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Site design help needed in Central Maine  RSS feed

 
Seth Madore
Posts: 12
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Hey all,
I am looking for a somewhat experienced permaculture designer in the New England area to assist me in in designing my property. I live in Central/Southern Maine on 2.7 acres. Budget for the project is limited to reasonable amounts over a long period of time, rather than all at once. I understand a site design takes time and will cost some, and I will gladly pay what is needed. I'd rather have the design done properly then later on down the road regret where I planted such and such a tree.

I've attached a couple photos of my backyard. These were taken at 11:30 in the morning to give you an indication of what I have to work with. We are on public water, even though there is a well on the property. According to the town, the water is not safe to drink, there was some illegal dumping that contaminated the water table many decades ago. I've not had it tested.

The front yard is largely shaded with (1) 100 y/o maple tree, several conifers, couple younger maples. Most, if not all, of the family recreation takes place there (above ground pool, swing set, frisbee, etc)

Looking to plant many fruit trees, hazelnuts, blueberry bushes, standard perennial food production. Currently, smack dab in the middle of the yard are several raised beds for my annuals, which some can be moved if needed (granted, it's a bit of work, but whatever)
There are also (2) 4 y/o apple trees in the back corner.

Hit me up with a PM and we can take it from there.
Thanks for looking!

 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
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If you're not familiar with Ben Falk, maybe look him up. While I don't know him, what I've seen on video of his site and presentations is impressive.
 
Seth Madore
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I am quite familiar with Ben Falk and his work. I actually got to listen to him speak at the Common Ground Fair that is held in Maine every year. Quite a remarkable source of information.

While I would be ecstatic to have someone of his caliber design my land, I have a suspicion he would be well outside of my budget. Kinda like getting the guy who designed the Empire State building to draw you up plans for a chicken coop....

I could be wrong and if someone could correct me, I'd be more than happy
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1014
Location: Northern Italy
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Are the edge trees yours?
William
 
Seth Madore
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Yes, they are. On the left side of my property, my land actually goes back about 75-100 feet and those trees are a mix of pines, locust, and assorted softwoods. On the back side of the property, I've got about 50 feet to my neighbors land and it's all oak and pine, some very old pine and some young oak (10-15 y/o). The right side of my property abuts a road and that is MOSTLY junk softwood trees, one or 2 conifers and a whole load of wild grape, which I am trying to slowly knockback



As you can see, my driveway goes through someone else land (the property used to be 10+ acres, realtor bought it and subdivided it)
Very back of the property is very sandy (5-6 sandpits within a couple miles of me), grass grows VERY slowly and there is a dirtbike track that runs the perimeter of the property (my kids have a KLX110).

Also on the property, in the SW side (inline with the house) is a 8' x 8' chicken coop with a 50'x50 electro-net run which we move around a bit as needed to provide the egg layers with fresh greens as available.
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
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Ben doesn't exactly price out a design on his site, logical since time for that would vary hugely by site, goals, and level of detail desired, but I do see that he offers online consultations from $200. http://wholesystemsdesign.squarespace.com/the-site-consultation/

I have no idea what the 'average' permaculture designer charges in your area, though.

Would you end up with a better design if you got some initial direction from an expert, then did most of the detail planning/layout yourself, and ran the near-complete version by said expert for final revisions, vs paying for a complete design from someone with less experience? No idea; my gut would steer me in the former direction, but that's me.


Do you have an image with contour lines?
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1014
Location: Northern Italy
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Hi Seth,
If you're doing this to make money, you might want to think about:
Oaks=coffee substitute.
Wild grape=root stock(?), Grapes.

Also,
Pine=Hugelkulture beds, space for better trees

What I'm suggesting is to think about how to utilize what you have before making huge investments of time and money in what you want. Sometimes the payoff can be much quicker, better, and easier.
William
 
Seth Madore
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Sorry for the delay in replies. Been working some long days lately (I'm a machinist at a VERY busy aerospace shop).
The intent of my layout is 99% for self reliance. There is always that 1% that thinks it would be cool to have an income in selling fresh, natural, veggies and fruit, but it's not the motivation for wanting to do what I am. Long and short? Hobby, cool factor to eat fruits and veggies grown on my own land, can/freeze/dehydrate whatever will accept that treatment, etc.

