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Wayne for that type of pond you talk about I can’t get my head around it. Is it as simple as just digging a narrow trench at the basin of the pond to a deeper depth that catches the underground water?

Don’t worry about having to shut up mark appreciate how helpful you all are. There’s a lot of reading to do and so little time. I’m 25 probably a lot younger than most people starting this kind of endeavour but I want to get some land fully seeded and started before I’m 30 atleast. Don’t want to be about to pop before my hard work flourishes.

What’s your opinions on having an alder hedge grown to around 60cm woven for strength and let it grow to 90cm during growing season and then a quick trim to 60cm every autumn after harvesting the fruits inside the guild? This should protect individual guilds from the livestock and provide valuable nitrogen fixation?

Been doing a bit of drawing on maps trying to get some vision and imagination for the slopes of the land and placements of things whilst i wait for delivery of these books
 
pollinator
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I like the idea of growing 90% legumes and 10% grass on your 100acres of land and then harvesting it and enriching just 2 acres of core homestead land.

On this 2 acres of land you can plant all your nuts for bulk calories, then fruits, herbs and vegetables for vitamins and minerals.
2+ bee hives, chicken coop, winter greenhouse sounds good too.
On this acres you can also install 3 or so deep ponds for fish.

After you have build your cabin/house and have some help you can even get 2 pet dwarf milking goats on this 2 acres.
At two acres you can even fence it off to make it deer proof.

Once the initial 2acre homestead is finish, you can then start working your way back out to the other 98acres, taking your time, not being overwhelmed.
 
S Bengi
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2 acre homestead and 98acre farm.

I am not too sure what about what you would want on your 98 acre farm after the initial 2 acre homestead area.

Silvo Pasture raising cows sounds like a good idea to make a living wage (Dairy or Meat).

Cultivating an acre of land intensively can also make good money for a living wage. (garlic, bee hive, herbs ($5/each), oyster mushroom, etc)
 
pollinator
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james buttler wrote:Wayne for that type of pond you talk about I can’t get my head around it. Is it as simple as just digging a narrow trench at the basin of the pond to a deeper depth that catches the underground water?




Yes!  Where the dam will be located, dig a trench down till you hit a hard layer of clay. Water doesn't penetrate that layer.  The subsurface runoff rides on this layer. Build the sealed dam on top of this. The pond doesn't have to be that deep, but dont dig the pond deeper than that either. Now, instead of just catching surface runoff you are catching subsurface runoff.

If your pond is a million gallons, you are now storing 2 million gallons. If 1" evaporates, you'll only drop 1/2" cause the replacement water is already there. This replacement water is all around the pond. Best i can describe is a natural wicking bed. The area becomes a lush green area as my pic showed.

This intersection point of the dam is called a key.

We are transforming our planet into surface runoff and this is bad. Surface water is dirtier, it erodes,  it floods, etc. Forests allow the water to infiltrate down(but we cut them down), concrete creates surface runoff(we built cities). Then we question why the wells are drying up. We do all this city infrastructure to push the dirty surface water out of the city quickly. It ends up in the rivers and oceans. One of the biggest things we can do is get water back into the ground. Zach Weiss did a great job of describing this.
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james buttler wrote:
I’m 25 probably a lot younger than most people starting this kind of endeavour but I want to get some land fully seeded and started before I’m 30 at least. Don’t want to be about to pop before my hard work flourishes.



Thanks for the vote of confidence. I DO tend to get long-winded. You will do fine, especially starting out so young! I didn't come across Permaculture until my body was already well-toasted by time and health problems (probably genetic in origin). You may find that everything moves with glacial slowness until suddenly everything starts coming together at once!
As you get up to speed with the Permaculture Design system, you will learn to observe and reflect on the effects of the changes you make before rushing into a lot of massive changes that may not work as you originally envisioned. Hence the advice of others here on concentrating your most intense labor on a smaller Zone One, where your initial food forests will be started. As they say in carpentry, "Measure twice, cut once."


james buttler wrote:
What’s your opinions on having an alder hedge grown to around 60cm woven for strength and let it grow to 90cm during growing season and then a quick trim to 60cm every autumn after harvesting the fruits inside the guild? This should protect individual guilds from the livestock and provide valuable nitrogen fixation?



First off, I am not as familiar with the growth rates of plants in "the sunny UK's dampness" , as I am with growth habits in the hot and dryness of the USA's desert Southwest.
That being said, I would gently caution you to consider the amount of labor that will be required to keep hedgerows neatly trimmed every year.  One big suggestion: Try to select a nitrogen-fixing or food-producing species that "self-trims" in the way it grows with no human interference.
Plants like growing in communities, or guilds, which by their natures give and take from each other symbiotically. Some mixture of nitrogen fixers, aggrigators, food/habitat for the wildlife and pollinators, and a mix of plants that provide these services throughout the seasons are all important considerations.
Diversity is your friend! You may want to think of your plant guilds in terms of the services they will provide as a group: For instance, your hedgerows can be build around several different plant species that complement each other to form the service of creating the "living fence" service. A traditional food forest is made up of seven layers to nine layers, roughly based on the height of each layer's growth habit, including a Canopy tree layer, a Sub-canopy tree layer, the Shrub layer, the Herbacious layer, the Groundcover layer, the Underground layer, and the Vertical (climbing vines) layer.

For more details, see: https://permaculturenews.org/2017/03/08/seven-layers-forest/

A plant guild combines all of these layers with the intention of performing specific functions, such as forming your living fences. Your hedgerows can provide lots of edges to your landscape. In Permaculture, the "edges" between different areas (pasture&woods, pond&land, pasture&hedgerows, etc) are where all the really interesting yields occur.


