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My permaculture homestead plan....help....:)

 
Mea Fredrickson
Posts: 9
Location: Fountain Valley, British Columbia, Canada
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Purchase 27 acres in Fountain Valley BC. Suburb of Lillooet. Zone 5-6. I'm at the base of Blustry mountain around 1700ft elevation I believe... The house is sited at the base of the property. It is largely covered in fir, with some ponderosa pine and juniper. In the open areas ground juniper, wild sage, wild roses , oregon grape, and blackcaps prevail. We have a large green house to get starts going in. Temperatures reach 40 C in summer and -25 C in winter with a good foot or so of snow to be expected. Most days in winter sit around -5C. It is semi arid here, obviously given the native plants. However we are lucky to have our well terminating in an amazing aquifer. Plus the ability to use gravity. We have a a large slope around 20% just behind the house. It's about 40ft high and then has a nice level bank. that has a lot of moss covering the ground in the shady areas. Good site for a pond me thinks. The lot is 600ft wide and then goes back a long ways. I am surrounded by mountain in all directions but south, with the wind coming predominantly from the South. My plan is to plant orange osage along the front to act as a hedge fence for animals. This I will coppice and use in our wood stove for heat. There are some natural depressions that I plan to create ponds in. I plan to clear a lot of the trees just surrounding the house and the front of the property. The most open and south facing area is also the septic field. It works very well. My plan is to use this area to create a shift paddock system for chickens. Between 6-10 Barred Rock. In those paddocks I want to plant different guilds to include a variety of fruit and nut trees, flowers, herbs, forage, etc. I have a long list of possible plants already. I am very keen on growing comfrey, purple sage, etc. I thought of using a part of the hillside which is east facing to plant pumpkin, squash, cucumbers, watermelon etc. I can harvest what I need and roll the rest down the hill for the chickens. I have a second coop that is already here that I will use for broilers. I thought I would try Freedom Ranger. It isn't an insulated coop but it should work well for meat birds. I'm going to do my best to use no feed. I want to do Hugel beds everywhere! Is there going to be any problem using fir trees for this? I wondered if I could use some of the living fir or even stumps to support the tree stumps for terraces going up the hill. If anyone wants any of the local plants I mentioned. I can do my best to help. Finding orange osage, black locust and such may be problematic for me. Any suggestions, input welcome. My first post written, but hundreds read by now. Thanks for reading. I'll try to post some pics once my camera charges.
steep slope.jpeg
[Thumbnail for steep slope.jpeg]
slope I would like to hugel terrace behind house
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1424
Location: Central New Jersey
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The pictured slope looks awfully steep to me for hugelkultur.
Sounds like you have lots of enthusiasm and ideas .

Have you thought about your property in terms of working out a permaculture design?
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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How's the ground? To what depth? Can you pound stakes? That's south facing?

A terrace sounds like a splendid idea to me.
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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It sound like you have a pretty clear vision of what you intend to do.

I briefly looked through the good woods, bad woods thread to see what they think about using firs, and the general consensus is that firs are okay to use. The only possible concern is that they decompose slowly and could be used for higher value purposes. Paul showed this video with Mark in it, who is using spruce trees for his hugel beds, and they are doing very well. Since spruce and pine are closely related (in the same family), I think using fir trees will be fine.

What do you currently know about permaculture? I'd be happy to show you some threads and resources to get your creative juices flowing.

The Plants For a Future Database contains may be helpful in finding plants that can grow in your climate. Working on a permaculture client questionnaire might help you put your thoughts together.
 
Mea Fredrickson
Posts: 9
Location: Fountain Valley, British Columbia, Canada
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Thanks Peter and Landon.

Peter, I have really thought about an actual design. We are very rural here and any professional permaculture design would be quite expensive because they would have to travel quite a way. I've search for designers in our area to no avail. So, I have started to try and create my own design. I have a huge list of plants that I plan to incorporate. Most perennial since I want a food forest predominantly. I have tried to start drawing it out but it's quite a mess. Maybe I'll work on drawing it out better and see if I can post it for comment.

Landon, the ground here is quite hard with a lot of rock. Mind you I've only been here for five months. The first thing we did when we took possession of the property was build a small home for our teenager right next to the house. She's actually on board with a loveable loo, which makes mamma proud. So, I haven't done a great survey of the property's soil. The slope is south east facing. I don't think I could pound stakes in very easily, which was why I thought about using the stumps there already.

