Darius, I wasn't quite sure what you meant by Permaculture, so I went to the web and this is what I found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture
Is this what you meant? and if not can you explain?
The wikipedia article is a good beginning, (and could use some expansion its own self) introducing the broader concepts of permaculture.
I'm imagining that anyone who is messing around with organic gardening methods, alternative power, and or is thinking about learning more about sustainable practices in and around the garden or home, is dipping their toes into permaculture by definition. Some of the language growing up around the academic and practical studies of different areas starts to get a little too - something - (companion planting as 'guilds' of plants? oh come on) but by and large (companion planting *works*) the ideas are sound. It's heartening to see global students of these ideas swapping ideas and hands-on "we tried this and it worked, here!" experiments with one another; sounds like Dave's Garden on a global scale.
so, in short (she said, unpacking the bait-can o' worms happily), Darius, I think my answer is "yes" and there are lots and tons o' things that this means, that will be great fun to talk about, and learn about, and try!
Actually anyone who makes compost or recycles their pots from year to year is practicing a small form of permaculture. Permaculture will be the only way man can survive on the earth eventually. The goal of permaculture is no waste products. All waste products should be considered a challenge to figure out ways to turn them into usefull products. Its in essence what this forum is all about. China used to support millions of people using these exact same principles. Now China has modernized, and is experiencing all the negatives like pollution that go with it.
Dyson, as I have been cutting my food budget by preparing things from scratch at home, I was very surprised at the few groceries I needed/bought yesterday for the month. All the plastic packaging would fit in one tiny bag and even the milk jugs will get used for winter sowing.
I pick up enough plastic debris flowing down my creek to fill a garbage can. Disgusting. I save the aluminum soda and beer cans thrown along the road in front... aluminum is now fetching 55¢ a pound
RU, your definition of No Waste is good! Down the road, they have surveyed 122 acres into 5 acre parcels. There was a hay barn that they partially took down this week (tin roofing, rafters and siding). If the poles are still there in a day or two, I plan to ask if I can have them. Add some cattle panels and I have a whole row of tomato and bean supports!
The immediate several feet of hillside behind my house has overgrown with trash trees now about an inch or so in diameter. When I cut them down, I'll use them as wattle for a wattle & daub base wall for my future GH. The daub will come from my clay soil and straw.
I am REALLY interested in Permaculture. I only have a 50' x 100' lot with a house and garage on it, but I'm working to plant it using modified permaculture methods. I've read most of the readily available books and think it is a sound method. I plant vegetable in my front yard and give them to the neighbors to encourage them to plant their own vegetables.
Rats, I didn't get the posts from that old hay barn! They cut them off at the base and took them away, I assume for a slightly shorter barn.
Cat... I first grew vegetables in the front yard at my old house and I got used to them in with flowers. I will do that here too. I have a much larger area now to plant but I still like going down the walkway to the truck and picking a handful of sun-ripened cherry tomatoes along the way.
Thinking on the Three Sisters planted together (corn, beans to climb the corn, and squash to shade the roots), I'm wondering why I couldn't grow early peas to climb up my asparagus stalks? LOL, the new asparagus crowns are still in a bag... I'm really skipping ahead of myself!
I have some books on permaculture but all my books are still in NC in storage.
Yankee, be prepared to meet resistance to vegetables in the front yard. If you live in a suburban neighborhood, and it sounds like you do, there are often ordinances against putting food crops in the front lawn. I would start small, and rember to put lots of flowers in too, keep it decorative and expand a little each year so you don't shock the neighbors. Its going to take some time before old ideas of "must have lawn" in front yards dies away and you can help hasten it by making your yard an asset. However old ideas die hard, so be prepared for resistance and taking it a step at a time can help immensly.
My neighbors don't seem to care about my front yard - I'm lucky. The next door neighbor parks two commercial plated pickups loaded with tools in his front lawn making a few tomato and cucumber plants look good! From what I understand about permaculture - it is possible to make a productive garden without making it look like a vegetable patch. But you are SO right about lots of flowers! Everyone walking by says how pretty the yard is (no matter what is really looks like) if there are flowers blooming. I'm planning to put in quinoa and amaranth with sunflowers this year in the front. I already have three years on the creeping thyme bed that runs between the sidewalk and the curb. If "someone" asked - it is ground cover and the other herbs that I plant in it, sage, tarragon, basil, parsley, oregano, chives, garlic, horseradish, rosemary and saffron are "flowers". I used stones to build three sets of steps in appropriate places for car passengers to get from car to sidewalk. I share the vegetables and berries I grow with my neighbors and can enough green tomato relish for the whole block. I shovel my elderly neighbor's walks in the winter and do basic weeding and pruning for a couple of them who allow it.
My grand plan is to establish small fruit trees, underplanting with berry bushes and edging with perennial vegetables and using lettuces, beets, swiss chard, etc. as "color". I have tons of bulbs established - daffodils, crocus, tulips and lillies to distract from the "working" plants. My neighborhood is working class and elderly struggling with the highest taxes and utility rates in the US - we have a lot to do just to survive - not much time to complain about the lack of grass in each other's yard. I'm very, very blessed to be in this place at this time.
You are so right, I am very happy to know that some people have common sense and see the value of what you are doing.
More power to you, and keep up the good work, maybe others will wake up and do the same.
Very cool Yankee! Isn't it funny it seems the more money folks have the more time they seem to have to spend worrying about the neighbor is growing is his yard? You say you do some yard work for folks who will allow it, do you mean they don't want someone messing with their yard or that they are reluctant to accept something that could be considered charity? If it is the latter you might be able to work out a trade for more gardening space. They let you grow stuff in their yard in exchange for yard maint. and some of your produce. Sounds to me like it could be a very happy arrangement.
My neighbor who grows "the most beautiful roses in the neighborhood" - he prunes them to nothing and I do all the feeding, weeding, mulching, fertilizing and replacing - digs up a garden plot every year that I tend and harvest. He brings home started plants from the Big Box and I put in seeds. It works out well for both of us. Last year he let me put three apple seedlings that I bought from a vendor on eBay who digs up plants from abandoned home sites. If they make it - we will have mystery apples that will contribute to the genetic diversity of the area. We have squirrels, 'possums and skunks that will appreciate the apples even if we don't.
Another neighbor who just hit 90 and I work together in both yards. I do all the fertilizing, mulching, planting, pruning and gutter cleaning - he supervises and helps and fixes everything that breaks around my house and is always up for a new project - like the kitchen counter he just built me out of salvaged lumber. He built me a cold frame from salvaged windows, a barrel composter, stripped and refinished a kitchen table and chairs I bought at a tag sale for $25 (turned out to be hard rock maple!) and always tends my cats while I am on vacation. Another neighbor just won't let me help - even though he needs it - too proud and solitary. He does appreciate fresh veggies and green tomato relish and apple butter, though. It is a very good life I have here - even though I work two jobs to support it.
Quoting:My grand plan is to establish small fruit trees, underplanting with berry bushes and edging with perennial vegetables and using lettuces, beets, swiss chard, etc. as "color". I have tons of bulbs established - daffodils, crocus, tulips and lillies to distract from the "working" plants. My neighborhood is working class and elderly struggling with the highest taxes and utility rates in the US - we have a lot to do just to survive - not much time to complain about the lack of grass in each other's yard. I'm very, very blessed to be in this place at this time.
Sounds like permaculture to me. I've been reading permaculture books this winter and sketching garden plans, and hope to have a base similar to this. Fruit trees and a blueberry hedge - these are beautiful year round, as pretty as any ornamentals- beds of monarda and catmint and so forth- sunflowers for seed, asparagus beds (also beautiful and ferny in the summer and golden in fall against the scarlet blueberry hedge).
Lettuces and beets and multicolor swiss chard, trellises of beans...all of these can form a beautiful ornamental garden!
Water conservation is another aspect, so depending on your situation spend some time planning for this. Rain barrels, graywater systems, swales and catchments.
Mulch, and minimal tilling, and soil building are other interesting aspects for those just getting into it. I'm addicted already! If all this %*#& snow would go away!!
I'm a certified permaculture designer (wow, that sounds so official- I haven't said it many times yet!!), having taken the two-week intensive course back in October. It was great fun (though, a lot of work) and really opened my eyes to what is possible. Permaculture is as much or as little as you want it to be- it can be balcony gardening or the redesign of a multi-acre property.
Here http://www.deandi.com/adventure/files/stardesign.pdf is my "final project" from my permaculture course: an analysis and design for my property in rural Queensland, Australia I also have two photo galleries from the course but those aren't very instructive at all :)
Darius, I think your forum idea can officially be called a success! I can't Imagine it will sustain this amount of activity forever but look but look at all the notice its getting and the positive feedback? And welcome Andi, hope you stick around and be our Permaculture consultant, there are a lot of good people here looking for info and ideas.
