Despite being in a largely urban area, I'm surrounded by very tall cedar and fir on a 99ft wide property (theoretically Zone 7, but with the shade I'm not convinced). It is on my list to spirally prune these trees but cedar is still cedar, and firs add to the natural acidity of the area. I have been trying to encourage the native huckleberries. They fit in the category of "tolerating" shade, but produce much better with more sun. However, one 20+year old plant is essentially at the base of one cedar and 20 feet from a second and at least gives me a small crop of berries and attracts bees. Any ideas are welcome.
Jay, I'm not far from you. I've done quite a bit of pruning. Message me if you need someone for this. Also, if you need more firewood than you produce, it's something that I sometimes give away. The same for soil and sometimes plants.
Thanks for the offers. I'm not sure if "message me" means sending something with your name on it through the "my purple Mooseages" link, or just replying here, so I'll start with "here"! Computers are not my strong suit and my resident geeks tend to just magically do things for me, rather than encouraging independence.
1. I am very interested in some of the cool-weather crops you've mentioned and would be happy to swap seeds/cuttings.
2. We heat with wood in good wood-stoves, but they certainly aren't anywhere near as efficient as rocket mass heaters. I'd sure love to try one of those in an outbuilding. Do you have any idea if "Our Eco-Village" near Shawnigan Lake have got fire-marshal approval for a RMH? They have certainly worked on changing building codes for hay-bale and rammed earth buildings. That aside, we certainly do pick up fire-wood when it's being given away, but we need a bit of warning.
3. Despite Paul's negative attitude towards chipping/shredding, we import stuff for that also. Fire is a major risk so you can't leave too many branches lying around, and the winter rains make chips for paths and traffic areas really useful. I'm happy to put wood in hugels when I can, use stuff that's 3"+ for the wood stoves, make biochar in paint cans inside the wood stoves to make that environmentally neutral, but we still end up with stuff to chip/shred and somehow it all gets used! I would rather chip/shred and compost branches than have it end up in the land-fill, although Hartland is doing a much better job of diverting it there as well. I do sometimes feel it's a drop in a very large ocean!
4. Do you actually enjoy pruning? Do you realize that the pruning that needs to happen here is up *very* tall trees? We have a smallish chainsaw but I don't have the strength to get it started on the ground let alone while hanging in a tree. A friend has offered his electric chainsaw which would solve the starting problem, and I'm at the point of being desperate enough to give it a try, but if I don't kill myself my friends may strangle me. Somehow they don't approve of 55 yr old arthritic wimps chainsawing 10 meters up cedar trees. I make a darn good home-raised chicken dinner though, to bribe people (opps, return favours to people) who don't mind doing things I struggle to do myself.
Keep up the good work in Victoria. Where abouts is your acreage? Have you got ideas for transforming it into a food forest? Have you been on the website http://crdatlas.ca/? It's surprisingly easy to get it to show you the contour lines 1 meter apart on any chunk of land in the CRD. Whether it would allow you to do so if your land is outside of their official space I don't know, but it's given me some more ideas about how I might slow down the winter run-off in a beneficial way. It also had photos that were more recent than what shows up on Google maps for my area at least, but that may not be consistent. (It certainly showed me how much I really need to prune some trees!)