I'd like to use round bales, and though I have almost a dozen here left over from the previous farmer, I have no way of moving the bales whole, aside from either renting equipment or hiring a neighbor. Either way it wouldn't be worth the cost for the amount of bales I have. I suppose I could unravel them and pile it on but I think I'm going to stick to wood until I feel I've taken enough from our forests here, and use the hay as top mulch. I'll still give the small square bale gardens a try, and I like your idea (Gerald) of stacking several on top of eachother. If I get enough spoiled bales this year, I may give that a try.
Type: Full season internship ( two positions available)/Short term volunteering also accepted
Organization: Greenshire Eco Farms
Location: Lindsay, Ontario
Start Date: Early April to the end of November 2011
This is a unique opportunity to be part of a permaculture farm at its beginning stages, as we enter our third growing season, and are only at the beginning of expansion. Our farm totals 100 acres with about 30 acres of young forest and 70 acres of meadow. Our plans for this season include:
-Growing our current 1.5 acre no-tillage vegetable garden to 3-5 acres
-Building a 7’ X 14’ passive solar heated greenhouse and small cold frames
-Establishing blackberry and raspberry patches
-Transplanting black currants, gooseberries, and possibly fruit trees
-Expanding our CSA foodbox program
-Setting up a stand at our roadside
-Selling to local restaurants, at farmers markets, foodbox programs, and distributors
-Constructing trellis structures
-Wild food/medicine harvesting
-Pruning and rehabilitating wild apple trees
Our methods of cultivation are rooted in natural farming and permaculture methods. As an apprentice you will learn and practice the following methods of bed preparation:
-No-tillage sheet mulching
-Ramial chipped branch wood
-Hay bale instant gardens
You will learn some season extension techniques: using floating row covers, cloches, a small greenhouse, and cold frames. Interns also have the opportunity to learn about eating seasonally, including food preservation and storage for the winter.
You will also learn polyculture/companion planting methods, organic pest control, biodynamic techniques (e.g., moon-phase planting, compost tea, tree paste), and the use and care of chicken tractors.
Interns will stay either in the main house, or in our 29-foot camping trailer for the season. The kitchen and pantry will be available in the main house, which is near the trailer. Much of the food supply will come straight from the land once crops start maturing. We have an outhouse-style humanure toilet near the trailer, and the shower will be made available in the main house. If desired, transportation can be provided for occasional trips to nearby towns (Omemee, Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Peterborough, etc.)
What is expected of interns:
-Commitment to the full season, including signing a contract
-40 hours per week of work on the farm
-Both self-directed and team work
-Ability to follow through on specific instructions
-Preference will be given to those with previous farming/gardening experience but it is not a necessity
-Passion for sustainable farming is a must
-Physically fit with good endurance and tolerance for working outside in all weather conditions
-Dedicated hard worker who is able to work alone or as part of a team
-Able to carry out compound instructions with little to no supervision
-Willing to eat a predominantly vegan or vegetarian diet
-Someone who is alright to be around animals as we have dogs, cats, horses, and pigs
Hi Travis, 5 acres of 109sq/ft cob huts is a very big eco-village!! I am currently looking for 3 to 5 acres to live on and maintain, build a cob eco-dwelling, have large garden, keep bees, and other permaculture eco-village activities. Also a yoga teacher/guide. A gentlemen Wayne with the Eden Wild concept (WilderHaven) in muskoka area also has 100acres and he is offering the option of building a 10x10 cob hut, in return you can use it and live on the land whenever you want, however, when you are not there, he gets to rent it out and you get a percentage of the rental fee. This keeps a mutual good relationship of "ownership" and helps with initial costs/labour. Peace.
Since may when I first posted about this, we've decided to expand the offer to be similar to the deal you mention above, though there is a bylaw here that would mean the builder could only live in their building for a maximum of 8 months out of the year.
I've been collecting bricks and cinder blocks in the hopes of using it to build...something.
We're looking for people to partner with, who would build small one room living structures that we would rent out. We wouldn't necessarily be able to pay a wage up front and would ideally have some sort of profit share arrangement with the builders. How does that sound to you?
I just built one in my 12x20' greenhouse, works great. Also interested in the idea of small 10x10 Cob Cabins heated with rocket mass heaters(interested in building one or many depending on the relationship/living arrangements for on-site etc) Do you have land to build on?
