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5 acres in Pacific NW Zone 7 seeking input!  RSS feed

 
Carma Nykanen
Posts: 74
Location: PNW zone 7
7
chicken food preservation forest garden
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Site: Sloped West and Southwest
Water: Sogged in with seasonal springs turning to small creek by the time it exits property other wise in summer it is boggy in the lower part of the property and dry otherwise the rest of the summer.
Animals: A pair of: Dexter cattle, Goats, Maremma LG dogs, Ducks, and a trio of Kune Kune cross pigs. Right now they are in a couple of fenced off sections of the 2 acre pasture.
Humans: A family of 7. A marvelous Husband that works off site and remodels 130 year old home when home. Children 10 and younger down to a 10 month old who likes sucking on worms that the 3 year old gives to her while I'm being a tractor. And Me who is dreaming the dreams and working to get them to be small do-able steps towards the:
Goal: A food forest within the pasture as well as being forage hedges/fences.
The pasture sectioned off into weekly rotations and decreasing dependence on winter hay.
Increase animals as the pasture can accommodate.
Having a home of all homes on site to fulfill the need for quality respite care for children and adults with disabilities. My oldest has deaf/blindness, ect. This is a huge huge driving factor in all of this also. If I can find a way for it all to gel both in physical input needed, and financially being able to sustain it's self, we are set! Can you see it? A place where even the most severely handicapped can be out in nature, have their skin touch the earth, have them being entertained by the branches blowing in the wind, or squishing berries. Oh, I could go on and on!
Ok. Back to today...

What I have learned (a bit of it anyway): Take the time and don't be afraid to over populate with different animals to see what your land can accommodate and go from there. Then don't hesitate to -let the overflow go!
We hear it all the time but take the time to get to know your land. Not from the window, but from being out there.
Things take time. Lots of time.
Just because you haven't heard of anyone doing something, does not mean it's not worth trying. i.e. Broadfork for swale building anyone!! It perfect!
If you are going out of town, have someone planned AHEAD of time to call when the cows go visiting neighbors.
Premier's netting fencing is awesome stuff - if it is on. If it isn't - sigh - you'll be in a heap of trouble and the animals will likely need to test it forever after just waiting for it to be off again.
Every day is like going to school - so much to learn.

This year my plans are to complete (dig, plant, seed) a set of swales in the pasture.
Secure the integrity of my fences so they are not just mere suggestions of possible boundaries.
Re introduce ducks to my planted swales.

So - now to the "here's where I could use a bit of input"

In this area:
What would be the first plants you would plant that cuttings could be taken from for future plantings?
With my steeper hill side and swale system - Do I need ponds for it to work through the summer? Could my swales be deep enough to be pond fingerlings filled with wood chips and still work? Since my children are small and one is attracted to water and would likely drown if given the opportunity.
What are some hitches to what I'm trying to work out?
What pieces to you see missing in my plan? Just getting this all down is a great plan generator!

I really really really don't want to be looking back a year from now and saying to myself "I wish I would have known...."

But that's all part of learning also and I'm ok with that.

Do you have any input for me?

Here are pictures that are from the house looking first southeast, the third is looking south (hillside sloping west) and the next post will show the low-lying areas as I face southwest.
 
Carma Nykanen
Posts: 74
Location: PNW zone 7
7
chicken food preservation forest garden
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Here are the first three pictures of the site
panoramic starting facing south east
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Carma Nykanen
Posts: 74
Location: PNW zone 7
7
chicken food preservation forest garden
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Finishing with facing due west
Lower pasture is winter crick and summer mud pit. Overgrown Christmas trees and a new orchard turning food forest.

Anyone use overgrown Christmas trees to make a log cabin out there? They are not more than a foot through. Is it worth it?
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Carma Nykanen
Posts: 74
Location: PNW zone 7
7
chicken food preservation forest garden
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Now that the forcasted rain has been pouring down it is going to be fun to go up and see how the swales are working..

Are their any 'must have's' for nursery plants that a person should buy first?
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
21
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Raspberries, blue berries, hazelnuts, cherries, and plums would all be on my list of things to get from a nursery. I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as too many strawberries or too much mint and these are generally available this time of year on a 'you dig' basis if you do some poking around. Preliminary thoughts. I will be back to this thread once others strike me
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 376
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
11
duck food preservation solar trees
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Definitely plan on apples and pears! You've got a great area to put swales 30' apart or so, and putting some taller fruit trees down from these will work well.
 
Carma Nykanen
Posts: 74
Location: PNW zone 7
7
chicken food preservation forest garden
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Landon - I'll be asking around for the dig/share-ables. Do you let your mint run wild? Is that an OK thing to do in a food forest? The invasiveness nature of it makes me hesitate. I have planted a bit of this and that of the canes in small bunches. Do you just plant a t-post or bamboo stick to support them on or let them 'frump' onto the ground to promote spreading? Great input!