As a general rule of thumb, your hedgerow guilds would be considered as being in a mixed Zone 4/5, which should require little to no human intervention, once they are established. Perhaps thinking in terms of a "lumpy" mixture of zones centered on the edges of your system of ponds will help (design your water elements from the highest elevation down to make sure you plan correctly for the flow of water thru your plot of land).


james buttler wrote:
Been doing a bit of drawing on maps trying to get some vision and imagination for the slopes of the land and placements of things whilst I wait for delivery of these books



Excellent! Using tissue-paper overlays to sketch out your ideas will preserve you base map, and allow you to compare different ideas, side by side.


Well, I've run-on again... Enjoy your learning curve!
 
james buttler
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Wayne if I dig down to this impermeable layer I don’t understand how this water will be “caught” the pond is impermeable how will the water drain into the pond from below ground? Wouldn’t the water pool in front of the pond underground until it finds a way around my trench at the bottom of the pond?

Mark My initial designs that I’ve imagined would have the entire 100 acres ponds and food forest. Is that a bad idea?

Would I need seperate pastures or could I grow most veg grains and fruit under the canopy do most trees?

Along with having animals free grazing under these trees.

With permaculture principals does it allow the use of technology to mass harvest a field of produce or does it need to be done by hand to keep the land from being eroded? I imagine harvesting a large amount of veg by hand would be extremely time consuming
 
pollinator
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james buttler wrote:Wayne if I dig down to this impermeable layer I don’t understand how this water will be “caught” the pond is impermeable how will the water drain into the pond from below ground? Wouldn’t the water pool in front of the pond underground until it finds a way around my trench at the bottom of the pond?



Here's a side view of an earthen dam.  In the concept Wayne is describing, the only part of the dam that is constructed is the "cut off trench" which for some reason I thought was called the "key" (maybe somebody somewhere called it that).  Anyway, the "cut-off trench" is filled with compacted clay.  The groundwater moves downhill through the "pervious stratum" above the "impermeable layer" and backs up behind the trench, making a lush green patch. (I hope I've got this right, Wayne)

The best part of this design to my mind is that the water is never exposed to evaporation, as it would be in an actual pond, which is important in dry areas where evaporation is higher than rainfall.

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wayne fajkus
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Im gonna have to give up on describing the pond. I wish i could be clearer, but im causing confusion. Maybe someone else will jump in. If you ask sepp holzer, zach weiss, or Paul wheaton,- how should i build a  pond, this is the pond they would want you to build.

If you recognize those names, it gives credibility.

I caught another segment of the pdc video. The morning after zach did his presentation. Paul put his tidbits in, making sure that zach covered this aspect of pond building. Its called a "key". The spot where the impermeable dam extends below the ground and meets the impermeable clay layer underground.

Its funny cause when you see threads about ponds its almost universal to "use pigs", "use ducks", use "ducks AND pigs". An understanding of this "key" is the key to pond construction. You dont want or need pigs unless your trying to fix an improperly built pond.

My only regret is not having seen this 3 years ago. My pond is already built.
 
wayne fajkus
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As i typed that, tyler was on it. Thanks Tyler.  If that picture could be extended you would see the pond, then a water table that extends waaaay past the pond. That water is clean and underground. Its like a wicking bed. Grass is green and lush. When water evaporates,  that hidden water replaces it immediately. So your pond will drop at half the rate of a basin pond (a pond that only catches surface runoff).

Another way to look at it is the underground water is flowing for several weeks past the rain event whereas the   surface runoff is flowing for hours.

The key dam catches the subsurface runoff, with a basin dam(pond with liner, clay at bottom of pond, sealed pond), this water is likely flowing under the whole pond and moving on out.
 
Mark Kissinger
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james buttler wrote:

Mark My initial designs that I’ve imagined would have the entire 100 acres ponds and food forest. Is that a bad idea?



Not necessarily. In Permaculture, the thing is to practice using diversity and different techniques to create sustainability and resiliency. It's a whole new paradigm from the traditional notions of what a farm/homestead looks like. Give it time to sink in. It will make more sense as you are able to study up on the copious reading materials that have been 'dumped' on you all at once.

Compared to a traditional mono-crop farm, a Permaculture farm consists of a much more 'clumpy' arrangement (aka: pattern) of communities (called guilds) of plants. You will become aware of many new sources and varieties of food crops. Most traditional crops are annuals, needing much more energy and labor to plant seeds every season. With Permaculture, the emphasis is on using perennial food plants that get planted once, and then merely harvested, each in their season. For instance, alfalfa actually only grows for about two seasons. It will eventually re-seed itself if left unattended. Clovers, on the other hand, are perennials and become a cover crop which can be mowed or grazed, or just left to be part of your meadowland.
There are grains that are also perennials, that are harvested but do not require re-seeding every season. Many traditional vegetables are annuals and are generally grown in garden areas that require much more intense human labor to produce the food yields. Permaculture introduces other food crops, such as nut-bearing trees and fruit trees that only require occasional pruning.

james buttler wrote:Would I need separate pastures or could I grow most veg grains and fruit under the canopy do most trees?



With the Food Forest concept, each guild consists of perennial plants that grow well together (aka, companion plants). Each of the layers of the Food Forest is planted to accentuate the symbiosis of accumulator plants (which accumulate various plant nutrients that are then become available for other nearby plants to share), similar to how nitrogen-fixing plants work. Other plants that may or may not be perennial plant types make up the rest of each plant guild. Some plants act as attractors for beneficial insects, or as repellors to discourage plant pests. These may or may not have food value for humans or livestock.

All of this is to say that it all depends on how your design plan applies each of the 12 principles to fulfill your overall requirements.

james buttler wrote:Along with having animals free grazing under these trees. 



