I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Appalachian food forest  RSS feed

 
Greta Fields
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Has anyone tried creating a food forest in the Appalachian mountains? I live on the side of a mountain, and it is quite different gardening here than anywhere I ever ived.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
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Location: zone 6b
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There are different biomes depending on if you're on acid or lime soil, and which direction you're facing but in general you can grow oaks, hickories, walnuts, and chestnuts well in the region, as well as brambles (blackberries, etc.). Apples, pears, etc. can do well also. I planted hazelnuts and they're thriving.

If your hillside garden is very steep then you'll probably want to terrace it and maybe look into the keyline information for catching and directing water so it doesn't just run off.

I was recently climbing the Pinnacle at Berea and was amazed - at the top of the hill, which was just a giant rock formation, there was a lot of thick rich spongy humus from the trees eking out an existence in the crevices of the rocks. The climate is *very* conducive to trees and grass, and pretty much anything green.

In Foxfire when you read through the history of people living in Appalachia, they used the trees a lot - sourwood honey, ran pigs in the woods, etc. They also grew cushaw squash and pole beans a LOT.

Conserving the soil from being carried away in heavy rains is a big consideration. Finding level and making paths, etc. level as much as possible is important because anywhere the grass is worn away will become a stream and carry soil away on you. Putting large branches across downhill sloping paths helps slow the flow but you can still get soil loss (what I'm dealing with here).
 
Greta Fields
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I posted a reply but it does not show up. I tried to send you photos.
I have seen the keyline videos on YouTube, and I agree with what these people are doing. I just watched the video by the soil scientists about controlling water absorption in soil too.
In order to get humus to add to my gardens, I have piled up rotting logs and branches and leaves right in the woods, to make a "humus compost pile". I get as much humus per year this way as a bale of peatmoss. [I don't like stealing Ireland's peat anyway.]
Actually, I have started most plants that you mention. I have an orchard, and yes, pears do well. My cherries and apples are also doing well, but not peaches. I may move the peaches to a pond, since I have seen peach trees hanging over creeks that were loaded. I assume the water kept the trees warm.
I have a walnut tree with nothing but raspberries running around under it. I clipped the runners and pruned the canes, and got about 16 cups of berries the first June. This year, I added horse manure to them and mulched them in winter, and they look real good now
I have also found that hazelnuts thrive here. I had to add Spanish and Turkish types to get the American hazelnuts to pollinate, however. My nuts are too small though.
I just ordered persimmon and Shellbark Hickory and one Bush Cherry from Burgess Seed, a cheap company selling leftovers from other companies. I will also order trees from the state Forestry Division farm at West Liberty, Ky. For $20, you can get a LOT of Shellbark Hickory. I could LIVE on Shellbark Hickory.
I want topurchase some of the hybrid chestnut trees, and it costs $40 to join the American Chestnut Assn. to get those trees.
Regards the cliffs on the Pinnacle: A lot of cliffs are sandstone too, and sandstone absorbs water, which explains why trees grow on top of rocks. the Indians discovered they could find water in a desert by finding sandstone cliffs, which would have a "seep" at the bottom!
So, you must live in Berea, Ky? I heard about all the communities and seed saving going on around there, and Trish's playwriting group. Several Berea students have been here, and Nathan Hall moved back here after Berea. I can't think the other girl's name.
I am down in the southeast, near Whitesburg, and on Pine Mountain. I have a giant watershed all to myself, and it has everything in it almost. I just need to add to the existing biodiversity. There's even rare animals and mountain lions and elk.
I greww up spending summers near Danville Ky., on my grandma's farm. My mom grew up there, and went to Berea. They are all dead and gone now, but I remember summers that were a child's paradise: Us kids lived in a creek, which was full of animals, fossils and blue pottery clay. We also worked in the gardens together, so I am used to people farming togeher already. We had all meals together, so it was a lot like a community.




 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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You can get chestnuts for planting from several companies (I know Burnt Ridge sells them). Plant 3 spaced a foot apart wherever you want chestnut trees and put a tin can with the bottom cut out and a "X" cut in the top over them to protect them from mice and squirrels. As the tree grows open out the tabs on the "X" to make room and the can should rust out before it girdles the tree. If you have soda cans you can use them too but cut down the side to remove them before they girdle the tree because they won't rust. I guess you can do the same thing with hickories. We've got so many hickories here I can just dig the seedlings and move them.

I'm not in Berea, but in Richmond, next town over. We love to go to Berea for the arts and farmer's markets, tho.

I got trees from the state forestry division. Some were nice, some were tiny but so far all are alive. They couldn't fill my orders for 100 trees and gave me just 10 instead, for more money because I had to pay shipping then. I found out later I could have gotten them from some good mail-order nurseries like Musser Forests for a similar price and they would have been improved cultivar seedlings, not just generic trees.
 
