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input needed... 1 acre in the city

 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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Hello,
We have moved to south central VA in the last 8 months. We are in the city, full on.

Here is my situation...
-almost an acre
-creek (but doesn't always run, obviously a water source)
-large patch of bamboo that wants to tae over our yard (currently in neighbors yard)
- woods to one side of the house with a large patch of what appears to be jerusalem artichokes, but do not produce rhizomes
- autumn berries
- walnut tree, other large shaded areas, HUGE cypress tree
- husband who wants things very landscaped
- problems with fox and racoons (have lost 13 chickens)
- deer, rabbit, ground hogs who eat vegetation. i haven't had massive issues, but have had some.

Here is what i have done so far...
-11 chickens
- raised beds with greens
- working towards making raised beds with hugelkulter principles
- planted cherry and fig trees
- planted fern in front shady areas (for fiddle heads in the spring)
- propagating lavender

Here is what I want to do... (and i'd love your input!!)
- clean out the stream - can i create a small pond?? how would i do that?
- plant asparagus, rhubarb, fruit trees on the forest edges in clusters
- transplant ferns to the area that has been taken over by unproductive jerusalem artichockes to harvest fiddleheads eventually
- plant fruit trees and perennial herbs to help stabilize a terraced yard

we have 4 kids and i want maximum food output, but i want it to work for me. i am quit happy to work it hard... but i want it to pay off.
thoughts?

suggestions?




 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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they might be maximillion or some other sunflower rather than Jerusalem artichokes, same family only not as productive..although maxi's can produce some edible roots.

I would put down a serious barrier to block the bamboo..or you may no longer have a yard.

there is a walnut thread on here that gives a list of what grows well near walnut trees so check that out (use the search)

gaia's garden by toby hemenway has a great bit of information on dealing with urban sites..you might really like to read that one..forest gardens work very well in small acerages..and you can grow a lot on one acre but you will be somewhat limited by the juglone in "that" area.
 
tel jetson
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bamboo makes clean firewood that cures quickly. don't despair that it will take over the yard, just make good use of it.

maybe not real helpful advice, but I depending on your climate, an acre ought to be plenty of space to grow food for your family.

spreading perennial herbs (mints, thymes, etc.) are helpful for making things look a little more landscaped while still being useful.

sounds like you've got a good start already.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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tel jetson wrote:bamboo makes clean firewood that cures quickly. don't despair that it will take over the yard, just make good use of it.

maybe not real helpful advice, but I depending on your climate, an acre ought to be plenty of space to grow food for your family.

spreading perennial herbs (mints, thymes, etc.) are helpful for making things look a little more landscaped while still being useful.

sounds like you've got a good start already.


If bamboo or any other invasive takes over your yard, everything from there on will be more difficult. I have put in many hours controlling invasives and have succeeded. If you want a little bamboo, contain it to where you want it. If a customer were to call me with a plan to eradicate golden bamboo(common in your area)from an entire acre, I would expect that to cost between $30,000 and $50,000. Don't let it happen. Often, doing nothing and letting it happen are the same thing.
 
Emily Brown
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Location: Maine
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I'd recommend getting a dog to protect your chickens.
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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yes on the bamboo, you are correct. we try to keep it off our property my mowing often and hacking new shoots. i have realized that i can go in and eat the shoots as well, so i will be cutting new shoots for food. what i want to do it get a pig to root it out. of course i only have enough to last for a few weeks of food... so maybe then move them elsewhere... and we are in the city, so it would be a hush hush project for sure!! (that's way down the line) and we would have to get our neighbor to agree because it is technically his.

as far as a dog goes... we aren't in the market to buy an expensive guard breed. and my husband isn't ready to steward a dog right now (seriously strange after 15 years of wanting one!). everything we do we are seeing through the filter of stewardship and our family isn't ready for a dog (new house, new country, new job, new people).

i'll definitely be using it for firewood this winter! thanks for the suggestion.
 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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When my wife and I first bought our one acre, I felt an intense pressure to keep things "landscaped" and looking nice. The problem is that the entire philosophy of lawns and landscaping is based on displaying wealth, which leaves no place for anything that resembles poverty. This generally includes any type of food production, clotheslines, and a bunch of other permaculture values. I don't want to dismiss your husband's feelings because they are valid, and fitting in to your community is also an important thing. What has helped me is working on making a connection and cultivating a real relationship with my neighbors. The more we get along, and the more they understand what we are doing, the more confidence I have in trying new things.