It is my understanding that some animals, such as chickens will tend to stay close to the area where they roost. Using a portable 'chicken tractor' style of henhouse will allow you to control exactly where on your 100 acres the chickens will be found... The same is pretty much true of any herd-type grazing animal. Eventually, by using your hedgerows and gates, you will be able to direct the movement of your animals merely by opening and closing the appropriate gates each day. You do know that running a farm is pretty much a full-time job, don't you?


james buttler wrote:Using permaculture principals does it allow the use of technology to mass harvest a field of produce or does it need to be done by hand to keep the land from being eroded? I imagine harvesting a large amount of veg by hand would be extremely time-consuming



Permaculturists like to use the term, 'appropriate technologies', by which we mean using the minimum amount possible of fossil fuel energy and a minimum of 'emergy', a coined term meaning 'the embodied energy required to build and use any piece of technology'. Hardly anything is off limits, but the idea is to let nature do most of the work for you. We aren't Luddites, but we are very judicious about factoring in the entire life cycle of the costs for any technology that is used.

For instance, instead of using a tractor and harvesting equipment powered by fossil fuels, one might use a scythe (lots of good exercise for you there) or an electric tractor and an electrically powered threshing machine. There is actually a group of people who have designed an open-sourced electric utility tractor that shows great promise, and which can be constructed by a community of relatively low-tech, but technologically-savvy tool-users.

https://www.opensourceecology.org/portfolio/tractor/
https://thisismold.com/space/farm-systems/why-slow-tools-for-young-farmers-can-create-a-new-food-future
https://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski
https://opensourcemachine.org/

(yet more new ideas for you to chew on!)


Look on the forums under 'Monies' for discussions on how to make good economic decisions within the Permaculture framework.



 
james buttler
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Wayne I think Ive got it. With a bit of googling I found this picture helped me visualise a bit better.

If I understand this correctly the cut off trench is on the down hill side of the pond so the underground water runs downhill and then “pools” into the actual pond

Thought I’d attach this picture as it shows the uphill and downhill which makes it a bit clearer for me anyway. Maybe it will help anyone else wanting to learn about permaculture in the future.

Thanks for your informative post again mark I havnt had a chance to read through it all properly yet but will do in the morning.

08A6D6F8-043E-4B56-AC3F-03864A8AE566.jpeg
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S Bengi
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A regular permaculture pond is water impermeable on all 4 side.
With water being piped in from roof catchment;surface runoff channeled by swales; or well+pipe.
This special pond is only water impermeable on 1 side, the back side.
And thus it acts more like a dam, With its raised water table/flooding in front and barely any water downstream.
In my head I am seeing a picture of a Sand Dam.
 
wayne fajkus
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Sand dam is interesting. I just saw it referenced here today.  Is this basically correct:

A pond is built but filled with sand. This stops all evaporation.  A gate valve at the dam can be used to collect the water.

Someone at pauls pdc used the term swamp meadow in describing the same thing except its filled with peat moss then soil on top. Its basically a wicking bed.

When you take a pond then start tweeking the basic system,  some really neat stuff can be thought of.

Paul talked about a mystery green circle at a location. All green inside a field of brown. His speculation was that a pond was there and silted over, but the dam is still holding the water. Now you have what a swale does , you don't lose gardening space or grazing to the swale, and your not dealing with mosquitos. Brilliant?
 
james buttler
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Sorry for the delay my first son was born yesterday morning.

There’s a lot of learning to do but it does seem to take a very long time for trees to establish so I’m thinking of buying land soon and doing the first step of Earth works and green manure whilst I read read read.

How do you guys speed up the fruit trees in the canopy layer? All you can do is wait a long time or buy larger trees for thousands?

30cm of growth a year average even on standard root stocks... that’s like 16 years to 5m tall?
 
pioneer
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james buttler wrote:Sorry for the delay my first son was born yesterday morning.


That's an awesome reason for response delay! Congratulations to you and your lady!!!
May he grow up wise and healthy!
 
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The best way to "speed up tree growth" is to make sure there are mycorrhizae on and inside the root system, you can do this by inoculating the area from just inside the drip line to about 2 feet beyond the drip line.
I have an "Injector" but you can even use a simple piece of pipe driven into the soil about a foot to two feet deep then pour some mycorrhizal inoculant into the resulting hole, do this at least every four feet measured along the circumference (drip line circle) and you will have enough to increase the nutrients to levels that increase the growth rate of the tree.  Trees that have good  mycorrhizae numbers grow at a faster rate because they are getting the levels of nutrients needed to support that growth rate.

My pear trees grow around 4 feet per year because they were planted with mycorrhizae and root stimulant was used to water them in.
My fig trees grow 3 feet per year or more, the plum trees were not inoculated when planted and only grew about 1 foot per year, this year I inoculated them and they have grown 2.5 feet since the inoculation.
The other part is to have your soil in good enough condition that it will hold water in place instead of letting it seep away deeper, that helps you with not having to water so often and that helps the conditions be right for fungi to grow rapidly.

Redhawk
 
james buttler
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Thanks for the congratulations lots of long nights been kept awake to come. No sleep in two days now lol

3ft in a year I wasn’t expecting that. Everywhere I’ve read supplying trees here say around 12 inches a year.

How do you go about sourcing your trees?

I can’t simply grow fruit from seed can I? Most apples are not edible. I do want to have full sized trees with the canopy layer 7+m

How do you find your fig trees? I read that their roots are very invasive and it can be difficult to plant other plants in that guild?
 
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Dr Redhawk, you buy in or manufacture you " mycorrhizae and root stimulant"?
cheers
 
james buttler
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This conversation suddenly died down where’d everyone go?
 
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Congratulations on your new arrival!

I'm also 24, in the UK and planning Permaculture acherage.

You can plant from seed! Plant vast amounts of seeds. Let them all grow and plant them out.  Taste and try the fruit. If you don't like the fruit then try making alcohol or vinegar.
If you don't like that 15 Minutes with a chainsaw will get you wood to smoke meat and cheese or good firewood or good woodcraft material.
Goats left to over graze the area will eradicate the trees you don't like. 
Leave the trees up and let the fruit fall for animals to self harvest. Perfect animal fodder. Will build your organic matter up.