Nice to have some feedback. Still hoping to find some permies out our way. The online contact is wonderful and you get such a wide array of knowledge. But, part of permaculture really has to include people culture right? We need sustainable ways to ensure these practices and principles can flourish even if the "net" isn't there. So, if I can't find another permie soon....I guess I'll have to start converting aggressively.
 
Mea Fredrickson
Posts: 9
Location: Fountain Valley, British Columbia, Canada
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Hi Dave,

I have been researching and building my own folder on my computer of things I want to do or remember. I discovered permies about two years ago. I have watched a great number of youtube videos, read articles etc. I want to do EVERYTHING! Part of my problem really... I want to build a cob oven and then hopefully a straw bale/cob guest house. I have a number of friends interested in helping. I'd like to put it way back on the property so friends can come out and commune with nature....and maybe just maybe get the permaculture bug too.

We want to be as self sufficient as possible. So I am keeping lists of plant guilds and trying to envision an effective layout. I want to grow a great deal of plants within the chicken paddocks. I think we should have at least 3000 sq feet for about 10-12 chickens in a shifting paddock system. There is actually a large gulley in the middle of the plateau behind the slope pictured. It's probably 25 feet wide and 100 feet long and 10' deep. With a lot of standing dead trees up there I'm thinking I will fill the gulley with trees and creating a huge hugel bed there. I'm glad the fir should work. I went ahead and read that forum thread also. If I have issues I'll switch to more acid loving plants in that area. So exciting! Any inspiration is most welcome.

Thanks!
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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That looks like an interesting spot from a satellite kinda tucked behind some massive mountains. What's the climate like there. If you were a little more maritime I would suggest perennial arugula for your groundish coverish low edgedy . I have two varieties which are working well for me.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1424
Location: Central New Jersey
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Some thoughts. you speak of having lots of plant guilds in the chicken paddocks. keep in mind that chickens can be very hard on plants. You certainly can plant things in with them, but you may need to protect at least some of he plants some of the time.
Please forgive me if I am covering ground you know
That gully you describe - it sounds to me like a potential pond site. Have you thought about that option?

Permaculture design - it really is something we can do for ourselves, if we do our research and follow through with the steps of the process.
Have you looked at water movement on your property? Where does it come from, where does it move to, and then what can you do to keep it on your property and in your soil as long as possible? Lawton talks all the time about slowing, spreading, sinking and storing water.

It seems to me that most of the permaculture heavy hitters start with water - Lawton, Holzer, Shepard, Falk - manage the water. Prevent erosion, protect against drought, keep yourself, your livestock and your plants all supplied with that critical resource.

Water movement and supply informs all the rest of the design. Don't want to put your house in a natural pond site! Would not want your road to be a creek bed. Where you place gardens and livestock is related to where you have water.

Consider the offsite influences. Are you in an area with significant fire risks? What is the direction of prevailing winds? Fire is most likely to move with those prevailing winds, so you might want to think of firebreaks along that side of your property. If it happened to work that a pond would go there well, that would be convenient
The choices of what to plant are part of the details that you work your way down to, after the broad strokes are laid out.

After thinking about water management and giving consideration to influences from off your site (this can be everything from nosey neighbors to wandering hunters to weather patterns to predator pressures and on and on), give thought to your permaculture zones. Zone 1 is typically closest to your house, but includes anyplace you visit on a daily basis. Mark Shepard shares a wonderful example with the way he has his chickens set up - in essence he can feed and water the chickens, compost his kitchen scraps, collect his eggs and a couple of other things all while standing in one spot. That spot is very convenient to his house and he can get all those chores done along with his morning coffee. If you need to do it every day, it is part of zone 1 and you want a design that makes it convenient, rather than having to head off in six different directions.
Zone 2 is for things that require some regular attention, but not necessarily every day. A kitchen garden would be zone 1, while a food forest might be zone 2.
Zones 3 and 4, even less frequent visits needed, with zone 5 being the part you leave "wild".

In the beginning of building a homestead, I think many people might find themselves with zones 1 and 5. First focus being on getting those things they will be doing everyday organized and in place - and everything else can be left to its own for now

Even then, you want to have your plans sketched out for the overall design, to avoid later conflicts. Does not need to be down to which plants and where, but you should know how you will manage water over the site and where your zones will be as the plan develops.

The often repeated advice, design from patterns to details, is good to keep in mind.

Good luck and enjoy the ride!
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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