I also advocate the stated permaculture design principal of making small changes and observing the results. Not just glancing and operating on assumptions, but dedicating real time with an open mind to see what is actually happening in your yard first hand.

All that being said, I agree with Brenda. Gaia's garden is a great read, and really helped me understand the forest garden and ecological design concepts.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Here's a suburban example I like. Plant selection needs to be adjusted for your temperate region but the design ideas might help: http://www.happyearth.com.au/
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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Josef Theisen wrote:When my wife and I first bought our one acre, I felt an intense pressure to keep things "landscaped" and looking nice. The problem is that the entire philosophy of lawns and landscaping is based on displaying wealth, which leaves no place for anything that resembles poverty. This generally includes any type of food production, clotheslines, and a bunch of other permaculture values. I don't want to dismiss your husband's feelings because they are valid, and fitting in to your community is also an important thing. What has helped me is working on making a connection and cultivating a real relationship with my neighbors. The more we get along, and the more they understand what we are doing, the more confidence I have in trying new things.

I also advocate the stated permaculture design principal of making small changes and observing the results. Not just glancing and operating on assumptions, but dedicating real time with an open mind to see what is actually happening in your yard first hand.

All that being said, I agree with Brenda. Gaia's garden is a great read, and really helped me understand the forest garden and ecological design concepts.


well, my husbands reasons actually don't have anything to do with displaying wealth. we are a 1 car family, he takes the bus to work, we intentionally afforded a house that could be paid off in 7 years etc...
his reasons are
1. he wants the yard to look tidy
2. he wants to be a good neighbor
3. he had a huge yard as a kid with grass and green everywhere.

his parents also had a huge garden, chickens and pigs at times. he grew up in the country, in the south and they are pretty tidy with their lawns there... his parents however always confined the garden to that one tidy area. our best area here is in the area my husband has designated to be the permanent lawn. sigh. i am working to create raised beds, but it seems that my other work will need to be more creative, hence the need for forest garden and edible landscaping. he doesn't mind that it's edible, he just wants it to look landscaped.

@ Tyler Ludens
thanks, i will check it out!

@ ALL:
anyone have experience making a creek into a small pond??

 
Cris Bessette
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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Nechda Chekanov wrote:

- husband who wants things very landscaped


Here is what I want to do... (and i'd love your input!!)
- clean out the stream - can i create a small pond?? how would i do that?
- plant asparagus, rhubarb, fruit trees on the forest edges in clusters
- transplant ferns to the area that has been taken over by unproductive jerusalem artichockes to harvest fiddleheads eventually
- plant fruit trees and perennial herbs to help stabilize a terraced yard



Sometimes people point out great reasons for not being married. I plant anything I want, anywhere I want. yay

- make sure you don't disturb stream down past your property. Try to make the pond so that you can isolate it from the stream
when you need to work on it- put it beside the stream, don't dig a pond in the middle of it.
- Rhubarb. Do you eat a lot of Rhubarb pie? There is not really much you can do with Rhubarb. You might want to try other perennial vegetables
that are more useful. (Welsh onions for instance)
-Verify if "Jerusalem artichokes" are indeed that. Might be some other Helianthus. As with the Rhubarb, consider the amount of use you will get out of
a short season of fiddleheads compared to some other perennial. Of course ferns are attractive plants too.
-you last point all sounds good to me.

As for bamboo, I'd love to have that "problem" as bamboo is extremely useful. It won't take over as long as you use it.
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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Sometimes people point out great reasons for not being married. I plant anything I want, anywhere I want. yay

- make sure you don't disturb stream down past your property. Try to make the pond so that you can isolate it from the stream
when you need to work on it- put it beside the stream, don't dig a pond in the middle of it.
- Rhubarb. Do you eat a lot of Rhubarb pie? There is not really much you can do with Rhubarb. You might want to try other perennial vegetables
that are more useful. (Welsh onions for instance)
-Verify if "Jerusalem artichokes" are indeed that. Might be some other Helianthus. As with the Rhubarb, consider the amount of use you will get out of
a short season of fiddleheads compared to some other perennial. Of course ferns are attractive plants too.
-you last point all sounds good to me.

