Andrew Hebard

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since Mar 03, 2011
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Recent posts by Andrew Hebard

I live in southwest ohio and we have a clay based soil with limestone bedrock. Great for corn, but not so good for some nut trees (like Chestnuts). Black walnut trees and shagbark hickory grow wild here, but I was wondering if I would have any luck with hazelnuts, pine nuts, and/or pecans (or perhaps hicans) with this kind of soil. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am particularly interested in hazelnuts since I can use them as an understory bush and because they start producing relatively quickly.
9 years ago
I was thinking of putting in some permanent two-foot-high raised beds near my house and was planning to use brick over a concrete footer. Reading through this thread, it seems that the jury is still out on concrete. Just curious if anyone has any suggestions for an alternative way of building a permanent (and attractive) raised bed.
9 years ago
I am i a similar situation with an old field that is on degraded farmland.  It has been sitting fallow for probably close to 8 years and has had nitrogen fixing shrubs like autumn olive and trees like black locust colonizing.  My biggest problem was the amount of bush honeysuckle which had come in.  Bush honeysuckle is in invasive here in Ohio and is pushing out the native understory.  It is a relatively useless plant for permaculture, though it provides good habitat for birds.  I have been slowly removing it from the understory of the 10 acre wood lot at the bottom of the field and trying to establish an understory with plants like spice bush and Paw Paw.  It has been a very slow process.

As for the field.  I finally had someone come in and bush hog the whole thing (though I had them avoid all the black locust and autumn olive, blackberry hedges, etc.  The tractor tore up the ground a bit more than I would have liked, and I now have some bare patches.  This is mostly because the ground has been so wet.  I am planning to seed clover over all of the bare patches and might try to broadcast it through out the top 3 acres of the field.  The grass is not well established and the most common weed seems to be poison ivy.  I am hoping that the clover and the grass will out compete the poison ivy if I mow.  Meanwhile I am slowly turning the field into an orchard and sheet mulching pieces of it.  I have a small vegetable garden down and about 15 fruit and nut trees.  I have also started to put in berry bushes.  I plan to plant comfrey (and some other edible perennials like horseradish) around the trees and will experiment with nitrogen fixing shrubs (autumn olive is already doing quite well here).

If anyone has any thoughts on this plan, I'd love the advice.
10 years ago
I recently identified a shrub that has been growing throughout an overgrown field on my property.  It is Autumn Olive and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience using it in permaculture.  The berries are apparently edible (and healthy), and the shrub fixes nitrogen.  Seems pretty ideal, except for the fact that it is listed as an invasive in many states.  Has anyone used it in a plant guild?  Does it work with black walnut?
10 years ago
Has anyone ever used bush Honeysuckle for hugelkulture?  It is an invasive understory bush where I live and I have been clearing it out of our woods.  I have piles of it.  I heard, however, that it is allelopathic when it is alive, but have no idea if the chemical persists when it rots.
10 years ago