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mary yett

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since Nov 01, 2012
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Manitoulin Island - in the middle of Lake Huron .Mindemoya,Ontario- Canadian zone 5
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Recent posts by mary yett

I am too far north (zone 4) for many of the more popular perennial veggies like tree collards and good king henry to winter over reliably, BUT Turkish Rocket is tough, tough, tough and tastes great most of the season ( except when it gets really hot and dry mid summer). It is better cooked than raw, I think, but it tastes great cooked like you would cook any other greens -in lasagna, made into a mess o' greens with a touch of butter, in a stir fry, etc. It is yummy and bomb proof. Plant it once and eat from that planting literally for the rest of your life.

Self seeding purslane  and chickweed are good too. They  function like  perennials
1 year ago
I really like this idea.  The one change I would make if I build one of these myself  (an idea I am seriously considering)  is that I would make the roof out of round cedar poles, of which I have an abundance.      
I  would place them tipi style, which will naturally create a smoke  hole. I would use metal straps screwed in place along with a few very  long screws to attach these poles to the top of the pallets.

Tall, good quality pallets like in your picture are indeed very hard to come by in my remote rural location, but I can source lots of 4 foot high pallets, so maybe I will make more of a tipi/yurt hybrid. This would still give more usable head space room inside.

As I am thinking of making this to house interns on my farm in the summer, I plan on placing the structure on a wooden platform built with simple concrete blocks on the ground as a foundation.  This will keep them dry and give them a bit of a mini patio to sit on when the sun is out.
1 year ago
Whiffletree nusery in Canads sells little leaved linden trees
1 year ago
I grew turkish rocket from seed this spring and has grown very well. Will start harvesting it next spring. Apparently,  even if you dig it up and move it, it will regrow from the tiny root fragments that are always left behind, much like comfrey will regrow. I figure this could be an easy way to expand my patch.

One of my favorite perennial veggies is the immature seed pods of milkweed,  either regular milkweed or swamp milkweed. The pods must be picked young, before the milkweed fluff develops inside them , sort of like okra , good when young, but tough if left on the plant too long.
I prepare them like green beans and they have a similar flavor to those. This is a traditional Anishabek food here in Ontario. They also used to collect the milkweed flowers and boil them down to make a sweet syrup, sort of like how maple sryup is made. I have never tried to do this myself, but it is on my bucket list.🙂

I also include various flower petals in my perennial vegetable list. I use hollyhock, daylily, dandelion, calendula, elderberry, valerian and many other flwers in salads and stir fries.
Cattails provide high protein pollen that can be added to baked goods, yummy ( when peeled) stalks and starchy roots that can be roasted like potatoes.

These are just a few of my favorites

Mary Yett, Manitoulin Island  zone 4

PS, btw, wild leeks do grow well in zone 4. There are lots of wild ones around me here.
3 years ago
Welcone, Acadia
. I look forward to reading your new book
3 years ago
Lupines are a great N fixer to use as well. I have lupines growing that are descendants of seed i brought back from Sepp Holzers farm in Austria. Way cool,hey.? Definitely a mix of many suport  species contibutes to a healthy soil ecosystem and nutrient cycling.

Eleagnus ssp are great  to include if you have the well draining soil they require. I tried for years unsuccessfully  to establish russian olive, autumn olive,  and wolfberry on my heavy clay soil, which was badly farmed for a century.  It came with a severe hard pan, low organic matter, a severe ubiquitous quack grass (Aka couch grass) infestation, and very poor drainage.

The areas where i have been adding organic matter ( bags of leaves collected in town, cardboard, scrap lumber, rotten logs, chop and drop from biomass plantings,comfrey, etc) for 5 years now can now support some spp that require ok drainage. The best result so far, however, is planting eleagnus ssp, caragana , wild blue indigo, and honey locust,etc on the hugel beds i put in.

Various clovers, alfalfa, vetches, etc are doing well all over the place on my farm and are much appreciated. Comfrey is not a N fixer, but it is a miracle plant in so many other ways.