As for bamboo, I'd love to have that "problem" as bamboo is extremely useful. It won't take over as long as you use it.


well, after 15 years we probably won't be breaking up over this issue. :0) but perhaps we should have discussed this in premarital counseling... haha.

so, we tend to eat very seasonally... when we lived in Alaska in fiddle head season, fiddle heads were the veg if we had them. same with rhubarb, if i had an option to make something like pie, cake, bars and the rhubarb was in season, well that's what we used. i also can quite a bit and freeze if i have to. having said that- i want plenty, enough to trade for other fruit/veg with people who have different crops than me.

welsh onions are a great idea, we eat a ton of onions.

tell me, what all would you do with bamboo besides eat the shoots an use it for staking in the garden?
 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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I did not mean to imply that you were putting on airs or anything, just commenting on our cultural fascination with mowed lawns, trimmed bushes, and tidy gardens. Which are exactly what I thought we needed when we first moved in. Learning about permaculture over the last three years has radically changed my goals and the way I view my property. So maybe when your husband see's your awesome forest garden it will inspire him to think beyond lawns as well.

Can't help you with adding a pond to a stream, the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources will make your life miserable for that kind of thing around here.

I've heard of people using rhubarb in savory dishes recently, often in place of celery. I plan to try it in a mirepoix when ours is better established.
 
                              
Posts: 18
Location: Upper Midwest
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Even if you have an acre, looks like you may have to finagle your way to use it.
Grow crops the kids and hubby crave. They will eventually want more of that fresh stuff.
Then just tell them you must grow the other stuff also to have a full rotation to prevent disease.
Slowly, step by step, inch by inch, slowly she turns.

Animals:
Rabbit
Guinea Pig

Fruit (disease resistant for zone 6):
kids will love apples and cherries
Muscadine Grape - Noble
Veeblanc grape
America grape
Mars grape
Schuyler grape
Norton grape

Nut:
Hazelburt
 
Arrow Durfee
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You really dont need a fancy breed of dog to protect your property. Most muts will willing do the work and love it. Since you only have an acre it will be easy for them

My dog guards about 4 acres of our 8 acre parce but he will keep deer off the full eight becasue he can hear or see them from afar. I can count on him to keep fox, coyotes and deer away from my garden beds that I have relatively close to the house. My gardens further away we did fence for deer for he cant guard them well from the area he likes the best and rabbit were the biggest issue out there.

He keeps deer out of our pasture and runs foxes off. Ive never seen a coyote on our land and perhaps its because he marks the perimeters routinely, but there are coyote all around us, and some wolf too.
Scent will keep some animals at bay.

What he has not done so well with is skunks. They just kind of ignore him. Rabits tend to keep their distance but I see them around once in a while. I put 2.5 foot fencing around a couple of gardens that were close in for them but Im not sure that I needed to.

Our dog was raised from a pup and he's half chow and half golden lab... he looks more like chow in his black tongue and thick dark fur and curled tail but his snout looks more like a lab and his demeanor is more like lab with people but he will get all gruff and bark at strangers. He's never bitten anyone and really if someone wanted to rob us this dog would not keep them away for an extended hand and a freindly voice is all that is requried to lower his dander.

So you really dont have to have a fancy breed. Id go to the pound and look for a dog that is half guard dog type and half hunter type and a pup or young dog is best. Walk the property with him and let him know what is yours and what is not. Many dogs can be good protectors without paying through the nose for a pedigree. It is instincutal for them.

If I had chickens I would not count on the dog to protect them at night. You will have to put them away in a secured area that a fox cannot burrow into. Burying the fence down 6 inches helps or actually fencing the bottom of the cage, then cover with soil, hay, whatever. Our concern here is attack from bald and golden eagles in the pasture. I dont have chickens yet but if I free range them i might have to get a different dog to train to stay with the chickens in the pasture all day long. Our current dog is too old to learn new tricks.

A working dog can be worth their weight in gold. Mine didnt start out that way but he has risen to the task when we moved from the city to the country.
 
Elisabeth Tea
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Living in peace with your husband is worth its weight in gold. Whatever you do, do it in harmony.

There is a place for grass. Yes, it's a monoculture, but it's a monoculture that people often delight in. Besides, it doesn't hurt to do projects one at a time. I prefer having a 5 or 10 year plan over trying to plant 1 whole acre all at once. (In actual practice, I tend to overdue by trying too many projects all at once, but theoretically I prefer to do things one at a time.) In the front yard I like to have grass and flowers with productive things mixed in. (My mother has a rose bed with strawberries. So far, none of the neighbors have noticed the strawberries.)

