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looking for people to help designing and establishing my permaculture homestead

 
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We have about 4 acres near Nampa, Idaho(Boise area)... As my husband is a businessman, and just does not have enough time for homesteading, and I am somewhat new to this area, we feel we need some help of a specialist to help me design of a permaculture on our property...We came from rainy Seattle, and here we are still learning to navigate in this arid climate...We have in mind to put raised beds, and probably some animals in the pasture... We already have chickens, and some fruit trees... We will need to establish drip system irrigation or something like that...
Do you have anyone who can help with navigation and designing? Of course for financial reward. Thank you for any info.
 
Posts: 523
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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I suggest that if you provide an aerial photo of the property, a good description of the lay-of-the-land, water availability and your aspirations for the property, perhaps the Forum community will give you sufficient info so you can draft up the barebones of a plan yourself, or, at least enough data to take to a recognised Permie designer.

A contour plan, and info showing the prevailing summer and winter wind and storm directions would be very helpful. (All plans should include a north point.)

🙂
 
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Location: Prairie Canada zone 2/3
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Natalija asbjornsen wrote:We have about 4 acres near Nampa, Idaho(Boise area)... As my husband is a businessman, and just does not have enough time for homesteading, and I am somewhat new to this area, we feel we need some help of a specialist to help me design of a permaculture on our property...We came from rainy Seattle, and here we are still learning to navigate in this arid climate...We have in mind to put raised beds, and probably some animals in the pasture... We already have chickens, and some fruit trees... We will need to establish drip system irrigation or something like that...
Do you have anyone who can help with navigation and designing? Of course for financial reward. Thank you for any info.



I am not the right person to advise you on permaculture design, but I live (and garden) in a similarly cold and dry environment, and thought I'd share a couple of notes.

Raised beds are great because they thaw out sooner than ground-level gardens.  It is also nice to be able to control the quality of the soil in them, especially if your ground has a lot of rock or clay.  They have some real downsides in our climate, though.  Raised beds dry out very quickly, and need a ton of extra  water - we've had to water our raised beds twice a week when it was raining enough that the in-ground gardens were perfectly happy with the amount of moisture they were getting.  That can probably be improved some by having larger raised beds (more capacity to hold /store rain water), and although I haven't personally experimented with it, hugelcultur-type beds would probably be better than just dirt in a box.  My other big issue with raised beds is that they freeze more quickly and to colder temperatures than the ground.  For us, with our brutal winters, we haven't been able to overwinter anything, even things that are hardy to colder zones, in a raised bed.  At this point, we use the raised beds for lettuce and drought-tolerant annual herbs.  They really don't work for us for anything else for us.  

Mulch is also a double-edged sword, at least for us.  It helps with keeping moisture in, but it also insulates in the cold in the spring, and our mulched beds are much slower to get started than our non-mulched ones.  With a short growing season, that can be a real hindrance.  We mostly use straw, so a darker colored mulch might help, but it's something to keep in mind.  We have also noticed that the mulch needs to go down in the fall at our place, to let it absorb moisture from the late fall rains and melting snow in spring.  When we put it down in the spring, it seems to suck moisture out of the garden, and then absorb the rainwater for itself, rather than keeping the moisture in the ground for the plants.  For us, we have a couple of heavily mulched beds where we grow super-short-season squash (which I start seedlings for about 3-4 weeks prior to their early June plant-out); we also have garden beds that we pull the mulch off in the fall, or don't mulch at all, that we can plant into considerably earlier (mid-April to late-May, depending on the crop).  It is worth experimenting with this for a couple of growing seasons until to see if it is a net benefit in your location.  

My last comment is that you'll be able to grow a much bigger variety of stuff than most people would think, but you have to look hard for the right varieties, and you may have to adapt how you grow some things.  Keep an eye out for short-season varieties, and look into season extenders like greenhouses or cold frames.  

