christopher Sommers

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since Nov 02, 2017
Hello I am The Other Millennial on YouTube and Instagram. I have transformed two shipping containers into a tiny house on my off grid evolving farmstead. My property is also being transformed into a large scale permaculture food forest. My drive and passion is to create a far reaching community that focuses on the beauty, uniqueness, diversity, and importance of our continents most enduring region- Appalachia. For too long this region has been forgotten and neglected. I am here to connect with others whose passion is to change lives on food forest at a time. Join me and lets get growing!
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Recent posts by christopher Sommers

Michelle- Perfect, I will check them out. I've spent months looking online trying to find it and I actually think it may be in Bill Mollison's book but since its hundreds of pages long it's going to take a little while to look through it. If I find it, I'll post the link or information here. Thanks for the other advice on moisture and shade. Most of the ones I could find (and afford) are semi-dwarf. This works because it's on a hill so having easier harvest access with them closer to the ground will be beneficial. I keep thinking that frost would be an issue but since this will be a mixed planting (and this south slope is the area that I had cleared), apple, peach, pear, berry, and other fruits will be in various spots within the "orchard" and so frost would not destroy all of the fruiting cultivars and varieties. Either way, this is a larger property with a diversity of species so I am taking what Ben Faulk had to say in his awesome book The Resilient Farm & Homestead to heart and keeping everything as simple and straightforward as possible. I would love to have guilds of 6+ species around a fruit tree but the maintenance of the species over time makes things very complicated when it is across the landscape.

Clinton- Sure seems like there is always some awful imported species that wants to destroy all of our native species. Sets me nuts and breaks my heart. In addition to butternut canker disease, there is the expanding thousand canker disease killing black walnuts. In regards to butternut, planting what you can to see if you have any that are inherently disease resistant would be cool. Sure it's a long shot but genetics are so cool so you never know! There is a protected reservoir near me that I walk often and have found some butternuts. We are way east of the USDA accepted a range of butternuts so its neat to find species like this. anyway, Ive been collecting and growing their seeds out too. Who knows, maybe they have some resilience?
1 year ago
I also wanted to ask you all about my food forest design with fruit, nut, and berry plants below my house. I placed my home site on a south-facing knoll. Below the house, I am going to be planting semi-dwarf fruit trees, hazels, and berries. My question is about the layout.

Should I plant early maturing fruit plants down the slope with the later maturing fruits upslope closer to the house? I cannot find the article, but I swore I read that a person(s) suggested this in case you would like to have chicken or duck tractors clean up fallen fruit. If the early maturing fruit was at the top of the hill and the poultry came through, their droppings would, in theory, wash downhill onto later maturing fallen fruit, contaminating them. So as the fruit matures, having the poultry tractors move upslope in unison with produce maturing would keep contamination low. What do you think about this concept and subsequent design?

I also want to add that I am planting the fruits and nuts according to the season maturity times so for example in row two all the produce ripens in July and in row three all ripen in August. This makes harvesting straightforward and so much simpler than walking all over trying to see what is ripe or not. In the future, I do want to have chickens and maybe ducks go through.

This will be a mixed planting, so this means that each row will be a mix of species but my focus is on ripening times.

Thanks for any opinions you could lend and would be even better if you had experience with this situation.

1 year ago
Excellent work Clinton! In regards to your butternuts, do you see any issues with butternut canker disease in your part of the range? They have been hit hard in the central part and is expanding.

