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Foehn Winds and Permaculture?  RSS feed

Posts: 46
Location: Toronto
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Hello everyone,

I'm curious if anyone has had experience with foehn winds and permaculture. If you're not aware, foehn winds are hot, fast and dry winds created when air rushes down the side of a mountain. Besides melting away snow in the winter, they can also last long enough to bring plants out of dormancy, which can kill the plants when the cold weather returns.

I'm looking a establishing a permaculture homestead in about two years time, but the area where I'd like to live (southern Alberta foothills) experiences very frequent foehn winds (known locally as chinooks), and I'm worried that it may make growing fruit trees impossible.

I've heard Sepp has grown fruit trees, and Austria is a place known for foehn winds. How does he do it?
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
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From what I read -- and I don't know whether he mentions these winds anywhere specifically -- he uses a combination of windbreaks and shelterbelts; rocks and boulders to moderate the temperatures by storing heat during the day and releasing it at night; frost-resistant species; ponds to reflect the sun to where he wants it in winter weather; and proper planting and placement of the trees in the first place.  The windbreaks ought to work against winds of whatever temperature, I would think.  (I don't remember what tree varieties he uses for the windbreaks, but Mollison has written on this and would have suggestions.)

But Paul's the expert on sepp holzer around here, so maybe he'll chime in on this.
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Mollison talks quite a bit about winds running up and down slopes, and channeling them along earthworks and/or absorbing them with vegetation.

From his writing, it might be necessary for fruit trees to be the minority before the air is still enough for them to yield, but it won't be impossible.
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Nearly all of Sepp's designs put wind issues at the top of the list of things to deal with.  Clearly, Sepp is struggling with wind issues!

Sepp builds hugelkultur beds that are about six feet tall.  The beds are all perpendicular to the wind.  Some trees are at the top of the beds and some are between the beds.

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