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Starting the Permaculture  RSS feed

 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
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I am moving out onto an off grid piece of land in Appalachian Ohio some time this summer.

The features... The top of a large hill, covered in great looking pasture, slopes down into ay shallow valley, that has small trickles of water running through it, even at the end of this April, which gave us almost no rain at all. At the top of the hill, deer have dug pits about 2 feet deep and 2 feet across that are filled with small bits of water, at the top of a hill!
The soil is brown clay.
The shallow valley then overflows into a deep valley, with a small creek.
Growing there now are mainly, black wallnuts, shagbark hickories, honey locusts, hawthorns, eleagnus, black rasberies, crabapples and white oaks. At least as extremely useful trees go. There are also some tulip polars and a bunch of random semi useful trees.
The place is 19 acres.

This year we want to build a mid sized barn, enough for 3 cows and 10 goats and their offspring, a pig and chicken house, a greenhouse, a cabin and a pond.

Next year I plan to grow enough food that should I need, I can rely upon through the winter.

Fingerling potatoes, potato onions, garlic, elephant garlic, parsnips, sunchokes, beats, dahlias, sweet potatoes, cabbage and winter squash will be my main crops.

I am mulling over, different breeds of cows... Guernsey, Brown Swiss, Irish Dexter and Scot Highlander are all available in the area.

What are the most important tree crops we should get going? We really want to do a hugelculture of kiwi vines. I think we probably want to grow a bunch of chestnuts... gooseberries, mulberries, persimmons, medlars, pears, sea buckthorn, a species of forage willow, kudzu, johnson grass, apricots, peaches, nanking cherries, service berries, aronia, hazlenuts, giant red clover, hairy vetch, forage radish, perennial ryegrass, gamma grass...

I am going to bring a bunch of poultry netting and a solar fence charger, plus some wire and stakes for the pigs.

I want to do egg ducks (breeding up into runner ducks), muscovies, geese, some chickens, pigs, cows, goats, perhaps icelandic sheep and guinnea hens.

Suggestions? Comments? Ideas? Criticism!

It will be hard to sway me by saying "don't do this because that's invasive" or anything that is coming out of human emotion, I am just looking for the facts mam. Just trying to survive in this crazy world mam.

2012, dollar collapse, 666, bring it on y'all
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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well, first off, or your next step, would be to prioritize your list.

Like, water. Have you talked to the neighbors to see how deep their wells are, what the flow is(regardless if you want to dig a well or do some other way). That will give you help for knowing how much the land can support in groundwater(maybe you'll luck out with a good spring). Rainfall, when it happens...if you're going into the dry you won't have that to stock up on just yet.

Take time to site your house and barn properly, those are hard to move! Have fun!
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
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well, we aren't going to have a well!

we plan on using a pond, rain water and the Prenn method to gather water.
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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I figured you wouldn't in any case, if you are new to the area getting an idea of how wet things stay, how deep the water is, etc will help you with your pond. I dont' know what the water is like there, how it sits around, but being on top of a hill it's just going to be more flux through the seasons.

Here I have a neighbor that has a rain water cistern, but we don't get much rain June through October--if someone moves in  in June expecting to have enough rain for the summer, they just won't.  And springs and ponds dry up on top of the hill here in summer, and wells will too depending on where they go in.

Just the old homesteader adage that if you ain't got water you got nothing. I'm not saying you haven't planned, but it's surprising how many people take water for granted! The neighbor across the road to me didn't do a flow check on the well before buying the property, they moved in (10 people in their family), use water like crazy(still!), have run two wells dry and decreased the flow of another neighbor's well(who are very frugal with their water--thay have to save grey water to flush their toilets). Our well is fine IF you conserve water(it's on a different seam or what ever from the wastewater neighbors). So yeah it's kind of weird we have well issues here where we get 80+ inches of rain a year! We would like to set up a rainwater system--the pipes are in place underground for a gravity fed system from the previous owner who originally trucked in water to a tank(our house was built as a vacation cabin), but we lack the money for a tank/cistern etc to do it at this point.

Though a tarp and a pickle barrel works too...

Is your property bare land or are there buildings on it? road/driveway? if you have to put in a new road DO NOT skimp on the rock you put down, build it right or you will spend way more money and aggravation fixing it forever!!!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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sounds like a great plan, have you thought of apples too? Take some photos next time you are on the property for us pleez
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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I would recommend doing what I wish I had done; pre-mulching all the areas where you plan trees and garden zones.   
Have you considered woofers to help you through the first two years?
 
