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Rebecca Lavallee

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since Mar 17, 2017
Hi! My husband and I just bought 5 acres of land in France...we want to farm but ack! we do not know that much about it. We are thinking about market gardening but would also consider permaculture orchard. I would love to glean advice about what to do with the property in the next 3 years or so because we will not be able to live there permenenetly until then.
Charente, France
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Recent posts by Rebecca Lavallee

My place is in France, growing zone 9b

I have a large courtyard defined by  light-stone buildings. My half of the courtyard space is about 1/4 of an acre,

The area slopes south/southeast, is in full sun for most of the day, should be protected from the northerly winds, and should get some warmth off the sun hitting the stone walls.

I REALLY want lemon tree. Any chance a it would survive the winter? Other citrus?

I would love for people to share their experience with growing citrus successfully (or not) in temperate areas.

7 months ago

My husband and I have 5 acres in France, mostly grassland, on which we will not live permanently for another 2-3 years. In the meantime we plan on visiting it only 1-2 times a year.

My husband will be visiting this fall, which could be a good time to plants some bare root trees (fruit and nut) and shrubs(hedgerow and berries) since they will be well watered by winter and spring rains.  We thought he might plant up the "super guild" with the walnut and apple trees described in Gaia's garden book since we already a mature walnut tree. If we mulch the baby trees well,  could this be okay,  or are we wasting out time and money? ...they will be ignored until at least late spring.

How about now in summer: could I plant potted trees if I cannot water them after mid-August but mulch them really well?? The next time they would be checked would be October/November.

Other suggestions of we might plant that will survive our neglect?? We are anxious to get things started but it is really hard if we do not live there!

Thanks for any advice.
7 months ago
I am glad to see this post thread about rocky soil.

My husband and I just purchased a 5 acre property in France with very rocky soil. The whole region is rocky, but the land is obviously fertile as lots of crops ( sunflowers, corn, wheat etc) being grown.

We are not going to be moving on the the farm for a few years but want to at least improve/prepare the soil when we spend a few months here now and then. I have planted a grape vine and a few other perennials, shrubs etc, mostly to get a feel for the soil, see how things grow. I am happy to say plant are doing well at this point, so there is something good i the soil . Thatsaid I think I have seen two worms in all my digging!. Just that bit of planting was a lot of work: for every plant we put in the ground we removed an incredible amount of rock--I am surprised to find any soil in between sometimes! I used some of these as mulch but mostly we just removed them to make a pile for possible future use.

I have an area of about 900 m2 for a kitchen garden. It is currently covered in grass and weeds a few trees. Initially I thought of doing a compost/cardboard/mulch treatment, but after reading and listening to all sorts of opinions, and realizing I am not ever likely to be able to get a broad fork or shovel into the soil because of the rocks, that perhaps digging through it once to remove the bigger rocks ONCE and them building up the soil would be a better option.

My husband are also thinking of getting a complete profile of the soil. However this is expensive--the testers come to the property to dig a pit etc etc. Since we are not  that young, we want to get things started up right--we do not want to experiment and tweak too much, but start things up as best we can right from the start. Has anyone ever done this kind of analysis? Did you find it useful?

I would a appreciate more ideas and thoughts. Thanks in advance.

8 months ago
Thank you Marcus

I am hoping we could make some use of the cedar but the prospect of lumbering and storing the wood seems daunting. In any event we will probably have to pay for tree removal of at least two of the trees.

I have the video Beyond Organic Orchard from a farmer in Quebec  but I have not seen the Permaculture Orchard. I will check it out. No matter what I view or read on the subject, pruning a fruit tree feels like a mystery. I think I will cut too much and the the wrong branch.
8 months ago
Hi All,

My husband and I just purchased a 5 acre property in southwest France. The previous owners were obviously in love with pine and cedars.  Many of them are planted too close together on the east or south side of the property, and as such shade each other, shade either the south side of our house or prime flat gardening space. My impulse is to cut most of them down...what a shame to cut down a tree,, even a cedar.

Mostly I want to cut down the huge cedars that shade the house on the south side of the house, right on the spot we probably with place the greenhouse.Also, along two driveways/small roads along two side of our property lined with several kids of pines/cedars, we are thinking of thinning them out considerably, leaving only about  So suggestions, caveats, and so on before we reach for a chainsaw would be appreciated.

We have a long neglected English walnut tree (I am pretty sure that is what it is) but I am not 100% sure as there are no nuts on it this year. I speculate that it might be a combination of a rather large ivy growing all over it, a late frost this spring, and being planted in the shade of two trees blocking out some morning sun. Is that possible? In any event we have removed the ivy, thinned out the two shading trees ( we will cut down eventually) and  pruned most of the dead branches. I really would like to bring this tree back to full health but do not really know how. I would appreciate advice/pointing me in the right direction.

What is the best resource for pruning fruit trees? We have 3 cherry, a prune, a pear and a few unknown as they have no fruit this year.

Any sage advice on any of my issues appreciated. Thanks for your time in answering!
8 months ago