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discussion: Lawton's Cold Temperate Video Site

 
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Mike Leo wrote: This gives the impression at least to me that you are somewhat anti annual or at least that you would not include annual production in a food forest or a discussion of a mature system. Are my impressions of your feelings on the matter correct?



Hmmm. I got the impression he was anti perennial.
 
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I'm not anti-annual or anti-perennial for that matter. I include both in my design. I emphasize root vegetables and squash and am looking at ways to include corn so that I do not have to feed raccoons. No, I don't want to kill them. I place a high value on woody perennials - fruit, nuts, coppice for firewood, coppice for mulch - and a relatively low value on herbaceous perennials for the reasons I've already given.

When you say that Geoff and others have said that annuals are a necessary part of food forest systems, are you saying that PDC's include discussion of how to incorporate annual vegetables into food forest systems? If so, I'd love to hear how since I'm not able to afford the cost of a course.
 
Cj Sloane
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Mike Aych wrote:
When you say that Geoff and others have said that annuals are a necessary part of food forest systems, are you saying that PDC's include discussion of how to incorporate annual vegetables into food forest systems? If so, I'd love to hear how since I'm not able to afford the cost of a course.



A food forest is a small part of an overall permaculture design.

Areas are broken out into zones: 1 being area(s) you visit multiple x /day; zone 2 less often; zone 5 is wilderness that you don't touch. Food forests are zone 4. Gardens (with annuals) are zone 1/2.
 
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Everything CJ said is correct and is part of the course.

In addition, there's a lot of talking in the courses about edge which can (and should) be applied directly to thinking about food forests. The mature systems at PRI Australia are extended by the groundcover and herbaceous annuals as the edge pushes outwards and succession will eventually put trees and canopy there as well but those annuals are there and productive. You could harvest them if you wish or design/select for very specific species to harvest.

I can tell you are familiar with the 3 sisters. A juvenile F.F. or orchard would be loaded with "poles" for vine/climber layer annuals and have space for ground cover crops. Mark Shephard's work shows this in action and quite successful even with an eye for mature forestry (Link for Roberto: http://www.forestag.com/book.htmll ).

If your site is anything like mine there will be a little bit more food forest planted every year for a lot of years running. For me, when my first trees are hitting the 10 year mark I'll be able to point to 9, 8, 7, etc. year old systems too. Perhaps the annual yield in the year 10 system has declined a great deal but the younger plantings will make up for it, never mind that if I really want a bumper crop of <insert staple annual here> I'll have dedicated zone 1/2 production planned for it like CJ mentioned.

A helpful way to think about it (as say a thought experiment) would be to look at a design with a perennial selection and think about annual options that would fill that niche in the F.F. In the cold temperate the only things that would HAVE to be perennial choices are the canopy/sub canopy because even the shrub layer could be dominated with annuals if you managed it right. Would such a system be hands off? I doubt it, because perennials have a role to play in that ecosystem and would keep creeping in if you didn't include them. Would it be hard to make sure every 3rd shrub most of the vines and all of the groundcovers were annuals? Not at all.
 
Mike Leonido
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2 links to videos by Jack Spirko that may add to this conversation. I don't know if you're familiar with Jack but he's a successful podcaster with several PDCs under his belt the most recent being Geoff's online course.

This first video is about layers in a F.F. perhaps things you are already familiar with. I tried to find Geoff's excellent segment with a whiteboard like this but it's not on youtube.


As that video suggests it is one of many permaculture related videos by Jack and there are many permaculture related podcasts he has done, and Geoff has repeatedly come on the show as a guest.

This video is much longer from a teaching workshop (not a full PDC) Jack did earlier this year. Much more in depth on his views on F.F. and design work in general.
 
Cj Sloane
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Mike Leo & I think alike! Probably because we took the same course this past summer.

Go back to the source!
 
Mike Haych
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Cj Verde wrote:
A food forest is a small part of an overall permaculture design.

Areas are broken out into zones: 1 being area(s) you visit multiple x /day; zone 2 less often; zone 5 is wilderness that you don't touch. Food forests are zone 4. Gardens (with annuals) are zone 1/2.



Most of my garden annuals are not zone 1 because they are being grown for winter storage and don't need daily attention/harvesting. I think that you need to look at annual vegetables on a case by case basis and also on when they are being consumed. For example, if I want to eat beans fresh all through the summer, then I'll have them closer to the house. But if I'm growing for winter storage, then they can be farther away from the house since I will tend to harvest at the end of the season or, at least, far less frequently.
 