Fig trees you can grow from cuttings... I could probably send you some later in the year from down here in Cornwall.


I am also starting dozens of peach and citrus trees from seed for my own land and to sell (long complex reasoning for this)  and I'm doing some from unknown variety cuttings from neighbours trees.

I have a 2 year old avocado tree grown from seed, no fruit yet but its very healthy and provides good shade.

I have been breeding and seed saving perennials and annuals and tasty wild plants.

I don't know much about dam building but I'm a geologist and make maps for a living so if you have questions about making maps let me know but if say that mapping is really important when you have so much land. 

I have experience laying hedges (the tradional way to make hedges into stock proof living fencing)
It is labour intensive but can be done by a beginner if you have the time. In your case it would be a lot of time. Is the land already fenced around the entire perimeter?

If you don't mind me asking, what do you do for living? How many hours a day/week/month do you plan to work on the land if you have to work around a 9-5 salary job?
If you have to get a mortgage for the land then you'll probably have to keep your 9-5 for at least a few years.

Have you considered having some wwoofers to help you out?
Are you willing to pay for help?
Are others in your family going to be helping you?
 
Mark Kissinger
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Ms. Todd has provided some new comments. It is common for the pace of comments to slow down after the original post starts a new topic. I for one would be in danger of repeating myself.

If you have further questions, begin a new topic with them to garner more specific responses to specific concerns.

How has your reading program progressed? Are there any questions that have come up from that ongoing process?
 
james buttler
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Not yet mark reading through bit by bit - slower than I’d like at the moment due to little one keeping us up every night so far.

For fruit trees if you want full 7m tall trees do you need a rootstock?

What would happen if you bought a Golden delicious on a dwarf rootstock, took clones off the top and just rooted them without a rootstock? Wouldn’t that give full size plants? It would be easy and cheap to clone thousands that way.
 
Mark Kissinger
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Your fatigue and/or pre-occupation is quite understandable.

Regarding the grafting question, the rootstock is often what determines a tree's heartiness and it's compatibility with the local growing conditions, while the scion or graft determines the variety of fruit obtained on the grafted branch. I have only limited experience with grafting, which is a skill that takes a certain amount of practice to achieve consistent results.

The purpose of grafting is to ensure the genetic stability of the variety of apple, since growing from seeds is somewhat of a crapshoot as far as which specific qualities are passed down to the hybrid plant, which is what you will get from planting seeds. The rootstock plants are also routinely cloned in order to preserve the exact duplication of the desired rootstock traits. It is entirely possible to graft many different varieties of apple onto the same rootstock specimen. It is entirely possible that you could start with a few selected starters and grow and clone the rest of your orchard yourself. All it will take is time and patience. After all, I'm assuming that you are in this for the long haul.

I believe (I'm not certain of this) that the height of the tree is one of the characteristics or growth habits that are determined by the rootstock, although different apple stock will tend to exhibit different growth habits, which could possibly be exhibited on the same rootstock. You will want to consult with a local orchardist to find what works best for your needs. You can also control the height of your trees through the judicious use of pruning.

I recommend getting a copy of The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto for more about the subject of orchard trees. This book gives you a crash course in the 'care and feeding' of fruit tree orchards and the trees that inhabit them, including site selection, planting and pruning the trees, such as the different techniques you can use to prune a tree to get the desired shape and size of the tree, and the difference between pome fruits and stone fruits. Well worth the effort to locate (or buy) a copy for reference. It also covers nutrition and fertilizers, pests and diseases, and harvesting and storage of the fruit. It doesn't seem to cover citrus fruits. It does cover the extreme pruning techniques used to force the decorative 'Espalier-style' growth habit of fruit trees. Although limited to the USA market, the book has an extensive list of sources & resources for further study and an Almanac for when to do different things in your orchard.
 
james buttler
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Natasha I havnt bought the land yet I’m looking into options. Most land I’ve seen though usually has a hedgerow containing it however usually they aren’t ideal or completely secure in these cases I think I’d slowly chop them down using the chipping for mulch whilst growing my own hedgerow.

For Income for the past 6 years me and my wife have been putting away 65% of our income into investments and I own two night clubs which are mostly self sufficient now and I get a passive income from them. I’ve delegated management to other people. We don’t spend much to live since I spend as little as I can on everything

Im struggling to actually find many pieces of land for sale. It does seem like a lot of the land here in the U.K. is possibly hoarded by the rich for inheritance tax relief.

For permaculture I do have the advantage of being able to buy any type of land right? I don’t need to look for amazing quality grade 3 agricultural land as if the land has been destroyed I can always rebuild it? As long as it hasn’t been severely contaminated that is.

I’d plan to buy the land without a mortgage I don’t like the idea of having any debt I’d just use one of my investments to buy the land I’d lose the growing interest on it but I see land as a massive investment to live on for years to come - eventually building a house on it.

For Earth works id be looking to find a company to do the work once I have a structured plan. I don’t like diving into things without knowing everything I possibly can before doing so. So I’m looking into everything as much as I can now before I even buy the land. Since land is few and far between waiting probably will let me see what kind of lands become available from time to time here aswell.

After Earth works are complete ideally id dedicate myself to the workload of the land full time.


Got a few trees here in my garden so I’m gonna give grafting a shot on a few of these and see how it goes. As I think I’ll buy a couple of fruit trees I want now with the fully vigorous root stocks and clone the root stock and the fruit tree so I can get many clones in the future.
 
Mark Kissinger
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james buttler wrote:For permaculture I do have the advantage of being able to buy any type of land right? I don’t need to look for amazing quality grade 3 agricultural land as if the land has been destroyed I can always rebuild it? As long as it hasn’t been severely contaminated that is.