Good luck!
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I would plant out 2.5 acres of the site.
With everything spaced at about 20ft away for about 200 plants on 2 acres
25% of the plants nitrogen fixers (50 adler/etc)
25% nuts (Hazelnut, Almond, Pistachio, Sweet kernel Apricot, Chestnut, Yellowhorn, Heartnut, Walnut, etc)
50% fruits/vines/berries (prunus subfamily, apple/pear subfamily, bramble subfamily, mulberry, jujube, etc)

Your zip is listed as zone 7a, so you can grow quite a bit of plants 60 or so different species of fruiting or nut trees/shrub/vines.
I would add 6 inches of woodchip/straw.
Monthly Soil life tea (water kefir+milk kefir+worm compost tea+mushroom slurry+insect residue+sugar)
When it comes to earthworks, I would plant in basins, and put in at least 1 swale.
A local landscaper can install the irrigation system

Maybe a beehive

I would use the 0.5 acres for kitchen garden + herb garden + mushroom + lawn.

The sunken garden bed would be 3ft wide and 33ft long. Or they can be whatever lenght you like.


 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Illinois
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Natalija,

Lots of good information so far.  You mentioned installing a drip irrigation system.  I have had extremely good luck with a drip system by a company called dripworks.  In my experience, I only use a drip system buried just below the surface.  Also, I only use 1/2 gallon per hour emitters.  If I would need more water, I just let the system run longer.  Used carefully, these systems can really help water your garden while using only a small amount of water.  If you keep the line buried under the mulch, that should cut down on the mulch wicking away and stealing the water,  I never water by spraying water into the air.

Good luck and let us know how things work out.

Eric
 
Natalija asbjornsen
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I really appreciate your precious input/// So much to learn! I will try to post pictures of my property during weekend  as I am quite busy during the week. Have  great day!
 
Posts: 182
Location: 7b desert southern Idaho
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Just up river from you so I know the climate. Do you have flood irrigation? I’m really interested in how to apply permaculture to our area. Do you see your land as a desert or a farm? My one suggestion is to double the mulch and compost. Especially if you have our famous sandy soils. I’ve often needed to reseed because the water just beaded up and would not soak in, or was flooded enough to get wet but the seeds disappeared. Best of luck!
 
Natalija asbjornsen
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thank you!
Yes I would say it looks more like desert where I live... We have flood irrigation on the pasture, but we have to pay for it something like 80 dollar per acre... Not sure we need it just yet. BUT  we have well in our backyard, so we came to conclusion we will just put 4 big raised beds and will bring top soil , compost and mulch in these raised beds plus will do drip system... Our experience last year was very bad - the pasture was too sandy  - only zuchini and squash were fine... We also had HORRIBLE PROBLEM WITH VOLES..They ate most of what we planted. So this year we got cats... So we are still learning in this new enviroment... But I visited one family and this is what they have  - raised beds and drip system, as well as mulch... And they gather so much produce they do not know what to do with it! They told me - THE KEY  to success here is mulching!
 
Dennis Mitchell
Posts: 182
Location: 7b desert southern Idaho
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Natalija asbjornsen wrote:thank you!
Yes I would say it looks more like desert where I live... We have flood irrigation on the pasture, but we have to pay for it something like 80 dollar per acre... Not sure we need it just yet. BUT  we have well in our backyard, so we came to conclusion we will just put 4 big raised beds and will bring top soil , compost and mulch in these raised beds plus will do drip system... Our experience last year was very bad - the pasture was too sandy  - only zuchini and squash were fine... We also had HORRIBLE PROBLEM WITH VOLES..They ate most of what we planted. So this year we got cats... So we are still learning in this new enviroment... But I visited one family and this is what they have  - raised beds and drip system, as well as mulch... And they gather so much produce they do not know what to do with it! They told me - THE KEY  to success here is mulching!


Voles are a cyclical issue. Some times a layer of snow protects them over the winter. After a spring thaw I’d see my pasture just spiderwebbed with vole tracks. I have not see them for the last two years.
Our sand can grow many crops quite well. I’ve done well with corn, turnips, beets, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, carrots...everything but potatoes. Which since this is the land of Famous Potato’s speaks more to my brown thumb than anything.
I’m doing well with strawberries, gooseberry, and raspberries. I know folks who are crushing blackberries!
Apricots are a weed here! Apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, all do well. Cherries do great as bird feed!
Enjoy your garden!
 
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