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Longsnowsm Hatfield

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since Feb 02, 2011
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Recent posts by Longsnowsm Hatfield

One of the things that prepping has forced me to do is to look at things in a longer term view. Look at the things that I have to purchase just to get a job done and wonder if there is a way to do this without being on the consumer treadmill and move in a local and sustainable way of living. This has had me thinking hard this year with my garden. I want to transition as much of my gardening to sustainable practices as much as possible. Even though I grow organically(raised garden beds), I find that I am still relying on products and inputs that I may not have access to long term. Which makes me wonder how our pioneering ancestors did this. For example this year I found myself battling bugs, powdery mildew, and various other garden issues that required inputs. I found myself buying Insecticidal soap, Neem oil, BT, and a copper solution. All these to try and control bugs, fungus etc. This has me rather concerned that post TSHTF that without access to these things that there is going to be some serious problems with being able to grow and harvest a crop.

So I am wondering what you guys are doing to forcus on sustainable gardening solutions. What methods have you employed to manage insect problems that doesn't require external products and inputs. It seems that many of these products could not be made locally. So this has me concerned. I would love to hear your feedback on how you are addressing this.

My thinking now is to focus more on companion plantings to help repel bugs where possible. I have started employing the squash the squash bug method for controlling those things. Any ideas and suggestions for sustainable gardening solutions would be great. I heard in a recent class I took on permaculture that by increasing the life in the soil and spraying compost teas on the plants that this also does something to help protect the plants. I have not tried that yet, but it is on my list of things to try. I would love to hear your feedback on this topic. Suggestions on alternatives to buying powdered limestone and powdered rock etc for my garden would be fantastic. Thanks.

Take Care,
Longsnowsm
The feedback has been great.  Reading on market gardening from the late 1800's where it was human or animal power does have me thinking about the proximity to towns and cities.  One book I was looking at seemed to indicate that you needed to be within 10-12 miles of the cities or desired marketplace if you were going to be able to make enough money to make it worthwhile. 

The question will be how big a town will be needed for a local farm economy to work.  I personally don't know that I want to be too close to the cities just because of the likely problems initially as the economy continues to seek a new normal.  Unlike the 1800's where they had not experienced huge population growth and dependence on a limited resource like fossil fuels so they didn't have to deal with what appears will be a hugely unsettling shift back to what will be likely a more sustainable limited resource base.  Limited fossil fuels and transportation will mean many of these cities cannot feed themselves and the initial phases of that stabilization could mean very difficult times lie ahead.  Of course much of that will depend on location, and natural resources and environment of those cities.  I currently live in a city in the high plains desert and I think that the cities here are not going to be a good place to be due to the natural environment cannot sustain a growing environment with conventional means.  My hope is that permaculture can make the impossible possible in this environment, but getting something wide spread quickly enough to feed all these people seems a stretch at this point.  I know people will adapt, so I guess we will see how this plays out.  I don't think we have to wait long before we see more of these effects become obvious in the economy.

So that has me looking at locations with a warmer more "growable" environment.  Water is high on my list.  If living in an area with lots of rainfall can we get by on rainwater catchment and not have to drill a well right away?  All things being considered money is a big factor so I have a very small limited budget for this land.  So this appears it will force me to decide on a piece of land that is rather small, but closer to a town, or a larger space that is back in the hills that has the natural resources on the property to be somewhat sustainable.  So I guess that is the challenge now.  Can we really make a sustainable food forest to include our animal companions on that small a space?  I don't know.  If we chose to be further out in the country are or will the roads continue to be passable so that we can get into town and the market place?  Lots to think about... Thanks for the input on already forested land vs mostly open pasture land. 

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
Since finding out about permaculture I cannot help but feel absolutely overwhelmed and amazed every time I see a forest now.  I mean I always thought the forest and trees were beautiful, but now it is so complex, diverse, and teaming with interactions and life that I cannot help myself but to feel a sense of awe, and amazement.  Maybe even a little teary eyed<oops guys don't say stuff like that>. 

What is your reaction now when you see a forest?  How have your perceptions changed?

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
If you were buying a small parcel of land today say 5-10 acres.  Would you prefer to start out with no trees and a clean slate?  Or a forested plot where you would have to make your own modifications for guilding, swales, water features etc? 

And if in buying this land what would be your ideal specs?  USDA cold hardiness zone?  Elevation? Precipitation?  I am looking for some food for thought and some exchange of ideas to help me decide some of the things I should be narrowing in on.  Right now I am gravitating toward TN, MO, AR region in my search in the hopes of buying a piece of land but I would love to hear what others would consider for their permaculture land purchase.

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
I think the more that I am looking at the space I have available that the walnut tree is likely not going to fit this postage stamp sized city lot and work for me.  I am thinking that I will probably just try the honey locust and mulberry trees with some dwarf or semi dwarf fruit trees.  Even that will be pretty crowded, but I think it might be doable.  My plan is evolving as I am out digging and working in the yard and as I am reading.  So as much as I would like to have a nut tree on the property I think I have to be realistic with the space I have available.  So I think I will use the locust and mulberry as my top story, the semi dwarf or dwarf fruit trees as the lower story, then layer bushes and berries under that starting from the downhill side of the property with the tallest and work up the hill with the shorter plants.  Now I think I need to figure out the layout, and the water needs for this.  Living in a desert kinda sucks! LOL

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
Thanks Ludi!  That is perfect.  How did you decide placement in your beds?  How did you decide the plant combinations?  I just started thumbing through the book Carrots Love Tomotoes today and I am blown away by all the info and combinations that are listed in this book.  So my head is swimming right now!  Awesome picture! 

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
I was thinking about the English Walnuts.  Your right the black walnuts are pretty messy.  The concern is it looks like I need to calculate a 30 foot canopy for a tree this size so that really makes the space tight by the time you add Black Locust, Mulberry and the start thinking about a apple or fruit guild... So I am wondering if I can realistically make a nut tree work on a small space.  Also I live in a high plains desert so it needs to be a nut tree that can handle this type of environment.  It looks like Walnut should be able to grow here, but I am concerned about the space needed to realistically have that guild, companions, and other fruit guilds I want.  So I was wondering what others hand done.

Thanks for the input on the Hazelnut.  I will have to check into that.

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
Thanks Ludi!  That makes perfect sense.  I didn't think about the settling issue.  I will have to make some minor adjustments to my tree planting! Thanks for the feedback.

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
I am looking at some of the tree guilds suggesting in Gaia's Garden.  I would love to be able to combine some fruit tree guilds with a Walnut guild.  However I live in suburbia on a typical city postage stamp.  Can I realistically fit a walnut guild with one or two apple or fruit tree guilds into a space like this?  What are your experiences with trying to fit trees of this size into this type of landscape once you start adding the companion trees and plants? 

Longsnowsm
6 years ago
I am looking at tree guilds for my landscape and I was thinking about how to promote moisture retention for the trees.  One of the things I was considering was to dig the hole for the tree a couple feet deeper than I need and line the bottom of the hole with branches, wood, leaf litter, and aged manure, then plant the tree on top of this bottom biosponge of material.  However I was just reading in Carrots Love Tomatoes and in the fruit tree section she says that you shouldn't put any kind of biomatter in the soil under/around the newly planted tree.  So I am curious what you guys think.  Do you think it would work to hugel your trees when you plant them? 

Longsnowsm
6 years ago