Living in peace with the neighbors and the authorities would also be important to me. I would quietly keep the bamboo in check, enjoying its benefits without letting it gain ground. I would also not mess too much with the stream, because there are too many legal ramifications. If I made a pond, the water from the pond would be entirely separate from the creek.

On an acre, you can be almost self-sufficient. You can raise chickens and rabbit for meat and eggs. (You do not have to get a dog, but you will need to realize that without a dog the predation will continue.) You can raise almost all of the vegetables that you need (you will have the space, but not necessarily the climate for everything). You can raise almost all of the fruit that you want (once again, you will have the space, but not necessarily the climate), but you will need to look upon fruit as a long-term goal and not a short-term goal. You will have enough room for a portion of your grains (assuming that you have enough set aside for growing. If most of your land is tied up in house or front lawn, then you won't have enough room for grains).

You will not be self-sufficient for many years, so you'll want to make a list of priorities. Perhaps you'll want to plant one guild at a time. Perhaps you'll want to work one area at a time. Perhaps you'll want to plant what you like best, and then move from there.

Whatever you decide, you sound as if you're well on your way.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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One trick for bamboo is to dig a narrow trench (maybe fill with leaves... once or twice a year drag a pick through it and discover the bamboo rhizomes coming across. Also offer to harvest and thin the patch for your nieghbor, a thinned patch, more shoots will come up inside, less outside, and then you get produce while reducing stress on your property.

Stream in urban areas may be loaded with pesticides, heavy metal and oil depending on source. Beware. Your ability retain water without a liner of clay import depends on soil texture.
 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Nechda et al : My golden rule is: never live in a town with a traffic light, never live in a house you can't pee off of your own back porch !
Having said that !, i think that ALL URBAN PEOPLE should check out/ do a google search on 'the right to dry '!
This is a basic right that you could wake up tomorrow and find out you lost while you were sleeping !
 
allen lumley
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- aint nothing wrong with fiddleheads ! Having said that i would try to see if I could get them tested as a real world way of testing the soil they came from !!!

Fiddleheads are a noted heavy metals collector, if there is any chance - like an unregister'd tannery in the 1700s I would feel really weird about eating fiddle heads till they were tested I find that the Canadian government is more aware of the problem then us people down here in the states ! I hope that in the long run this brings you nothing but good news ! - Pyro-AL
 
laura sharpe
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I just wanted to speak on the bamboo subject.

Bamboo is wonderful and very very useful but it is correct it will spread like mad unchecked. There are a few ways to contain bamboo, one is to put up a barrior below the soil but the recommendation is that this barrier be thirty inches deep and solid so the bamboo does not break it up

http://www.bamboogarden.com/

I love bamboo so i take a different approach, surround it by a ditch, nice thing is this ditch does not have to be 30 inches deep just 8 inches and perhaps 12 inches wide, the prefered depth for bamboo to send out its shoots, then fill the ditch with sand. Mid summer and in the fall you just drive a spade straight down on the bamboo side of the ditch and wherever you feel you cut a shoot, dig it up and dispose of it (hey dont let them grow in your compost pile). sounds like the neighbor has uncontrolled bamboo....bad...i think you will have to put a ditch or barrier along the property line, where ever you do not want bamboo.

Bamboo is one of the most useful plants I can think of, properly control its growth on your land and look up the bazillion uses for it.

Oh oh i just heard, chickens will eat it...its a big old grass.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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1st what percentage of your yard does your husband want as lawn.
You can still have a lawn with 12ft+ fruit/nut/vegetable trees that you can walk under. Just have wood mulch circles around trees with a few flowering herbs. I think his concerns are that you have too much ground cover.

Start in a back corner make it look pretty/handsome for the husband then do the front and then go to the back, kill the trees and make it high density. I know you might lose a year and a few hundred dollars, but then you dont have to argue and stress for years, worth it to me.

Make sure you screen off your yard with fences/vines/fruiting hedge. Out of sight out of mind. No complains.

You could also just start off with big fruiting landscaping looking trees then in a few years bring in the "untidy" groundcover/shrubs
Also offering him a nice/new patio and grill will make him happy.
 
Nechda Chekanov
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Location: Zone 7a
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S Bengi wrote:1st what percentage of your yard does your husband want as lawn.
You can still have a lawn with 12ft+ fruit/nut/vegetable trees that you can walk under. Just have wood mulch circles around trees with a few flowering herbs. I think his concerns are that you have too much ground cover.

