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Lindsay Dunn

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since May 02, 2014
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Recent posts by Lindsay Dunn

We have a young permaculture orchard, which was mulched with composted hay around each tree last year. However, the quackgrass and agrimony have grown up so tall around each tree this summer, through the mulch, you can hardly see them :-/ Not to mention, we have a yellow jacket hive IN one of the mulch piles, making it impossible to get near that tree. I've watched Stefan's Permaculture Orchard more times than I can count and after reading his responses on this forum post, I'm strongly considering getting black plastic mulch to lay down next spring.

My question is: how would I lay down the plastic around the trees/shrubs/horseradish that's already growing? Cut a slit all the way to the outside edge and slide it around the tree base? It seems like that slit would be constantly blowing open in the wind and letting grass grow through it. It also probably doesn't help that some of the shrubs were planted offset of the line of trees, the idea being they will hopefully get more sunlight; so it won't be as simple as running two strips of black plastic down, with them meeting/overlapping in the middle around each tree. Our local Menard's also has an 8 mil, UV stabilized sheeting that comes in 8' wide rolls, so we could, mathematically, just run one strip down each row of trees.
3 years ago
Does anyone have any images/layouts of a fruit tree guild that incorporates raspberries/blackberries/currants? If I do plant the currants under the trees (instead of on the north side of my vegetable garden like I was planning), where would be the best place? Kyrt, you said on the edges - do you mean the edges of the whole orchard (the far east side or the far west side) or the edges of each row? Should I space my rows out even further than I was planning for more light?
3 years ago
This is really starting to get off-topic - I just wanted some feedback on my layout.

Most of the trees I'm getting are coming from my county's Conservation District Tree Sale that they do every spring; it's super cheap and they have a great selection of plants that are known to be hardy in our area. They don't offer persimmons though Maybe I won't put those in this year, when I'm already investing so much into the orchard, but if they are hardy to Z5, I might try them down the road.

I was planning on having raspberries, blackberries and currants in a permanent location at the north side of my vegetable garden, but I could always put a few of those in the orchard as well. Permaculture is new to me and I still can't shake the idea of a traditional vegetable garden, but maybe down the road I'll start incorporating more and more of my veggies in the orchard and see how they do. If I put any rasp/blackberries or currants in the orchard, where is a good place for them? Anything I should keep in mind?
3 years ago
Kyrt - how do you mean?
3 years ago
Thanks Kyrt - I can't find any information for localized areas with a fire blight problem, so I'm not sure if it's a problem in my area. I am located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and I did see that southern MI has had some issues. I've tried to get a range of cultivars (especially apples), so that at least most are somewhat resistant to disease.

For apples, we are getting (with general disease susceptibility in parenthesis): Golden Russet (average), Roxbury Russet (average, very resistant to fire blight), Akane (good, some resistance to fb), Sansa (good), Ashmead's Kernal (good), Haralson (resistant to fb), Duchess of Oldenburg (good), St. Edmund's Russet (good), and I'm going to try one Arkansas Black (good, some resistance to fb). Pears: Early gold (very resistant to fb), Golden Spice (very resistant to fb), and Ure (fb resistant). Cherries: Montmorency.

Persimmons are a good idea though Do you know of a source for them?
3 years ago
Thanks! I just read about all the uses for sea buckthorn, and it sounds awesome! I'll definitely get some seeds. I know you need males and females for fruit production so - how can you tell them apart when they are seedlings, and do males fix nitrogen just as much as the females? (As a side note, we're getting a bunch of chicks and keets this spring too, and I'd like to start planting things that they can forage for in the winter... sea buckthorn will work well there too!)

Has anyone grown sea buckthorn from seeds, and know of a good source for seeds?
3 years ago
My husband and I bought a house this fall, in the Great Lakes region, Z5b, and we're eager to put in an orchard as soon as possible (just for home/family use, not to sell). There's a great spot to the west of the house, just over an acre, that gets full sun, basically flat (though there's a steep slope just to the north down to a river) and is sheltered from prevailing winds by a windbreak of mature pines. Our soil is cobbly sandy loam. I watched The Permaculture Orchard with Stefan Sobkowiak, and it inspired me to try a permaculture orchard. The video gave me a lot of ideas for layout, but permaculture is very new to me, so I was hoping I could get some other people's ideas and opinions, to see if I'm anywhere near the right track! I reached out to our local extension office, but they guy who emailed me back was definitely approaching this from a commercial standpoint (talking a lot about spraying) and that's far from what we want. We're not too worried about high yields or perfect fruit - it's just for us and most of it will get canned or jammed.

We'd like to plant: chestnuts, hawthorn, standard apples, semi-dwarf apples, pears, cherries, hazelnuts, plums, elderberries, highbush blueberries and strawberries. We'll plant a cover crop of New Zealand white clover (and maybe lupines) for nitrogen, though as the trees get bigger, I'd like to try growing groundnuts too. Other plants we'd eventually want to incorporate include: comfrey, rhubarb, garlic, nannyberry and spicebush. Deer is a huge problem in our area, so we'll fence the whole thing in with an electrified slanted deer fence.

Since the trees we'd like to plant vary in height so much, my idea was to put the tallest trees to the north in rows that run N-S, but alternate species/cultivars so that there's some distance between the same ones. Hazelnut and elderberry could (I think) be planted near/under the taller trees. I've attached a preliminary layout that I mocked up, labeling two of the rows but the others are just more of the same. Right now I've allotted 25 feet between rows and 20 feet between large trees (hawthorn, apple, pear, cherry) within the rows. Total space is about 150' x 150', taking up only about half our space, which leaves us room if we want to add on down the road.

Anyway, I'd love to hear any thoughts, advice, tips, concerns, questions or words of warning wisdom anyone has! Does this layout look ok? How could it be improved? Thanks!
3 years ago
The Upper Peninsula! And while the climate has it's drawbacks this far north, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else
Sadly, she changed her mind She ended up giving it to her son, who I guess expressed interest in it at the last second. So I'm still on the hunt, for either vacant land or a small farm; no luck so far.

Thanks everyone!
Thanks! The road itself goes right to the southwest corner of the property, you can see a kind of turnaround in the picture - the west neighbors driveway is off of that and it's plowed to that point by the county. We would only be responsible for our own driveway, which depending on where the house were would be 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

Around here, property generally goes for around $1,000 - $1,500 an acre. This piece of land is not currently on the market, it's owned by a friend of my grandmother's who mentioned she was thinking of selling, since she now spends most of her time in Texas and only spends summers up here at her house which is located a couple miles away. So I'm not sure how much she will ask for when approached, but I planned on discussing it with her once she's in town for the summer. Believe it or not, spring just arrived here! I didn't want to approach her, tell her I was interested, and then discover there's no good location for a house or any other large concerns. I'm sure she'll be here by Memorial Day, so we'll find out then if she's serious about selling and what number she has in mind!