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Design of Property in Alaska's Kachemak Bay for Geoff Lawton online PDC  RSS feed

 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Attached is the pdf I created as the design exercise for the geoff lawton 2015 online PDC. The property is in Halibut Cove, Alaska, near Homer. 59 degrees north latitude. Kenai peninsula.
Filename: coreyschmidt2015designexercise.pdf
File size: 2 megabytes
 
Starr Brainard
Posts: 39
Location: Duluth, MN
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Hi, Corey. I just wanted to say how happy I was to see this post! I did research in my undergrad at the NOAA Kasitsna Bay Lab outside of Seldovia. Kachemak Bay is a very special place. I look forward to looking over your design. Wish you the best.
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Thanks a lot, Starr!
I've been working for those people for quite a while now on building projects and they are going to have me implement a couple of the design proposals. I'll be setting up a potable rainwater catchment system for them and building a greenhouse, and possibly planting some edibles. best wishes
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 239
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Look at this websight. http://archive.archaeology.org/1109/features/coast_salish_clam_gardens_salmon.html

Use your intertidal zone to harvest the ocean. The article above blew my mind.

Your in Alaska, the 3 legs of the homesteader food supply were potatoes, salmon and moose. Grow lots potatoes. Alaskan potatoes don't have the disease problems that we find further south. You have access to seaweed and salmon parts for fertilizer.

Focus on berries. Don't overlook the salmon berries and roses that grow wild there. The woods need to be opened up and thinned.

Your greenhouse should probably be close to the shore to take advantage of the more open southerly view to catch the maximum winter sun.

You are in a truly beautiful spot. The garden spot of Alaska! You are blessed.

I'm sure I haven't told you anything you hadn't thought of, but those are my suggestions.

 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Thanks for your interest: ) i enjoyed the article you linked to. Last year i got a small but significant potato harvest by cutting the grass very close and piling mulch, including seaweed on top, and putting first some chunks of potato and then later our potato peelings underneath. The land i live on with my family is not owned by us, we 'rent' around 3000 square feet which includes about 1000 square feet of buildings and decks and of the remainder, most is moderately to heavily shaded and we are not allowed to cut the trees creating that shade. i pruned some without asking to get more sun for our passive solar cabin, which i built (a remodled sauna, about 280 sqft) passive solar is great here, for about 6 or 7 months it is the only heat source we need (heat is needed year round here) and for another 3 months it does about half of the heat load. for nov-january, solar gain is pretty low (we only get about 3 hours direct sun on the winter solstice due to trees and topography --max would be 6 hours for a spot in full sun plus it is very cloudy during much of the winter here.. if i get my own land i want to do a passive solar with annualized thermal storage design. i think with enough insulated thermal mass plus glazing plus curtains stored sun heat could keep a place warm all winter. we get enough rain to easily live totally on rainwater with all the roofs around here. this winter it is thawed enough that it has been easy keeping our small indoor tank topped up. this might seem heretical to some people, but i am a long time vegetarian (18years) predating my interest in permaculture and alaska and i'm simply unable and unwilling to change. we are still using raspberries, nettles, rosehips, dandelions, and even some blueberries and serviceberries we harvested summer and fall either wild or from other properties and have lots of frozen kale and lettuce we harvested from our and other gardens. we had tomatoes in the house until early january (not many but it was nice to have a taste every other day or so). the biggest limiting factors here are definitely heat and light so maximizing those resources is always a first design consideration, and at our little homestead, the next most precious one is space. land here goes for 50-100k/ acre with the upper number being more common and likely. its cheaper in homer area and cheaper still in anchor point and ninilchik, but my jobs are all here...here really is paradise
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 239
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I'm from southcentral Alaska and have spent a little time on the Kenai peninsula, although I've never been to Halibut Cove (my daughter has and said it was wonderful). My son-in-law is from Homer.

Most of the state has a lot of public land. If there's some near you, you might try some 'stealth permaculture'. While you will run into trouble if you put a building on public land, you can usually cut wood, and berry, etc. If a few trees, bushes or plants show up on the public land, well, obviously you can't claim them, but you're the one who knows where they are and you can harvest. When I was growing up there were strawberry patches out in the woods, usually in the clearings of old, abandoned homesteads. The lucky few who knew where these patches were held the information pretty tight, since the patches were too small to support large numbers of pickers. You could do the same thing with nettle patches, raspberry, comfrey, onions, garlic, etc or maybe even blackberry (Halibut Cove doesn't have the -50 you see around Talkeetna). Of course the wildlife will get it's share, but it would open up lots of room for you.

Are you pickling the seaweed? When I lived in Ketchikan back in the '70s the natives and old timers would pickle seaweed, especially the bulbs on kelp.