Start in a back corner make it look pretty/handsome for the husband then do the front and then go to the back, kill the trees and make it high density. I know you might lose a year and a few hundred dollars, but then you dont have to argue and stress for years, worth it to me.

Make sure you screen off your yard with fences/vines/fruiting hedge. Out of sight out of mind. No complains.

You could also just start off with big fruiting landscaping looking trees then in a few years bring in the "untidy" groundcover/shrubs
Also offering him a nice/new patio and grill will make him happy.


well, he wants all the front yard plus the 2nd level (although he let me put in some raised beds). i am working on the fruit trees and flowering herbs bit. i was able to plant a cherry tree and lavender in the front yard. i have more plans, but am waiting for spring. it's not that he doesn't want to grow food- he does. but he wants his yard to look ornamental... which is fine, but it's also up to me to do it. as we all know- with gardening the project takes time to look 'great'. for awhile it's like a hangly teenager waiting to come into it's own.

for the front/side yard i have settled on perennial herbs, grape vines and cherry and rose hedges. he was quite happy to hear that the cherry hedges would give us cherrys and be gorgeous! of course rose hips are high in vit C and rose petal jelly is loverly. I ordered rhubarb, and put in ferns (for fiddleheads) in the shady area. i also ordered some apple trees which he is quite pleased about. over all i would say that the lawn is about 80% of usable yard... the rest is too shaded to be of good use, but - even with 20% planted well, i think we can do it.

i do plan to make a nice outdoor area - he will appreciate it. somewhere to lounge and read a book, a hammock maybe. of course a grill would be nice. funny and really excellent suggestion. haha.

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1356
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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You can grow a few plant in the shaded area. Anything in the blackberry family which includes quite a few groundcover ones, the gooseberry family, strawberry, artic kiwi, mongolia vine, juneberry, cornus mas, nannyberry, elderberry, hazelnut and a few others.

This is what my back yard looks like most of the trees reach a max height of 10ft when mature.
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/
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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S Bengi wrote:You can grow a few plant in the shaded area. Anything in the blackberry family which includes quite a few groundcover ones, the gooseberry family, strawberry, artic kiwi, mongolia vine, juneberry, cornus mas, nannyberry, elderberry, hazelnut and a few others.

This is what my back yard looks like most of the trees reach a max height of 10ft when mature.
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/


your garden looks great! and the kids too. one of the biggest pleasures i have is seeing my kids pick fruit or nuts and eat them...
tell me about the arctic kiwi.... and how big is a hazelnut tree going to get?
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1356
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Actinidia kolomikta-artic kiwi, does best in shade to part sun, unlike regular/hardy kiwi which gives you 100lbs per vine this only gives you 10lbs.
http://www.burntridgenursery.com/fruitingPlants/index_product.asp?dept=25&parent=23

Corylus avellana hazelnut/filbert trees are about 12-15ft tall unless you get dwarf/contorted ones(6ft)
http://www.onegreenworld.com//index.php?cPath=2_71

If you go back to my garden layout and click on sheet 2 and 3 at the bottom you will see height/yield/price/vendor source and comments about quite a few of my plants.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjpWBJwPQ0nMdEpjV1AwcVJ0dGFZbnVpVEw0RlFQR0E#gid=3
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Speaking from years of personal experience in my area and with many others online in enthusiast forums: bamboo is not "invasive".

It will spread eventually if you ignore it for many years and it's growing in *ideal* conditions (very rare for north america). It's one of the easiest plants in the world to get rid of.

Many of the stories you hear of invasive bamboo are often traced back to one of two things: lack of knowledge about how it grows coupled with carelessness for years (or an abandoned lot situation) or what I come across most often is it''s not actually bamboo at all: people very commonly mistake Knotweed for bamboo (it has knuckles on it but the leaves are entirely different and knotweed is not evergreen like bamboo). Knotweed is often called "mexican bamboo" and is entirely unrelated to bamboo of any kind and is in fact very hard to eradicate as it spreads as easily as comfrey under much the same circumstances and is powerful enough to grow through concrete foundations.

Often people will say "we had a massive bamboo problem" and I ask them if the "bamboo" lost it's leaves in winter and they say "yes" and I know they instead had a massive knotweed problem.

Bamboo can be stopped from spreading with nothing more than a shovel and a few minutes of your time twice a year at most. Simply chop through a rhizome, kick over any shoots where you don''t want them and that's it.