Sorry, I don't have a map with contour lines
 
Craig Dobbson
steward
Posts: 1834
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
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I think the USGS has topographical maps of just about everywhere. You have to kind of pick around but searching through enough different sites, you should be able to come up with a decent map.

For a designer, the two most important points are the "highest low-point" and the "lowest low point" on the land. These two elevations will pretty much dictate if/how earthworks are done and how water will be managed on the property. I would also take into consideration the slope, orientation and the catchment area outside of your boundaries. Where does water flow onto your land and where does it flow off?

If you could mark on your map where these points are and the difference between them in elevation, that would help.

If you wanted to remove some of the junk wood and replace it with "better" species, then you have a lot of base material for hugelculture beds and compost to help beef up that soil. How much top soil is there before it's just sand?



 
Tristan Vitali
Posts: 313
Location: south-central ME, USA - zone 5a/4b
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cat dog duck food preservation forest garden fungi solar trees
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Any updates Seth? Love to see what people have been doing up here
 
steve bossie
Posts: 302
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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Seth Madore wrote:Sorry for the delay in replies. Been working some long days lately (I'm a machinist at a VERY busy aerospace shop).
The intent of my layout is 99% for self reliance. There is always that 1% that thinks it would be cool to have an income in selling fresh, natural, veggies and fruit, but it's not the motivation for wanting to do what I am. Long and short? Hobby, cool factor to eat fruits and veggies grown on my own land, can/freeze/dehydrate whatever will accept that treatment, etc.

Sorry, I don't have a map with contour lines
hi seth! got quite a few of madores up here. your family from the valley? sounds like you're doing the same as me with the same goals. where as you have pretty flat land i think you could set it up yourself. i took a little over a half acre of lawn and planted autumn olive, goumi berry, elderberry, blueberries, a raspberry patch, aronia berry, honey berry, black currant, seaberry and serviceberry. i also have large evergreens that ring the property. i put king stropharia mushroom beds under my norway spruces. they have produced well for me and i dried and stored what i didn't eat fresh. this spring I'm adding a few apple trees, hazel nut trees and building 3 4 by 10' raised beds for vegetables. going to add branches and old wood to the bottom of the raised beds covered with horse manure then 6in. of topsoil to make them like a hugel bed. with your sandy soil i would get as much manure as you can and try to cover your planting area in about 3-4in. then get a mill, preferably hardwood to bring you some chips and sawdust to cover the manure with 3-4in. of chips. this will breakdown and improve your soil. you can plant the same year you do this. just remove the chips manure to expose the soil. shovel out a hole big enough for your tree/ shrub. put the soil in a wheelbarrow and mix in a few handfuls of worm castings. plant your tree and fill in the hole . rake back your manure chips to within 4-6in. of the tree and water. did all mine like this and they're growing like crazy! many will produce this year. could make hugel mounds too which is aslo good at retaining water. just covering the entire growing area with a manure/ chips layer will help build soil and keep water. both things you need for your sandy soil. just make sure they don't get mixed in the soil until they decompose or you will have a nitrogen deficiency for your plants. also pay attention to the sun and try to maximize its effect on your plants. you will get more satisfaction if you did it yourself! good luck!
 
steve bossie
Posts: 302
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
4
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i also wanted to point out i spaced my nitrogen fixing species evenly in between other species so the soil fertilization would be distributed evenly over the property. they are planted in rows about 10-12ft. apart so i can mow in between if needed . if you do the manure /chips method you shouldn't have much of a weed problem. when you start to, put down more manure/ chips. in 5-6 years you will have beautiful black soil under the top layer of chips! my grandfather grew his gardens like this long before i ever heard of sheet mulching or lasanga method. i never saw him till either and no weeds! we are blessed in maine for having tons of manure and wood chips available!
 
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