• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Got Land, Now what  RSS feed

 
Andrew Sinclair
Posts: 5
Location: Midland, Ontario, Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I have a small plot of land (1/3 Acre).  I plan on slowly building a small cottage over weekends and vacations.  In the mean time while I design the structure, I am trying to figure out what to do with the lot.  It currently is thick with brush and trees under 6".  I have been thinning the brush and trying to select trees to keep but don't know where to go from there.  I don't want a lawn but is there something I should do to keep the bush from returning?  Poison ivy is a willing participant.  Is there something I can do while the lot is dormant which won't require constant tending?  Of course if I ask elsewhere, most would say buldoze the lot and start over but that isn't what I want and obviously isn't what this forum is about.

The property is near Midland, Ontario.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ben Falk has lots of neat ideas for cold climates:  http://www.permaculturevoices.com/permaculture-voices-podcast-027-permaculture-design-and-cold-climates-with-ben-falk/

Here's another cold climate example, video tour: http://vergepermaculture.ca/about-verge/meet-our-team/

 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 2226
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
78
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You have described the vegetative conditions, what about the geology? What kind of slope do you have, or is it all flat? What is the soil like? Have you dug down to find the subsurface conditions? Is there any drainage that crosses the parcel? What direction does the slope, if any, face? Are there neighboring factors that affect your property, like tall trees, hills, buildings, big lakes, open fields...?
 
Fredy Perlman
Posts: 90
Location: Mason Cty, WA
4
bike books fungi
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You see any wildlife around? That is indicative of all kinds of things which I'm sure someone more learnèd can expound upon.
 
Abbey Battle
Posts: 85
Location: Wealden AONB
1
bike books cat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you sew a cover crop. Mustard, clover etc that you can chop and drop once you have a better idea of what you want to do?

My guess would be a forest / wood garden, using the trees that you have as wind breaks. Mulching should help to raise the ground temp, though I know nothing about the area that you live in. Is it under snow in the winter?

Are you planning on using what you chop to build berms or hugels of some sort?

I think I'd be drawing a plan of the lot, indicating wind  direction, slope etc, taking lots of photo's and getting to know the site. It's small enough to walk every visit and not take away from building time.

No, you don't want to go bulldozing the site. Make the most of what you have. What are the trees? Are they any good for construction or building?
 
Peter Kalokerinos
Posts: 94
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
2
chicken hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My advice, thinking very, very carefully about where you put your cottage. Its your "zone zero" and want it in the most passive location you can find (solar access, gravity water etc).

Once you have that you'll soon figure out what will happen with the rest. Consider access next (driveways etc) and that will drive decisions around what else you do and where. Only clear when you're ready to make significant changes.

Consider what you want out of it?
- Ponds?
- food production?
- just a weekender/holiday thing?
 
Andrew Sinclair
Posts: 5
Location: Midland, Ontario, Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The lot is south facing with a vertical drop of 12' over the length of 180ft. Currently there is a deeply eroded atv path running down the middle of the lot which creates a stream of run off to the street during rains.  I have to figure out how to fix that. 

The soil is quite sandy and about 18" over clay/sand. Poison ivy has taken over.  I was there on the weekend and found a blackberry patch and a raspberry patch. That was a nice find.

I also drilled Down for a well 12 ft till I a large rock. Will have to try a different spot.

Can I sow a cover crop under the forest canopy?  Would that help with the poison ivy?
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 2226
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
78
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How much rock do you have on the surface? If abundant, you can make small dams at frequent intervals and retain soil in the track gully. The fact that you have enough runoff for erosion means that water is not likely to be a problem. The south slope is a big positive in your northern climate.
 
Andrew Sinclair
Posts: 5
Location: Midland, Ontario, Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There isn't a significant amount of rocks on the property.  Probably not even enough to build a fire circle.  So that is out.  Yes, the south facing slope was a must as I want to include passive solar in my cabin and lengthen the growing season as much as possible.
 
Bill Erickson
steward
Posts: 1132
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
127
books chicken forest garden hugelkultur hunting wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That ATV trail is something I would tackle quickly. I'd use the wood from the tree and brush clearing efforts, putting them across the path and anchoring them with stakes. The stakes could be made from branches or even split bits of wood about one inch thick. The main reason is to slow down the water speed and eliminate as much erosion on that "trail" as possible. It also indicates to whoever has been using it that it isn't available any more.

Cover crops that are cold and shade tolerant will be key to getting the poison ivy under some control, but you'll likely still need to remove it by hand. In my experience, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, eye protection and even a face mask (if you are sensitive to the stuff) along with a sharp machete or brush hook, will be your main tools for that one.

Good luck.
 
Look ma! I'm selling my stuff!
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!