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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Seems everyone's happy~
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elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Wonderful!
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Just thought I throw it on this post that we're looking for 2 interns. We have a 2 bedroom cottage & all meals are included. Please p.m. me if you want more info - we're expanding so there's a lot to play with We prefer longer term participants - 6 months is the average, but we'll consider longer term.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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We saved for the past several years and just finished some earthworks to expand our orchard forest. This area is about 15 acres in total. We waited 7 months for a local guy that understood my drawing and reasoning. He did the earthwork for our small (acre-ish) terraced area about the existing orchard. The smaller, test version.
He has 2 bulldozers (his son runs 1 of them) and an excavator (nephew runs that) and in 7 days - magic happened. I'm first posting a pic from this morning's coffee stroll in our orchard that we converted last winter/spring.
The road was started and the middle (elevation) water catchment pond. After that, the excavator began the highest terrace and the dozers started the lowest and largest runoff catchment pond; this pond is about about 1/4 acre and 15 feet deep. 4 hills converge in that area which will pump water to the last pond at the top of the hill above the terraces.
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Terraces done I am standing on the 1st pond installed (middle) looking west, large pond in the center and terraces are complete.
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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The first picture, I am facing east looking at the 1st pond that was installed. This round pond is at the top of the terraces. It will receive water from the center pond and will "flood" irrigate the terraces. It's about 10' feet deep. Happily, we were able to seed all of the raw earth with a variety of seed - red clover, radishes, beets & cow peas that we've saved up for years (and years).
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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The last group of pictures. We planted lavender on the dam's edge, oregano on the back. The dot in the middle of the second picture is my son; he's 6' tall. I thought this would put it into perspective. This land is so beautifully hilly. The terraces are 15' wide & there is 18' between the different levels.
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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It's hard to mentally move on to fall crops when the summers are doing so well~ I've heard geese honking as their migration has begun and candy apples red leaves popping on my blueberries. One last look.....
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orchard in august
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august okra
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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We are beginning to sculpt the terraces, starting with water channels that will catch rain & runoff from from the above slope, then channel it into keyhole beds for annual crops surrounded by fruits, berries, herb and perennial flowers. We did plant the lowest slope with brambles already. All of the terraces were seeded with loads of "older" annual seeds and a ton of clover, which happily has sprouted nicely when compared to the just finished pics of the earth work. it was impressive how the water immediately began to move in the channel once we joined in the middle.
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Adding brambles, apples and of course blues on the slopes and nuts & fruits on the top. Beginning the fruit tree guilds
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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The ponds are filling up quicker than expected and are providing a wonderful mist most mornings.
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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and of course an appropriate throne to view the lands
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Joel Holmes
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Great photos and narrative! Thank you for taking the time to post.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
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Thanks Joel!!
 
Matt Gorham
Posts: 10
Location: Louisburg, NC Zone 7b avg. 50" precip.
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Excellent information and beautiful land sculpting work Marianne. I'm not too far from you, just a bit south in NC, and am in the process of transforming our land in a similar fashion. What you have done looks wonderful! What are the depths of your ponds?
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Ah Matt - you should come hang out!! The ponds range from a little frog pond, that's maybe 3' deep to 18'. Good luck with your conversion, please post pics
M
 
Tracy Lee
Posts: 52
Location: NW Arkansas
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LOOKS AWESOME . I HAVE A SLOPED AREA THAT I WANT TO PUT IN SOME FRUIT TREES, BERRIES, AND SMALLER PLANTS. AND WHAT I HAVE IN MIND IS VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU HAVE BUT IN A MUCH SMALLER AREA. WHAT I AM UNSURE OF IS SPACING BETWEEN THE PLANTS OR WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD SEQUENCE OF PLANTS. DO YOU HAVE A DIAGRAM THAT WOULD SHOW SOMEWHAT YOUR SPACING AND SHOWS WHAT PLANTS YOU DO HAVE IN SAY A 150 FT SQUARE. I AM IN ZONE 6B. WE DO HAVE A BACKHOE SO HUBBY HAS BEEN DIGGING ME TRENCHES WHEREIN I BURY WOOD AND PUT garden beds ON TOP. SO FAR WORKING PRETTY GOOD.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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There is about 20' between each tree in the traditional rowed orchard - in the other areas, the trees are placed more fluidly with far more space between them. Flower bulbs, comfrey, perennials, herbs are planted all around the trees and throughout the gardens. I have berry bushes within about 8' of trees (depending on the variety's mature size) since I have to have good airflow with our high humidity. I don't leave a lot of open space except for pathways. Hope this help and good luck with your project - please post some pics!
 