Mike Haych
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Mike Leo wrote:2 links to videos by Jack Spirko that may add to this conversation. I don't know if you're familiar with Jack but he's a successful podcaster with several PDCs under his belt the most recent being Geoff's online course.



Jack's a good permaculture teacher but he doesn't know how to grow annual vegetables (it's video 6 not 5) if the video is any indication. Annuals crave light. Jack's polyculture approach is creating lots of shade. His basil yield will be poor, as will his melon yield. His tomatoes are poorly ventilated and deprived of sun by the sunflowers. He's going to have weed problems because they will establish before taller plants can shade them out. You deal with weeds by hoeing or mulching. My preference is for mulching because I'm building soil, retaining water, shading roots and I don't have to do it over and over through the growing season. Growing annual vegetables is a nutrient extractive process. He doesn't talk about replacing nutrients. He doesn't talk about crop rotation or green manures. His comments of insect pests being confused by that design are just that, comments. My experience has been that insects are a great deal smarter than I am and that my constructs are generally useless. What I've done is to surround my annual vegetable growing area with as untouched "wildflower" strips in an attempt to attract lacewings, braconid wasps, syrphid flies, spiders, etc. Is it working? I don't know but it's beyond mimicking Nature; it is Nature.

At the end of the video, he says that he's never grown that guild. However, he's using it to try to justify a design concept. Nonetheless, I wouldn't say don't do it. Try it, tinker with it, learn from it but do not expect it to do well at the beginning (if ever).

 
Cj Sloane
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Mike Aych wrote:I think that you need to look at annual vegetables on a case by case basis and also on when they are being consumed.



This is all laid out in the PDM (Permaculture Designer's Manual)

Zoning is decided on two factors:
1. The # of x you need to visit the plant, animal or structure
2. The # of x the plant, animal, or structure needs you to visit it.



No one is telling you to put anything anywhere. But permaculture is a design system to help you figure it out.
 
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Mike Leo wrote:

Except for areas with permafrost, the ground freezes gradually and only down to a certain depth. This isn't a huge distance, as properly installed footings and foundations attest to. So in places with little to no freeze the ground may not freeze at all. In places with a more severe cold for longer periods the ground freezes from the top down and while there will be a band of soil above freezing but below the threshold for microbial activity you don't have to descend very far to hit the depth where the soil constant temperature is 55 degrees and stays there.

In the example of hugelculture you will usually have wood below grade, with an additional pile of insulating soil and biomass above, not to mention (at least at the site in Vermont) an additional insulating blanket of snow. Is it going to be be a hot pile of 100+ degree hot decomposition? No, but it also will not be frozen solid throughout the pile.

Something else to consider is the progression of this ground freezing. Especially in areas with a thick snow blanket the soil itself may not freeze, or may not freeze right away. Is the ground frozen solid the first day temps drop below freezing where you are? Around here I wouldn't want to dig any holes right now but at the beginning of the season I definitely could and the week worth of 40 degree days we had this month had no trouble melting everything again (in Zone 5 NH with a foot of snow to melt first).

You are correct that in the right conditions, fully exposed, frozen compost does not decompose. You are incorrect in assuming that the entire winter decomposition cycle is impossible because at some point it might freeze. There's plenty of decomp going on under that blanket of snow, and below the surface. Yes some of it may stop for the freeze but not as much as you think and a lot less in a buried situation like a hugel system.



That may all be true elsewhere, but up here, the ground (I'm talking about in permafrost-free areas) is frozen solid for months on end several feet down even in a warm winter, and it's doubtful there is any appreciable microbial activity occurring. At the end of summer, the ground deep down never gets near 55 degrees; at seven feet it's just a bit over 40. Hugelkultur is very effective here because of its early thawing and soil warming properties, but the beds are asleep all winter.
 
Victor Johanson
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:

Cj Verde wrote:
The Inuit eat almost no veggies, and the word for them translates to "those things you eat when you are starving." They did not develop heart disease or other Western illnesses till they gave up their high fat animal based diet.



The Inuit had very little access to vegetables, or plants of any real variety. And if any vegetarian was forced to eat veggie food from the tundra, they'd soon starve or convert to meat eating. It's a bit tiring though to hear the Inuit quoted as a reason to not have a vegetarian diet.



Although it's true the Inuit diet is meat-centric, they have traditionally consumed a wide variety of leaves, roots, and berries. Plants That We Eat by Anore Jones gives a pretty good rundown and includes dozens of examples. I've got a copy. There's a review here:

http://huntgatherlove.com/content/plants-we-eat


 
Mike Haych
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Cj Verde wrote:

Mike Aych wrote:I think that you need to look at annual vegetables on a case by case basis and also on when they are being consumed.



