Josh Garbo

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since Jun 01, 2018
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forest garden fungi urban
Learning permaculture by doing... not always as quickly and efficiently as I'd like. Long-term interest in establishing Appalachian VA/NC farm and community.
Of Germanic/Hungarian descent, seeking to honor my ancestors through farming and caring for the Land. Inspired by European and North American indigenous spirituality.
Seeking to understand large-scale (50+ acre) silvopasture, tree cropping, agro-forestry, rotational grazing, cover cropping, earth-work construction, and animal management. Long-term goal is to convert large swaths of inexpensive/marginal Appalachian monoculture or scrub forest into highly productive and profitable eco-systems.
Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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Recent posts by Josh Garbo

What about blight-resistant hazelnuts as an understory addition to a fairly mature forest (dappled shade)?  I should also caveat that I don't have persistent access to this area and can't really irrigate, mulch, or fertilize.  I can take small amounts of the forest soil and do limited coppicing with hand tools.  So I'm sort of at the level of Native American permaculture (minus the fire).
1 week ago
I'm also in the market for native pollinators.  I have a small bee hotel mounted on a tree, but so far haven't seen any there.  Also tried drilling a lot of holes into a large stump.  Prefer a solution that's maintenance free.
1 week ago
I would set aside an area for the BL, as they will spread from the roots to form a grove.   This area would be separate from your vegetable beds, and could be a wood-lot for posts/firewood and pasture.  BL's lose their thorns as they grow, so may not help much with deer.  I've found that cutting one down produces about 10 little seedlings suckering up from the roots (and that is in partial shade!).
1 week ago
I know some folks who are doing commercial (small-scale) permaculture in Accomack, which is actually in DELMARVA.  They're at 100 ft elevation, have sandy soil with no rocks, ample ground water with free hand pumped wells, and enjoy zone 8 capabilities.  Bugs and summer temps can be an issue.  There's a lot of commercial ag out there, so you have to be mindful of that.

I've been around Williamsburg and VA Beach a little bit, and it seems a lot swampier and lower elevation.
1 week ago
Thanks, Dr R.  I plan on eventually learning how to graft, to cultivate more productive varieties on the established trees.  I'll put my chestnuts and apples in cleared areas with more light.

The state forestry should also have paw-paws, pears, and persimmons (better link:
2 weeks ago
I would not buy the property without observing at least one Spring with high rainfall.  Our creek floods several times/spring to the level the county claims is the "100-year mark."  That's because of new construction and higher rainfall.
2 weeks ago
I'm looking for fruit/nut tree recommendations that can grow in the understory (with mottled light) of a 40-year old piedmont second-growth forest in Virginian clay (mature oaks, mid-sized maples, poplars, hickories, beeches, sweetgum, hollies), ranging from wetland to rocky ridges over two acres.  I'm trying to coppice and hinge-cut small (under 6 inch diameter) trees for deer browse/cover and partial canopy opening; then I'd plant small trees, and eventually remove the mid-size non food trees or girdle them to create snags.  Of course, I wouldn't touch the mature Oaks or hickories.

Looking at Paw-Paws for wetland area, Chinese Chestnuts, and potentially Persimmons and wild plums.  Prefer planting cheap stuff from the VA state forestry (  I'd like to get bamboo established too, but that can be hard to do without access to irrigation and in the understory.
2 weeks ago
Will the Chicago figs thrive in zone 7a, potentially with some wind protection from a house wall or a blanket around the trunk?  Our recent polar vortex temporarily pushed temps down to 0F (-8F with wind chill).
2 weeks ago
Very cool.  I would definitely donate to this organization and try to get seeds/cuttings to plant!
2 weeks ago
I believe stumps need to be dead (no shoots growing) for mushroom inoculation to work.  This seems to take at least a year after tree removal, cutting off the new shoots that try to grow.  I've also drilled into tall stumps to try to create mason bee habitat.  The tree service left 20 feet of one tree intact, girdled, to rot for the woodpeckers.  Per Dr. Redhawk, you can also just drill holes into a stump for natural inoculation.

Your pollarded trees could be used for living bird-house posts, hammock support, and/or vine trellising.  Or slack-line. :)
3 weeks ago