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Sepp's Plant Families

 
Chris Holcombe
Posts: 97
Location: Zone 8b Portland
food preservation forest garden fungi
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I was watching the natural farming movie on google video about sepp holzer.  Really fascinating stuff he has going on.  It's almost like fairy pretend land over there.  Anyways, it said in the video that Sepp likes to use plant families when he seeds consisting of between 40-50 different types of plants.  Anyone have examples of what these might be?  It never said in the video and I have been curious what he groups together. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I've read he uses perennial rye on some parts of the property, but not what he groups with it. Some of the videos show produce being harvested or sold: from those, it looks like root vegetables and winter squash are important parts of his plant families, but that may only be due to the season it was filmed.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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reading his new book now, some good information in there on what he does grow, i was surprised at the HEMP..can't grow that here without ending up in the hoosgow !

he uses a lot of meadow type wilflowers and jerusalem artichokes, clover, lupines, etc..

I have been adding in more of these types of plants myself over the past few years..and find them quite helpful.

also he uses a lot of OLD FASHIONED grain /cereal products that aren't easily purchased, so you might do some research in that area..and he grows thousands of fruit trees, esp to feed his livestock, which he allows to browse the falls..

he mentioned he plants fruit trees throughout his forests and allows his livestock to fend for themselves on the browse with no food bought for them.

i would love to be able to get there (but only with a very small number of livestock)in the future.

 
Chris Holcombe
Posts: 97
Location: Zone 8b Portland
food preservation forest garden fungi
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Thanks to both of you!  I'll do my homework and add some more seeds to my mix.  I went online today and ordered a 19 species mix of native north east wild flowers.  I figured I would throw those around the yard and increase the diversity.  Sepp's quote about greater species diversity equalling lower pest and disease problems really hit home with me. 

I agree Brenda with the livestock browsing issue.  That would be fantastic to get to that point where no additional feed is needed. 

I did a small amount of research into old fashioned cereal's.  I only have .20 acres so I can't get too crazy but I'll try to diversify as much as possible. 
 
Nathan Funke
Posts: 19
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Do you know if there is a list of these anywhere? I have been trying to do more research into plant partnering and that would seem like a good place to start.
 
John Polk
master steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I believe that sepp holzer does not provide any listings of seeds, as what works for him in the Alps wouldn't work in Key West, nor in Singapore, or Tuscon. His attitude is to 'just try it, and see if it works'. Modify it until you find a combo that works well for your region/climate.

Mixing the plant families is important to the mix. A hundred tomato varieties (or 100 legumes) does not equate to a polyculture. The more plant families you can provide, the more diverse your soil food web becomes, thus bringing a greater balance to your entire system.

Regionally selected wild flowers will (a) have the best chance of surviving your climate/conditions, and (b) provide food/habitat for a wide variety of natural pollinators, plus (c) bringing long season beauty to your landscape. With trees/shrubs, you need to plan the layout. With the wildflowers, just scatter the seeds anywhere/everywhere, and wait for your long term rewards.

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Its the usual 7-12 of the following (1)N-fixer, (2)taproot, (3)biomass, (4)pest control. And all of these can be edible/summer/winter/perennial.
 
Andrew James
Posts: 40
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I don't think youll find a list of those plants. Youll have to mix and match yourself. A lot of it has to do with the roots I think. Youll want deep roots, mids and flats. Avoid using plants that compete for the same resources. Look into guilds a bit. Have fun and experiment.
 
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