Hi Organdy. I've got 100 acres, and we can have up to 5 acres of our land covered in buildings. If the building is under 109 square feet there is no permit needed.
I ended up putting a small amount of the walnut bits into a 'horse feed bowl' and putting it in the chicken house. Just checked it and they pretty much picked it clean of nut meat. I was surprised. And no dead chickens!
I've been cracking black walnuts and saving the shells and nut-meat crumbs that were too small to bother with.
I'd like to set this mix in a bowl in the chicken coop but I'm worried about them choking on some of the shell pieces. Do any of you have experience, or know somone else who's fed chickens something like this?
I was just trying to bring the possibility of a bush layer into the conversation, that could be planted between fruit trees. I'm not really sure if your desired fruit trees will succeed in the places you mention, sorry. Don't have enough experience on the matter.
The fields with loads of goldenrod are (from what the neighbor tells me) used to be planted in hay and/or cereal crops years ago. The goldenrod slowly started taking over, and now it's dominant.
I'm excited at the possibility that these fields could be stand-alone horse feed, suitable for cutting and baling. My research shows me that it is a digestive aid for horses, though I'm not sure if too much is a bad thing. I've emailed a horse herb company who listed that info, to ask their opinion on the matter. In one of the fields there's also blue vervain, boneset, and st. johns wart, which are all medicinally beneficial.
What other 'permaculturally minded stuff' are you referring to George? Anything specific other than the thatched roof idea?
I have 6 horses in a paddock, who are restricted to a narrow track on the outside perimeter of the paddock. This is commonly called a 'paddock paradise'. The horse "track" is in a figure-eight pattern, and has been worn/eaten down to bare soil. The two inside circles of the figure eight are covered in vegetation but it's vegetation that the horses don't really like. I think it's mostly a type of sedge.
The soil is a medium-heavy dark loam, on a moderate hillside sloping to the northeast. It stays wet until late spring when the humidity drops and temperatures rise. I think the soils fertility is good because of the good general plant growth, the horse shit deposits, and the random volunteer corns plant that came up and grew really well. I'm in zone 5 b.
So I want to try replanting at least one of the circles inside the figure eight and am looking for plants that are high-starch, (low-sugar and low protein) fast growing forage plants suitable for horses that are ideally perennial. This could include trees as well, though any tree I know of has leaves with high protein. Any suggestions?
I envision that I broadcast the seeds in the early spring, then cover with about an inch or two of old hay. Do you think this would work? If not, how would you go about it?
As for the second question about the hay field replanting...I have two other fields that are majoring in goldenrod. Assuming that goldenrod can't be cut, baled, and stored like hay...how do I go about eliminating the goldenrod and replanting with a hay mixture? The soil in one field is really fertile. I planted spanish onions using no fertilizer or manure, just a covering of hay mulch, and got a really nice crop. The second field is more sandy, and depleted so I think I need to cover crop it for a year before planting hay.
My idea is to hire someone to tractor-mow the goldenrod when it starts producing flower buds in late summer, then plant a smothering cover crop of annual rye, and/or buckwheat and/or field peas. There wouldn't be enough time for the cover crop to go to seed so it'd die out. Then in the early spring I would seed the hay mixture, and then scythe any goldenrod or other unwanted plants until the hay mix can fend for itself. How does this sound? Any other ideas?
Damn, why couldn't I have thought of these questions when Toby was around!
Roxanne: I buried freshly cut poplar trees and have only had two trees pop up in a 100 foot X 50 foot area. I'm only one example of course so it may work out differently for someone else. I put a 2-4 inch layer of hay on top of the trees, which may have blocked some sprouts. Not sure though.
I'll email the nursery and run the scenario by them, and ask how much shade the pecans will need, if any. I've already emailed two of the authors of the study to ask the same.
Since I haven't cover cropped the area, I was thinking of planting peas and/or white clover and/or fava beans. If any woody plants are to be 3' from the pecans, I think I'd plant them at the same time of year as the pecans, otherwise I'd be worried about damaging the pecan roots. I'm also thinking of planting some herbaceous dynamic accumulators in or adjacent to the mulch zone (eg. docks, comfrey,
Due to budget restraints, I'll only be getting 4-6 pecan trees now (2 grafted, and 1-4 seedlings from two different nursery sources). I don't want to bet too much of the pie on this tree until I know it'll work in this zone. If they take off after a few years, I may put several more in. Since one of my goals is to see which one works, I think I need to stay relatively uniform with the surrounding support species and mulching.
