are easy to dig up and transplant. We have over 50 bearing trees now, all descended from the same basket of peaches that an old farmer neighbor gave us about 12 years ago.
Anyway- I do want to expand into some other fruit and nut trees, and expand my medicinal herbs. Lots to do before the snow flies!
I too have an 87 acre farm in western Ohio, it is 15 acres of forest, and the rest is divided up between 6 fields that have been in a conservation program for 20 some years.
Having just recently stumbled across this permaculture idea ive been reading up on it as best I can, and I cannot help but notice a lack of hard technical information on it. Im reading Sepp Holzers book now and although filled with great information it is hard to understand exactly how to implement a lot of it.
My farm is for the consumer market and so the systems that I implement on it must be good for production, harvesting, weed control, planting. And I think permaculutre is a really cool way to go about setting up a farm.
My question falls exactly in line with the OP, what can I do right now that will move me towards a more permaculture oriented farm?
My first question is how to manage my fields. How do I grow more diverse plants in them?
I've had some of the same issues. The best book I have read thus far is Martin Crawford's Creating an Edible Forest Garden. I have not read the 2 volume set on Forest Gardens yet by Dave Jacke and Eric.
I think I have read that the best method is to start alley cropping by planting rows of trees and then continuing to cultivate your row crops between the trees. As time goes on and your trees mature, other plants go into the understory beneath your trees. I'm going to do some light tilling in the next few weeks and plant cover crops and soil building crops all around my trees and shrubs. I'm working with some tough, compacted clay. I'm not working on a farm scale in my mind, but it is more than the typical suburban plot.