Eric - Thanks for your input as well, it's appreciated! Do you have 'go-to' pears and apples. I see you are a Washingtonian as well!
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
21
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Carma,
Rain Tree nursery is pretty well known and respected around here. The bollock brothers also propagate many things up on orcas. Perhaps Eric will have even more suggestions.

http://www.raintreenursery.com/Garden_Center.html

From my point of view I do not worry about mint spreading. None. The grass you have growing in your lawn is most likely an invasive too. I wouldn't plant a bunch of mint right next to something native and ecologically sensitive but otherwise I'd rather have something useful like mint trying to take over my lawn as a ground cover than something not so useful like buttercup. In my experience mint is 'hardy' and 'advantageous' but not truly aggressive or invasive. The only things I generally worry about and am very very hesitant to introduce is anything that is vining. These will eat trees.

I'm sorry slightly confused> canes of what? Raspberries? Generally I have not found them to need support but totally up to your discretion and dependent on the individual plant. Logan berries often need some form of trellising but in my experience Raspberries especially once their roots get establish send up good strong vigorous primocanes and form fairly dense clusters that support themselves.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 376
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
11
duck food preservation solar trees
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Apple and pear scab are usually the toughestfoes - powdery mildew is next.

Anything russeted has a natural defense. Some great varieties that some to mind overall for organic production here:
Apple: liberty, Karmin de Sommerville, Esopus Spitzenburg, Roxbury russet, Cox's orage pippen, Goldrush, Wolf river, William's pride and akane(early varieties)
Too rootstock M111 get's 75% height and can handle soggy winter soil

Pear: any asian pear, bosc, seckel, Comice, Leopardo morettini, Orcas

Mint can run fine around the trees - just keep it out of your herb beds.
 
Carma Nykanen
Posts: 74
Location: PNW zone 7
7
chicken food preservation forest garden
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Well of all the things - I posted a reply twice with no success. I'll give 'er a go again.

Landon - I got a chance to go to Raintree a couple weeks ago as I was delivering a couple yearling calves that way! It was great to talk to a horticulturist there about my specific area. Funny thing about that is I had a few varieties that I had picked out from the catalog regarding yield and such and when I asked the horticulturist about it she waved away the catalog and the descriptions and said her views which ended up being other varieties. I was glad I went! I forgot my quince, though...

Canes as in raspberry, marionberry, ect.. Ok, I'll be happy to not stake them this year and see how they do

For nitrogen fixing the new swales, does anyone just plant a crop of beans or peas to use the tree as a climbing structure? They'll not do damage if they just die off in the fall, right?

I'm trying to not ask questions that I can find answers to in the archives, but I must need to learn how to 'search' better...

I'll let the mint be mint then! My pigs seem to like it anyway

Eric - That is so fascinating about the russeted varieties! I only have one of the apple varieties you listed. I'll be working on that list as I add more trees. That M111 is that a common variety? I'll have to research where to get that. I sure do have soggy wet soil!

My fruit trees are in their fourth year this year. Last year I got a few fruits finally but the trees were aphid covered, the fruit was contorted, scaby and wormy. To keep the mildew at bay it's best to keep an open air flow and don't let water splash up, right?

Now don't laugh - I have searched and can't find out the difference between an apple and a thumbs up. Is it a secret or ....

 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 376
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
11
duck food preservation solar trees
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Carma Nykanen wrote:

Eric - That is so fascinating about the russeted varieties! I only have one of the apple varieties you listed. I'll be working on that list as I add more trees. That M111 is that a common variety? I'll have to research where to get that. I sure do have soggy wet soil!



M111 (aka EMLA111) is a pretty common rootstock and one of the best for wet soils. I hear P18 rootstock should be even better, but I got my first of those last year so can't really say how it is for me yet.

For pears in wet places, best to use pyrus betulifolia for large trees and Asian pears, and Quince rootstock for dwarfs

Remember that scab and mildew vary a lot with variety - my gravenstein are pretty terrible with both. The Liberty tree right next to it is terrific! If you have heavy apple maggot (makes them contorted and dimpled), you might try some traps (red balls with tanglefoot stuff) or invest in fruit sox (to cover them from pea size until ripe)
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2092
66
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
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If I were you, I would learn how to graft fruit trees.

Burnt RIdge Nursery in Onalaska is closer and cheaper than Raintree. They're both good.

Autumn olive is fast growing, nitrogen fixing and grows by cuttings. Tons of very healthful berries. If you have a quince tree, it will also grow by cuttings, so when you know how to graft, you can graft pear trees onto it. Watch the variety of pear. Not all types are compatible with quince.

Self seeding/perennial vegies: Curly mallow, horseradish, linden, leeks, dandelion of course, swiss chard, black salsify, plantain (you probably already have it).

Learn about edible weeds you can eat or feed to animals. John Kallas book Edible WIld Plants, I think it's called.
John S
PDX OR
 
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