I finally got a chance to flip through your blog Andi, very nice! Folks there is wealth of info. and personal experience here! Most of us don't live "down under" but this has references to a lot of topics we have talked about even humanure! Go Andi!
dmcdevitt - I have a second cousin in Schroon Lake! I get up there once a year to Warrensburg for the "Largest Garage Sale in the World". LOL Back on topic - I have started with rain barrels although in a good year I really don't have to water at all. I bought one barrel last year and this year I will get a fitting to my downspout made so that I can hook it up. Even without having it hooked up - I captured enough water to water my blackberries several times. One of the features of Permaculture that drew me was the lack of need for commercial fertilizers in a mature permaculture garden. To start that process, I'm using clover as a green crop to capture nitrogen and put it into the soil. I also ran into a deconstruction site where a truckload of leaves had been dumped a year ago and the leaves had fed earthworms. Bag by bag I probably brought in a cubic yard of earthworm castings and worms last fall. I had so much that I literally mulched with worm litter.
Thanks all for the kind words! Darius, if you run this Google search you should find several places where you can watch the flash video, called "Greening the Desert" by Geoff Lawton. It really is worth the effort.
There is a longer video, also called Greening the Desert (I think its a VHS even, it was made quite some time ago and is likely out of print) about Geoff's trip to Jordan with plenty of interviews and lots more in depth information. It is so inspiring. The flash video was what made me think I can create something special no matter how poor my soil or how harsh my weather, but seeing the full length video was absoultely outstanding. The man really should consult for the governments of the world, he could solve a lot of problems.
Darius, my son is becoming interested in permaculture...we have land that is perfect for using runoff for watering & many microclimates just waiting to be developed with their own crops
it's a strange area where the lows get to -5 & the summer night temps stay high...wet winters & dry summers...the temps go from zone 6 to zone 8 so using the microclimates is really necessary here
all of our buildings including my house have been built from recycled materials & unused building products from commercial building sites...their waste is dreadful!!
Easy to get, too...they throw away what they don't use & have to pay to have it hauled away...we do it for free...lol
...it's a good place to look for scavenged material...be SURE, anyone, to ASK...you'll get put in the pokey for thievery if you don't have permission...
We are putting our well on solar power this year...hopefully we can eventually get our whole road off the grid...only 4 houses & its a dead end. We'd like to start a permaculture community...the neighbors seem enthusiastic...we had a scare a few years back & they were going to put in a nuclear waste dump out here...it woke everyone up.
All of our material storage barns are made to harvest water...we are building cisterns in connection with every building...you wrote about lining cisterns with concrete or cement & I've lost the thread...could you by any chance refer me to that line again?
Update on the rain barrel - I got the first one hooked up to the gutter this year. (It worked last year just collecting rain through the 2"x4" opening.) We've been a little dry here so I've been filling my watering can from the barrel. It was just announced that the cost of water will go up 28% in the near future - so I'd better get the other barrels ready to go.
I am interested in incorporating some permaculture concepts in my landscape.
I am not using any pesticides on the property. I do compost 90% of the green food
scraps either using the trench method or in the compost bin. The same is true for
100% of the yard waste.
1. I'd like to improve on water concervation.
Currently, I mulch all of my flower beds with 2" layer of wood chips.
I do get free wood chips occasionally, but need far more than I can get.
One question I have here is what are the free mulch alternatives I could use.
Or how could I possibly use the wood chip mulch more effectively.
I am also working on creating a 1' deep 3' wide and 6' long swale on the sloped
part of the land that dries too quickly and is prone to erosion. It's all in the shade.
This project is progressing very slowly as moving dirt is pretty heavy work, hopefully
by the end of the season I'll have it. Do the dimensions of the swale sound reasonable
or should it really be larger to make a difference?
I also have a rain barrel project on the list. I'd have to put one together myself as
they are a big pricy for me. I also fill that making one from recycled materials would
be more in agreement with the permaculture principles of reducing waste.
2. I'd like to grow some food on my property. Unfortunately, I have very limited
space in full sun and was wondering if anybody could suggest what would do well in
For the half shade look at understory "trees" that are shrubs in the understory. I put in Paw-paws, elder berry, aronia, oriental persimmon, ostrich fern, thimbleberry, blueberries, chinaquipins (sp) and even a tea camelia. (I'm doing understory planting this year so I can't help with veggies - ask me again in a couple of years.)
You could grow Curly Kale, I have grown it part sun and it does well, it is a biennial and you can pick leaves for two years. Also it doesn't freeze and you can pick it even in winter.
It is also extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, so it is a wonderful crop.
You might also try growing potatoes in hay, it it is not too late in your zone for them.
The size of your swale sounds good, it doesn't even need to be that deep. Remember that the objective of a swale is only to slow the water down, not stop it entirely. While the water is slowed it has more opportunity to absorb into the earth around the swale. Timber press has a new book out called "Rain Gardens" which does a good job of discussing ways to deal with storm waterits very interesting.
Rain barrels can be made with lots of found materials. I got two 110 gal. barrels from Freecycle. Then I went to my local farmers and saw some of those 300-400 gal square plastic tanks with and outer aluminum frame. They are used to hold a virety of industrial sized liquid products. The manager said he would be happy to save a couple holding liqid fert or zinc for me when they were empty. I have also seen them for sale for around fifty bucks. You just want to make sure they didn't originally hold anything like hydralic fluid etc. But considering they are used to hold things like cooking oil and soap, (if you find one that held soap make sure you rinse REALLY well) you should be able to turn up with one with a little digging.
As far as the wood chips, check with your local municipalities and tree cos. Many cities give them away if you are willing to load them, some charge a small fee but this includes loading. Sometimes tree cos are looking for places to dump their chips, call them all, see if you can get on a list. Get youself a decent shredder and collect your neighborse leaves and yard waste, this also makes good mulch but it disappears fairly quickly because it is loved by soil dwelling organisms. Straw also makes a decent mulch though the appearence isn't great for ones front yard.
Remember full sun does not mean all day but 6 to 8 hours. Often the most sun is found on paved areas like driveways. I agree containers are a great idea and can used to say line a sunny driveway. Have you considered removing a tree or two to make space for a sunny garden? This may also be an option. The great thing about permaculture is that there are no hard and fast rules. Its all about finding creative solutions, enjoy!
Thank you for the input. I have a list of things I can incorporate into my "edge of the woods" area. I'd rather not cut down any of the oaks as they create the canopy for a large indigenous colony of trilliums that is 40 years old and is treasured by the entire neighbourhood. The other 3 sides of the property are shaded by the mature trees on the neighbouring lots.
I did not have much luck with containers so far, but will try again with a fewer but larger ones.
This is just what I have been trying to do in my yard... now I have a name for it. Veggies, fruit trees, and flowers all mixed in a low water nothing wasted that I can help. The biggest issues I have are with plastics... What do you guys do with plastics you cannot use in the garden? My wife drinks diet cola... so we have loads of 2 liter bottles for pots - those dont worry me. What worries me is the small wrappers everything comes in.. .. ..
Oh for mulch I use all the above and groundcreepers... groundcreepers area great way to cover the soil and keep it cool.
Plastic grocery bags go back to the store for recycling (the plastics industry is crying for more recyled plastic!) - anything with the recycle triangle goes in the recycle bin for trash pickup. I don't have any suggestions for the odds and ends - even the little windows in envelopes are some kind of plastic. I know that people on other forums have used the foam trays that meats come on for insulation on out buildings. (I have no idea how flammable they are.)
For years I used plastic foam trays for row markers/name tags. I cut them into abt 2' squares, hot glued a popsicle stick on them and voila! I've seen fancy decorated ones but never went that route. They last a few years here.
Is anyone doing guilds? I'm trying to get the "ingredients" to make a plum tree guild with the Mexican Plum trees that grow wild on our place. They are native to my area, Louisiana.
So I'm working on getting Comfrey, Jerusalem artichoke, and the spring-flowering bulbs that Bill Mollison and the other Permaculture writers recommend as guild associates to plant around the plum. Coral Bean, aka Mamou, (Erythrina herbacea) also grows wild here. It is a leguminous shrub with HUGE roots that I think would mine for nutrients, fix nitrogen, make good leaf mulch--do it all like a good plant should. There are other native legumes--trees, shrubs, forbs--that I'd like to explore for their abilities to restore poor soils like mine (a former cotton field). Soil regeneration is not exactly a hot topic, but is anyone else interested in it?
I'm hoping to build gardens along those lines. So far I have put rows of apple and peach trees along the north side, a grove of cherries on the northeast, a line of cedar and spruce on the west side (against winds and roving deer and the road), with 18 highbush blueberries to act as a hedge inside that. (These are all acid loving plants). In the acid grouping I will probably have roses as well as currants, gooseberries, and farther inside, strawberries.
Inside the northern boundary which is full sun, I will group the poisonous flowering stuff I like, like digitalis, monkshood, delphinium, etc, and my daylilies and holly hocks.
Behind the house is the asparagus bed, and the area inside that will be the annual veggies as well as jerusalem artichokes, rhubarb, and possibly raspberries outside the fence.
Maypop-sounds like you have all the right ingredients for an excellent start!! I use clover instead of grass for walkways (fixes nitrogen and needs almost no mowing and keeps the bees happy). In poor soil I grow lots of monardas for bees and hummingbirds, and they're pretty and carefree (but invasive in good soil). They also make nice tea. I'm in a way different zone than you so probably very different solutions, but please keep us posted on your progress!!!