Some plants can actually help with remediating some levels of contamination. https://clu-in.org/download/remed/lasat.pdf

http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/biology/plants/use-of-plants-to-remove-pollutants-from-soil-and-groundwater-phytoremediation-techniques/27488


james buttler wrote:Got a few trees here in my garden so I’m gonna give grafting a shot on a few of these and see how it goes. As I think I’ll buy a couple of fruit trees I want now with the fully vigorous rootstocks and clone the rootstock and the fruit tree so I can get many clones in the future.



Good plan. Just a reminder that cloning the rootstock is a separate step from grafting the fruit varieties. You'll want to establish roots on the rootstock, and let them get established as rooted plants for several years. If you use the tall-pot method for rooting your cuttings, there will be less chance of the roots binding up in the pots before you're ready to put them in the ground at your new orchard. The tall pots are essentially 3' to 4' sections of perforated PVC or ABS plastic pipe about 8" diameter that your newly rooted stock can be started in. A landscape-cloth bottom held in by wire keeps the potting-soil mixture from falling out, and the perforations cause the roots to 'air-prune' themselves to prevent them from getting rootbound in the pots.

Here's a site with a consumer-grade system, but if you're handy with tools, you can build your own: https://www.groworganic.com/tree-growing-containers-tree-pots-tall.html

A few caveats with this method:
1) When planting, the pot is slid up over the started and rooted clone (after removing the cloth bottom), so allowing the starter to get too bushy can become a problem when removing the pot for transplanting the tree. With a little design effort, it should be possible to devise a means of splitting the 'tube' apart when planting. A post-hole auger is used to drill a hole when planting the trees, since there is no real root ball with this method.

2) The WMG has built a rack that holds around 20 tall-pot starts, which can be easily watered using a drip irrigation system and the whole rack is loaded on a pick-up truck for transport from their nursery to the site where the starters will be planted. After planting, the empty tubes are returned to the nursery area, where they are reused for starting a new batch of trees. This should also work for propagating your hedgerow stock. This web page has a photo of the tall pots being used for an installation: https://watershedmg.org/project-site/flood-control-district-maricopa-county

Although their focus is centered on the desert environment, the Watershed Management group has an excellent resource library for all sorts of water management ideas.

https://watershedmg.org/learn/resource-library

BTW, I found the link to the grasses that I mentioned in an earlier post:

Prarie_Roots_Poster_ConservationResearchInstitute.pdf

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/il/plantsanimals/?cid=nrcs141p2_030726

Here's a phone number here for ordering the poster:
Plant Zone Schematic - To order a copy of the poster contact Margot Mazur at 262-909-0552 or go to http://www.conservationresearchinstitute.org/
 
james buttler
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Mark how many years does the rootstock need to be?

I was under the impression they could be grafted at one year. A local nursery selling root stocks here are selling 1 year old root stocks. If I have to wait until the rootstocks are several meters tall and then chop them to the ground to graft I may rather look into buying older root stocks to save some time.

although I suppose I could let the rootstock reach 3m and then graft my fruit variety onto the top? I would of thought this could cause issues with branches from the rootstock forming
 
Mark Kissinger
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james buttler wrote:Mark how many years does the rootstock need to be?



I don't know for sure, but one year is probably ok for a starter. The grafting IS done on young, new growth and uses new growth for the scion cutting as well, so that could be an indication. It's been a while since I took my class in grafting. Perhaps your nursery offers a class you could take.

james buttler wrote:I was under the impression they could be grafted at one year. A local nursery selling root stocks here are selling 1-year-old rootstocks. If I have to wait until the rootstocks are several meters tall and then chop them to the ground to graft I may rather look into buying older rootstocks to save some time.



Come to think of it, I remember that the stocks I was using were bare-root starters, such as what you get in the mail. The scions were also about the same size. I would pick the mind of your nursery person. They would know much better than I.

james buttler wrote:although I suppose I could let the rootstock reach 3m and then graft my fruit variety onto the top? I would have thought this could cause issues with branches from the rootstock forming



Actually, if you are growing your own rootstock starters, you will keep at least one tree from which you will prune new growth "starters" from to root to form the cloned rootstock trees to be used later. Each spring will give you new growth from the parent tree to use to expand your orchard. One tree can thus provide quite a number of new trees.

I think that, for established trees, you would find a young, new-growth part of a rootstock branch to graft the fruit variety that you want to use onto.

If you are propagating our own rootstocks, you may want to let the parent tree grow, just to branch out to form the material for creating the material for making new rootstock trees. Then you would graft your fruit scions onto in the spring of the 2nd year.

Once you decide on the variety (varieties) of fruit trees that you want to propagate, you would cut your own scions from the new growth of the grafted part of your "combined" tree, using only new growth to use as scions to graft on the cloned rootstock starters for additional trees. This may take longer to propagate your orchard, but it could be less expensive than buying your rootstock from the nursery.

Your may want to use some way of tagging your grafts, to keep track of where you made your grafts, just to make sure you are getting the part of the tree (rootstock or scion stock) that you really want.

Hope I haven't been too confusing here. I'm reaching the limits of my limited experience here. I hope this helps more than hinders your education...

 
S Bengi
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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For me personally after you have got the soil fertility up (water-swale, bioavailable mineral (activated charcoal/Biochar/mulch and mushroom slurries) plant pest(mushroom, good bacteria).
I would then spend the extra $5,000 to get 180 bare root trees, planted at 15ft centers ($25/each) .
I plant these in the fall/winter  ( can ask for a refund for the few winterkill, all the plant energy is focus on root growth, except for the few days the soil freezes rock solid. I get 1st pick from the nursery fall harvest)
I would do this for the Zone 1 orchard/food forest on the other 100 acre silvo pasture, I would just do seeds, seedling, grafts, experiments)
When I do this I can normally sample a fruit or two from 80% of the fruit trees the very 1st summer. (I dont want too much energy going into fruit at the expense of root growth).
Then the following yr I get a really good harvest or fruits, nuts, berries. You can always cull/replace as the years go by.

