Marie Legein

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since Jun 19, 2016
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Recent posts by Marie Legein


Annybody has experience with growing siberian pea shrub (Caragana aborescens) in hot climates? I would like to grow it in central portugal. The summers are hot and dry up to 35°C and the winters are wet and mild. They will get some irrigation in summer because we planted them as nurse trees.

1 year ago
There are so manny varieties of bamboo, that i do not know what too choose. I will describe the site and what we want and maybe a bamboo expert can help us to the right species.
- central portugal, USDA zone 9. The summers get really hot and dry (30-40 C). We can get a few frosts during winter to -2C.
- the soil is heavy and clay-ish, poor drainage. The soil gets boggy in winter and becomes verry hard in summer. We would like to create a lake in that area so it would be possible to keep the soil moist troughout the year.
- edible and tasty bamboo.
- We do not want to install a root barrier. It can be spreading or clumping, as long it can be controlled by eating enough shoots.
- We are not so picky about the size, can be giant or small, but higher then 2m.

Somebody knows the perfect bamboo?
1 year ago
Hi, I have a few questions about composting.
1. Hot composting: the temperature increases and this is good to kill pathogens, but doesn't it also kill other beneficial microorganisms? So this is what I think, but is it correct (?): during the hot stage of the compost the material breaks down because of the Heath and the thermofilic micro organisms and the pathogens (T sensitive) are killed, when compost cools off the mesofilic microorganisms that break down organic material come back (and not the pathogens because they prefer different conditions).

2. I hear often not to put in orange and onion peels in the compost. Is it OK to put these in a humanure hot composting heap or will they stop the process? We will have quite a lot of orange peels, is there anything else to do with them?

3. Can you compost sick plant material? The plant pathogens may also die during the hot stage but they might comeback after because these plant pathogens probably like decomposing plant material? Right?
1 year ago
Hi, thanks for your clear answer on different natural fibers! I will keep an eye open for natural fibers in the second hand stores
Hi, thanks for your interesting answer! It makes more sense using original plants than woven material, but I just didn't think about that option before. We have only one palm and i dont think it grows fast enough in our climate. But we do have a lot of eucalyptus around, their leaves keep hanging on the branches for a long time so i could use those. The vine option is also verry interesting. I guess a living deciduous vine that leaves trough light in winter and shades in summer is also possible
Hi, shade cloth can be verry useful but unfortunately it is often (always?) made of some sort of plastic. I know these are cheap and quite durable and do not degrade verry fast, but eventually they will degrade and then you end up with plastic in the garden, and having to buy new.
What natural fiber is the most Uv resistant, lets trough enough sunlight and is not super expensive? I would use it in the summer in central Portugal, if the cloth is stretched out (good air circulation) an does not touch the ground I do not think mold would be a big problem.
I understand all the benefits of covercrops, but is grass (just wild grass growing naturally) good as a cover crop?
If I read instructions for planting fruit trees, they always say to keep the grass away from the tree. Is there something special about grass or does this apply to all cover crops? Should I use mulch around young trees in stead of cover crops?

A lot of instructions say that you should keep the grass away, also around mature trees (e.g. with mulch), because grass competes for nutrients. But if I dont mow the grass, or mow and leave the grass on place to compost, the nutrients will be recycled in the soil, right? So no or maybe a little competition, but also a lot of benefits, right?

So what is so bad about grass and what is better about other cover crops?

My land is in Portugal and it is covered in wild grasses, with fruit trees, grape vines and olive trees in it. I like this natural cover crop, but should I plant some special cover crops around the trees? And what about young trees?

2 years ago

Thank you so much for the very useful information! We Will definitely use your knowledge on starting a food forest in this climate.
We are going to start this adventure step by step and however self-sufficiency is the goal, this might take a long time ar might never be achieved. We will slowly see how primitive we want to be but it will be a transition that takes time.Next week 22-30 Aug) we will be in the area so if you agree we cwould maybe visit and see how you live?

Marie and William
2 years ago

Me and my partner are planning to go to Portugal and try to live as sustainable as possible, in harmony with nature, for the beter of the planet and forward ourselves.

The description of your philosophy is very nice and is very close to ours.

We were wondering how you are doing?

We are planning on buying land in Portugal but since all of this is new to us, it would be nice if we can learn somewhere first. Plus it would be nice to be around people with the same mind set.

I can tell you much more about us if you want but now I just wanted to know if you are still around and reachable
2 years ago
Hi all,

Me and my partner are also looking for some land in portugal. We want to create a place that is as self sustaining as possible, close to nature, to escape the modern city-life.

We would love to be around a community with like-minded people, so maybe we can start looking in your area. We are planning to visit portugal in the winter/fall to look at some of our favorite properties and to meet people who have done this so we can learn from you.

For now our criteria for the place are: in a nice hilly/mountainious region, ideally if terraces are allready made, walking distance from a village, having some likeminded people around, good acces to our land, water source, a river or well or both, electricity (but we plan on using it only in the beginning and using less and less). Are we forgetting something important?

We also want to learn more about what crops and plants work well in the portuguese climate. And where do you get the seeds from? Also if you have problems with drougt?

We are thinking of living in a jurt in the beginning and slowly renovating a ruin so that in the future we could have volunteers and friends staying.

2 years ago