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Autumn sowing  RSS feed

 
justin edmonds
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I am looking for ideas for planting crops in the fall that will put roots down over winter and thus get a headstart come spring, greens are sufficient as its basically a survival garden till there is a fulltime resident to tend to the site. If you can help me with this one it`ll prove that you're amazing. I am going to be planting on a plot in Portugal which is obviously very dry in the summer. this would not usually be a problem but the land will not be occupied during the summer for a couple of years thus new plants cannot be nurtured. I could build a huge water collector and set up a drip but the timeline and my inability to be on site sufficiently wont permit this. In portugal people tend to plant there fruit trees around september to utilise the rainy winter months. mulch then suffices during the summer.... any green veg that i can do the same with?  its a tricky one. thanks
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9711
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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In my hot climate in which we get almost no rain during the growing season, I have not been successful keeping any greens producing during this time without irrigation.  A very few plants will survive during drought by going dormant, but they will not produce until the rain comes.  Plant that I grow which may survive the dry period to produce after rains are  Perennial Leek aka Elephant Garlic, Walking Onion aka Egyptian Onion, Garlic Chives, Asparagus, Cardoon, Artichoke, and marginally, Sweet Potato.  I believe there may be more but I have not yet grown them, or are forgetting them..
 
justin edmonds
Posts: 13
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I was hoping to set up a deep mulch or some kind of island of moisture (ive a few ideas) and then hopefully the perennials would get their roots down before the dry season and have a certain amount of water retentive environment to get them through the dry season as long as possible before the encounter drought. Im sure it could be done . i just wondered if anyone else had tackled the problem before and come up with some ideas/solutions as i have to be away from site to earn money whilst i develop the land. Im talking about trying to install an incredibly simple almost survival system to be in place for when i move to Portugal for good and can develop the site properly.. Any ideas anyone??
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1465
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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It's commonly recommended here that trees, shrubs, and perennials be fall planted for exactly the reasons you theorize. Woody plants are especially well known for using the 'dormant' season to establish strong roots before the warmer times of the year.

This is also a great time to be establishing large hugelbeds (preferably at least partly below ground). Sometimes it takes a couple of years for these to really show their benefit, so the sooner you build them the better.

I'm glad to hear that deep mulching is an option for you. I'm always strongly in favor of it. You might strongly consider learning what natural legumes grow in your area. They establish fairly well in high carbon mulches (as they can fix their own nitrogen) and if they are strongly established can serve as a soil building, living mulch in the future.

Take a little time to plan where your water will be coming from in the future, what traffic flow you'll have on the land, and where buildings will be placed. When you know this you can make better decisions on where to place long lived features (including trees).

I always remember the old saying about the best time to plant a tree. There are very many valuable trees that take a very long time to produce a crop. The sooner you plant them, the more likely you'll be around long enough to see a strong return on your efforts. I have several trees that I don't expect to get a return on until I see my kids off to college. If I'd waited much longer I'd be expecting the next generation of my family to see the first crops.


edit: I only speak on language, why can't I spell in it!?
 
justin edmonds
Posts: 13
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Thanks Cass, the hugelcultures are something i was definitely going to construct and as you said partly underground. I have the option of a few parcels of land as i havent actually bought yet. I have been over to Portugal twice scouting areas and assessing land, rainfall, climate,soils etc. The biggest thing ive learned is that people go on a permaculture course, think they know what they're talking about and jump into situations without adequate planning or knowledge base. They are not living in productive systems and reaping value from their life or land and still shopping for food at the store,, basically poor and struggling. I encourage anyone reading this post to study permaculture obsessively as most courses are inadequate and if you're not the kind of person who can or will make this effort then team up with someone who is. Ive assessed my situation ( as well as possible) and am devising a solid strategy to achieve my goals, making sure that i have basics immediately and a line of progression from there. All situations will be different and there will be problems to solve ,, so please people study well so you can be a good example for other people. I would highly recommend investing in the dvd box set of Mollison and Lawton teaching a course in Melbourne.. approx sixty hrs of excellent info. watch that ten times whilst studying rabbitholes on line as you go, yep ive watched them at least that amount of times and am a total bleeding permie nerd. Ive been designing parts of smaller projects so far and am now trying to design for myself basically an very seasonally dry climate where i cannot be onsite ,,, quite a challenge. And people, Cassie is obviously right you have to asses your water properly or you can easily end up f...ed. Thanks for the input Cass.
Ill take any suggestions anyone else can come up with.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2431
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
443
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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Crops that I plant in the fall before winter include wheat, rye, favas, garbanzos, lentils, spinach, kale, parsnips,   peas, onions, shallots, garlic, lettuce, parsley, etc. Not all varieties of those species survive the witner, but some do. Edible weeds that survive the winter, and provide early greens, include dandylion and mallow.
 
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