Andi H--your picture with the pumpkin (or zucchini?) vines interested me. Did you plant seeds in hay or straw? I tried to do that before but was out of town so much that wiregrass and other things (some people call them weeds) took over. Here in zone 8a, vegetation grows out of anything that has just a few particles of soil.
I'm collecting newspaper for a compost-in-place bed for vegetables for the fall. I plan to add horse manure, leaves, finished compost, and pine straw, maybe some red pepper to keep out squirrels and dogs. Armadillos are a big problem. They dig holes and tunnels everywhere. But they do keep the fire ant populations down. Anyway, I'm planning to make Permaculture zones for easier upkeep, like the couple of DGardeners who grow vegetables in the front yard, where they belong--instead of the useless grass lawns that everyone thinks they have to have.
This thread has gone quiet. Has everyone gone out for lasagna? Garden joke.
I'm still collecting newspaper for a compost bed and want to get some wheat straw bales to plant in. So far I've been pleased with the fruit and vegetables we've harvested. The heirloom tomatoes tasted great-- just oak leaves and cottonseed meal to improve the soil instead of 8-8-8 like my husband was taught to do. The pears were hard, so I let them mature on the kitchen counter and made pear pies.
Is everyone aware of the Market Bulletin? Every state has one, I think, to give farmers and subscribers a place to advertise all kinds of stuff. It's free online. You never know what plants and seeds and equipment you'll find in it.
dmcdevitt, are you making an edible forest garden?
I wish I could grow cherries down here, but so far no one's developed any that can take our heat and humidity. Apples are also a problem in the Deep South, mostly because of their susceptibility to cedar-apple rust. My Parsleyhaws have badly spotted leaves from this fungus. But I love the red cedars that are all over our property and which carry the disease in alternate years.
I know there are control measures I could take, but I have learned to let nature alone. The red cedars are so prevalent because someone disturbed the natural balance many years ago. The cedars and broomsedge grass are repairing the damage, and disease is one of the ways nature culls the weak from the herd. I used to try to grow rhubarb and lilacs, a foolish effort to recreate gardens I grew up with in Pennsylvania. Concord grapes are impossible here, but the Muscadine grow with abandon, as well as blueberries and wild plums. I am purt'near surrounded by pine plantations, so our vegetable gardens and fruit plants call deer and squirrel from miles around to get a square meal.
Why do you group your poisonous plants on the north? to deter pests or protect children?
Market Bulletin--Spidra, I'm surprised that California doesn't have this publication. It's a nice cheap (or free) way to buy and sell agricultural stuff. I go online to look at things other states' bulletins have in their listings.
Heehee, you said " purt'near", that is just awesome. ( i love local accents and dialect, not making fun at all)
Protecting the children is probably just one reason to identify the poisonous plants, yeah. Certain areas up here are of high population density. It's actually pretty easy for a young kid to stroll up to some nightshade and gobble the berries. All the poisonous berries up here are just so darn delicious-looking!
Being in a city lot, I'm a bit limited as to how far I can go with permaculture. We did some no-till lasagna beds for next Spring, but I want more.
Our small front yard is practically begging for an old fashioned English cottage garden with heirloom flowers. (I'm very enamoured with old fashioned flowers . ) Last spring, I planted hollyhocks, Johnny Jump Ups, painted Daisies, cranesbill, snapdragons, annual dianthus, allysum, columbine, morning glories and salvia. The hollyhocks and daisies will come up next year, but the annuals did so well! And I did was compost the heck out of the bed, then just threw the plants in, lol. We call it our " Serendipity Garden"... we let the annuals self-seed. It'll be so fun to see what pops up next year!
The cool thing is.. the salvia, snaps and allysum attracted so many bees. All kinds of bees... honey, bumble, orchard mason, and random pollinators. There were a few beautiful garden spiders that spun gorgeous webs. Like you, I just let it go, really. Except for watering until they were well-established. =)
Eventually, my whole lawn in the front will replaced by beautiful flowers and probably some herbs. Maybe some veggies for the neighborhood kids to snatch. =)
"some veggies for the neighborhood kids to snatch"
NorthCoast Girl, you have neighborhood kids that steal vegetables? Vegetables? Kids? 2007?? It's a good thing you don't grow Snicker bars.
That reminds me of a couple I know who keep up a vegetable garden next to the road, too close to the road, apparently. They were sitting on the front porch one day and saw a car stop on the road-- someone jumped out, ran down the hill, snatched all the red bell peppers, and escaped before the rightful owners could say, "Stop, thieves!" Horticulture hooligans, another new threat!
Are cottage gardens cool or what? I have a Cajun cottage garden, I guess. My love of natives is crowding out the herbs I used to have there. Mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum) is big enough for snakes to hide in. I saw 2 in the back yard yesterday, a big black water snake and then a king snake. I still grow herbs in containers, am seriously thinking about an herb spiral/ziggurat, maybe built on top of a lasagna bed. But I think a sheet composting bed looks more like a chocolate cake than a lasagna. Now I'm hungry.
maypop-it's kind of funny to hear someone down south trying to grow northern stuff. Sheesh, seems like there's so little we CAN grow! Lilacs, yep, apples, delphiniums...
I try to keep the poisonous stuff separated from the edibles lest the foxgloves seed themselves into edibles. I keep the taller stuff on the north too against cold winds.
I would love to have an edible forest garden, but i can't forego annuals either. Love my tomatoes and beans and so forth. The point is for everything to serve as many functions as possible. Beans are tasty, and fix nitrogen. Clover fixes nitrogen, adds organic matter, needs less mowing, attracts bees for pollination, and is better for pathways than grass.
Corn is not efficient in itself but the horses get the husks and stalks as a treat (and convert it back to manure). We don't grow much corn though.
I hope to get some field crops going eventually. The farm we bought is 175 acres, about 40 open, the rest woods. the "front lawn" is a sandy wasteland, that's where i'm starting my beds.
Maypop: I was interested in your comment of using leguminous trees for soil regeneration. There seem to be a lot of them around here, especially mimosa. And, of course we have kudzu.
I think the best approach since these are so invasive is to put out the leguminous plants, maybe underplant with clover. Then pasture it with sheep, goats, or maybe a couple of cows. Beware, though. Some of the pea plants are poisonous. I had a little goat who pretty much cleaned up my place, except for the chinese wisteria. She started to throw up when she tried to eat it. Finally had to give her away to some one with more suitable forage for her.
I don't subscribe to the magazine. I did read several of the on-line articles--including The Cardboard Revolution.
(pssst. secret. I am writing an article on Permaculture for the DG writers forum--you know the articles in the upper right hand corner of the home page. there will be a lot of links to permaculture resources.)
thanks for sharing the picture of your pretty country home with us. That is a big hill behind your house. It looked like a small golden California hill till I enlarged the view and saw its true size and rocky slopes. We're rock-starved down here. I have to buy rocks to put in my front yard around my little koi ponds and to make paths. It's not fun gardening in rocky soil, as I recall from my childhood, but your Northern soils benefit from the minerals as rocks decompose their way into the ground. Southern soils are nutrient poor and highly abused by 200 years or so of bad agriculture. Soil regeneration is a concept that local county agents dismiss as hippy talk.(No, I am not a hippy, just an old lady with many bad hair days.)
The flowers in your picture's foreground are beautiful. Flowers are a big part of permaculture. Nasturtiums and Wild Marigold (Tagetes minuta) are said to repel pests. Daffodil, Hyacinth, and other spring-flowering bulbs suppress grass. Serious permaculturists plant beaucoups of flowers in and around orchards and vegetable beds to attract pollinators and predatory insects
Gloria, you mentioned leguminous plants. No kudzu on our property yet. It's up the road, though, and Natchez, Mississippi, is infested with it along the big river. Horrible. Maybe a Mississippi DGer has a picture of it to post to show how bad it is--a vine with built-in steroids. It hasn't been here all that long, but it seems determined to eat the South.
Some native trees and shrubs can help us sad-soil-Southerners by fixing nitrogen and mining nutrients from the subsoil: Black locust, honey locust, Black Walnut, New Jersey Tea, Wax Myrtle, and of course, Pokeweed--of Elvis fame. "Poke Salad Annie"--they don't write cool songs like that any more.
Permaculture is SO me. It gives me an excuse for letting ragweed and pigweed (I am allergic to both) and all the other "weeds" go and grow. After all, they pull phosphorus and trace minerals up to the surface for other plants to eat. Maybe we should even plant some weeds. No, I am still not a hippy. I said weeds, plural--NOT weed.
maypop: I am very familiar with kudzu. If you try to burn it, it just gets more rampant. Grazing however does seem to be very effective. And it is a nitrogen fixer (ahmmmm). There are however lots of other solutions. A person would be crazy to plant it intentionally.
gloria: "A person would be crazy to plant it intentionally."
A smart person (probably a Permaculturist) said, "All our problems start with solutions."
Pueraria lobata was brought here from Japan for, I think, cattle forage. So while I accept native "weeds" as a part of Nature's design, I don't think anyone in his or her right mind would intentionally plant Kudzu. You ne-e-e-ver know, though. Nurseries still sell privet (Ligustrum sinense) because a lot of people think its flowers smell good and it's a goof-proof plant. High praise, huh?--a plant that you can't kill. And it makes all those pretty seeds that the birds like. The birds like them so much, in fact, that they plant them all over the countryside. In my area, The Sticks, there are privet thickets that Godzilla couldn't get through.