If you want to grow it and completely neglect it so it's management free forever then you can easily trench it or put it in a raised bed or use barrier material or easiest of all, don't water it where you don't want it to grow.

It's very hard to find a more all purpose useful plant than bamboo, everyone should be growing it, there are thousands of really good and common uses for it and I hope no one will take these triffid like bamboo horror stories seriously. For people into permaculture it should pose no problems whatsoever.
 
Julia Winter
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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I'm sorry, but I have to respond to "easiest of all, don't water it where you don't want it to grow." That's climate specific advice--West Coast United States advice, to be specific.

I do agree with you that bamboo is not necessarily a problem, but there is no time in my calendar that water does not regularly fall from the sky. It may be frozen, but it comes year round. Of course, the cold temps mean that bamboo is highly unlikely to become a problem plant on my property. I'd love to have a vigorous source of flexible straight sticks--I'd make wattle fencing! I've always loved the way that looks. (And I just saw The Hobbit movie, which has some very nice wattle fencing at Bag End.)

I also have an acre in town, with chickens and raised beds. If you don't have Gaia's Garden (already recommended) I do urge you to check that out--you can probably get your library to find it on intra-library loan if it's not on the shelf. Another book Paul recommends in his podcasts is Square Foot Gardening, just because it's a nice intro to growing food (it's not a permaculture book).

You'll be able to sneak some productive things into the front lawn after reading Gaia's Garden--don't start any fights now. See if there is any way you can set up paddocks or get a chicken tractor for your hens.

I agree that a dog helps a lot with predators, but not all dogs qualify. Some dogs predate themselves! We have a secure coop and a door that opens and closes automatically on a timer--this is what has kept our chickens safe since our good guardian dog passed on (and we found out the replacement dogs were useless).
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Julia Winter wrote:I'm sorry, but I have to respond to "easiest of all, don't water it where you don't want it to grow." That's climate specific advice--West Coast United States advice, to be specific.


Well I'm not in the U.S. and technically it's sound advice for anywhere on the planet with a dry summer or dry patch of ground; but there's a reason I presented it as the last and least of my four options I presented if it's viable in a person's area.

I assumed people here understood that containing something by not watering it would only apply in a situation where there wasn't water to begin with.

Honestly I bet most people will find it more of a challenge to grow a lot of it fast than they will trying to hold it back, that's been my exeperience and the common experience of others on bamboo enthusiasts online forums.

I just don't like to see such an incredibly useful and productive plant dismissed by people as a result of wildly overblown rumours when it's simply not the reality for all but a very rare set of circumstances with neglect at their heart which I assume won't apply to people who likely take an active role in their farming or gardening.

Bamboo is no "triffid".
 
Julia Winter
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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Oops! West Coast North America, not United States! Sorry, my bad.

I would guess that you might be as prickly about being lumped in with your large neighbor to the south as some of us in "fly over country" are about being left out of climactic possibilities. I grew up in the Midwest, and when I moved to California in my 20's, I explained to friends back home that I now understood how suede shoes exist: there are weeks and weeks of time wherein you can be 99.9% sure it is NOT going to rain. I went camping with some friends and when our sleeping bags were damp (from dew) we spread them out in the sun before going out for the day. You would never do that in the Midwest (at least not in the days before weather radar on your smart phone) because you never knew if a thunderstorm might not just blow in and soak everything. It's very different.

Our original poster is in Virginia, so the "don't water it" advice is not going to work out well. The East Coast of North America only has extended rainless periods during drought. Of course, we're getting more and more of those these days. . .

What is a "triffid"?
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1086
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Nechda Chekanov wrote:We are in the city, full on. ... almost an acre ... suggestions?


Suggestions?

Run. Move out of the city.

The land, water, air and culture are immensely polluted.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Julia Winter wrote: Oops! West Coast North America, not United States! Sorry, my bad.


What is a "triffid"?


No worries, here on the west coast of Canada we often tend to feel more allegiance and commonality with our friends to the immediate south and I'm a proud "pacific north wester" even though I'm actually in the south west from a Canadian perspective.

There are rumblings every few years to make a new country called "Cascadia" that comprises the whole Pacific Northwest.

