Natasha Bailey

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since Feb 17, 2013
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Recent posts by Natasha Bailey

What are some good plants for erosion control for a sloped hillside? The main area is for right above a rainwater ditch and it is newly dug and is washing out constantly. We know we need to plant it but just not sure what to choose. We are zone 8 Northern California. Slope faces South and South West mostly. I've done searches and have some info on vetiver, clovers... looking for more ideas and experience please
5 years ago

Alder Burns wrote:Look up Cathe Fish, in Rough and Ready (near Grass Valley/Nevada City), or Stephanie Ladwig Cooper in Chico.....
I'd be tempted to take this on myself, but I'm still a newbie here in CA and don't even have my own 1 1/2 acres fully designed out yet!



Thank you! Will go look them up!
5 years ago
Looking for some consultation and design help for our 20 acres in Northern California- located in Greenwood Ca.

We are working on designing a food forest, ponds, swales, livestock integration, and more.

Thank you!
5 years ago

Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Natasha - this definitely needs a picture! Can you post one here? I am going to try!

Other useful information would be:
--average rainfall/precipitation - 39"
--types of soils and soil pH (going to guess a little on the alkaline side because you sound like you're in a dryland)
--how large the property is - 20 acres
--a little better idea of where you are in NorCal as there are so very many microclimates in that area - Greenwood, Ca
--do you know what your Koppen classification is? If I had to hazard a guess I'd say you were probably in the Mediterranean classification? Hard to know without more information. - Csb, though looks like we are close to the border for Csa

If you are in a Mediterranean climate (wet winters, dry summers) and you are that hot, as Geoff Lawton would say "It's all about anti-evaporation strategies". What does this mean? Expose as little surface area to the sun as possible. Shade - from trees, mulch, shade cloth - whatever - is your FRIEND. Here in Phoenix, we use sunken beds as opposed to raised beds in order to both harvest rainwater and to use the mass of the earth to moderate our temps and create a cooler microclimate. Sunken beds also naturally attract nutrient drop from winds. Beware anything above ground where you are exposing MORE earth to the sun, heat and extreme evaporation. I don't do traditional hugels because they just dry out and desiccate here. However, I have tossed branches into the bottom of my sunken beds before and that worked fine. In hot, dry climates, things will mummify/desiccate before they will decompose. Decomposition requires water.

Anyway - help us out with some more info and a pic! Sounds like you have an interesting property.



I answered some questions in red above. Hoping that will help. I'm working on how to upload a pic on here that will actually help. I have a parcel map but it doesn't have much info on it so I can draw our plan onto that...
5 years ago
Hello! We are working on our plan for our garden area and I'm needing some help... First off - we live in Northern California, zone 8A, maybe a few storms of snow each year but not much. We are in an area where the summers are hot and dry (110* during the summer is reached for about 30 days, otherwise high 90-100). We need to save water, for fire emergencies, for regenerating the land, for food growth, etc. There is a pond (rain fed, and seasonally spring fed) in the property across the road from us and we would love to have a pond as well. We are looking to put in hugelkultur beds and a pond in this area - the swales would snake back and forth down a hill to the pond with the hugels on the side and below the pond. There is naturally a bit of a bowl in the land and we figured it would be a good place to put a pond (a few other higher places on the property for ponds later on). We have loads of trees downed already (done by the prior owners) and would love to put them to use.

So questions are - which direction do the hugel beds need to run? And should we put them all in ground or above ground? I'm thinking 1/3 down and 2/3 above ground but also wondering if in our hot dry summers that won't be enough water retention. I don't know how to give more information other than google earth? The slope is from east down to west on this hill. The swales will go on the eastern most corner of the plot (running north to south with the contour of the hillside) then the slope gets less as it goes down to the spot for the pond, hugel beds here on the south side of the pond and swales, with fruit trees planted around the swales, then to the west of the pond would be larger area for several hugel beds - the land at the western most point, where the majority of the hugel beds will be, is the most level area, also the furthest from pumped water so these would rely on water fed from the pond.

Was that a mess of an explanation? Hoping it's enough to get some direction and help. Any thoughts and feedback is appreciated!
5 years ago
It seems like there are stories for all parts of the spectrum on whether or not the black locust is poisonous to livestock, people, gardens.... And people say its amazing for so many purposes and plant it around livestock, use as fodder, eat it themselves, others say it kills everything.... consensus? Thoughts?
5 years ago

Leila Rich wrote:Natasha, unless I wasn't searching right, there's not much in the way of Guinea/chicken threads.
Here's one that talks about Guineas bullying.



Hmm... have you (or anyone on here) tried putting them together. Just wondering if there's experience on this.
5 years ago

Natasha Bailey wrote:Do they mix? We want the chickens to mostly free range (thinking about getting a temporary/movable fence to transport them around within borders...not sure what kind of fencing for that, need to research), we have 12 (no rooster because we've been in an urban environment so haven't been able to keep the roos, so need to introduce one to our flock, I digress). So we would love to bring guinea fowl in (frankly I'd rather have pea fowl, but it seems guineas are far superior at keeping the bug population down), but can they co-mingle and free range together? Would there be issues with parasite/worms/etc or aggression? Should I introduce them as keets or could I even put a few keets under our broody hen (she's a wyandotte if it matters)??



I'm sure there's a thread already on this and that's why no one is commenting? Anybody care to link me to it?
5 years ago
So is that more of a goat diet then? It definitely sounds like goats prefer the dry munchies versus sheep who prefer grazing on lush grass. Ok... goats are seeming to be the answer.... Now for which BREED??