Another possibility is a raft anchored in a cove with a green house on it. In Southeast Alaska it used to be a pretty common practice to put a small house on a raft and anchor it in a sheltered cove near wherever the work was(usually logging back then). When the work ended they would wait for a day when the water was calm, hook a boat up to the raft and pull it to the next cove. The same thing could be done putting a green house on it, may be heated with a rocket stove, or maybe even two rafts, with a home on one and a green house on the other. I'm not sure what the regs are for anchoring a raft in a cove around Halibut Cove, probably can't do it right where you are, but you might be able to do it within a couple of miles. I've played with that idea for myself, if we moved to Southeast AK. Unfortunately my wife is afraid of the ocean and my kids seem to be settling in the intermountain west or northwest US, so my raft dream is unlikely to happen.

 
Bradley Dillinger
Posts: 25
Location: Cincinnati,OH Zone 6a
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Great design. I would second berry plants for low maintenance food forest crops. Also due to the part shade that you have, take a look at the Paw Paw tree. It is native to zone 6 in Ohio where I live.
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Thanks for the responses : )
we do sometimes eat the kelp here, but have not yet pickled the bull kelp. some varieties are definitely better than others and during my wife's first summer here, she fed me so much kelp i got sick of all of them: ) we do even have some dulse here and there are a couple of types of laminaria i think that i like best for eating.
also public land idea is a good one. we don't have any public land on the island, but i can think of a couple of private parcels where some food plants would go unnoticed. there is public land around, but its a bit of a boat ride to get to. Unfortunately the days of raft houses here are over. There is one house on floats 'grandfathered in' but these days enforcement is real and swift, if not by law by neighbors. I did hear some time ago people were able to make houseboats in Yellowknife, Canada, but that may have been regulated by now, too.
I am excited to try different plants from different areas. some things just never made it here by the slow overland spread but could still grow in this relatively mild climate, others, however, might not mind the winter minimums but it still might not be warm enough for them here in the summer (average high hottest month 60 fahrenheit). I do have some surviving caragana seedlings and planted some siberian pine seeds and am excited to try korean nut pine. Also I'm interested in easy growing high quality water food plants as there is a pond near me no one else but me ever visits. I love all the ideas, thanks !
 
Bradley Dillinger
Posts: 25
Location: Cincinnati,OH Zone 6a
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Sounds interesting, please let me know if you ever try the Paw Paw Tree. It is an understory tree that tends to like partly shaded areas. I would think that it would like the cooler summers, and might even do well planted in full sun in your area.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 239
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for water plants, look up wapato (Sagittaria_latifolia). A good nitrogen fixing vine that should be able to grow there is groundnut ( Apios americana). Both are wild, but supposedly good edible tubers and are perenials.
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Yes i have a couple of tubers of apios americana i planted last spring. they grew until fall but didn't get that big. i planted about 6 and 2 survived. I will see if they come up this spring. I tried sagittaria latifolia from seed last summer but i think i had bad seed. this summer i plan to try bulbs. Very interesting about the pawpaw i have heard its really delicious but never tried it. I also planted stachys affinis (small mint family plant with edible tuber) and they survived all season and jerusalem artichokes all survived wherever i planted them. i got maybe 10 tubers for every one i planted last year so i decided not to eat any yet to build the stock. Thanks again, i love the ideas.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 239
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from what I've read the apios americana takes a few years to produce big tubers. The tubers continue to grow every year as well as growing more, smaller tubers each year (which grow bigger the following year),so not a bad emergency food stock if you can afford to leave them alone for several years.

You might want to look at american persimmon also. It can handle the cold, I don't know about the growing season. There are some improved varieties out there. They grow wild where I am now, in southern Indiana, about golfball sized and sweet, once they're fully ripe. before that it's like eating alum, pucker you right up.
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Thanks again : ) i am familiar with those persimmons from growing up in Missouri. very good when ready, totally inedible before. : )
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Also i just ordered some dioscorea batatas bulblets. i'm sure they would do great in Indiana...
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 239
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The Dioscorea batatas look interesting. I might try some. From what I read, in milder winter locations (the deep south) they can be a problem. Shouldn't be bad here. I'm still developing my property some, but anticipate moving to Idaho in 2 - 3 years. I find that has reduced my zeal in developing my current location into a permaculture heaven.
 
We've gotta get close enough to that helmet to pull the choke on it's engine and flood his mind! Or, we could just read this tiny ad:
Complete Wild Edibles Package by Sergei Boutenko (1 HD video + 10 eBooks)
https://permies.com/t/70674/digital-market/digital-market/Complete-Wild-Edibles-Package-Sergei
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