1 year ago
Hey everyone, how are you all keeping warm this winter? Hows your plantings and work going as well?
1 year ago
@ Wyatt & Faye,
I am searching online for native species of bidens and sida. Right now I have 6 tabs open for native bidens HAHA! Prairie Moon Nursery has a nice variety of seeds available. Now sida is not as easy although I did find a native side-Sida hermaphrodita that is endangered (more incentive to grow it) so my question is this. For these two species would it be irresponsible to say that they all can be used for lymes or can I suspect that most of these species will work, it's just that certain ones have been tested for their medicinal qualities while others have not? It does appear I can grow the traditional sida here for the summer in PA and just make tincture come fall. Bidens is annual anyway so I would do the same for it once I can narrow down to the proper species that have shown the most potency for lymes. Thanks for the help guys, much appreciated!
1 year ago
Just a general post, but I have been working on my edible plant website- appalachiatreecrops.com diligently. Posting my progress on here helps keep me in check to make sure I am accomplishing what I set out to do LOL! After listening to Rob Avis Javan B. on their youtube channels I was able to really get the site narrowed down to what my niche and goals are. If you want feel free to check it out and let me know what you all think about and what ways could I improve? My story of growing up in a mentally abusive household is never meant to be for a "pitty-party", my goal is to bring light to it and help inspire you all who may have had similar circumstances to get back up and keep on growing in your passions and goals. Javan said if you do not have a plan for your life, someone else will plan it for you, and NOT have your best interest in mind. That is so simple yet profound in its truth. Stay warm everyone and talk to you soon!
1 year ago
@Kathy,
your story really hits home at your dedication and encouragement to keep on going! Like others mentioned, I bet that if you put your wonderful story out there, that there would be young people more than happy to work on some land and help you out by default. Please post your story again and make a thread for it so your story can get out. I really admire you for following your dreams at a more self-sufficient life. Having a widowed mother, I understand where you are coming from. I wonder if you could reach out to bigger named permaculture/ regenerative land designers in the Asheville area to talk with them on the possibilities. I mention big named permaculturalists like Justin Rhodes so that the chances of someone showing up and possibly taking advantage of your property and goals doesn't happen. I hope you find some good people to help and want to encourage you to keep at doing what you love, one step at a time!
1 year ago
@Faye thank you for all the amazing info too! Having insight that you and wyatt bring to this discussion is great! Like you, I will be growing out the plants you mention to have and make tinctures from. There are so many ticks around that its just common sense to know ahead of time what to be taking. Speaking of invasives, have you found any use for oriental bittersweet or japanese honeysuckle? Do you know of any work into japanese stiltgrass? Those are some big invasives in western pa so I was just wondering. Your advice on poke was very helpful for that hands on experience of taking it. Thank you for that. Nettles are excellent, I wil have to source some seeds- hopefully, I can source some local types for added toughness. Thanks again for all your advice!
1 year ago
Hi Wyatt, sorry for the delayed reply to all your amazing advice! I'm excited for you to be growing so many medicinal plants and making some kick butt medicines. Tinctures are my favorite bc for me they are "fairly" straightforward and simple. Thank you so much for all of the great information you gave. I am taking your advice and will start growing those plants out come spring. The seeds might be a good idea for a stocking stuffer come Christmas! Speaking of ginseng, I did buy a bunch of seed from a farm in maryland near me which germinated and planted out this fall. I am looking for panex seeds and amazon has some but good luck on the quality of those seeds right! LOL Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing bidens growing so we will track them down and grow them along with sida. There is probably a native sida to grow up here so we can always try.
Your property sounds like a total eden with all those herbs and edibles! Are you able to plant things in florida to have the best of both worlds for medicine production? Really neat you are doing that and such a valuable practice to get into and excel at. Keep it up.
In regards to poke, your in-depth breakdown is much appreciated. I have read that it is so evil and potent that just the mention of it would bring death to you but your words brought much-needed clarity. It grows abundantly around the tiny house so knowing what can be done with it is a bonus.
How is your time in florida going? Cold up here so enjoy!
1 year ago
Really great to see so many other amazing people in the Appalachia region making food forests and working toward a better future for yourselves! Keep up the great work everyone! It is also great to see you guys and gals working on the economics of starting your own business in selling plants, medicine, and knowledge- we need more of this. I'm 29 and I'm finally getting off my a$$ and making my life better and brighter too. It's so nice to be able to connect with you all in sharing what we are doing. This does help people like me to continue in permaculture and creating a resilient life.

In terms of livestock and poultry, what breeds have worked well for you all? It will be a few more years until I start raising my own, but would like to start now in learning more about the breeds and techniques that have worked and what has not. There is a wonderful heritage pig farm near me and I would like to try my hand at raising two pigs in a few years.

As the temps are 10-15 degrees colder than the low-lands, it's a good experience going through my first winter in the shipping container tiny house and testing out the cubic mini wood stove!

Just as some of you guys have begun your own small business, I have started a plant nursery too. I have finally followed my passions in plant cultivation and education and created AppalachiaTreeCrops.com. Its small but I will grow it. I hope you guys also continue in your plant nurseries because we need to be ready and offer as many people as possible a better way of living than what they have been taught. One of my biggest reasons for the nursery is to help preserve our beautiful Appalachia forests from exploitation by government and companies. Appalachia is the greatest treasure I know both in terms of its people and biodiversity so, in order to see the change, we have to be the change.
1 year ago