Blk locust didn't  grow fast for the first several yrs on the hard pan clay, but it did at least survive and grow slowly and my older bkl locust plantings are now growing well. This is a major reason that i love BL so much.

Goumi, unfortunately, won't grow this far north. The invasiveness of russian and autumn olive is generally highly exaggerated.  These are pioneer species whose job it is to heal damaged/ disturbed land. Once they have done that job, they gradually die off as other forrest ssp take over if nature is allowed to follow natural succession.

It is when humans ( and in some areas with really tough growing confitions such as alkaline soil, dry, desert areas, etc) interfere  with the natural tendency for most land to gradually return to forrest that eleagnus ssp can take over. When humans keep disturbing the land with mowing road sides, plowing, over grazing, spraying herbicides, construction/expansion of buildings,etc, it freezes natural succession at the state where eleagnus and other pioneers are needed to heal things, so they step up to do their job.

They just aren't  a threat to the local wild ecosystems where i live, which by the way, are already heavily "  contaminated " with a wide range of introduced ssp that have happily naturalized themselves and most people don't  even realize that they aren't native. Think dandelion, apple, plantain, earthworms,etc.
5 years ago
Sounds like you are on the right tract, Roberto. I got my blk locust seed in bulk fom jl hudson seedsman, who is definitey worth checking out for many reasons, and i highly recommend this company.

Seeds cross the border from the US no problem. Trees grown from jl hudson seeds from have wintered over well on  my zone 4 farm, so i think they would do well for you as well.

Blk locust is native to a wide range of eastern north america and is naturalized well north of its original area. On Manitoulin, which is zone 3 to 4,  (it is the largest fresh water island in the world after all, so has more than 1 zone on it), there are groves of blk locust on many zone 3 farms which are over 100 yrs old. It does spread by seed via birds, but this happens slowly. It is not considered invasive this far north.
5 years ago
That's  a good point. Seed grown  nitrogen fixer trees are cheap, fast, and easy to grow. Plant them all over the place close together and then gradually remove ( chop and drop) branches or whole trees as needed. This really improves the soil at very low cost and effort.
5 years ago
That sounds like a great project you've got going there. Food forests are multigenerational projects and a true love gift to the future.

I use  mainly black locust and some caragana and honey locust, all homegrown from seed,  in much the same way  you are planing on using your found alders. I have found the most success when i plant the N fixing nanny tree at a site where a large nut or fruit tree will go at least 1 year ahead of planting the production tree there. I mulch well which also feeds the soil life and spot water as needed.

This jump starts the soil ecology and nutrient cycling  at that spot. There is a reason natural succession follows the same pattern - pioneer trees and shrubs prepare the ground for future forests.

Sometimes it isn't practical to plan a year or 2 in advance, so then i just plant the nanny and production tree a few inches apart at the same time. This works better than planting nut or fruit trees all alone, but not nearly as well as planting the N fixer a yr or 2 ahead. Babies need a nanny.
5 years ago
I am going to be working in Thunder Bay for 3 months ( Jan,Feb, and March 2017) as a locum veterinarian at the TB Vet Clinic. I have been an avid permie for decades and am hoping to connect with some other permaculture types during my stay in TB. I have a 100 acre permaculture farm in the establishment phases on Manitoulin Island, called Tree of Life Farm. I have owned this property  for almost 9 years now. This is my 3rd property that I have set up as a permaculture site. It has been much more challenging here than my previous experiences in southern ontario. I built a passive solar strawbale house with composting toilets and once I make enough money working out of town , I can finish the attached passive solar greenhouse with a climate battery, which is now just a foundation.

I have planted around 1,500 trees/shrubs of over 20 species and have 2 new fairly large hugel beds. Windbreaks are a priority as the wind is fierce here, with some damaging micro bursts every winter. Once I get to stay home and farm, I will be integrating more livestock into the system. This summer my adult kids and I raised 15 meat chickens ( Frey's slow growth breed) and slaughtered them ourselves as a learning experience.

Anyway, if you are near TB this winter, respond to this and maybe we can get together to share permie stories.
6 years ago