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~8 acres of Conservation Land Guerilla Gardening

 
Augustus Clark
Posts: 25
Location: Zone 6b
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I'm thinking to plant native and near-native perennials inconspicuously and lightly farm this marshy area. Things I had in mind would be for instance, raspberry, blackberry, grape, blueberry ... mulberry? Fruit or nut trees?

I don't know what would be the best to do as far as food crops go, but I'd also like to include a few patches of butterfly-and-bee attractors, as I'd like to have a hive (on my property) in the future and would love to have some extra flowers for pollination. Was thinking some kind of guild diversity here.



http://imgur.com/a/kh0o1 - Not smart enough to figure out how to properly post images

The land is owned by a conservation trust, which gives the public the right to cross the land and engage in "passive recreation" like bird watching or photography. I live nearby and don't think anyone would mind if I enhanced the land with some plant species that are useful to humans. The last people that lived in my house used to lawnmow the area behind their house; I think this is a better use of the land.

It's all the land in green. It surrounds a perennial brook that's subject to tidal flows from the northwest direction, which empties out to or in from the ocean less than a mile away. However, it's rare for the water to be more than a few tenths of a foot deep during the summer months in the swampy area east of the road culvert, and the area beyond the culvert to the west opens into a very large grass marsh. The area all the way in the southeast is less swampy and more forested. It's all in USDA zone 6b. I don't think the salt water will be an issue if i just exclude the first few foot-contours near the water level.

I haven't fully explored the area, but it's pretty wild and is relatively thick with trees and underbrush. I think it wouldn't be too difficult to select a handful of locations and plant a few guilds and just manage it very un-intensively. There may already be some of these useful things growing in there?

Any advice or suggestions on species or varieties?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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How is planting non-natives being in concert with the idea of conservation land?  I think it violates the spirit of conservation land and could be interpreted as vandalism.
 
Jd Gonzalez
Posts: 205
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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Hazelnuts & chinkapins are native nutbearing plants that produce in about 3 years. Serviceberry, blueberry, american plum, cranberry and sandcherry are fast fruiting native plants.
 
Augustus Clark
Posts: 25
Location: Zone 6b
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Most of the things I mentioned are natives. They were all growing in this eco region prior to the human intervention in the 20th century that cut and disturbed everything as development occurred nearby. Planting a few grapes, blueberry bushes and coneflowers is a trivial deviation from the natural state of the region on a larger time scale. Also, 8 acres is a very large area; a few isolated plantings of native species is hardly vandalism.

What I meant by near-natives would be something like raspberry which may not normally grow in swamp, but would be found growing along the marginal land.
 
Bill Erickson
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Here's your picture, Augustus.



I don't know what would be the best to do as far as food crops go, but I'd also like to include a few patches of butterfly-and-bee attractors, as I'd like to have a hive (on my property) in the future and would love to have some extra flowers for pollination. Was thinking some kind of guild diversity here.



http://imgur.com/a/kh0o1 - Not smart enough to figure out how to properly post images


I think you are smart enough, once you get shown how. I went to Imgur and right clicked on your picture, went to the "Copy image address" line in the drop down, clicked on that and that is what I posted into the image tag. Hopefully it works for you in the future.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I personally feel it is not in the spirit of permaculture to cultivate land which has been set aside as conservation land.  To me, conservation land is Mollison Zone 5.   There is so much land in the world which needs care and restoration, and so little land set aside as conservation land.

https://permies.com/t/56225/permaculture-design/Mollison-Permaculture-Zones-happened-Zone
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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Tyler and Augustus,

Tilling it up would be a bad idea. But if a native plant produces edible fruit, and we eat some of it as we stroll past, would that be a bad thing? And especially if we were planting the edibles, thus insuring there is more total food for everyone, wildlife included, then if we didn't.

In fact, many native plants in the USA may have originally been introduced by Native tribes; plants like sun chokes or groundnuts are "native" across a wide swath of the USA, but some think that they had a much smaller range before being traded and spread.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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I think planting things that are "native", i.e. growing in your county before Europeans arrived, would be within the spirit of conservation land, as long as it did not displace or disadvantage any locally rare species.
 