Franklin Stone
Posts: 152
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I currently live in rural Appalachia Ohio. There's a long history of clear cutting and strip mining here. Many of our creeks are poisoned with acid mine runoff, the rest are contaminated with our neighbors' sewage sludge. Nobody ever pumps out their septic tanks and the sludge just flows out into the creeks and then about a mile later into the river. It's disgusting.

I suggest planting some Pawpaw trees. They are native to this region and grow well and produce a unique delicious fruit that you will never find in a store.
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
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I forgot to say, there are already a few small pawpaws. so yes, we plan to plant more!

Apples i am worried about, they are tricky, we will however probably plant at least a few.

of course I will pre mulch, how else to kill those dern weeds without exposing bare soil? CLAY %#!@$ SOIL!!!

Can anyone give me any ideas of when these things are best planted? Some of them are best planted in the fall, but i bet not all of them can be?

oh yeah, we probably will plant a few eleagnus too

and we will be buying hay and grain at least at first. Going to try to ween ourselves off of that eventually though.
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
Posts: 416
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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I am curious about the "deer holes"...  I would guess they have found some salt or other mineral?
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22345
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
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we are going to go visit it some time next week, so i will take some pictures.

Pretty sure the deer were after water, it's a deep pit (for ones dug by a deer) and there is water at the bottom, even when it's dry.

Zone 6, I hope it doesn't drop bellow -5 but not sure yet.
 
                                        
Posts: 32
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I agree that water is paramount.  I live in California so it is critical here, not sure about annual/seasonal rainfall where you live.  You mentioned clay soil . . . .obviously drainage is key.  Start with the soil.  Being observant through all seasons.  You mentioned trees.  Don't overlook the existing herb layer of the property.  You may find many many useful "weeds" growing on the property-scratch that- you will find many many useful plants and sources of food in a pinch.  We have lived on our three acres for less than a year now.  I have found so many things that are edible . . . and that is on three acres!!!  (ate some delicious milk thistle last night-tasted almost exactly like an artichoke, and I wanted to chop it all down and mulch it a month ago, now I'm not so sure)  If you have not already, find a good field guide that lists edible native plants  for your area.  Your first animal IMO should be a good dog.   If you are really isolated, plan a way to defend yourself and your family- just in case.  Consider the wind input onto the property.  If you plan on sheet mulching to ammend the clay soil, then consider where you will get the material and how you will move it to where you want it. 
 
                            
Posts: 5
Location: southern Ohio
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Just joined up and reading the post.  Are you from the area originally?  This was an unusually dry late summer, though not actually a drought. How was the water situation?  I live in the Southern Appalachia area of Ohio and I guarantee that it will get below -5 in the winter, if we're lucky only once or twice but there have been times when the high did not reach 0 for days on end.  There have also been very mild winters where it barely got or stayed below freezing although I can't remember many of those. 
As for fruit, we have had a lot of luck with blueberries and currents, gooseberries, raspberries, pears, cherries (every other year it seems) and apples.  The heritage types seem to do the best but I had some lovely yellow delicious and winesap this year.  I planted the trees several years running, some in spring some in summer or fall, depending on when I saw what I wanted.  I can't say one did better than the other with the exception of the very first ones I planted before there were people on the site.  I planted in the fall and the deer killed them all by rubbing.  The apple and cherry tree I planted on the south slope (before I learned that they were supposed to be planted on the north slope) have been more productive than the ones on the north slope.  Interested to know how it's proceeding.
 
                            
Posts: 5
Location: southern Ohio
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Some additional thoughts:  what is the Prenn method of water supply?  I've not heard of it and can't find anything googling it.  more on water: we have a cistern and will only use the water for flushing toilets and washing, not for consumption. also, most surface water, even if it's a new pond is not safe to drink in the area due to agricultural runoff, mine contamination, acid rain and local septic runoff as another poster mentioned.  you're going to need some sort of water treatment system, either a sand filter or r.o. if you don't have a well, and even with a well, the water is full of iron and manganese and where it is not it's full of lime, really mess up the plumbing in no time.  With all your new plantings, you are going to need a LOT of water to keep them alive and you just can't depend on rainfall in Ohio.  This spring and June were one of the wettest on record but the past few years we've had drought conditions one year and record floods the next. 
seasons for planting trees, if they're bare root like mail order, plant in the spring.  balled and burlaped or potted from a nursery can be planted just about any time but conventional wisdom says in the fall so the roots get established over the winter.  you still have to water them though, especially since Ohio falls tend to be dry.  but if you plant in the fall  be sure to protect from the deer who love new young trees to nibble when the other browse is gone. or even before!  if you're off grid what are you doing for power?  What kind of house are you going to build?  just curious.  We have electricity but a big generator for when the power goes out which it does frequently in the country for some reason.  love to hear how it's going and share some experiences!
 
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