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Lisa Stauber

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since Jul 31, 2013
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Recent posts by Lisa Stauber

Starting a food forest from scratch on 1/4 acre in Zone 9 (Houston). We've lived here for 18 months and have had 3 major floods in the yard.

Need help and suggestions to mitigate flooding (that will be HOA ok), and plants I can plant in the low spots that tolerate occasional flooding AND heat (100 degree+) weather for several weeks of the year.

Also for your reference - blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, tangelo, hydrangea, basil, rosemary, passionfruit, and avocado do not tolerate being underwater (thus, starting from scratch. Well, my 2 Flame Seedless grapes survived, though they aren't thriving.)

ANY thoughts, suggestions, or random commentary welcome

Notes:
I am on a corner with a stop sign, so the areas that flood the most often must be kept at 24" or below in height. My yard faces south (front yard) west (side yard) and north (back yard.) My eastern facing portion is heavily shaded. I have a lot of shade from non-food trees in the front that will remain (not cutting down the 40 year old oak!)
2 years ago
Semi-related, but when planning a pond ecosystem, are there any plants I can put in that will crowd cattails OUT? I am severely allergic to them (anaphylactic/hives upon contact, even with the floating fluff) and don't want any cattails at all. What I can I plant that will prophylacticly keep cattails from establishing?
6 years ago
Mint- medicinal and food (it takes a LOT more than a lawn mower to get rid of mint- be careful, invasive!)
Horehound - medicinal (related to mint), had flowers.
Purslane - food (grows below the 3" line and is durable enough to be walked on), small yellow flowers
Dandelion - food, bees.
6 years ago
I live in zone 9, in an area that has sheeting rains (occasionally), 100+ degree heat (4 months out of the year) and fairly high humidity.

I have an area right next to my house, on the west side (full sun), that is very boggy. The issue is, my air conditioner dehumidifier drips from the roof (!) onto this ground, creating a 2x4' approximately area of very soggy soil. I put a Rubbermaid bin under to catch the drip, and use that to water my garden. It collects 5+ gallon a DAY just from dripping. I can't install anything to redirect this water (i.e., gutter to a rain barrel, etc.)

I ran across some ideas for bog gardens on some gardening forums, and that looks very interesting and something I would like to try. I am a tenant/renter in this house for a few more months, so I cannot install a costly or large scale project, but I was thinking I could perhaps use containers or frame out an inexpensive raised bed in this area (grass doesn't grow here, too wet, it's just a mud hole under my back windows!)

So, I thought I'd ask you guys about good plants to grow in boggy, subtropical conditions! The bog gardens I am coming across in my searches are mostly ornamental or used as biofilters for koi or natural swimming pools.

I really like the idea of putting in some "fun" plants like venus fly traps, but that requires quite acidic soil which I think will make it hard to make a "bog guild"- though goodness knows we can use all the help we can get with bugs around here.

I want something USEFUL. Edible, medicinal, etc. I am really, really allergic to cattails.

What can I eat, that will grow with a constant influx of water and tolerate the heat and full sun? Need some ideas- especially if you've actually grown them/done this instead of "theoreticals"!
6 years ago
Thank you. I have read books on permaculture but suspected I hadn't read the RIGHT books on permaculture re: starting from scratch.

Any suggestions of resources, websites, YouTubes, etc. are much appreciated.

Our topo map is almost a blank piece of paper, lol. No creeks on the property, mostly flat and wooded with pine and cypress. Road on the south and NW borders.
6 years ago
I've been interested in permaculture for a while, even though we rent a place in the city. We've been actively looking for a place for months. I've been container gardening (so we can take it with us) but not done any infrastructure where I live (because we are tenants with an HOA.)

Now we are close to moving to a property and suddenly I'm overwhelmed. WHERE to start?

I know PIECES of what I want. I have a list of trees and varieties that will do well in my area and what we want to grow (though I don't know every species for every guild yet). I know what herbs and medicines I want (I'm into herbal medicine). I know what kind of livestock (poultry) we want, what varieties, how we will keep them. I know we want to create a pond, how big we want it, what plants to put around it, what to stock it with, and have watched a ton of videos and read a ton of articles about how to create it. I know how I want to try water management and I know what kind of rain catchment we're going to try out first. I've lived in this geographical area for a few years, I know the weather patterns, I know what natural disasters I should plan for, I know what a normal summer and a brutal summer and an unusually cold summer all look like. I know all these detailed pieces.

But now I'm looking at 5 acres of wooded land (some of which will need to be cleared) and- HOW to I pull all of these pieces into a grand plan? How do I know which trees to cut down? How do I plan this integrated codependent food forest from scratch? How do I go about deciding that the pond goes HERE and we'll leave this area for a future dairy cow THERE and the orchard will be HERE?

I love looking at the plans people post of their permaculture gardens, I just don't know how to make one when faced with a blank piece of paper. Our land does have a home on it (doublewide) and I do know we will be adding structures to it (an office/schoolroom/guesthouse building, a shed at first.) Especially knowing that soil amendment, and waiting for fruit/nut trees to mature can take years... which means I have to get it right from the start so we can begin right away.
6 years ago