Ran Nawan
Posts: 9
Location: Northern California
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Marianne, so awesome and inspiring. Hope to do to a fraction of what you've done some day.
 
Tyler Omand
Posts: 14
Location: Maine
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Beautiful work Marianne and crew! Do you have any plan view drawings of your property design?
Like other comments before I am very interesting in the various aspects of this design, such as bugeting, planning, sourcing plant stock, etc...
Keep up this amazing work and keep posting pictures! So inspiring to us all! Thanks!
 
Pia Jensen
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Marianne Cicala wrote:this is the last I'll ask your indulgence on~
Super nice to see the progression and design concepts - congratulations!
 
Pia Jensen
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Marianne Cicala wrote:Seems everyone's happy~
that's crazy beautiful! that pic ought be a cover on a homestead sort of publication
 
Enrique Garcia
Posts: 86
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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Great job !! Thanks for sharing !
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Thanks for all of the great comments. Tyler, I do have a drawing for the whole place which I'll get up by week's end as well as some details about budgets, bartering and sourcing. I'll also get off my butt and post some more current pictures by Sunday.
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Sue Rine
pollinator
Posts: 297
Location: New Zealand
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Wonderful project. Thanks for sharing it with us all.
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Qu├ębec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Awsome, awsome, awsome... WOW!!! Great projetc. Will follow you now. Hope I can go as fast as you, but think I miss the confidence.
Great work Marianne

isabelle
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 311
Location: Pittsburgh PA
12
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I am in the midst of developing an orchard near you. Any chance we could do a labor, plant, seed exchange. Looking for some whips eventually, and your soil is extremely similar.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
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bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Chad: YES, yes, yes. Please contact me via pm. I'd love to exchange plants for labor. Thanks~ M.
 
Matt Dean
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Looks awesome, looking forward to updated info and pictures.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
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time for a bit of an update:
the terraces now have a foot wide & deep swale on their edges and a berm on the top of the slope below. A lot of the sticks, limbs and dead roots were raked into what today starting becoming a rather long snakey hugel. Happily all of the trees, all by 2 blueberries, all the brambles & perennials survived our unusually cold winter. Seeding the hugel will begin this week-end.
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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We have been insanely busy but y'day we finally began planting the lowest terrace. Fruit trees with big guilds, brambles, herbs, hops and whatever else I could move, split etc. We filled up the lowest swale (no rain to speak of since May 1) from the catchment pond with a pump in only 10 minutes and happily it took 6 hours for the water to slowly seep down. I'm very pleased!
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elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Your property is so beautiful. I'd love to see more pics of your original orchard. I actually modeled my cider orhcard after yours.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
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bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Thanks Elle! I'd love to see some pics. I have a couple that a friend took this a.m. and just sent to me. they are attached.
M.
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elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Absolutely beautiful!!!


As to mine the earthworks were just done last week and the trees aren't planted yet. We have to fence first. So I don't have much to share yet!
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
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bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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A few updated pics~ Really pleased with our perma-orchard's second year and finally added a herb spiral surrounded by mulberries and a BIG guild on top of the terraces.
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
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Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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A couple additions to the farm. A heritage mix of American New Guinea & Spot piglets happily working 1 of the rice paddies we're installing. Too Much Fun!
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Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 685
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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1/2 of the intended rice patties are in (3 of 6)! Busy doing research about crawfish being raised in the patties or started in barrels in the greenhouse for the winter.....a lot to figure out. We're zone 7 a/b but the past couple of years have certainly displayed temps well below "0" and weekly temps not getting above 20F. Any input is very much appreciated.
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