Well, you make more money selling people what they want instead of what they really need.
Japanese Climbing Fern and all the plants with "sinense" and "japonicum" in their botanical names are unwelcome on Maypop Meadows. And how did Chamber Bitter get here?--it's a nasty little weed (exotic, of course) that multiplies like a supercomputer.
Alas, human nature. Why was that tree in the Garden of Eden anyhow? It's there, but you can't touch it.
it must be a genetic thing if there are people who like the smell (scent) of ligustrum (privet, hedge plant), it makes me cry when it blooms, and I am not particularly allergic to anything. I have a whole understory of it here. Im hoping to get it this fall, if it gets cool enough to work in the woods.
Good luck getting rid of it (privet). I chop the big ones and can pull up the small ones when the soil is moist, but my back can't take much of that. And while I'm a big denouncer of herbicides, I realize that judicious applications may be needed to really eliminate it. It's the wholesale spraying of Roundup in ditches and around fences that makes me cringe. I fear it will wick down into the groundwater. I also fear the health hazards to young men who may lose their ability to reproduce. But, as someone else said earlier, mankind may be too smart for his own good. Hoist by his own petard?
Like you, I'm waiting for cool weather to do the heavy work. By the way, I drove through Alabama a few years ago to a wedding in Georgia. What a beautiful state---roads in rural areas are still pristine-looking, full of trees and natural plant communities. Was it Hwy. 84? When I drove back through Mississippi and Louisiana, all I saw were loblolly pine plantations along the Interstate (where grass is kept neat and manicured). I think this devotion to tidiness and over-managed land use depresses the national spirit. Silly me.
maypop: Strange that I always feel driving back to West Alabama from Tenn. and North Alabama that I am coming into a depressed area where people have lost their spirit. Alabama was a forested state, originally--it was the hunting grounds of the Cherokee. No one lived here except along the rivers. It was just for hunting in the forests.
It was an oak-magnolia forest and there are still a few patches of it to be seen. The big-leaf and cucumber magnolias are sort of like characatures of the grandiflora magnolias.
Ive read that a large percentage of male 20 year old males in America are sterile because of the contaminated ground-water. Round-up (glysophate) is supposed to be biodegradable. It does need to be licensed, because there are a lot of people -- especially city workers that use it indiscriminately to kill historic plants.
Thanks for the compliments on the work in progress farm.
I do not introduce things that don't belong and read carefully before planting anything. Up here it's purple loosestrife killing the wetlands and invading everywhere.
My hedge at the farm, which is across the front (behind where I was standing in the picture) is 18 blueberry plants. They make a lovely hedge, with beautiful red foliage in the fall. Behind them i have cedars and some blue spruce (for winter color). I try to think of all the seasons up here as well!
Most of what we think of as weeds or nuisance plants are the first stage of regeneration of the land, and they serve a purpose, as maypop says, drawing up minerals or fixing nitrogen, preparing for the next step in the succession. I think the part that requires careful consideration (for me) is, where do fit into my ecosystem? Not how does it revolve around me.
I think permaculture is going to be more of what you already know, but you didn't know it was permaculture: no till gardening using cardboard,
living mulches, straw bale gardening, straw bale home construction, solar energy, storing rainwater. All of these have already been discussed in this forum, permaculture is more of the philosophy behind all of it. I hope to provide links to what's happening in the rest of the world.
Darius: While our paths have crossed, you were talking about your work boots in another thread. When I was doing field work, I was fortunate to have a pair of Army surplus jungle boots. (Viet Nam duty issue) They are made out of fabric and leather, and they have little port holes in the sides. I believe they were designed by General Swartzkoff. They are hard to find any more, but they were great for working in wet areas. They keep your feet healthy under "jungle" conditions.
When we were shopping for a Tennessee home, we looked at towns on the west end of the state, an hour above Memphis, where DH was born/ raised. Although not as rampant as the infestations I saw around Atlanta, there was plenty there. It was DH's understanding that it was planted there - intentionally - in order to stop the erosion of soil. Whether or not that was the original intent or no...?
"All our problems start with solutions."
I'm going to remember that one... well, maybe I will!
Please, never quote me. My quotes are usually paraphrases, and they're often incorrect. I should have said, "All our problems start out as solutions." From a Mollison permaculture book, probably.
I have a mind like a trap door and am aghast when I see some of the blunders I've written. I appreciate the little edit thingy that lets me correct my goofs.
Question... is permaculture ONLY planting native plants?
some of my faves are old, old varieties from England, for historical value. Many were brought here to our area by settlers and just naturalized. They thrived since this climate here is very similar to England's, except our winters are colder.
There is a variety of climbing rose that grows all over the place here, on houses and fences. Some plants look like they're so well-established that we wonder if they're 50 years old or more!
What does kudzu look like? On the way down to Florida, my mom tried to point it out but it looked like grapevine. Is it native?
In my research for the article, so far Ive only read Bill Mollison's ideas.
Apparently he (permaculture) has been attacked by the militant native plant people. Mollison says, paraphrase, that all plants are native to the earth. what can 'native plant' possibly mean? What permaculture does is set up natural systems. It is interested in how they work, not what the particular elements in the system happen to be. Does it drain? Does it operate efficiently? Does it produce food for animals and people. Does it "rip". i.e. is it sulf-sustaining?
Kudzu is not a native plant. It was imported from Japan for animal forage and for erosion control. It is highly invasive, and will swollow up whole woodlots and buildings. Chinese wisteria acts about the same way, they are very similar, the flowers are very much alike. Long panicles of pea blooms. The leaves are different: kudzu has a rounded leaf, wisteria has an elongated leaf. Also, chinese wisteria is poisonous, so that it cannot be grazed to control it, but kudzu is a protein rich forage for animals.
Gaia's Garden, by Toby Hemenway
This book came out in 2000. It focusus on American, rather than Australian, gardens.
One of the neat projects it proposes is an herb spiral. It's made by building a little hill with rocks holding the soil in place as they wind around and into the center at the top. A path and herbs follow the spiral made by the rocks. The form is compared to a ziggurat, the Tower of Babylon, which was a tower with stairs winding to the top.
I want to make one using some sheet composting--lasagna--not too thick since it settles so much. Besides, herbs are Mediterranean and don't want rich soil. The author does recommend installing micro-irrigation for dry spells. I think rosemary would look pretty at the top. And since some of my friends live in restricted McNeighborhoods, they might be allowed to put one in their front yard, which is usually the sunniest spot of home site.
I am waiting for the local government to ask me to get a business license to run a junk yard - to quote Jeff Foxworthy "If you live in a mobile home surrounded by thirteen vehicles which aren't, you could be a Red Neck." I am not there yet, but the key word is "yet".
LOL, Dyson! I need to get my long covered deck on the front cleared off of all the gardening stuff, sawhorses, etc. All it needs is a broken down couch to finish the "decor"! The weeds are so tall under my clothesline in back that I've taken to drying my laundry (except undies!) on the front porch railing, adding to the "look".
rosemary grows in my microclimate pretty well. Our low temperatures are not too severe or prolonged and our land is hilly enough to provide good drainage. And, of course, sun, lots of sun.
What grapes do you want to plant? Native wild ones or cultivated types? My grandmother had a trellis? or arbor? ( I can't think of the word)--2 clotheslines, basically, that I used to walk under and pick the grapes that drooped down in delicious bunches. That was many, many years ago. There never did anything to them, just pruned a little bit, probably, and ate them raw or cooked. Her cellar was full of jellies, jams, wonderful cherries and ALL kinds of fruit from their area around Pittsburgh. They kept apples in bushel baskets in a separate cellar. They'd also drive up to New York just to get fresh fruit to put in jars. They also put up jars of deer meet, butchered a cow and pig every year, made their own butter, and kept that cellar full. They worked year-round to make their own organic whole food. And they enjoyed it. And kept full time jobs. And were happy. The good old days, huh? Fresh unpasteurized unhormonized milk was delivered every morning in glass gallon jars. They ate fat but didn't get fat. I'm not promoting the Atkins diet, though.
Dyson, how do you know if you're a redneck gardener? If you beat down the grass to make way for a lasagna bed and you find a 58 Chevy. There's your sign. Apologies to J. Foxworthy and the other redneck comic.
Bill Engvall(sp?) is the "here's your sign" comedian. I'm thankful to live out in the country with no zoning and no one to tell me what I can or can't do with my property. Likely a good thing since we have four junker trucks sitting in the yard right now for hubby to use in rebuilding the water hauling truck. Once that's done we'll sell off all the leftover parts and scrap.
I really really like the sound of that herb spiral. I'm going to have to google that! We have such heavy clay that herbs would have to go in a raised bed anyway, the spiral sounds like a unique way to do it.
Since space is a premium here, I'd like to plant a grape I can get the most use from.. shading, and edibles. So probably cultivated, since the wild ones here tend to be pretty bitter.
