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suez Cawood
Posts: 32
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I am new to permaculture and new to this forum.  Read a lot in the last couple of weeks - and I must admit, probably a bit overwhelmed by all the information.

My question to all in the know is - we've moved onto a new property recently.  It was bare land on a steep slope with a little plato on which we are building our house and plan to develop our yard. 
We've started planting hundreds of trees (as there was only two trees on the 11 ha when we got there).
Now reading up on all these concepts i'm overwhelmed.  Where do I start to develop my yard?  I thought our next priority in the spring (it's middle of winter here) is to get the veggies growing?  But is there other things that we need to do before that?  Where do we start?  I wouldn't like moving everything around in a couple of months because I didn't understand fully how this works.
It feels I cannot research into this quick enough to have an action plan come spring!!  Any advise would be appreciated.
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
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Here's my thinking:
1. Start dividing the property into zones. Vegetable garden here. Compost there. Fruit and nut trees here. Wilder areas farthest from house. Intensive care plants close to house.

2. Site prep first. Are the slopes going to stay where they are or do they need some roots to stabilize? Does the soil need to improve? Something like clover has long roots and improves the soil, is easy to dig in for planting larger plants later.

3. What infrastructure are you going to need to get to your goals? Paths, watering, storage need to go somewhere and are easier to build first rather than last.

4. Start with the area around the house and work out. At this point your plans for outer regions may be sketchy, and that's OK. Work on one zone at a time.

5. Prioritize. What do you need from your property right away? What do you want in the future?

6. I know it's tempting to plant trees right away, but they're hard to move. Better to make sure that the site is ready and your overall plan is sound first.

 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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I would add to C's great post, at the top, #0 - Plan the movement of water on the property.    Read about keyline design, and watch on youtube the many videos on swales and water catchment and management over land.

Those slopes can work for you!  On your zone map over lay your water catchment, movement and storage map.  As you begin to work the zones - start with your trenches, ponds, etc. and plant with those in mind.  deeper roots down hill of the trench, perennial veggies planted into the sides of the trench, more drought resistant up-hill side, etc.

You don't mention your location or climate which could be helpful to those advising.  However, I will post some links to general water management info in another post to follow....
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Some links to start with -

Search - water swales
Youtube is a great resource to 'see' how things work:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=water+swales&aq=f

Search - keyline design
Again at youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsWKyv9Hbak

Get a copy of Gala's Garden or check it out of the Library.

And for hills and water you'll want to read up on sepp holzer http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Sepp+Holzer&aq=f

This should get you started, post back if you have any questions.



 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
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all great information. If you have a decent web connection go to sites like scribd and download some of the great peraculture books on there (search permaculture) and then at the bottoms where they have book suggestions, write those down and go from there.

read read read during the winter and make your plans..and then go from there..

myself i would suggest reading Gaia's Garden, a few of the downloads of Bill Mollison's permaculture book, and any other ones that are available on there.

i totally agree with the zones, but i don't believe that they should be circular, as people really don't generally live that way..say at our house our zone 1's are right outside our front back and side doors, however the areas close to our house on the east and west ends get a lot less use, so those might be zone 4 or 5..especially our nearly unaccessible west end that is a totally steep hill with only 9' between our house and the property line fence..i have it forested to things for the wildlife as people sure can't use it, so there are bird bushes and animnal forage trees and bushes there for the deer, rabits and the birds.

also try to multitask your zones so that say on your way to your chicken coop you can pick a few weeds for the chickens to eat, and have the garden nearby so you can toss their manure on the garden  or in the compost pile..and then you can pick a few food items on your way back to the house..multitasknig.

pay special attention to books on forest gardening or edible forests when you are googling for info
 
suez Cawood
Posts: 32
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Wow, thanks for all the help.

So if I understand the first priorities, it is something like this:

1.  zoning
2.  planning waterways

I think in my mind I had windbreaks almost as the first priority, because it can be VERY windy on our plato.
 
The property is on a southern slope (cold, as we are in the southern hemisphere)    (but the view make up for it!!).  So we have to work very clever with the orientation of everything.  We have cold dry winters with frost and sometimes black frost, wet summers.

Thanks for all the info and links.  I am definitely in the process to read and research.  Feels like I'll need a lifetime to grasp everything...

ops:
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Ha    It does feel that way in the beginning.  Go over things again after taking a couple of days for your mind to digest, repeat, and it will soon start to make since for your applications.

Because of your location you will need wind breaks for your garden/heat loven plants.  http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=CS4&rls=org.mozilla:en-USfficial&channel=s&&sa=X&ei=2588TKSpOJG4sQPxjb3aCg&ved=0CBYQBSgA&q=windbreaks+for+gardens&spell=1

You can always plant some kind of fruit hedge to serve few purposes - block wind and give fruit, maybe even keep pesky critters out eating on the outside of the hedge and not coming into your garden.
 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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Maybe take a few months to do nothing but observe the foundation upon which you will build and study. 

At some point you will feel moved to action after this initial period.
 
suez Cawood
Posts: 32
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Okay, I ordered Gaia's garden!!!

I am really jacked to get going, so I don't think I can hang back for much longer. 
I know it is sometimes better to bide your time, but with me it most often kills my enthusiasm.  I can hang on until spring but that's about it.  I'll have to start SOMETHING!!

Excited excited.

Tks


 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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So nice to see your excitement.
Wow, if we can get this excited we must live very good lives.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
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you think you are excited now, wait until you get the book, have a notebook handy and a couple ink pens when you read it as you'll want to jot down all the ideas that will come flooding in..i continually keep rereading my copy...and it is annotated and dogeared now and i've had it less than 3 mo.

being on a south facing slope in the souther hemisphere has both its problems and its benefits..what zone are you?

first of all find your prevailing wind and get in those windbreaks but make sure they don't cast so much shade that they aren't going to leave you planting in the sunshine.

then second plan out your food forests, and find a list of all the fruit and nut producing foods that you can grow in your zone that you will EAT, a shame to waste time on something you really don't care for that will go to waste.

then plan the food forests around those major food groups that you want to plant, bring in your nitrogen fixers and dynamic accumulatores and chop and drop mulch plants to encourage health to your soil.

you have a lot of planning ahead, and that is a good thing..as this book will lean you in the right direction..come back and let us know where you go with all of this.
 
suez Cawood
Posts: 32
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I got some pamplets off Bill Mollison off the web to keep me busy until I get my book   

Brenda Groth wrote:

being on a south facing slope in the souther hemisphere has both its problems and its benefits..what zone are you?


I vaguely recall climate zones from my Geography days,  is that what you mean?  Really can't recall.  ops: 
I recon we're in an area that will be classified semi-arid.

Prevailing winds is a bummer.  I literally comes from all sides.  We checked for the past 11 months because of orientation of animal shelters and wind turbines.  We're in a weird valley!!  But I recon we'll be able to barrier off on most sides in some way.  Taking into account not shading our veggies. 

Lovely journey.  Will keep you posted. 

Much fun!!

Suzie
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
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those phamplets are wonderful..i really enjoyed them when i read them...you might esp look at the desert and the island ones, as they might give you some good ideas regarding the situation you described..the high island one esp.
 
Watch the full PDC and ATC from home. As much or as little as you want: http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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