This is all laid out in the PDM (Permaculture Designer's Manual)

Zoning is decided on two factors:
1. The # of x you need to visit the plant, animal or structure
2. The # of x the plant, animal, or structure needs you to visit it.



No one is telling you to put anything anywhere. But permaculture is a design system to help you figure it out.



Absolutely although it's interesting that two of the preferred variation diagrams on page 51 and 52 shows annuals in zone one. On page page 53 he says "The more visits needed. the closer the objects need to be. As another example, you need a fresh lemon 60-100 times a year, but the tree needs you only 6-12 times a year, a total of 66 to 112 times. For an apple tree, where gathering is less. the total may be 15 times visited. Thus, the components or species space themselves in zones according to the number of visits we make to them annually." What he says and what he illustrates are not the same. To better reflect his statement, it's a shame that annuals weren't shown in zone 2 as well.

When I did a google search "permaculture zone 1"vegetables, I got an interesting mix of hits. Some tended to your second comment but many tended to your first comment. I started wondering why there were the two differing approaches. I think that the pictures have been circulated more than the text. Had the pictures included annuals in zone 2 as well as zone 1, I think that there would not be the mix of hits.


There is a thread here that provides an interesting expression of what I'm saying - http://www.permies.com/t/1362/permaculture/Zone. The OP is looking for a diagram of what to put in Zone 1. The response is exactly what Mollison says and not what he draws. Further into the thread, it's very clear that the respondent is a horticulturalist. That makes the response even clearer.

 
Cj Sloane
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Mike Aych wrote: I started wondering why there were the two differing approaches. I think that the pictures have been circulated more than the text. Had the pictures included annuals in zone 2 as well as zone 1, I think that there would not be the mix of hits.



Also bear in mind that permaculture is a fairly new concept. It's a framework, not a legal document. Don't be too narrow in interpretation. That's why the answer to a question is so often "it depends."
 
Mike Leonido
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@Mike A

Repeatedly in all of the material about permaculture the decisions are made by "you". Sure your apple tree may only require a few visits per year but if you're a particularly persnickety horticulturist doing an apple experiment, or daily apple grafts, or someone who likes to walk along a line of apples on his pathways "you" can put them in any zone you want and it can be productive and right for you and still be permaculture even though Bill might have pushed them further out in his own design.

Re: annuals in zone 1 - anyone having success with square foot gardening or who enjoys daily weeding will want that system in zone 1.

Re: annuals in zone 2 - anyone (including Geoff and PRI:Au) doing a larger amount of cultivation of specific staples (a main crop) beyond what needs daily oversight like in the garden will visit them less frequently and tend to leave them to themselves. I believe you stated yourself that staples grown for storage or later in the season would be even further out than zone 2.

I suspect that both the verbal explanation by Bill and the illustrations by Bill on the subject are attempts to explain (with a framework, thanks CJ) the process I'm referring to above.

If "you" visit something daily don't put it in zone 4 and if "you" plan to ignore it don't put it in zone 1. That doesn't mean that onions should not be in your zone 1 garden because you planted whole beds of them in zone 2 or that your herbal spiral is useless if it's all the way out in zone 3. Permaculture does not prohibit anything. It invites innovation, suggests that you think outside of the box and (above all) suggests that you do what is best for "you" in your unique circumstances, needs, climates, and situations.
 
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I live in western Montana and laid down 4 huglebeds last summer, each about 4'x20' and about 2' deep. They have laid there under the snow all winter, and I can't wait to dump some good soil and compost on the top in the spring! I didn't dig deep into the ground below because it's as hard as concrete! So I just laid down cardboard and put rotting logs and scraps from clearing land on and some horse manure/compost on that then grass then more horse manure/compost and that's it. No top soil yet cuz didn't have access to any at the time. But that won't inhibit the decomposition too much. So that is the big difference as I see it, that our growing seasons are short and winters long, and we have got to have a greenhouse. But the up side of living up north is that we grow some awesome veggies! More than they can in the tropics actually from what I hear.
 
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:Rather than discuss diet...
I'd much rather brainstorm about rice growing.

Anybody growing rice without using flooded paddies, as in the methods of Masanobu Fukuoka, using intensive rotations of barley with a clover ground cover?



Now that would be interesting.

I know that wild rice is grown around these parts but I think it's along the natural waterways.
 
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