We have several varieties of native grape that are used in the local wineries, like Niagara, but I'm not planning on being the neighborhood bootlegger, heheh.
Speaking of raw milk... is it illegal to sell or buy it in America now? We're having a heck of a time finding a source of raw milk. Wierd, since there are a ton of dairy farms in this area. The non-homogenized milk can be bought, but holy criminy, it's expensive. And it's a little bit of a drive.
Maypop, my mom used to make jellies and preserves all the time. =) Homemade jelly makes a gift that pretty much everybody appreciates, too. One other "project" is to try and convert our old coal cellar into a root cellar. We'll be checking the temperature down there this winter.
NCG, there has been a lot of discussion on buying raw milk. Most states prohibit it, but some will allow the sale 'for pet use only'. Frankly, if I had a good source (and knew how fastidious they are), I'd buy raw milk.
The National Germplasm repository at U.C. davis has just replenished their collection. They have just about any type of grape imaginable, and you can get cuttings to start this winter for the price of postage. You have to do the research first, of the types that are best suited to your area.
Stopped at one of the Mennonite communities the weekend before last - they had raw milk and butter. I would've liked some of the butter, but we'd spent our cash on sorghum, molasses cookies and sourdough bread already.
Gloria, that's a great idea... I 'spose they have a web-presence?
Ill get the link later, its a little hard to locate. There are several germ- plasm repositories. The main one's Im familiar with are U.C. Davis and Corvallis. Corvallis has a new collection of quinces, and I would like to plant some quinces and medlars this year. Medlars look like little pomegranates. Don't know what they taste like. Corvallis also has paw paw trees, which are a little tricky to get started.
U.C. davis has kiwi, fig, persimmon, pomegranate, pistachio, mulberry, cudrania, pterocarya, olive, walmut, almond, apricot, cherry, peach, plum, plumcot, wild grape, table grape, wine grape, grape hybrids, and pure grape species.
You have to get your order in my Dec. 1. Corvallis has some seeds. Have not had a chance to check those out yet.
Very cool, will keep my goggles on for that URL, thanks!
One of the things that has greatly restricted me from growing a lot of fruit trees is the horses being on the property - I need to look into it further, but anything of the species Prunus has leaves that contain cyanide as they wilt and are poisonous (don't quote me on the cyanide part, I have to confirm that).
Gloria, am I understanding right...you can root grapevine cuttings to make new plants, as well as the other fruits listed in your post? I have been rooting oramental bushes, but haven't tried fruit trees, yet.
Regarding UC-Davis. They're selling plants? A university? Their Ag department?
I try to get all outdoor plants--natives, fruit trees, etc.--from sources as close as possible to my climate zone and geography. Local nurseries and hardware stores, even farm supply stores, often sell plants they've acquired from growers in their area.
County agents can often point out the best varieties of fruit and vegetable plants for a particular microclimate. And every state has a native plant society online with information about plants and sources that sell them.
I can almost always get what I want locally. Now and then, I have to go to mail order companies out of state that do online orders. I just type in the name of the plant I want and then look at the physical address of the company to see if their species are likely to survive my temperatures & other conditions. I'm too far south, in other words, to buy from a place in Michigan or California.
Yes. They are hardwood cuttings, that you have to do over the winter. Then in the spring they start to put out new growth.
The germplasm site does not have any information on the best varieties for your area, you have to sort of extrapolate. For example, here in Alabama, I am assuming I can use stuff from Italy or the Medetereanean.
They also do not tell you how to do it. There is lots of information on hardwood cuttings here on Dave's. The best one Ive seen is where you take a 10 to 12 in pot as a receptacle for the cuttings. Fill with your mix and water throughly.(sp)
Then take a 3 or 4 inch clay pot and put a cork in the bottom or plug it with silicone caulk. First you scrub and finish off the smaller pot. You keep this smaller pot filled with water. Put the cuttings in the larger pot, after they are prepared. You can put the whole thing in a large plastic bag till spring. Or not, if fungus is a problem. Check the recommended temperature for the cuttings. And, check them to make sure they don't have any fungus, or bugs. They need air and they don't need to dry out. Keep the little interior clay pot full of fresh water.
I have a Flame grape that has gone wild in my greenhouse. I plan to use this method, but just layer the parts of the vine into a 1 g. nursery part. I also have one of the original muscadines from this property, outside, that I hope I can root the same way.
You can also get scion wood from the National Germplasm repository if you have stock for grafting.
That site at the moment seems to be experience "Technical Difficulties".
The National Germplasm Repository has as its mission to preserve genetic diversity and keep it growing. There are several universities participating in the National program. U.C. Davis is one of the universities of the University California system, others are at San Diego, Santa Barbara (where I am from), Santa Cruise, etc. There is also one at Corvallis, Oregon.
They have many historic plants that are endangered or not useful for commercial cropping. And many plants from Asia and Iran that might do well here in the South. Many plants that you cannot buy locally, such as medlars, and quince trees (not the shrubs), and pomegranates, and paw paws.
They have cuttings, scion wood for grafting, and in some cases, seeds.
2. www.tagari.com. This is Bill Mollison's website in Australia and it offers the books he has written. Tagari Publications offers Permaculture Two, which is the design application of permaculture. Food forests, chicken tractors, water conseration, etc.
3. www.permaculture-magazine.co.uk. Permaculture the Magazine. UK.
4. www.permacultureactivist.net US Permaculture magazine & activities.
That ought to get you off and running if you want to learn about Permaculture. There are several permaculture centers where the PDC
(permaculture design courses) are taught: one is in Vermont, on Lake Champlain, and one in New Mexico. Both of these are founded by students of Bill Mollison--the Tasmanian who founded the permaculture movement.
We and two other couples are starting a small permaculture farm community in SW Wiscnsin. It's a wonderful area for it, as there is a lot of organic gardening done there and the land is beautiful.
Many like-minded people have moved to the area in the past few years, and more are coming all the time.
What if Mayans many centuries ago had selected a section of forest to have only plants useful to them? What if it survives today, long after its "creators" had vanished? This article only intimates the question - no answers - but what a possible feat of permaculture!
Doing well, stiff & sore whenI try to work on things that are too low to the ground, but I take my time (as if I do not have plenty of time) and get it done. I still need to dig up some Bambooo for you. Have not forgotten, I am just kinda sorry type of hillbilly right now!
Dyson, no worries about the bamboo...still hanging out in New Mexico. Hard telling how long we'll be here. Could be the end of this week, end of December, hopefully the end of May, or anytime in between!
I was going to use this time here studying up on all the "sustainable alternatives", but went to work 60+ hours a week instead.
Pagancat, I hired in to run the tool room on the construction project Al is working on. Gal I replaced had no experience, so have had to completely reorganize everything and take an inventory of everything in the tool room and out in the field. Once I get all the paper work in order, it will be an easy job. Worked on it all day here, just to get it done. Working 6 days a week, but not so bad since we're living in a motel and I have no chores or projects to do.
Roybird, is Orion an online magazine?
Gloria, I still haven't had a chance to check out that link, but sounds like it may be just what I need to learn about permaculture. You mentioned the article you wrote had a lot of links, too, right?
msrobin: The Permaculture article is scheduled for Nov. 2 nd.
The link in post # 4200326 is the best introduction, because these are 15 lectures by Bill Mollison, himself. He is the founder of the concept.
The book that I plan to get a hold of next is Permaculture II, which is the practical application of the concepts and it is probably more relevant to what people here want to do. There are plans, for example in fireproofing your homestead; for incorporating ducks, chickens, or pigs into your garden ecology, and for water conservation etc.
There are two Permaculture magazines. Both of them have some online articles. The American one has updates on what's happening in this country at all of the PC centers that are poping up. It really is an international movement. Fortunately, because it needs to be to have a significant impact.
I am new to this website and I feel like I died and went to heaven.
So many great topics and observations.
Speaking of permaculture, does anyone remember Ruth Stout from the old Organic Magazine and her advocacy of no-till gardening. Wasn't she practicing some of the principles of permaculture? I have been experimenting with no digging in my garden in favor of mechanical weed control, ie. mulch, old paper horsefeed bags,etc.
It keeps the earthworms happy and establishes a balance of good and bad bugs that are not disrupted by tilling. Any thoughts?
Most people attribute No Dig techniques to Esther Deans who was an australian operating about the same time as Ruth Stout. Ruth Stout said pile on the mulch. Ester Deans and other permaculturalists say first lay down some wet newspaper or cardboard to kill the weeds, then pile on the mulch.
Ruth Stout advocated what she called the No-Work Garden: Secrets of the famous year-round mulch method first published as individual articles starting in 1953 and finally compiled into a book published by Rodale Press in 1971.
prillily: Yes. I think Ruth Stout was advocating a method that permaculture now embraces. The main concern now is to keep nutrients within the soil instead of eroding into the water supply and streams or evaporating into the atmosphere. Originally, I think the method was promoted because it was less work and therefore an advantage to people who were disadvantaged physically. But, today no dig gardening is promoted is the best and most sustainable way to conserve soil.
I have not heard of Esther Deans.
It is gratifying to find people who have heard of these people. I have been collecting books by R.I. Rodale and his son, Robert and their Cornicopia Project which seems to be gaining popularity in light of the cost of gas to transport out of season vegetables these days.They advocated eating locally grown foods. Seems like a no-brainer,but...