Greta Fields
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Thanks for the info. It so happens, I just ordered a Musser Catalogue, but haven't gotten it yet.
I am afraid of buying trees from Lowe's now....I am afraid maybe they sprayed them with pesticides before they arrived at Lowe's, and that they would kill my bees.
They say the insecticides in "pink corn", treated corn, is what's killing bees.
Sounds like you all plant a lot of trees. I like to plant lots of them, because attrition is so high. I planted 42 Butternuts from nuts in the lower field, for example, and 12 around one house, and another hundred scattered all over the mountains. I have about ten of them, 25-35 feet tall now, but none of them have provided nuts. The mother tree only provides nuts every 4-5 years, however. Walnuts drop nuts every other year or so.
I never go to Berea, but I have a house in Lex. still, so I go there a lot. I do house repairs myself, and am fixing up the house to sell. I usually go to the Food Co-op there, anb bookstores a lot. I like the way people are planting food gardens in their yards now. I did that years ago once. I even dug up the whole curb. Nobody noticed until I grew 35-ft. poplar trees in the backyard. Then people complained. I cut them down. Then I moved here, and I have thousands of poplars now (: )
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
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Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Chestnuts, persimmons, pawpaws, black locust... excellent native building blocks for a superb food forest.
 
Greta Fields
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I agree Isaac. However, I would include mulberries and Shellbark Hickory, standard cherry. Have you tried any of this food forestry in Pennsylvania
 
Joseph Fields
Posts: 174
Location: Berea, Kentucky
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Renate Haeckler wrote:There are different biomes depending on if you're on acid or lime soil, and which direction you're facing but in general you can grow oaks, hickories, walnuts, and chestnuts well in the region, as well as brambles (blackberries, etc.). Apples, pears, etc. can do well also. I planted hazelnuts and they're thriving.

If your hillside garden is very steep then you'll probably want to terrace it and maybe look into the keyline information for catching and directing water so it doesn't just run off.

I was recently climbing the Pinnacle at Berea and was amazed - at the top of the hill, which was just a giant rock formation, there was a lot of thick rich spongy humus from the trees eking out an existence in the crevices of the rocks. The climate is *very* conducive to trees and grass, and pretty much anything green.

In Foxfire when you read through the history of people living in Appalachia, they used the trees a lot - sourwood honey, ran pigs in the woods, etc. They also grew cushaw squash and pole beans a LOT.

Conserving the soil from being carried away in heavy rains is a big consideration. Finding level and making paths, etc. level as much as possible is important because anywhere the grass is worn away will become a stream and carry soil away on you. Putting large branches across downhill sloping paths helps slow the flow but you can still get soil loss (what I'm dealing with here).
hey neighbor, You can see my house from the east pinnacle.
 
Greta Fields
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Hi Joseph
I have never been up on the pinnacle, but my mother talked about it a lot. The fascinating thing about cliffs is, they absorb water like soil, so things can grow on them, strange as it seems for plants to grow on rocks. The Indians knew how to find water and salt seeping out the bottom of cliffs.
I have joined that e-mail list for the food market and farms for the Growing Warriors around Berea....I guess that is how you got started, through them?? That is a great organization, sounds like. You are lucky having people like them around, and family too! I wish we had more activities like that around me. I read about one of the farms having an open house, but I couldn't go.
Well, I have just discovered that I have a perfect moist bottomland for Shellbark Hickories. My mother grew them on a seemingly dry yard, but the yard was built over a former swam, so the hickories probably sent taproots down into the old drainage flows under the yard.
You are right about the problems growing things around hills and woods. While you probably have good Central Ky soil, I have mostly acid humus. I have to modify the garden soil to grow ordinary vegetables...it is working though. I am getting nice tomatoes, beans and squash now.
 
Joseph Fields
Posts: 174
Location: Berea, Kentucky
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Greta Fields wrote:Hi Joseph
I have never been up on the pinnacle, but my mother talked about it a lot. The fascinating thing about cliffs is, they absorb water like soil, so things can grow on them, strange as it seems for plants to grow on rocks. The Indians knew how to find water and salt seeping out the bottom of cliffs.
I have joined that e-mail list for the food market and farms for the Growing Warriors around Berea....I guess that is how you got started, through them?? That is a great organization, sounds like. You are lucky having people like them around, and family too! I wish we had more activities like that around me. I read about one of the farms having an open house, but I couldn't go.
Well, I have just discovered that I have a perfect moist bottomland for Shellbark Hickories. My mother grew them on a seemingly dry yard, but the yard was built over a former swam, so the hickories probably sent taproots down into the old drainage flows under the yard.
You are right about the problems growing things around hills and woods. While you probably have good Central Ky soil, I have mostly acid humus. I have to modify the garden soil to grow ordinary vegetables...it is working though. I am getting nice tomatoes, beans and squash now.
Growing Warrior's is helping veterans ( such as me )move products etc. Pretty good organization. If your in the area and I'm off work I would be glad to give a tour of the pinnacles.
 