Here's the wikipedia definition of a triffid: "The triffid is a tall, mobile, carnivorous, prolific and highly venomous fictional plant species—the titular antagonist in John Wyndham's 1951 novel The Day of the Triffids and Simon Clark's 2001 sequel The Night of the Triffids."
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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I wanted to post some photos so you can see what I'm dealing with and how much I have done so far. Please excuse the white trash bins full of dirt/manures...
Disheveled ya rd etc. it is a huge work in progress and I have to choose every day how I will spend my time, organizing something or building something. I am trying t o find the cab lance between forward motion and maintainance. I am posting this now so that in three months I can update and then again in six. I'm sure I will see improvement!
This is ridiculous! I have posted them twice, they come out upside down... Even though I flipped them and then re loaded. Not sure what to do here.
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Along fence by driveway will be grape vines
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What should I plant around the workshop? Wall is full sun, front is partial and full shade. W ah valve water run off problems and I think a hugel bed would help.
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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And more... Let see how these photos come out...
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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I'm sorry I have no idea how to fix that and I need to move on now. Any input either on my plans (or technology) are welcome! I didn't put in every single thing I will be doing or planting. I will be using roughly many of the things you all suggested... It it takes time and prep and planning and I am working little by little. Hoping to have something ready to plan by the time it warms consistently (in say that because our weather has been wonky 65 one day snow the next).
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Raised beds... One is hugelkulture
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Along fence behind trampoline is where fruit trees will go plus comp plant.
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Chickens in moveable paddock coop only for night security
 
Julia Winter
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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Oh Nechda, I'm sorry about the troubles with the photos! It's funny how difficult it is to respond to an upside down photo.

I'm sitting in the ICU with my dad, so I'm afraid my brain is too fried to offer any good advice. Your deck must have a southern exposure--keep in mind there will be less sun there in the summer time, when the sun is higher in the sky.
 
Nechda Chekanov
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 7a
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Julia Winter wrote:Oh Nechda, I'm sorry about the troubles with the photos! It's funny how difficult it is to respond to an upside down photo.

I'm sitting in the ICU with my dad, so I'm afraid my brain is too fried to offer any good advice. Your deck must have a southern exposure--keep in mind there will be less sun there in the summer time, when the sun is higher in the sky.
ok I got them to work!!!

It has great exposure except for at the very hottest noon... Which is good because that is normally when my plants get fried here in south central va. I will put the less heat loving plants there... It will be a greens, peas, etc bed and anything else that doesn't absolutely love the harsh mid day sun... Also, I'm putting it towards the yard end of the deck, not the house end, the house end gets less.

So Sorry to hear you are in icu - that is never good news.
 
Tina Hillel
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia
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I know this is an older post, but I figured yards are a never ending job. Blueberry bushes have made great foundation plants next to our house here in Virginia. We have to keep chickens penned for a few weeks to protect them and the two cats who are rodent patrol keep majority of wild birds from blueberries.

Hope your efforts have been successful!
 
Dana Jones
Posts: 107
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On the pond, does your state allow streams, or what we call wet weather creeks, to be dammed up with an overflow outlet? In my state we can dam up a stream as long as the overflow allows it to keep flowing. If it originates on our property, we can do pretty much what we want.

Is the bottom of the stream a deep crevice or it a relatively flat, shallow stream that can be diverted easily? If you are going to scoop out a pond elsewhere, will it fill from the stream or would you have to pump water from the stream to the pond when water is flowing? From the pictures you posted, the stream seems to be a deep cut in your property. My suggestion would be to dig out a small pond in the stream bed when it is dry. Build a overflow dam from bricks, cinder blocks, or bags of cement stabbed in place with rebar.

We have a wet weather seep/spring that cuts into a deep gulley and crosses a gas pipeline right away. We are going to stack up cement bags in the gulley for the fence crossing on the other side of the pipeline right away, so we have a more level crossing for the fence. We are going to place 4" to 6" PVC pipe in the next to top row of cement bags for excess water to flow through so as not to clog up the fence wire. We can't stack up the bags too high because we can't have water backing up onto the pipeline right away. We have room to build several cement bag dams for a series of pools that overflow into the next one until the gulley leaves our property. The gulley crosses a 15 acre tract next to us, then goes into a 1,000 acre ranch, where it is dammed up into a nice large lake. The 15 acres next to us slopes down to the gulley, so rain water drains into it.

We are going to stack the cement bags in a pyramid style, then drive rebar through them to anchor in place. The cement bags will harden with no extra work from us and the paper bags will rot off. Perhaps you could hollow out a series of pools with adequate overflows so that the downstream flow is not impeded, but you can capture water for your own use.
 
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