David Hernick
Posts: 54
Location: Oakland, CA
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It sounds like you have some yard that is not quite within the conservation area.  Both Asparagus and White Chard will naturalize in marshy coastal spots.  Mountain spinach, Atriplex hortensis is a saltbush species that might do well in marginally salty areas, I have also had success crossing it with more salt tolerant Atriplex sp.  Sea kale is a coastal species that might do well.   There is a guild in there somewhere it is just based on a European coastal community. Lathyrus japonicus, Beach Pea, could be a legume.  A lot of these plants can be planted by seed.  Why not try seeding some bulb fennel too.

As for conservation areas. Cattails and Arrowroot/Wapato are productive marsh species
Is wild rice native where you are?
Consider black locust and Hazelnut.  Native hazelnuts are wetland edge or upper riparian species.

Also consider:
stinging nettles, horsetail, Marsh mallow, American cranberry, Ground nut, strawberries and wild roses. Check out oikos tree crops
Good luck,
 
Chrissy Star
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Using a permaculture principle: THE PROBLEM IS THE SOLUTION....if the land is owned by a conservation trust, it sounds like the area needed to be saved by a non-govt body - thus they are needed for the health of the area.  You can help increase the health of this area by planting local native species which are edible - you can repopulate the area with lost species.  So it is a win-win situtation : you get your food and so do the animal/plant species.  This way you could work to enhance the natural ecology and be increasing it's natural values while at the same time meeting your needs as well.

As far as non-natives go...if you work on the area directly behind your house...as an extension of your land (Guerilla style)....this sounds reasonable if they are not going to get out of your control.  How could you manage this - maybe just stick to your own backyard and pretend you don't have a fence (or better yet, take it down).  Here is an article that lists quite a few edible swamp/aquatic species - probabaly won't be very helpful unless you can match your location's climate to the species in question (origin climate).

Aquatic plants for human food article:
http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/X6862E/X6862E07.htm


 
Anne Miller
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Augustus Clark wrote:The land is owned by a conservation trust, which gives the public the right to cross the land and engage in "passive recreation" like bird watching or photography. I live nearby and don't think anyone would mind if I enhanced the land with some plant species that are useful to humans. The last people that lived in my house used to lawnmow the area behind their house; I think this is a better use of the land.


The previous owner may have mowed that area to help keep out unwanted weeds or as a firebreak. 

Maybe it would be a good idea to volunteer to help the Conservation Trust.  Get to know what their mission is and to help them with their plans.  Maybe they are trying to preserve a certain plant, animal, or insect that is there.  Then you could ask them what their future plans are and if they would like to have certain plants planted there.  It would be a prudent to ask their permission before digging holes to put plants in. 

Or maybe plant the border of your property with the plants you want to plant there.  That way you can make sure they get the attention they need.
 
Steven Kovacs
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Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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As Anne said, try volunteering with the trust and seeing if your goals and theirs converge.  If so, great!  If not, don't mess with their land.  It's not yours, and it's not abandoned - the trust has the right to manage it without your interference.  How would you feel if someone started planting something on your land that you didn't want, just because they thought they knew better than you how to use the land?
 
John Polk
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Steven Kovacs wrote:As Anne said, try volunteering with the trust and seeing if your goals and theirs converge.  If so, great!  If not, don't mess with their land.  It's not yours, and it's not abandoned - the trust has the right to manage it without your interference.  How would you feel if someone started planting something on your land that you didn't want, just because they thought they knew better than you how to use the land?

Maybe it would be a good idea to volunteer to help the Conservation Trust.  Get to know what their mission is and to help them with their plans.
It would be a prudent to ask their permission before digging holes to put plants in.

I agree with both of those posts.  Somebody else's land is theirs to manage as they see fit.  Even if we do not agree with their plan, violating their mission with the intent of furthering our missions is tantamount to denying the entire concept of land ownership.
 
Michelle Bisson
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I personally feel it is not in the spirit of permaculture to cultivate land which has been set aside as conservation land.  To me, conservation land is Mollison Zone 5.   There is so much land in the world which needs care and restoration, and so little land set aside as conservation land.

https://permies.com/t/56225/permaculture-design/Mollison-Permaculture-Zones-happened-Zone


I agree.  We need to protect these conservation lands.  There is not enough land that is set aside for conservation.

There is so much abandoned abused land that is not set aside for this purpose that could be planted on.  We always have to be respectful of property that we do not own. 
 
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