The reason I was thinking of filling the gap between the rows of pecans with nurse trees was to cut them down, use the stems as mulch around the pecans, and laying the trunks on contour and leave them to rot and house fungi. I see that as being a yield of sorts. I could also always use some for firewood, as we have a wood burning stove in one of the houses on the farm. I was thinking of using mostly poplar and basswood aka linden, since there are plenty around here dig em up for free.
In the study, the nurse trees/bushes were planted 3 feet from each pecan, on either side of the row. The rows were 14.7 feet apart. The nurse crops were coppiced 4 years after planting. I wonder if that three foot distance was chosen with a real-world scenario in mind, or simply for the purposes of the experiment. It just seems really close, even though they were pruned to a single dominant stem. That leads me to think that if I'm going to let the pecans grow without doing any 'shaping' pruning that if emulating this study, I'd have to go from 3 feet apart, to either 6 or 9. On the other hand, looking at Lawton's forest gardening dvd, his nurse crops seem to be about 3 feet or so from his fruit trees.
Do you, (or anyone else reading this) think it'd work to plant the nitrogen fixing bushes 3 feet from the pecans, the nurse trees 6 feet, and another at 12 feet, 18 etc, filling in between the rows of pecans? As the pecans grow and need the space, (or as I need to supress grass growth) I could 'sacrifice' the very closest nurse trees, and bushes or at least heavily coppice them. If this doesn't seem sound, what would you recommend?
My tentative species list for nurse trees right now are...
*range of planting distances recommended for these are 20-30 feet apart.
speckled alder (planted on the south-west side)
poplar (planted on the northwest side) (I realize it only fixes nitrogen into its stem and not roots but they grow like crazy on the land here, with hundreds to transplant)
kentucky coffee (planted on south-east side)
I don't think I was clear with what I meant in my last post, sorry. I meant that to move 25 feet from the n. fixing tree to the pecan to 'drop the chop' seemed excessive/too long a distance to be efficient. I agree that planting sacrificial trees closer makes more sense but I struggle with coming up with the planting distance from the pecan trees.
Normally I would want a north-south orientation as you suggest but was thinking of east/west orientation because of space and microclimate limitations. I'm really going to be pushing the limit of range for these pecans, so I need the warmest possible spots for them. I only have one field that is suitable; a south facing hill that is about 500-600 feet east-west, and about 200 feet north-south. At the bottom of the hill is a mature pioneer forest comprised of poplar, cedar, ash and birch, which I imagine will block the flow of cold air and create a frost pocket at the hills bottom. To avoid the frost pocket, I figure I'll have to keep the pecans on the upper half of the hill, which means 2 pecan trees running north-south at most.
I haven't really got as far as thinking about the herbaceous layer yet, beyond a green manure, dynamic acccumulators, maybe a permanent white clover dominated cover with sprawling herbs mixed in, and/or some squash. Not really sure at this point. It's at the very farthest corner of the property from my house, so I couldn't plant much of anything that needs a lot of attention.
My tentative plan is to have a row of pecans running east-west, planted at the recommended 50 ft distance. A nitrogen fixing tree will be planted at the mid point between each tree, with a nitrogen fixing bush planted in the middle between each pecan tree and the adjacent nitrogen fixing tree. The n. fixers will be cut back periodically and used as mulch around the pecan trees.
I'm also considering putting mixed rows of nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs at the mid point between each row of pecan, to be heavily pollarded or killed once the pecans need the room and/or start to get shaded out. I have to do some more research around this before I settle with this plan. I'm not sure if this'll be overkill, or if the plan in the above paragraph, coupled with some herbaceous dynamic accumulator mulch plants will be enough of a mulch source.
Thought this might be of interest to some. It was a great find for me because I'm considering a test plot of ultra northern hardy pecans, and was thinking about all of the species in this study, wondering which would work best.
locust, false indigo, and smooth false indigo seedlings had high foliage nitrogen concentrations and have
been shown to quickly produce effective root nodules in association with native rhizobial populations?
"Honeylocust and Kentucky coffeetree, but not redbud, had intermediate foliage nitrogen concentrations."