Everything old is new it seems.
The Permaculture Movement really started and developed and is taken more seriously in Australia. I think my article is a good introduction to the people and the concepts. I wanted to know and I put in the article what I needed to teach myself.
For some reason Australians are way ahead of us on this issue. Its time for us to catch up.
I am a landscape gardener and master gardener through the extension service here in Ohio so I don't just garden for myself but earn money to maintain other people's plantings.
I would love to see more new subdivision plantings incorporate edible landscape plants,ie.blueberry shrubs, fruit trees including pawpaw (not ornamental pears and crabapples!)into their designs. Also native species which are acclimated to our heavy clay soils; serviceberry trees, etc.
So many developers put in plants that can't survive the subsoil that is graded around foundations and the landscapers hire kids who don't know that you have to loosen the root balls from around the poor shrubs before they plant.
I am forced to trouble shoot dying plants and the first place I look. The roots.
Permaculture could be a great alternative in light of the very focused areas that are planted on subdivision lots.
prillily: That would be so much better than the bradford pears planted as landscape plants here. Recently I looked at some shrubs some a local landscaper planted to landscape a local apartment building. They planted the shrubs still in the pots and buried the pots in the planting holes.
I guess they didn't know you are supposed to take the plants out of the pots before you plant them.
Gloria: Ouch. I think about all the work that a greenhouse grower goes to when they nurture those plants only to have them plopped in the ground like that.
My husband works at a hospital where they planted many thousands of chrysanthemums for an event, only to learn that the fly-by-nights who planted them had set them out in the mulch.
Well, about three days later, they all dried up and looked horrible.
Bradford pears are notorious for splitting down the center when they get heavy snow on them, which happens frequently around these parts.
I just hate the idea of a 'pretend' fruit tree like that which doesn't produce an edible fruit.
And then splits and looks awful until it recovers, if it ever does.
And they may tell you in the catalogs that the birds eat the fruit, but like many non-native plants, some of the plantings are spread, to the detriment of the native species.
Sounds like your area could use a good landscaper to introduce some quality native plants and give some lessons on how to plant and care for them.
Around here we only have one nursery that actually is owned and operated by a horticulturists. the rest are all resalers like Lowes and Walmart who have no concept of how to plant or grow the merchendise they sell.
I wish other DGardeners would read this forum, especially posts like Gloria's and Prillily's. Permaculture, which is a patented name, unfortunately, is tons more interesting than conventional gardening, whether for edibles or ornamentals. Prillily has the right idea--intermingling fruit plants in landscaping. Why people cling to boring front lawns (turf) and same-old same-old things like Bradford flowering pear boggles my easily boggled mind. You'd think you were in the Twilight Zone when you look at the ghost town subdivisions where you never see people outside in the front yard (except when they mow grass).
Me, I just planted a small PawPaw orchard where I think they'll do well in the best soil on the property. Most of our land has been abused for decades --or centuries?? I get a real kick out of making new lasagna beds and planting fruit trees and vines and native plants like viburnums. WIldflowers too.
I learn new stuff every day. Like how more and more people are getting into sustainability.
I would like to put a mixed fruit orchard here with paw paws, persimmons, and pomegranant.
Then I wouldn't have to depend on stale fruit from Walmart for my antioxidants. And they don't even have paw paws. Looking now for medlars, but I don't know if they are adapted to this climate. there is lots to learn, but it is a high motivation to know that people who eat what they grow are healthier by far and the people who eat out of marketed freezers and cans.
Do you have any apples that grow in Louisiana. I hope you and yours were all safe from the Katrina devastation.
Your orchard idea sounds good, Maypop. I have never heard of paw paw grown like that.
I have them in our woods, compliments of either squirrel or deer. And not too many people I know like them.
They are a good example of permaculture in nature. They are an understory tree in the woods with oak and beech as the dominant taller plants.
I have been to Louisiana(New Orleans) on three occasions. I didn't have a sense as to what La. soil is like and how much it varies depending on location.
All I saw were drunks and revellers down on Bourbon St in the French Quarter and a convent where my sister was staying long ago.
I wish apples would grow here, but my beloved red cedars carry the cedar-apple rust that kills the beautiful apple trees. Apples also don't care for high heat and humidity. Wild persimmons grow very well here, but the possums and birds get to them before I do. I don't begrudge the wild things, though, I use netting and a plastic owl scarecrow and sprinkle coyote urine now and then to discourage them.
I'm thinking about pomegranate and kiwi, which can live and set fruit here. Citrus is iffy. I've heard that orange trees can make it through light freezes if they are protected by the canopy of pine trees. Satsumas are kind of hardy. Loquat, aka Japanese Plum, also.
We did lose some trees to Katrina, including my favorite, a giant sycamore. Live oaks were hardly touched. I recommend them to anyone who lives far enough south to grow them. Rita came in 2 weeks after Katrina and pushed some plants over in the opposite direction. We dodged the main brunt. I have friends further east who lost hundreds of trees. My son's apartment in New Orleans was flooded, but his girlfriend's a few blocks away wasn't touched. People are building new homes everywhere, including areas that I've seen under a foot of water back in the 70's. They're moving closer to my hilly rural area and turning farmland into McMansionvilles. But some people are making money on all the development. Crazy. Like in Florida, they look at a wetland and see a way to put foolish folks in homes that WILL flood. No question. It will happen. And who picks up the tab to clean up the mess? Government and Industry are definitely not into sustainability.
Its good to know about the live oaks. We have had some clearcutting hear of a woods that I think that has protected these historic houses.
Now they are exposed to the winds and I have had some damage like windows out and weak invasives like china berries uprooted and lodged against my house. Im still cleaning up. more from Ivan than Katrina.
Satsumas are being grown commercially in Alabama. How about guavas - do they grow in your climate? Do you have a limey soil? How about clay?
Guavas? I think they don't take any frost. Just guessing.
My soil is acid, so blueberries do great. Vegetables need neutral pH, so I have to add organic material to buffer the effects of the low number. And tilling would wreck the humus that is almost non-existent on my wore-out former cotton field. My husband and I are dealing with damaged goods left by previous owners who didn't care what they were doing to the land. Like the native American proverb says, "We don't inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
Soil Texture: fine sandy loam
Soil Test Results
Element (Mehlich3) Value Trees
pH (1:1 Water) 5.14 Optimum
Phosphorus, ppm 4.13 Very Low
Potassium, ppm 144.76 Very High
Calcium, ppm 606.35 Low
Magnesium, ppm 313.76 Very High
Sodium, ppm 17.10 Optimum
Sulfur, ppm 14.74 Medium
Copper, ppm 0.85 High
Zinc, ppm 0.86 Low
Although I live in southwest Ohio, apple trees here are subject to cedar rust and the humidity, which we have in abundance in June.
I am envious when you talk about the semi-tropical fruits you can grow. And peaches are an iffy proposition here, although I have 6 trees. They are subject to late frosts(our estimated last frost date is May 15)so we see a crop maybe every 5th year at best.
I work for a man who is obsessed with crepe myrtle, which he sees on horse farms in Lexington, Ky. and looks great there. However, it has to be coddled up here.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, I guess.
What a view. What is it? A gorgeous overlook certainly. The last few times I've driven through Alabama, I thought it was unspoiled and ruggedly beautiful. I wish it would stay that way.
pril, do you spray your peaches like they tell you to? 5 times a year, I think. I truly love a ripe peach but am too lazy to keep up with a schedule. I know the dormant oil sprays are not too problematic but it's still one more thing I'd have to figure out and remember to do. The local research station sells them by the crate every spring. This year they weren't that good, frankly. In the past, they were to die for.
You can grow things up there that I wish we could here--cherries, apples, Concord grapes, and wild Thimbleberry that I have fond memories of from when I was growing up in western Pennsylvania. You also mentioned crepe myrtle. I think it's a law that everyone in the South has to have a line of them in the front yard. And they chop off the top every winter to stimulate flower production, so they think. It is bad for the tree, looks awful for months. I don't like them at all. But they're indestructible and bloom in the heat of summer. Not my cup of tea. Give me native plants any day.
Maypop. The view is my back yard back home where I grew up in northern Michigan. It is called the High Rollaway. it is actually on U.S.Government property that my grandfather rented as pasture for this hereford cattle. The river is the Manistee River. it doesn't look quite like this any more. The trees are dying.
Yes it was an Indian overlook. lots of arrowheads to be found in these woods when I was a kid.
I remember talking to a guy in North Alabama who had an organic pear and apple orchard. He also grew peaches. He said there is no such thing as an organic peach. All you can do is judiciously minimize the spray to do what it has to do.
Chopping off the crepe mytles is called "crape murder" around here. I have just one old fashioned "watermelon pink". I never prune it and it blooms just fine. Its another case of gardeners/landscapers making themselves feel better by whacking away at plants that would be better off without the treatment.
Gloria, Your mountain view reminds me of the Blue Ridge parkway views. Beautiful.
Crepe myrtle up here supposedly dies back to the ground with frost. So protection is needed and then it comes back in the spring. I will no doubt have to learn, since my client is adamant about planting it.
