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Moving from zone 9/10 to 6/7... what do I do.  RSS feed

 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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For the last three years, after moving to Central Texas, I have been studying permaculture methods for desert environments. I have learned a lot and it has been very good to us. But now, my family and I are making a change and we are moving to Western Kentucky. We already have a house there, and it is in town. We have lived there in the past, but that was before we had learned of permaculture. So now that we our moving from our 4.5 country acres of semi-desert to 9500 square feet of green urban landscape (1/5 of that is the house's foot print), I've realized I can grow stuff in deserts with little water, but I don't know how to gross stuff in the lush and dark soils of Kentucky.

My big questions is: What common permaculture methods and practices are used in, or around, Zone 6?

Follow on questions: Should I use raised garden beds (there's some at the house already)? What about guilds? Hugelkultur? Should I worry about water collection (for plants) when I would get roughly 50 inches of rain per year, throughout the year? I plan on having chickens... what good advice is there for chickens in urban settings? What plants are "standard" or "normal" for Zone 6, and everyone should have?
Any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance!!!
 
Rick English
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Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
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I think the answer to most of your questions are: it depends

I have lived most of my life in Pennsylvania in both zone 6 and 7. I have gardened at 4 different places in the past 10 years.

Even though they are all roughly the same environment, they each required different approaches. The soil was different, the sun exposure was different and the slope was different. Plants thrived in some locations, but not others.

I would say to use what already exists at your new home, and observe the results. Might be that the people that put in your raised beds knew what they were doing, but it may also be that they didn't. They only way to know is to try them out for yourself.

Observe what is growing happily in your new neighborhood, and grow similar things in similar ways.

You will likely need to worry less about water at your new home, but I still use hugels and plant to add swales and ponds, because I am currently on sloped land, so the water runs right off. That is a drastically different scenario than my last home in river bottom on flat land with deep rich soil. Only 25 miles apart, but much different growing environment.

I would maybe start making a list of what you want to grow, and most of it will grow in zones 6 or 7.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Jon La Foy wrote:Follow on questions: Should I use raised garden beds (there's some at the house already)? What about guilds? Hugelkultur? Should I worry about water collection (for plants) when I would get roughly 50 inches of rain per year, throughout the year?

Here in Indiana, we also get a lot of rain. While irrigation usually isn't needed in the spring, the summers can be quite dry. 2013 was particularly bad from what I recall. That being said, since you have access to municipal water and a relatively small plot there's a good chance it would be more cost effective to simply rely on city water for the period of drought.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Do you have a design for the property? If not, I would definitely start there, with the basics of an integrated design. Even in a wet climate water should be the first thing to think of, if only to make sure you can direct excess away from flooding your gardens and house!

http://www.permies.com/t/55751/permaculture-design/Permaculture-design-basics
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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Rick English wrote:I think the answer to most of your questions are: it depends

I have lived most of my life in Pennsylvania in both zone 6 and 7. I have gardened at 4 different places in the past 10 years.

Even though they are all roughly the same environment, they each required different approaches. The soil was different, the sun exposure was different and the slope was different. Plants thrived in some locations, but not others.

I would say to use what already exists at your new home, and observe the results. Might be that the people that put in your raised beds knew what they were doing, but it may also be that they didn't. They only way to know is to try them out for yourself.

Observe what is growing happily in your new neighborhood, and grow similar things in similar ways.

You will likely need to worry less about water at your new home, but I still use hugels and plant to add swales and ponds, because I am currently on sloped land, so the water runs right off. That is a drastically different scenario than my last home in river bottom on flat land with deep rich soil. Only 25 miles apart, but much different growing environment.

I would maybe start making a list of what you want to grow, and most of it will grow in zones 6 or 7.


Rick,

Thanks for the insight. Sometimes it's unfortunate the answer is "it depends" but that also leaves room for experimentation. I can tell you the people who put it the raised bed had an idea, but did not know what they were doing. I know this because I installed them in 2012 before I moved out. We only had one year of gardening before we moved out, and it was just regular vegetables. Unfortunately, I will not be able to build swales or ponds, I just don't have the room or the landscape... However, I remember when it rains the ditch between the property and the road floods like crazy and does not flow, so that's kinda like a pond, a seasonal pond. I will definitely do hugels, and most likely transform one of the raised beds into a hugel bed for herbs.

Thanks for the reply
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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John Wolfram wrote: Here in Indiana, we also get a lot of rain. While irrigation usually isn't needed in the spring, the summers can be quite dry. 2013 was particularly bad from what I recall. That being said, since you have access to municipal water and a relatively small plot there's a good chance it would be more cost effective to simply rely on city water for the period of drought.


I was in Kentucky in 2013 and I remember the summer that year. The hottest and driest all five years I was there. Western Kentucky has a mixed climate. It straddles the border between zones 6 and 7, and it is prone to the Midwest climate, and the climate off of the hills on Tennessee and Central Kentucky. Then it also gets the humidity of the South, and the cold winters of the North. It's a transition zone of transition zones.

I guess the only reason I'd really collect water is so my water bill doesn't go up in the summer. And eventually for personal use, like showers and dish washing, etc. Well, that's the dream anyway.
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Do you have a design for the property? If not, I would definitely start there, with the basics of an integrated design. Even in a wet climate water should be the first thing to think of, if only to make sure you can direct excess away from flooding your gardens and house!

http://www.permies.com/t/55751/permaculture-design/Permaculture-design-basics


Tyler,

I do not have a design actually. I will look at the link you posted. I actually don't know much at all about design. In Texas, I was focused on water retention, swales, checkdams, things like that. But when it comes to the design of plant layout... I don't know where to begin.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm talking about system design, not plant design. Plant design should come after all the infrastructure is in place.

 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I'm talking about system design, not plant design. Plant design should come after all the infrastructure is in place.


What infrastructures normally go with system design?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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1. Water harvesting earthworks, 2. Access - roads and paths, 3. Structures. Once those have been designed one can continue on to design gardens, starting with the area right around the house (Zone 1) and working outward as the growing areas require less human interaction. So, basically, things you need to check on a lot are closer to the house, those which don't need much tending are farther away.
 
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