I recently moved to northern BC near Fort Saint James and now I am a first time home owner. I live on 2 acres of land with probably over half of the area covered in grass and dandelions. When I first moved here I had visions of pristinely manicured lawns and trees with a small vegetable garden, a typical magazine looking useless garden. I have recently discovered Permaculture and it has dramatically changed my way of thinking! I now see so much potential surrounding my home and cant wait to get started restoring the landscape.
I live in a quite active Bear/ Deer/ Moose area and was wondering if anyone else deals with the challenges as I will face. I can just see me trying to create a forest garden and then being inundated with wild life and never being able to go outside for fear of my life. ( kinda half joking but you can see my concern)
Also, I can see living in hardiness zone 2 will narrow my plant selection. Is anyone in the same area that can reassure me that Permaculture is even going to work in this climate? Most of the content I see in the net is southern part of the province. I am very new to this and am learning heaps all the time and looking forward to what's next.
Here are a few picks of one side of the property. Blank slate!
Looks like a really nice place you have there! Do you have any neighbors? What kinds of things are they growing?
Be sure to take some time to observe your property for a while.
Lots of info here at permies so dig in !
Yes, I have neighbors on both sides. You and see in the first pic there the short grass stops and the long grass starts is the boundary line. They have concrete in the front and just natural regrowth after they cleared in the back. the other neighbor has a small greenhouse which she grow flowers in the summer and the rest of the yard is Pine and Spruce.
There might be some native plants in the surrounding forest that I might want to grow in my yard. I guess analysing the area will be the first step this spring.
The snow is slowly melting and I am prepping for my first lot of planting. I will be getting a Juliet Cherry and a Norland Apple to begin the first part of my permaculture garden and now starting a few guild plants from seed. plus a few herbs for the indoor herb patch.
Hi, Liam! I am in Prince George, and don't despair, there is a lot you can do in this climate! Be sure to insulate that chicken coop, though. If you're planning to let those chickens free range, it will be useful if you start planting some things they like to eat. Caragana will grow very well; in fact it needs a cold climate. It's great as a barrier to a lot of wildlife. I regularly have moose, deer, bears, coyotes, foxes, and assorted wildlife around my place, too, but they don't really bother much. A dog around helps with that, but needs to be trained to leave the chickens alone lol. Deer seem to be the most destructive, but when I didn't have a dog, there were far more of them around. The dog doesn't chase them or anything, I think they just know from his urine and poop that he is here, so they don't come around much. Plant some rhubarb, it will do well. Always nice to have it early in spring before anything else is ready. Mine is starting now, it's a couple inches high and I will be eating it before too long. I have lots and would give some plants if you don't. Need to renovate the rhubarb patch this year. I used to raise all the food that could be raised here for my family of 5. That included potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, beans, peas, all sorts of greens like chard and spinach, as well as onions, chives, and assorted herbs. Don't worry about the climate, our Earth has plants and trees for every zone. Good luck! You are going to have a lot of fun!
Thanks for the encouragement Connie, Your not the first person to mention getting a dog. The chicken coop is getting closer to finished and yes I will be insulating the coop. I have a number of Siberian Peashub (Caragana) seeds germinating as we speak and will be using them as a wildlife barrier. Looking at putting a fence up around the area where I will be trying to grow a forest garden. I figure I can grow whatever I want and not have to worry about wildlife destroying it all, we will see.
Here is the second Swale and the first fruit tree - Juliet Cherry. There will be three more fruit trees going in this area. I planted there tree and didn't get time to make a fence and paid the consequences as a deer ate all the nice new growth. It now has a sturdy cage around it. Later this year or many next year I will be constructing a 8 foot fence around my "forest garden in the works". Doesn't look like much but its getting there.
I'm fairly new to permiculture so the observation I'm about to make may be off base, but I'd be a bit concerned about where you have the swales in relation to your home....specifically your partial basement. IIRC, swales will stop/slow surface runoff and let it soak deeply into the ground. Excellent for plant life, but not so wonderful if that water ends up penetrating your basement or crawlspace.
Hopefully someone with more knowledge then I will chime in about this. My concern is that if the swale does end up causing flooding/moisture problems under your home it may not occur until long after you've planted them and if the swales need to be moved you'll have lost the time and effort.
Thanks for your comments Glenn. This is a very good observation and something that I never considered. we don't get a huge amount of rainfall here so I'm not sure that the ground will get super saturated and i live at the top of a hill so the water should keep moving down through the property. However this is something I will be keeping an eye on, thanks so much!
Liam I grew up in Alaska not very far from the YT border, so your trees look a lot like home! And I've been through your neck of the woods many times on the Alcan highway.
We grew a lot of stuff on our half-acre in the upper Yukon valley. Root vegetables were our staples, pluss a lot of brassicas and other cool-weather crops. Fruits are the big challenge but it sounds like you are starting well in the more moderate climate you have. I second the suggestion that you get some rhubarb, it will thrive.
I'd also look at berries. I'm sure you have plenty of wild ones so consider what grows well this summer and then maybe order closely related species ... or just plant wild berry seeds?
The latest addition, 40 sq feet of garden beds. (missing a small bed in the fore ground) reused old planks as my raised bed a and wood chip paths around each bed. was considering key hole beds but space is not a problem. The beds are slightly south sloping, not sure how this is going to work but it's all a learning curve and if i have problems Ill fix it next time.
Update: Created a pathway around the garden using ditches filled with wood chips. Now I can access all parts of the garden to plant and harvest. Looks pretty baron at the moment but waiting till next season to populate the beds with a cover crop. will possibly try to snow seed.
One of the nicest farmers markets that I have ever been to was in Dawson in the Yukon Territory. That's much further north. It is very important to learn more about creating micro climate.
The long summer days allow rapid growth of the brassica family and other cold hardy crops. Your season will come to a frosty end. This liberates the northern gardener from further responsibility until spring.
Many bugs that plague warm places, will be completely absent from your environment.