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First garden, little time, what to do?  RSS feed

 
Maxime Hababou
Posts: 7
Location: Limoux, France
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Hey folks!

It's time for me to start the adventure and make myself a little permaculture nest.
I'm now the happy owner of a lovely little piece of land, 3000m² (.75acre) near Carcassonne in the south of France. It's a slope with some terracing done, mostly a forest. My plan in the long run is to have a small cob house there and probably turn it into a food forest.

As for now though, I'm studying 300km away from it, giving me only 1-2 weeks in December, February and April to get it ready for me to live there over the summer. In order to reduce costs my priority is to get hugel beds started and have summer meals sorted. I cleared the terrace that has the most sun and piled up wood laying about under 32m² of tarp in October, it sure is handy to start with a forest

Here's my checklist for December:
-Measure and map out the space
-Identify trees and plants
-test soil and ph
-get more wood under tarp

It's what came to mind. I have a basic understanding of how to do these things are done but any pointers are welcome. Surely I also missed something, and I can't wait to see what it is.
I'm sure it will be a bit of challenge given how little time I'm given, but I think it can be done.

Here's a nifty link to information on the climate I have, I don't know what zone that makes it but if someone could me it would be very useful.
http://fr.climate-data.org/location/642828/

I'm eager to be there in a couple of weeks and get started, I'll make sure to get some photos then.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 405
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I haven't used hugel beds. If my garden was in the woods, I would make some. Since you have so little time and really want some production this summer, you might consider diversifying your methods. Hugle beds seem very labor intensive and time consuming. You might consider using some tree limbs to frame a few raised beds. You might want to plant some things in tilled soil, and maybe plant some things like raspberries just in soil of the forest. Of course it depends on what your soil is like now. Also are roots and too much shade going to be problems?

Checking ph soon is a good idea. Forests here usually need lime and it's best applied a few months before planting.

I think your climate is a lot better for gardening than mine, but I still wouldn't count on a lot of production the first year. You could have a lot. Even after 40 years of gardening, I still have some crop failures. Sometimes just from not having time to do things when they need to be done. Sometimes it's too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry. We sometimes have all these problems in the same year. I like to plant a lot of different things and more than one planting of each thing. I hope I'm not discouraging you. That isn't my intent. I'm just trying to encourage you to think of all the possibilities, good and bad.
 
Maxime Hababou
Posts: 7
Location: Limoux, France
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Hugel beds seem best in my situation as the only source of water so far is a fountain about 100 metes away. I plan to make two them on those 32m² I have, though that's to be confirmed once I've mapped out everywith althing and know the location better. As I have limited space to grow for the moment with all the trees I have to decide what method is best to keep my plant safe until I can care for them daily. It might be more work to get going, but it seems like the best method to me. Since all the materials are readily available I think I should be able to make them in one or two weeks in february.
Maybe some raised beds would be simpler although I don't intend on bringing any soil from elsewhere, I'd like to stick to what's directly available, and I don't know yet the top layer soil quantity and quality.

The terrace I have cleared so far was quite free of trees so roots shouldn't be too much of a problem. I spent a night there in a tent, the spot doesn't get a lot sun of in the morning but it's great in the afternoon, and during the summer I'll be able free up some space for more sun to get to it. The hill is south facing-ish, once again I'll have more details in a couple of weeks.

Planting berries is a really good idea, I was thinking of doing that in the summer to have time to really think of the best location but maybe it doesn't need to be that late. Would they be okay being planted in the middle of winter?

I like to dream about a summer of home grown meals, but I know that it most probably is just going to be just complimentary in the first place. Thankfully I have some family nearby that can keep an eye on things, get the plants started indoor or in glass if I can afford one by spring. Growing a large variety of things is definitely on the list, I'll plan that once the rest is taken care of. I know there's going to be many things that won't work out, this is where good planning to looking ahead can help limit problems, hopefully. I've had so little time to spend there that it still feels a bit unreal to me so I'm trying to be realistic.
Anyway one learns more from something not working out, right?

But who knows, with a bit of luck the weather will be kind to the inexperienced gardener I am.
You're by no means discouraging, I know it will take a couple of years to set everything up but that's the exciting part! There's always something new to think about.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I don't know what zone that makes it but if someone could me it would be very useful.

Permies to the rescue: http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-france-plant-hardiness-zone-map-celsius.php

That map is interactive - you can zoom in, or out. Or look up your town in the right border.
See attachment (on the site, that is also interactive):
Your Zone.PNG
[Thumbnail for Your Zone.PNG]
 
Maxime Hababou
Posts: 7
Location: Limoux, France
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That's one great link thanks!
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
287
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Yeah. People on gardening sites are always talking about hardiness zones.
That is great for us here in the US & CA, but the rest of the world are lost in those discussions.

That map should give you some great insight into what will/will not work in your region.

 
Steve Taylor
Posts: 136
Location: Akron, Ohio
chicken hugelkultur woodworking
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Maxime Hababou wrote:Hey folks!

It's time for me to start the adventure and make myself a little permaculture nest.
I'm now the happy owner of a lovely little piece of land, 3000m² (.75acre) near Carcassonne in the south of France. It's a slope with some terracing done, mostly a forest. My plan in the long run is to have a small cob house there and probably turn it into a food forest.

As for now though, I'm studying 300km away from it, giving me only 1-2 weeks in December, February and April to get it ready for me to live there over the summer. In order to reduce costs my priority is to get hugel beds started and have summer meals sorted. I cleared the terrace that has the most sun and piled up wood laying about under 32m² of tarp in October, it sure is handy to start with a forest

Here's my checklist for December:
-Measure and map out the space
-Identify trees and plants
-test soil and ph
-get more wood under tarp

It's what came to mind. I have a basic understanding of how to do these things are done but any pointers are welcome. Surely I also missed something, and I can't wait to see what it is.
I'm sure it will be a bit of challenge given how little time I'm given, but I think it can be done.

Here's a nifty link to information on the climate I have, I don't know what zone that makes it but if someone could me it would be very useful.
http://fr.climate-data.org/location/642828/

I'm eager to be there in a couple of weeks and get started, I'll make sure to get some photos then.
 
Steve Taylor
Posts: 136
Location: Akron, Ohio
chicken hugelkultur woodworking
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We just moved to land in US Ohio and have similar strategy with hugle beds. One time saver suggestion is to drag logs out of forest and line them up on the boarder of your garden beds. Dig up the surrounding sod and soil and lay on top of wood and leaves. It will decay better than under a tarp. Tarp may dry out the wood, when wet wood breaks down faster too.

Good luck sounds like a worthwhile venture.
 
It's weird that we cook bacon and bake cookies. Eat this tiny ad:
paul's latest kickstarter
https://permies.com/t/65247/permaculture-design/permaculture-design-alternative-technology-live
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