I would recommend Chipping/killing the hedge row, in year 3, which is also when I recommend getting red meat/milk animals.

The 1st 3yrs are just super hard and mammals just do people in. 
 
natasha todd
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Location: cornwall, england
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If you can live on residual income and focus full time on the land then you're off to a flying start.

You may still want to consider wwoofers (willing workers for organic farms) as they are pretty much free work and many of them will have more experience in Permaculture or orchard work or animal care than you do if they have been wwoofing a lot. They have seen how many different farms are managed and can often give you great ideas from all over the world that they have helped build and see in action.

I would also highly recommend that you try wooffing. You can go and try your hand at the daily chores of different farms and see what you enjoy.  My partner and I spent a year wwoofing and we now know that we loves pigs and goats, we have a real knack for birds and sheep and do not want cows. 

One of the farms where I was hosted was an organic Permaculture beef farm that was panic  bought as pasture land after the purchase of land for a forest school fell through.
The hosts had no cow experience so they went wwoofing or a few weeks with their toddler while the sale completed. They went to a Permaculture beef farm, learned all they could, bought their stock, moved onto the new land and started farming in the style of jole salitan. It worked well for them.

You can Permaculture any grade of land and as for 'contamination' most farming land will already be somewhat contaminated by pesticides etc and even if your land is organic already the chemicals often wash or blow in from surrounding land (sometimes its obvious where this is happening by observing grass colour etc)
Your main defence against this is the hedge row.
Hegerows provide fencing, shade, rain shadow, edge habitat for birds mammals and insects , slope and soil stabilisation, free wildfood browse for livestock and humans, wind breaks, kindling, mulch, source of cuttings to propagate more hedging, and act as a buffer that keeps sprays and particulate (including desil etc from passing cars) off your land. A maintained hedgerow also
Attracts grants in the UK (the money basically just covered the costs of laying a hedge yourself but that still a bonus) it also is counted as a maintained boundary which can be important in planning law and rights of access.

If you  want to get rid of your hedge for whatever reason, I would suggest using the wood to build the biggest huglekulture mounds that you can and replant  into that mound but newly planted hedging plants will probably  have to be fenced from grazing animals (including deer) or you'll end up with gaps in your hedge and will still need layed anyway plus the deer can just wander in and eat all your saplings in your orchard.

If you decide not to do a huglekulture you could make biochar or woodschips from it but from experience in chipping Hawthorn hedge you need to hire a very heavy duty industrial chipper as anything but those ones leaves all the 1 to 3 inch spikes intact, if this is used as mulch Eg around fruit trees then humans have a hard time enjoying spending time in the orchard.

If you want to do courses to learn skills in the UK the wealdon downs museum in Hampshire has some useful ones I think and the Center for alternative technology (Cat) is worth looking at. CAT will also provide networking and UK specific laws will be focused on regarding natural building etc as most resources online are USA based.

You can also think about doing a PDC! By singing up to Permaculture magazine you will get a mag every quarter that is UK specific and also has lists and lists of UK courses on all different topics and land is listed for sale there too.


 
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I have not yet read the rest of the thread, but 2 things come to mind.

1. you do not need to break up the soil under a pond. Heck, Midwestern farmers used to let pigs wallow in their future ponds to kill any vegetation and compact the soil a bit so that there were no cracks and no roots to let the water seep into the earth.

And, 2. respect clay soil. All of my gardens have been on clay soil, and once you learn how to grow things on it you will find out that clay soil is just lovely. It holds nutrients and water and, once there are good roots in the soil the plants just love it. I live in Eastern Kansas, which is in the breadbasket of the nation, and most of the soil here is clay soil. The farmers here get great crops.

To repeat myself: once you get roots in the soil! Compost is good but a cover crop is great because of the roots. It does concern me that there are such deep cracks in the ground you are considering:  either the clay is much heavier than I am used to or the soil needs a lot of roots growing, or both. As the roots decay it amends the soil down deep while compost tends to amend the soil on the surface first and then trickle down as the rain takes the nutrients and bacteria downwards. So a cover crop can give you more changes during the first year than compost will.

When it comes to the farmers in the area speak just a little and listen a lot. They understand what the soil can do for you. Have you ever heard the old statement that "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker"? Well, chemical fertilizer is quicker than organics but either chemicals or organic will work. The local farmers will have been raising crops on clay for a very long time and they know how it is done. They understand about things like when the seed needs to go into the ground and what varieties are suited for your area.  I do not know where the land you are looking at is, but I can tell you that where I live timing is important. If the seed goes in late then you might not have enough moisture to raise your crop and get a good yield. And that is for grain: I do not know what your cash crop will be but vegetables where I live need irrigation because our Augusts and late July are very dry. Farmers out here get around this by either raising varieties of wheat that will ripen in July before the rain stops falling or by raising varieties of corn that will have deep roots by the time the soil gets dry. 
 
Posts: 105
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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james buttler wrote:I’m wanting to buy 100 acres of land and I’m very interested in permaculture principals ive been reading about it constantly for over a year now but never seem to read enough!