I try to stick to organic methods when spraying peaches or any other fruit tree. It is a big challenge. My biggest problem with peaches, besides late frost is the borers that cause the gummy ooze on the trees. I get down on the ground and take my piece of wire and go into their holes and try to eradicate them. Labor intensive, let me tell you.
prillily: a perfect ripe peach is worth just about anything you have to do to get it. I have a food dryer and when I find them I dry as many as I can get and put them in the freezer.
maypop: Muscadine grapes, an excellent replacement for crape myrtles. I did have a lane of them, now overgrown with wisteria and privet. Hopefully I can kill them out and get back my muscadines. I have both the scuppernongs and the red muscadines. Have you checked the antioxidant value lately? through the roof.
I was fortunate enough to hear a talk on urban permaculture just this afternoon and what a fantastic talk it was. This is a You Tube video by the speaker and although I haven't listened to the video, he was truly engaging in person. He lives what he preaches and some of the things he does are truly amazing. Just one example he removed trees on his property to build a pond which (indirectly) both heats and cools his home. No debris was carted off the property. The branches were mulched and used in the beds and the tree trunks were cut into logs which line the driveway and direct rainwater runoff into a sort of rain garden that filters the water before it goes into the ponds. The logs are also impregnated with shitaki mushroom spore. The logs are all positioned so occasionally a bad driver bumps them which actually spurs the growth of the mushrooms. The ponds supply fish and edible water plants, every tree and plant on the property has at least 2 or more functions. This young fellow has a sense of responsibility to the earth that is rarely seen on the east coast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhKokbqYO44&feature=related
Ardesia, thanks for the video link. This young man would be a wonderful instructor for new developers who only think of grass and the same vegetation when they landscape their houses. And it present a new way of using the space for the buyers of these houses.
Couple this concept with energy efficient houses using micro turbine technology/solar and Voila, instant eco villages:)
Foggy: I am not a professional permaculturist, but I think you have a great idea going there. Ive been reading in Permaculture - The Magazine about living fences - growing fruit and fruit/seeds for birds along a fence row. On way to make a fruiting plant more productive is to espalier it, training the branches horizontally.
Thanks, Foggywalk--another good idea to put in my notebook--
I have a U-shaped garden on the south side of a building. It is fenced with heavy wire mesh--hog wire, maybe? I plan to put tomatoes along the U side so I can tie them to the fence. Foggy's row cover cloth is just the ticket--to protect the plants when we get those killing late frosts and freezes.
Outside the U curve of the fence I have another curvy fence with Muscadine grapes. I'll put landscape cloth between the two fences. I've been planting fruit trees also, had a great pear crop last year. I've been experimenting with cardboard circles as mulch around blueberries and other orchard plants. I put pine straw on top of the cardboard to help hold it down and to look good. So far, so good.
Gloria, do you subscribe to Permaculture Magazine in Britain or to the Activist in the US? Do you recommend it?
Is anyone on this thread growing mushrooms outside? I've seen kits for sale, but they are for indoors I think. I'm more interested in growng them outside in an edible forest garden.
maypop, I think Mother Earth News online archives has an article on growing mushrooms outside. If you don't find it there, I'll go through my notebook to find where I printed it from.
Foggy, I like your technique for covering. We were going to put up a cattle panel greenhouse a few days ago, but didn't get to it. Good thing, as we would have lost it to the wind last night! Thinking about just sticking to individual row covers.
I've seen inoculated SHADY, SOMEplugs advertised online. You find oak logs (a certain kind?), drill appropriate holes and insert the plugs. Photos I've seen have shown the logs stacked like old log cabin logs, with a wide space between logs. I think they then require a shady and somewhat damp area to grow. Takes 3 years or so (?) but then there are more spores generated as well as 'shrooms.
Does anyone have suggestions for shrubs to landscape with that have edible fruit and are no more than 3 feet tall. I am helping my sister redesign the entrance to her 'earthship' house and it is a hillside dominated by a flat cistern top half way up the hill.
The soil is slightly acidic and we plan to make steps in the center and do terracing.
She is going to plant the terraces in herbs but I need an edible backbone planting of shrubs at the base of the hill.
Blueberries here are in the 15 ft range. How about low growing roses.
Native roses are not very tall and they produce rose hips in the fall. Maybe you could find something like black raspberries or black berries to mix in.
groundcovers could be wild strawberry and/or wintergreen.
Katie B, blueberries are a good idea. She lives around Athens, Ohio where they would probably work. I don't know about the size though. I know I saw a dwarf variety in one of my catalogs, so I'll check.
Gloria, the wild strawberry idea is very good. She has them in abundance in her unmowed yard. But blackberries and raspberries are too invasive and she is only mildly handy with the pruning shears.
I guess I don't exactly know the native flora and fauna of the Athens area and should get busy and learn. It is similar to mine here near Cincy but it is more rocky and less clay with veins of coal in the outlying areas.
They have rugosa rose growing wild and it is a foreign invader and it is a monster to eradicate.I don't know if there are any rose natives in Ohio. I'm sure there must be.
Ill check. Im working on an article on wild roses now. Of course there are the "Nearly Wild" ones that look good all the time, but I don't know how nutritious the hips are or if they are much good for bird and small mamal habitats.
A "food forest" is going to be a little wild, not as neat as a clipped boxwood hedge.
I'm thinking that the herbs she plants are going to be as 'wild forest' as she wants to get on that hillside. I want something that produces but has the same effect as a clipped boxwood hedge, though, to impose a little order to a hillside that is just a mish mosh of things she has been given and plunked down in the ground over the years,eg. spirea, daylilies, etc.
The currants and blueberries may just be the ticket for the edge of the sidewalk.
Covering the ugly cistern(square and partly exposed)is going to be trickier.
It can't have invasive roots but it still has to leave accessibility from the steps we cut into the hillside for the water deliveries. I know that blueberries are shallow-rooted so maybe that is the answer for the base around the cement structure to hide it. Or currants.
She has a rose bush at the beginning of her walkway(Knockout brand) but it is a poor lonely fellow and I need to incorporate that into the design as well. Hmm.
Thanks for all the good suggestions.
Remember that concrete sweetens the soil. You might have to ament to make it blueberry friendly. I like blueberries because they are a beautiful plant with no dangerthorns, prickers, etc. and I like the fruit.
I like thr fruits of raspberries and lots of others but they aren't as friendly to casual visitors.
Check a catalof like Johnny's and read through their section on small fruiting plants. They might have something less well-known that will sound good.
Thank you all for the suggestions. I forgot about the concrete having an alkaline effect. Good point. I'm less familiar with huckleberries. Less fussy is a good thing.
I don't know James Duke. I'll check in our local library and see if I can locate him.
Johnny's is a catalog I haven't checked out. I'll see if they have a website and check out the section you mentioned, katiebear. Thanks to all.
at Lazy S nursery you can get black chokecherries...Aronia melanocarpa...shrubby...grow everywhere almost, black berries used like currents and fragrant white flowers in the spring...3 to 5 ft...the folks at Lazy S are really helpful & will tell you right away if these are good for your site...mine are doing well, they have several native nuts & berries...chinquapins for one(nut tree)...very hard to find.
Quoting: I just ordered an outdoor morel patch for my husband's birthday. We'll see how it goes.
Michelle in Michigan
Please share with us how that goes. I really pored over that catalog when it came out, but I was put off by other peoples stories of sterilization, petri dishes and all that. Seemed even more demanding than canning, which I haven't approached yet either :)
Foggy, I checked out their site http://www.lazyssfarm.com/ and found a slew of good things.
I have never heard of a chokecherry shrub. I'll do a little research.
Hineni, your extension service should be able to help you get over the trepidation of canning. Believe me, it isn't as hard as it seems. I have my bachelor brother canning his produce and if he can, you can. He makes a great salsa!
Hineni, we received the kit a few days ago and it's in the basement waiting for 2 feet of snow to melt and some warmer temps. All we have to do is prepare the bed, dump the kit in that's pretty much it. No sterilization or petri dishes... :)
Elderberry grows wild here too but it is large and an informal shape. Not something that would make a small hedge. But it does make a good medicinal wine or jelly. Trouble is they are tiny berries on an umbrel and it takes many to make a batch. I freeze the whole head and then the berry comes away from the stalk easily.
There are lots of differnt kinds of elderbeerries - and three different colors to chose from. Check out what does well in your area and what you want - tree, hedge, bush. People here can probably tell you what will do well in your area.
The ones I had in Muchigan came with the property so I can't give you a name.
I meant the chokeberry aronia melanocarpa... NOT the choke cherry...
.the chokeberry is being investigated for its anticarcinogenic properties & the highest antioxident of any plant so far. The hybrid "Viking" was developed for people, not birds & makes a fine jam or wine or it can be dried & used in muffins.
but it does like a little high shade so a sunny hillside might not be its best home...