Greta Fields
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thank you. That was one of my mother's favorite spots! Someday I would like to visit the pinnacle. I never took my mother back there when she was alive, and I should have. We used to drive 2-3 times per year to see her mother's farm in Boyle County, however.
Right now, am too busy to travel! I am in a local storytelling group that is about to put on a play, and we rehearse a lot. Also, I am still working on a house roof!
Greta
 
Weston Lombard
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I have a five year old forest garden at my hillside farm in Athens, Ohio. You can see some pictures at http://www.solidgroundfarm.com/the-grounds/, but most of my pics are on facebook https://www.facebook.com/TransitionToOffGrid?ref=ts&fref=ts. I love giving tours if you are ever in the region. We also do a forest garden weekend workshop in the Spring. This year it is March 22-23 http://www.solidgroundfarm.com/permaculture-design/spring-pdc/.

Happy gardening.
 
Joseph Fields
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Location: Berea, Kentucky
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Greta Fields wrote:thank you. That was one of my mother's favorite spots! Someday I would like to visit the pinnacle. I never took my mother back there when she was alive, and I should have. We used to drive 2-3 times per year to see her mother's farm in Boyle County, however.
Right now, am too busy to travel! I am in a local storytelling group that is about to put on a play, and we rehearse a lot. Also, I am still working on a house roof!
Greta

I did a little sunrise hike at the pinnacles the other day and this random dog was there so I took it's photo.
 
christopher Sommers
Posts: 9
Location: Appalchia
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Hello, this is my first post and although an older forum, I am starting my food forest in western PA. I am driven to make Appalachia a thriving region that brings abundance to this enduring place. On my youtube channel- theothermillennial , I have posted some videos on my tiny house project and my food forest plants. How is everyone doing with their systems?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I don't know if it qualifies as the Appalachians, but we are moving to Central Kentucky (Green County) next spring, and I've been looking for what to grow, and where to buy.  The property is small (only 2.68 acres) but seems to have good soil.  It's over half mostly level, with some slope down to a small pond, partly fenced and has been used as pasture.  There are about eight large black locusts in the back yard; I'm going to cut them down (and coppice from the stumps) because 1. some of them could endanger the house if limbs fell, and 2. I need to increase the amount of sun on the back yard so we can plant the vegetable garden there (it's closest to kitchen door, and the south side of the property).  We'll have beehives, chickens, ducks, and probably a couple of dairy goats (I've raised goats since 1983), but I want to use most of the space for permaculture, planting around a wide assortment of fruit and nut trees. 

 
Wyatt Bottorff
Posts: 27
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forest garden fungi hugelkultur
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christopher Sommers wrote:Hello, this is my first post and although an older forum, I am starting my food forest in western PA. I am driven to make Appalachia a thriving region that brings abundance to this enduring place. On my youtube channel- theothermillennial , I have posted some videos on my tiny house project and my food forest plants. How is everyone doing with their systems? [/quote
I'll get ahold of you, I've been working towards the same across Appalachians for a couple of years myself. I get around, and would like to collaborate in time.
 
Wyatt Bottorff
Posts: 27
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forest garden fungi hugelkultur
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I have been semi-stewarding a few properties in the central Appalachians for a few years now, more focus on managing the properties rather than starting from scratch. Only now am I beginning to bring in new plants from starts, rootlets, seeds, etc. All this time observing has been KEY, with such complex environments as we have here we need to be sure to take EVERYTHING in before making much for alterations.
Being that my primary passion is herbalism, my focus is in particular medicines, first and foremost wild-simulated cultivation of endangered plants such as Cohosh, Ginseng, Solomon's Seal, etc. Although we are improving soil in some areas for more general garden plants and herbs, as well as nursery space for fruit and nut trees, etc. Depending on the way things occur, an enterprise focused on installing and maintaining permaculture installations in the Appalachians may be among my most important of occupations.
 
Clinton Hitch
Posts: 6
dog trees woodworking
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We are out of Copperhill, Tn . We are on year three of our food forest on 3.4 acres. We had naturally wild shrubbery like persimmons, walnut, sumac, sassafras, and are adding more native plants and fruit trees.. Find us on instagram @nativeforestgardens
We are expecting to create a nursery and sell native pawpaws and persimmons, and encourage native reforestation and encourage wild life.
 
Michelle Latham
Posts: 22
Location: South Appalachia zone 7a
bee dog trees
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Great to hear Appalachian permies in the group!!! Keep the trend growing. We need more beekeepers around here. We have 3 acres in north georgia, working on self sustaining abilities and selling quality trees.
Youtube Channel
 
It would give a normal human mental abilities to rival mine. To think it is just a tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
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