WOW! sounds like you are taking on a lot of work, James. First things first: Assess your soil. That can be done with a soil sample test. Contact your University Extension. They are very helpful. This will prevent you from agonizing over the status of your soil and wondering/ wander... and it is not very expensive. Here, we can get a nitrate test for $49 and a more thorough one for all pesticides under $100. It will be money well spent because if you don't know what you have, you are flying blind. They will also tell you what corrective measure are needed, if any. They are good about respecting your wishes to not put more toxic crap on your land, too.
Second, you did not indicate your growing zone. Assuming it is 4 or higher, look into comfrey as a fertilizer: it goes deep, gets a lot of nutrients, can be fed to livestock and used as mulch. I make a tea, [very stinky] that works wonder on all plants and brings no weeds I don't want. Comfrey can propagate quite freely from root cuttings and get harvested 3 times a year in my zone. I started with 30 little bits of roots and they are outgrowing the 2 beds I planted them in. I will have to dig and split them already to make more.
Third, a hundred acres is quite vast. Do you already have trees? keep them. If not, plant a variety of them. Depending  on your zone and how much help and time you have, I'd recommend looking again to your University Extension. They usually have a forestry program with young people who will even plant little trees for you. Or you might want to ask the Arbor Day Foundation. Yes, you may have to import mulch for a while but I would suspect that if anything grows on your land, a decent mower and bagger, where you can use it would bring you a lot of free mulch.
Four, look into the laws of your state to see if you can plant industrial hemp. That is a plant that requires little fertilizer or water yet grows very tall in one season. Chopping it and turning it under would start building your soil pretty quickly for a minimal cash outlay and would not be an import.
Five, look for sources of animal manure or better yet, raise your own livestock.
Six,  what kind of man power do you have? Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it: There are a lot of good folks who will work hard, and with 100 acres, one thing you want to do is keep your health.
Seven, you might want to start a little smaller. Like: This year, I'll work on these 20 acres and the pond, next year, I'll tackle the 30 by the creek, etc. I fear if you try to tackle it all at once, you will burn out: In a vast field, like Permaculture, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
Good luck to you.
 
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I'm not qualified to comment on the earthworks, etc. But as a seedsperson, I would say that if the soil is as depleted as you say, then alfalfa (lucerne) might not be your best choice. I would recommend trefoil, or rose clover, alsike clover, whatever poor-soil legume does well in your climate. The local feed store or ag agent is a good resource for this. No, they aren't permaculturists, but they don't have to be for the information you want--what leguminous forage plants and grasses grow easily and well in local soils and climate. Start with that. Your ag agent or farm supply will also know planting times and frost dates. That kind of information doesnt change depending on what theory you subscribe to. These guys can be very helpful, if you have the humility to listen to their experience. You  don't have to do everything they do to benefit by their knowledge.
 
Mark Kissinger
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Since you are interested in hedgerows, check out this forum in another area of the Permies.com website:

https://permies.com/t/43425/permaculture-projects/hedge-plants-living-fence-coppicing


Lots of information and expertise is on this thread.
 
pollinator
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Consider Dr. Redhawk's soil series a must read.

As he said asparagus requires excellent soil. Deeper than other veggies too. Two feet is about minimum. I'm basically in the same boat but didn't want to start from scratch ... for the third time. Argh. They require about 3 years to start becoming productive. I may not live that long. So I moved a dozen or more asparagus plants of various ages this year. Along with enough quality soil for them to thrive until the area I ultimately want them in has enough quality soil built up. I've tried many times to start them from seeds with zero success. Start with roots. Well worth all the effort. Do it right & they will last about 20 years. They are my favorite crop to eat. Six weeks of bliss immediately after each winter. You've never tasted asparagus until you've tasted fresh out of the garden asparagus!!!

my recent asparagus move I don't think the asparagus are shown in any of the pics but they are adjacent. Will include pics of those in the next update.
 
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I have very similar soil type on my property - heavy clay, which gets very dry and very hard during hot / drought periods, and forms large, deep cracks if the drought lasts long enough.

My task is a bit easier because the plot is only about 2 acres.

Interestingly, the land had been covered with alfalfa for at least 5 years before I purchased it.  You would expect that the deep roots of this legume would have contributed to improving the structure.  Not so.  All it did was (1) outcompeted grasses and other herbaceous species except dandelion - after each scything, the soil was left literally bald as there was nothing else under the tall alfalfa; it took me 4 years to change that; (2) machine (=tractor) harvesting over the years (2-3 harvests each summer) only contributed to further compaction of the clay soil; (3) the alfalfa attracted a huge population of voles (enemies of trees & shrubs !!!).

I adopted a mix of strategies when planting my trees:

- plowing & rotovating before planting (this is very machinery-dependent and I don't own the machines, so I only used this when I planted the hedge around the property's perimeter)
- contour swales to improve water retention
- digging the planting holes well in advance, so that under the action of the weather, the soil can get crumbly by the time I put the tree in; digging them as large as possible AND adding compost into the hole
- adding compost on the surface of the soil, around the trees / bushes
- adding wood chip mulch around the trees - this is supposed to help the tree-friendly microbiology (fungal dominance)
- trying a mix of species
- focus on species which thrive in clay soil or at least tolerate clay soil very well
- planting at different periods during the season - spring, autumn, winter, but also in (early) summer if I deem it a good time (for trees in pots, of course)
- for the first 2-3 years, water well during long dry/hot spells !!!
- avoid soil compaction, especially around the trees, and elsewhere as much as possible

Results / lessons learned so far:
Plants that are thriving: black locust, Russian olive (eleagnus angustifolia), sea buckthorn
Plants that are doing reasonably well: birch, hornbeam, lime, pine, hazel, apple, pear, quince, plum, and (surprisingly) apricot

Lists to be updated...

I hope this helps.



 
Mark Kissinger
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Levente Andras wrote:Interestingly, the land had been covered with alfalfa for at least 5 years before I purchased it.  You would expect that the deep roots of this legume would have contributed to improving the structure.  Not so.  All it did was (1) outcompeted grasses and other herbaceous species except dandelion - after each scything, the soil was left literally bald as there was nothing else under the tall alfalfa; it took me 4 years to change that; (2) machine (=tractor) harvesting over the years (2-3 harvests each summer) only contributed to further compaction of the clay soil; (3) the alfalfa attracted a huge population of voles (enemies of trees & shrubs !!!).



Here are some techniques you might try using livestock and pasture management. The primary takeaway is that the soil is always covered in vegetation. There is no need to roto-till or plow the soil, which disturbs the necessary soil microbes and exposes the soil to the drying influences of the air and sun. The number of animals used is based on the acreage available and the optimum number and type of animals used to perform the grazing operations. Depending on the area involved, you may only need a couple or a single grazing animal to keep your pasture mowed. The timing of the access of the animal is determined by the growth cycle of the forage plants available. In essence, there are no weeds, especially where goats are involved. other livestock animals are more fussy about what they will eat.  Hope these will help. With a little further searching, you can find other information that will prove useful.