I was just reading and saw that the topic was wild plants that are edible ect...
here is a good link i found http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/
i hope i m still on the right topic
My eyesight is a bit off and am off this week to check my eyes
so forgive me if i missed somehting lolol :)
There is a berry that grows wild here that the locals call elderberry. It is red, small and very tart. Most people won't eat them fresh but make jelly from them. I like them fresh. They are a bit like a green persimmon in that they tend to "draw" a bit when you eat them fresh. The bushes get nice sized, almost a small tree, and the leaves are small, leathery, mossy green on the upper side and silver underneath. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
I have never heard of different types of elderberries. Perhaps because they grow wild here and are rather rangy, I just picked them and thanked the nature fairies for putting them in my way. I will check it out.
I imagine you could prune these too. Trouble is, like I said my sister is a novice, pruning wise and I don't want to discourage her right out of the gate.
As far as elderberry jelly, I have a recipe for a Wild Berry jelly from Rodale's Stocking Up III book. Because the berry is so small, it is usually mixed with other berries to make up the bulk.
Wildman Steve is a hoot! He can come eat my dandelions anytime he wants. And he is into mushroom hunting! Hurrah! So am I. Anyone else out there into seasonal hunting of fungus?
Much as I love flowers, mushrooms are just as varied in their shapes, sizes and colors.And you can eat some of them too.
This is my favorite mushroom pic. I took it while hiking in Jenny Wiley State Park 20 minutes from my house. we love to camp there. We can have all the fun of camping and still be close enough to take care of all our horses.
that is pretty pic Cajun !
I will confess that i m a chicken when it comes to eating wild mushrooms lol
My brother was hit by lightning, SIL rattlesnake bite , Since things always come in three's lol i know i m next ! ,so i m playing it safe. LOL
i am thinking of growing my own shrooms ( the legal kind ) found a good site to buy the kits. From Wildman Steve's site.
Yes i think he is a hoot too, cracked me up when i saw the footage on his site .
Prililly how did you get started in becomming a fungi hunter ?
Taynors, I was a kid from a family of 11 siblings and we lived where you could roam the woods to your hearts content. I always was fascinated by the incredible diversity of fungus I found in my wanderings and it went from there.
In my adulthood, some of my sibs and I took to looking for morels when we camped and when you are from a big family, anything edible and free is a great treat! If I can't identify it completely(from either a book or a spore print) I leave it. Plus I never take too many so they come back again. If you do try it, start with the most identifiable types or take someone along who has experience.
Cajun, that is a great picture! What time of year was this taken?
Katiebear, I share your concern about mistakes in id'ing mushrooms. Surprisingly, though, if you look in mushroom identification books, there are a few specific mushrooms that are deadly, but they are rare. More likely, the fungus is just not tasty enough to warrant eating.
Also, the time of year when you pick the mushroom helps to i.d. it and where you find it since many grow only in certain locations. What do they say...location, location, etc .
I was looking at Cajun's picture, in fact, thinking it looked like an amanita(poisonous) mushroom but the fact that it was growing on a tree made me scratch my head. I usually see them near the woods edge in the fall standing very tall and gorgeous.
I would like to try one of them big puff balls ones
wow prilily 11 !! siblings wow. LOL on the edible and free food lol :)
what a wonderful childhood to have all that nature around you. :)
I agree , fungi hunting is always done with caution , Sounds like prililly has alot of knowledge on it.
In our woods we have an old tree stump and it has big orange fan like mushrooms. Very pretty. i wish i had a camera with me last summer to take it. I hope i can get it this summer. It was very pretty
Boy, Cajun. I want to come down to your neck of the woods. That's what I mean about the incredible variety of fungus, not just capped mushrooms but the shelf fungus, etc. Not to mention the most beautiful part that you never see, below ground. The more I read on the subject, the more wisdom I see in Permaculture and not disturbing the environment. You are effecting a whole ecosystem below the soil line when you dig.
By the way, Taynors, those big puffballs sauteed in butter are goood!(The all white ones without green in the middle, which denotes oldness) But I'll stop spouting off. A good book could tell you that.
How y'all are, Cajun? "There is a berry that grows wild here that the locals call elderberry. It is red, small and very tart. Most people won't eat them fresh but make jelly from them. I like them fresh. They are a bit like a green persimmon in that they tend to "draw" a bit when you eat them fresh. The bushes get nice sized, almost a small tree, and the leaves are small, leathery, mossy green on the upper side and silver underneath. Does this sound familiar to anyone?"
Sounds like it may be some Eleagnus--Russian Olive, Autumn Olive, Silverberry. My neighbors have something they call Goomeir, Goomeyer?? They can be nasty invasives. I saw it growing all over Missouri, where it chokes out native plants. The birds like the fruit and recycle the seeds all over. Does the fruit turn reddish? I had one once. It got too big and wild and took forever to chop it down and get rid of the roots. Now it's all natives or non-invasive edible exotics for me.
With that very yellow stem it looks like an amanita 'caesarea'. Supposedly edible when young but I am always leery of very bright colors. Too easy to confuse with another amanita,'muscaria', poisonous. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
The Goomeyer you describe,Maypop, sounds like Tartarian honeysuckle, an immigrant which is so successful here in the Cincinnati urban area, it is taking over all open spaces. Along with its evil twin, Euonymous 'coloratus' Wintercreeper. Still sold in nurseries all over here and so invasive.That is the reason for my reluctance to put in shrubs at my sister's house which might not be native. If the birds and wildlife like it, I might be introducing something to the place which I can't contain.
Here was another from the same trip. I wouldn't venture to try eating any of them as I have no idea what is good and what is not. I do know what morels look like and i would feel safe eating them but I can't find any. :(
I can't see the underside but it looks like a bolete, They are pretty easy to identify because the underside looks like a sponge, not gills. Some are not very tasy but I don't think any are poisonous. BUT get a bood book like Mushrooms Demystified and study it well. A man I know in Mendacino county tells of four "expert" mushroom hunters who came up there to hunt and eat mushrooms. Three died and the fourth got a new liver. This is not a casual hobby.
I wish I could download videos too. A sales rep at ATT said that as part of the merger deal--they must offer high speed to everyone by this summer. Right now I'm paying more for dialup than people who have DSL. One of the drawbacks of living in the sticks, I reckon. The tradeoffs are worth it. I heard a firetruck honking loudly yesterday--mostly I hear birds singing and the wind sifting the needles of pine trees.
My native plant society has subgroups--fern people, bird people, bug people, and mushroom people, including a fungi taxonomist. They go foraying for morels around this time of year. I agree with katiebear. The only mushroom that I would eat is the one in fall that looks like a round football--puffball?
Maypop, the fungi group looks for morels this time of the year! Wow.
Mid April and May are the morel months around these parts. I only eat a few mushrooms and then sparingly. Horse Mushrooms, morel and puffballs. I would rather just look at them and photograph them as Cajun does.
GardenGirl, I have looked at your website and feel like a rank amateur when I see your presentations and what you have accomplished in a small space. You provide a great source of inspiration. Martha Stewart should be so relevant!
Get a boook and study before eating anything!! The puffballs are OK but you have to cut them in half and be sure they are solid puffball as some poisonous ones look like puffballs before they are fully formed. If you cut the mushroom in half and it's one of the bad ones you can see the silloute of the cap and the stem inside it.
Ther are lots of old wives' tales about how to know if mushrooms are safe to eat. That's why it's important to have a reliable book (or two or more) with good pictures.
I hope its nothing like the poisonous snake color ryhme never could get that one straight. Ha.
The pictures are lovely .
Hey i will look into those link, it looks great
don't you have to peel alot of the puffball top off ?
I better print that one out ahahahah
just in case.
i guess i always thought it was red on yellow kill a fellow .SO its the other way around. I guess i don't have to worry about it to much here in Ohio. It will be easy to remember now due to my sons middle name is Jack.
Katie, Good advice about cutting open a puffball. I should have added that I only eat BIG puffballs and then cut them open to check their age. Smaller mushrooms, especially the white amanitas that pop out of an egg-like base before growing full size can look like a small puffball One should look at the base of a mushroom for the sac that remains to help identify.
I have a mother-in-law from Georgia who would scoff at a rhyme about snakes. She just gets out the broom and beats them all to death(: Needless to say, I forbid her to come into my garden with a broom. Now if she brought a hoe, I might reconsider:)
Her arm isn't so strong anymore but the intent is as strong as ever:)
I enjoy going out to the garden beds in the spring and seeing the garter snakes warming up in the sun. Along with hawks calling to one another, it is one of the sweet pleasures of spring.
Granted, I'm waxing poetic now because there is a inch layer of ice on top of snow outside as I write this. In a couple of months I'll be up to my you-know-what in work but for now I'll sharpen my tools and dream about sun.
corn snakes are good . they get about 2 ft ? and are very docile. Very kid friendly for a pet. THey come in all pretty colors too.
I like them :)
I used to work in pet shop one that had all kinds of reptiles. It was better than going to the zoo.
I have had some hands on Permaculture training.
I am a Radical Faerie and as such our sanctuary practices sustainable living using permaculture as part of over all living.
It certainly helps maintain the community both physically and spiritually.
It's a great way to live.
Ah permaculture! This is what fuels my current interest in sustainable agriculture. Bill Mollison coined the word in 1970 something. He wrote a few books, of which most are over my head, but I appriciate the challenge. It has mostly to do with design.
Introduction to permaculture
Permaculture: A Designer's Manual