"The low-foliage nitrogen concentrations for redbud were unexpected...Perhaps efficient
compatible rhizobial bacteria were not present within our old-field soils, or redbud is incapable of nonnodular
My chickens keep finding new nooks to lay eggs and I'm wondering if this is normal and healthy or if I should be worried and taking some kind of action. They were laying almost all eggs in one spot for quite awhile but lately that's changed. The change has coincided with an onset of colder temperatures so maybe it's simply that they are trying to find the warmest spot. I dunno...
I figure that it's healthy but just wanted to check to be sure. There have been a couple of times that they layed (laid?) in areas that I couldn't find for a week or so but other than that the spots are easy to see.
I dug two more test holes in the spot where the greenhouse is set to be; one that is 1 foot deep, and another thats about 2 feet deep. The 1 foot hole stays drained, and the 2 foot hole is about half filled with water. So I think we're settled on the cold sinks bottom being 1 foot below the current ground level, with a false floor thats at ground level, and having a hugelkultur bed that'll be built to end up with a height about 4 feet higher than the current ground level. Then we'll just shore up soil as thick as possible around the structure. We have extra soil from constructing a round pen that should suffice.
I had success with self-seeded tomato plants in a hugelkultur bed of sorts this year, using hay instead of logs. I'm in zone 5a. I think maybe Paul issued a request/challenge to grow tomatoes via direct seeding, and I kinda did that by accident. Here's what happened:
I made the bed by lining up the hay bales, removing the strings, soaking the bales, and then burying them on all sides in a mix of half horse manure, half soil, with a small percentage of kitchen scraps thrown in. The thickness of this layer was an average of 3-4 inches thick. A hay mulch layer of about 2 inches was placed on top of this. The bed was constructed at the end of may. Onions were planted shortly after construction, and the squash was direct seeded in early june. But what about the tomatoes you ask? Well I'll get to that in a sec...
As this bed was for my market garden, I planted a carpet of green onions, bush squash every 5 feet, and intended to allow useful wild plants to thrive whenever possible. My intent was to harvest the onions closest to the squash perimeter once a week in order to avoid the squash shading out the onions. Within about a week tomatoes started coming up like grass, as did self seeded squash and melon. I thinned everything out all but the strongest-looking plants to about 2 foot spacing, except for the onions. I left their population alone, and every week I harvested green onions, taking the ones which were closest to the tomatoes and squashes.
I ended up with about 4 different types of cherry tomatoes, 3 types of large tomatoes, a few pumpkin, two types of squash, and some kind of cross-bred melon. The bed ended up looking a little wild but still as if I intended the plants to be there. I did some guided farm tours this year and many people were surprised that most of the plants in the bed were self seeded.
Being that I'm in zone 5a, I wasn't sure that the tomatoes and melon would have enough time to finish. Usually in my area people start tomatoes indoors in february or march, and transplant between may 24- early june. Since the tomatoes in this hugel bed only started popping out of the ground in early june I thought they might not have enough time to ripen. Boy was I wrong! Admittedly the ripening was mostly at the end of the season, continuing even after the first few light frosts. I have pictures of the bed somewhere but I can't find em at the moment.
There were also at least two types of mushrooms that came up, one of which looked exactly like button/portabello mushrooms but I was too cautious to try them. I don't know enough about shroom ID to be comfortable risking a taste. I did irrigate this bed once or twice a week with dripline because many of the squash plants and a few of the tomato plants had drooping, wilted leaves on occasion during a 3 week period of no rain and hot temperatures.
I'm planning on attempting to duplicate this happy accident but changing things a bit by leaving out the home compost, and intentionally seeding tomatoes.
(To the Moderator(s) - should this be split into another topic?
I'd like to see one outlining how inject forest gardening into commercial production systems, and to show examples for as many climate types as possible. Eg. 'Instead of a strict orchard of nothing but apple trees, mowed grass, and synthetic chemicals how about doing it like this...'
Me and the other partners here at Greenshire plan to build a greenhouse, sticking to Mike's design as closely as possible. I have his book and have read through it but didn't find answers to my questions.