Plenary Presentation **The Healing Effects of Holistic High-Density Grazing on Land, Livestock & People's Lives** Greg Judy, Green Pastures Farm Rucker, Missouri
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6HGKSvjk5Q

Research about a forage grazing regime that focuses the cattle herd as it grazes across the pasture took place across South Dakota. Watch this iGrow Podcast for more information on grazing near Quinn, SD. Comments by Pat Guptill, Rancher, Quinn, SD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWC9qkYdDNA

These are plants from the US prairie biome. You should contact your local agricultural agent for sutible native plants in your area. Hope this helps.

Drought tolerant, deep-rooted plants (LIST)
May 12, 2018 Mark Kissinger
Drought tolerant, deep-rooted plants
Grasses & shrubs:

Lead Plant (Amorpha canescerns)
Missouri Goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis)
Compass Plant (Silphlum laciniatum)
Heath Aster (Aster ericoides)
Big Blue Stem (Andropagon Gerardi)
Prairie Dropseed (Sparobolus heterolepis)
False Boneset (Kuhnia eupatorioides)
White Wild Indigo (Baptisia leucanthis)
Purple Prairie Clover (Petalastermum pueputeum)
June Grass (Koeleria cristata)

Indian Grass (Sorgastrum nutans)
Porcupine Grass (Sripa tpartea)
Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata)
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Side Oats Grama (Bouteous curtipendula)
Switch Grass (Panicum vigantum)
Little Blue Stem (Andropogan scoparius)
Rosin Weed (Silphium integrifolium)
Cylindric Blazing Star (Liatris cylindracea)
Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
Trees:
African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis)
Some of these plants are available for purchase as seed or bare root plants at https://www.prairiemoon.com ; A site for “natives for gardening and restoration.” Some fun information there.

 
Levente Andras
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Mark Kissinger wrote:
Here are some techniques you might try using livestock and pasture management. The primary takeaway is that the soil is always covered in vegetation. There is no need to roto-till or plow the soil, which disturbs the necessary soil microbes and exposes the soil to the drying influences of the air and sun. The number of animals used is based on the acreage available and the optimum number and type of animals used to perform the grazing operations. Depending on the area involved, you may only need a couple or a single grazing animal to keep your pasture mowed. The timing of the access of the animal is determined by the growth cycle of the forage plants available. In essence, there are no weeds, especially where goats are involved. other livestock animals are more fussy about what they will eat.  Hope these will help. With a little further searching, you can find other information that will prove useful.



Sorry, so far I have failed to see the relevance of the above concept to the establishment of a system where trees are dominant. I may be missing something, could someone point me in the right direction?

How does livestock and pasture management as described by these sources help trees? 
Where is the transition from pasture & livestock to trees?  How do you move from grasses and bacterial dominance in the soil to trees & shrubs and fungal dominated soil? 
Where do you phase out the livestock? Alternatively, after you plant your trees, will you still be grazing on the land? If so, how will you protect the young trees from getting destroyed by browsing animals?
More importantly, how do you decompact the soil (in my case, heavy clay soil) after the compaction caused by mob grazing?
Etc. etc.
 
Mark Kissinger
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Levente Andras wrote:

Sorry, so far I have failed to see the relevance of the above concept to the establishment of a system where trees are dominant. I may be missing something, could someone point me in the right direction?

How does livestock and pasture management as described by these sources help trees? 
Where is the transition from pasture & livestock to trees?  How do you move from grasses and bacterial dominance in the soil to trees & shrubs and fungal dominated soil? 
Where do you phase out the livestock? Alternatively, after you plant your trees, will you still be grazing on the land? If so, how will you protect the young trees from getting destroyed by browsing animals?
More importantly, how do you de-compact the soil (in my case, heavy clay soil) after the compaction caused by mob grazing?
Etc. etc.



Not to worry, this was only a suggestion for a way to restore the soil. You mentioned scraping the soil to get rid of the alfalfa. My suggestion for planting grasses was to develop deep organic roots and to keep sunlight from drying out the soil and killing the microbes and insects that live in that biome. As you plant the trees, the grasses will die out as the trees shade them more.

The deep root structures of mixed grasses prevent the compaction and help to maintain the organic content of the soil. I think in your case, the grassy areas would be interspersed among clumps of trees the way old growth forests have openings where the tree density is not as closely packed. What sort of tree species are you planning? In nature, the soil microbes "battle it out" to determine which will be dominant, based on the other plants that are growing. There should be no dominance issues caused by having patches of grasses growing between your trees. In permaculture, much of the "action" occurs at the edges between different groups of plants and different landforms.

Is all of your property to be planted in trees? If so, will there be areas between the trees that will have vegetation? The purpose of the pasture is for creating a diversity of plant species on the property (creating your seven-layer food forest guilds) and to develop and protect the topsoil.

In the management intensive grazing concept I suggested, the mobbing actually does not compact the soil if the pasture is managed correctly, and the grasses and forbs are not overgrazed.

In the small areas of your planned forest, the livestock species could actually be chickens. Of course, once the trees were planted, you would want to fence them off from the larger livestock until they are big enough to withstand being eaten or used as rubbing posts. Goats may not be the best animals to use (they will eat the trees), but sheep might work, because they are fond of grasses. Of course, there is no requirement that you use pasture or livestock at all.

Your use of English is quite good, but I notice that you are in Romania. I apologize if my use of language is too "colloquial American" or too full of unfamiliar jargon. Feel free to ask more questions that you may have.

 
Look ma! I'm selling my stuff!
One million tiny ads for $25
https://permies.com/t/94684/million-tiny-ads
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