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Bryce Rawers

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since Nov 19, 2011
Springfield, IL
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Recent posts by Bryce Rawers

Brenda: house fire o no!! the brambles were planted in '10 and some of them surprised me this year. I expect this year will be a boom year for them. Do permaculturalists still prune their brambles every year?

Jay: Thank you for offering to come out! I'm not sure there'd be much to see in the spring, but I'd be happy to have you on the farm. I'm the only pair of eyes aware of permaculture so it'd be nice to know what you see as potential too!
7 years ago
Thank you for those contacts Milton.

I feel like I'm putting the cart before the horse, but I really want to take action in the spring.

It's hard in my mind to make the jump from annual to perennial crops because I haven't encountered a good concrete example of which perennials might be used and sold at farmers markets, or to a CSA.

My difficulty with trees is: I've never planted one before. Because I have no experience I just have too many questions to type. How have others introduced new trees to their land and who was their seed source? Did they scatter seeds like I plan to for perennials, and if so, how did thinning the trees work and what rule of thumb spacing was used?

I know most answers are "it depends" so I'd like to be pointed to others experiences.
7 years ago

Lolly K wrote:Why not take some of that excess wood you can get your hands on and create a few hugelkulture beds? It would put you ahead on the water issue, especially if you lined it up on contour part way down that slope to the east where the stream is located. Scatter your seed in random patterns, trying different combinations of plantings.

Of course, I say all this because that is MY plan for the spring. You have to start somewhere!

You just described the plan in my head completely.

But where do fruit trees fit into this? Or what trees in general?

I'm really in the need for an in-depth how-to on making berms. I get the whole A frame device for mapping the contour. I have a backhoe to dig the berm. But I'm also afraid of creating a dam, or a long earthen gutter leading into the road's drainage ditch.
7 years ago
And thank you to everyone in advance for reading and responding. I really to appreciate it. Thank you for loaning me some processing power.
7 years ago

Saybian Morgan wrote:The forum's are great, but nobody is responsible there's no seeing you succeed or fail. Sometimes it's allot of people shouting you should do what I do, and yes when your lucky a tidbit of advice can turn your world around but you can't make them come online later and answer follow up questions... run your farm like a garden.

Yes this: I want you guys to yell things at me about what you think I should do.

And I do run my farm like a garden. However I no longer am using my farm to make a living, so my primary goal is to implement a better design and practice some permaculturally sound techniques.
7 years ago
I don't have much in the way of concrete plans yet but I plan on vetting them here when I do.

I guess what I really want right now is two fold: 1) can you help me brainstorm? 2) how would you modify my study-plan

I have read Gaia's Garden. I have copies of Permaculture Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability and Mollison's Design Manual, and I'm going to get a copy of his Introduction to Permaculture soon. What else will help me specifically in Central Illinois?

I have access to water and can water my fields with a dump-truck-turned-water-truck though I don't want to continue having to do this. I also do tree removal and trimming jobs with my cousin and have a supply of wood because of it, though I don't know if any given tree has been sprayed or whatnot with whatever.

I only planted brambles and strawberries when I got to the farm because I planned to leave after 2 years. I was planning on moving to california and starting an urban farm and aquaponics operation. But plans change and I'm looking at, at least, a few more years in illinois. and i want to plant some trees with a passion.
7 years ago
My main field is about 3 acres, it slopes down to the east into a creek with tall trees and it has a wet spot in the northeast corner. Cut the field in half on a north-south line and I planted on the uphill western half. The southern acre is june bearing strawberries: 4 varieties, sparse on the northeast corner and like an ocean in the middle of the field. The field is covered in grasses and a dozen other pioneer plants. I have a drip line going down each row. The top half acre is a garden where I've had the most success with popcorn, green beans, potatoes, snap and snow peas, and lettuce. I've tried trellising tomatoes but both years I stopped training them to it at about 3 feet so they just drooped back to the ground. Most of my success was with produce that I could take to market before late July. It hasn't rained much going through summer in the last two years, and I think my crops have suffered for it, so a priority is water retention.

My other field is 8 rows in a trapezoidal arrangement with 50 blackberries in 4 rows and 200 rapsberries in the other 4. These are trellised and really grew a bunch this year, but I planted it into a weedy field that was cut for baling the years before I claimed it. It's bordered by 5 apple trees and my aunt and uncle's drive way. It's more their front yard than a field really. I feel bad about how it looks with all the weeds growing up in the rows where I can't mow, and both times I mulched I only did 3" and the weeds grew back after 6 weeks. I think I heard of a farmer planting hazelnuts between his raspberry rows with some success, but that's my only idea/lead with this patch.

I keep bees and collected my first honey this year. Everyone who tasted it said it was the best they'd ever had. I also made some great mead out of it. (now you're distracted from my weedy fields)

Two months ago my plan was to plant guilds under the 5 apple trees next to the field of brambles. That thought was me dipping my toe in the pool. But I guess this is me yelling cannonball and jumping in.
7 years ago
Please advise me.

My uncle invited me out to his farm in central Illinois and suggested I grow strawberries and live out of his barn. Fresh out of college with a BA in English Lit I accepted the adventure and planted the first seeds I can ever recall planting in a 1/4 acre vegetable patch next to 5000 strawberries in matted row system with drip line irrigation. In another field I planted 50 blackberry and 200 raspberry plants. From almost all perspectives things didn't go very well. But I learned a little about everything and had a much more satisfying go of it this year.

But I'm tired of fighting the weeds and with planting in rows. One thing I did well my first year was keeping my rows of green beans clean from weeds, but this made all my beans have a blight on them. This year I weeded once 2 weeks after the rows sprouted, then let the grasses and weeds grow up. My green beans turned out fantastic with the weeds providing shade.

I've known about permaculture for about a year now and at first only through reddit, but I'm now current on the podcasts and asked for only permaculture books for christmas. Half way through one straw revolution! My point: I'm consuming permaculture actively daily.

My idea is to turn my farm into a food forest, but my goal is to design a better farm and implement it immediately.
7 years ago