Our problem is that we have a high water table. The soil is about 3-4 feet of sandy loam, and then it hits a chalky, gravel/clay mix that doesn't drain well. Mike Oehler's design calls for the design to be 4 feet below ground at the front, and 2 feet below ground level at the growing area. I should mention that the site for the greenhouse is on almost completely flat ground. Late last summer we dug a test pit 4 feet down and next spring thaw water filled about 3 feet deep at worst, levelled off to about 2 feet deep during mid-spring and then disappeared when the heat of summer came on. This excessive accumulation of moisture could have purely been from the pit being exposed to the elements, and could have been mostly melted snow which wouldn't enter the equation if there's a greenhouse overtop. But it also could have been made up of significant amounts of ground water. I'm not sure.
If my worst fears came true and I did get standing water in the area inside the greenhouse, wouldn't it all just collect in the deepest area at the front walk in space, leaving the growing area saturated but still suitable for plant growth? I don't mind having to wear waders . Would this amount of water compromise the structural integrity, even if we followed Mikes instructions to a tee?
In an effort to avoid standing water...Would I lose too much R value if I raised everything up by 2 feet, so that the front walk-in section is 2 feet below ground level, and the growing bed is at ground level? I would shore soil up around the structure over-top of the existing ground level but I'm worried that wouldn't be enough to match the heat value of the 'by the book' depth.
I think I'm going to remove the hay mulch and replace with woodchips. The chips are from a municipal depot about 5 mins away, and are mostly cedar, pine, and spruce, with random hardwood mixed in. I know there's a risk of walnut and other detrimental wood but I've seen the fresh stuff and it's heavy on the conifers. My other option would be to take some duff layer from the acre of scotts pines and use that but I'd rather avoid 'robbing peter to pay paul' scenario.
I'll consider those other types of strawberries Tel. Thanks for your advice.
Right now the plants are mulched with a few inches of hay, as they have been all season. I half thought that the hay might be the problem, as it stayed pretty moist through the rainy/cloudy period just before the rot appeared.
The type of strawberry in question is an everbearing variety, and maybe I'm creating a false memory but I recall that the majority of the berries stayed off the ground. I'm growing them to sell at market and in our CSA, and though I know that the alpine types aren't as small as the more common wild strawberry, I don't see it as being cost-effective to harvest. Maybe I'm wrong?
I've got a few patches of perennial chamomile growing randomly. If enough comes back next year, maybe I'll either transplant some into the strawberry bed or use it in a spray as you suggest. Thanks Leila.
Roy; I'm hoping to get a modest crop of sugar pumpkins in next year so I'll have a supply of skins after that, if my other methods don't pan out.
Thanks for the advice. Not sure I grew enough pumpkin this year to really make the spray slurry a viable option. I did plant garlic between many of my strawberry plants, and plan to plant the other anti-fungal plants in my list around them too.
Do you know if squash skin works the same as pumpkin?
This spring I planted several varieties of fruit trees, and now some of them are leaning pretty drastically, I assume because of the wind. The trees I planted, were pointed slightly towards the prevailing winds but I was gone for most of the plantings, and my colleagues didn't always follow my advice on this.
My understanding is that it's best to not stake fruit trees, unless they can't hold themselves up. That the stake is like a crutch that allows them to be weaker and less resilient than if they were left to stand on their own.
However, I've also read that trees that have a drastic lean, will yield significantly less fruit over its lifetime than if it were straight.
SO... I'm thinking that I will straighten the trees (and bend them a bit into the wind) using old garden hose wrapped around rope or cable, held to the ground by a tent peg. I will put the cable as low to the ground as possible, so that the tree still has to do some 'fending for itself'. As soon as the tree seems 'righted' I'll remove the cable. MY concern is that I'll have babied the tree by this time, and it'll have become dependent on the cable. What say you?
I've got a strawberry patch that has been hit with black rot in the flowers and immature fruit, in a big way. All my research for solutions only comes up with synthetic sprays. I forget the scientific name of the ailment but it is a fungus that is ever-present in the soil, and becomes active during extended rainy/cloudy periods, which is what the weather was like when the rot came on.
Do any of you know of organic/ecologically friendly ways to deal with such a problem?
My first thought was to plant anti-fungal plants between the strawberries, in the hopes that they combat the fungus. So I've started a list:
mint thyme garlic chives lavender oregano
Any others that I'm missing? Keep in mind that my zone is 5, so the neem plants are out
I had another idea to remove the existing hay mulch and replace with pine needles, since they have anti-fungal properties, and I've seen strawberries growing in our pine forest here. What do you think I should do?