That’s very interesting to her about n fixing around blackberries. I had noticed in a lot of pulling myself that they leave behind much better soil. I always figured it was all the birds eating the berries and the protection from trampling.
Great conversation. I look at weeds as carbon fixators and nutrient accumulators and chelators, as well as soil conditioners. I do not worry about it if a “weed” is not shading out my wanted plants, it’s better than bare soil and trades sugars and nutrients via soil life that become more available to all plants around it. Ultimately, Whichever plant has the greater photosynthetic surface area will ultimately win any transpiration powered tug of war for water and nutrients that may occur in times of scarcity. Unless you have more than enough organic matter in your soil, I’d let your weeds put it in there for you and chop n drop/feed to animals unless you have a choice plant to put there instead.
Thanks for your work and post Daron. I got some good ideas and am impressed by the scale of your projects. I. am working on a restoration/ food forest project at the College ofthe Redwoods in Crescent city down in the southern end of what I consider the northwest (Redwood coast).
Do you have any experience propagating red alder or suggestions for other native northwestern nitrogen-fixing trees? I think we are getting to the point of planting this fall, and am interested in expert opinions on revegetating a very wet in winter 1.25 acre site with natives as much as possible, though of course we are going to grow a lot of Eurasian fruits as well. Thanks again!
I am not sure if you meant “make a mat of wood chips and then soil on top” literally, but you don’t want to do that. Mixing as intact as possible woody debris is great, but the increased surface area of the chips will exponentially increase the nitrogen deficit created in the initiation of decomposition. So you can save the gas and time needed to chip your wood and just cut it to fit under your available soil, ideally no more the 1/3 wood by volume.
If you just have chips, I’d use it as top mulch, ideally after its been bird bedding.
I agree with the soil building suggestions above. You also seem to be in a place where the summer is your winter, meaning your dormant season is opposite to us in more temperate zones. I would also bet you are facing some tough animal pressures if you have the juiciest plants around after being the only person providing water and organic matter. It takes a lot of time to learn how to build soil in your given bio region , but I am glad you are doing it and your frugal approach makes it an inexpensive education.
I am reminded this July 4th that our country was created as a revolution against a corrupt and misrepresentative government.
We have a peaceful, regenerative way to revolt with permaculture, by not giving those fuckers (you choose the fuckers) money. This is a functional weapon against corrupt companies and taxation without representation.
I also think it helped I emphasized the effects of estrogenic chemicals have on male reproductive health to the three guys I met with who are in charge of the spraying and that they people doing the spraying and mixing are at the highest risk.
Thanks to Dr. Redhawk for the link to the NIH website. This information, along with some basic rational points made to the school board and district maintenance about how inappropriate the use of roundup is around schools, got us a big win! After meeting with the facilities and maintenance supervisor yesterday and leaving dejected after being told they planned to spray again next week, I got a call from the lead guy and was told they are suspending spraying until at least next summer as they do more research and consider alternatives. By then we hope to have provided plenty of better options. Let’s do this across the country! It can be done if we get to the decision makers with sound information, rational arguments and better alternatives.
Great project! I am down near the 101-199 jct, and work on the College of the Redwoods food forest project in Crescent City. We have a site up in Weitchpec that I have never been to yet.
On the blackberry front, I have used a lot of it as fence material to make a natural barbed fence that will hurt like crazy if an intruder tries it but not kill my great pyrenees if he tears through it protecting his flock. This has gotten me to the point where I am starting to worry I might not have enough blackberries until I get my wild and thornless going better.
Sepp Holzer swears by pigs for bramble removal.
Bill Mollison describes in a video on youtube about the old english method to grow a fruit tree amidst them and then run pigs or cattle through once they are big enough to fruit heavily and survive the large animals (7-10yrs). The trees rush to get above the brambles with a long straight trunk and then send out horizontal branches right above them. The tree ends up with perfect broad branching right above your head.
I appreciate all the knowledge shared on permies and was hoping for some help sorting through the misinformation and propaganda online about Roundup and Glyphosate to present to my local school board next week.
Just this Monday (6/18/18), I came to Del Norte High School for a Youth Training Academy (YTA) orientation for which I am leading a Food Forest Pathway. When I asked the district maintenance crew what they were spraying all over the school grounds and parking lot, they told me it was Roundup and kept spraying despite my protest at doing so with kids and staff present, or at all. The College of the Redwoods Food Forest we are working on is an adjacent and downstream 1.25-acre site. I have been unknowingly exposed as I have worked on the site for the past year along with the youth I lead in the project. No postings/warnings were visible around the school and no staff were aware it was happening right where we were having orientation activities, shortly after spraying occurred. I went to the district maintenance supervisor the next day and he said they had posted notices and blamed kids for likely "taking them like they always do". Which I said was all the more reason why poison should not be sprayed at all. He said if I can present his bosses with compelling law, evidence and or alternatives he would be happy to do something less toxic as he doesn't like Monsanto-Bayer either.
This Thursday 6/28 is the next school board meeting and I am going along with everyone I can bring, including students, staff and other constituents. I know the Monsanto School of Agriculture and other tentacles of this corporate parasite have put out enough misinformation and propaganda to make the tobacco companies look honest, so I was hoping for a little help getting to some sound facts to present on the danger of glyphosate and roundup, and possibly some help quickly countering their propaganda in the short time I will be allotted to speak to the board. I am also encouraging students in parallel groups in the YTA like the Media, Organizing, and Youth Innovation Studio (creative entrepreneurship and activism) to help take on this problem and find positive solutions that may go well beyond the one school campus to the district and county. Thanks for any advice you all have. If you ever near the Redwoods near the CA-OR border, I'd love to show you around and talk forests and permaculture.
"I don't have any reason to believe that your industry will even be in existence in 30 years." "When I get deathly sick, my tribe has agreed to help me get out to the desert where I can crawl away and let the coyotes eat my bones." Sure a riparian area would be better, cause then I might rot instead of turning into a mummy to be discovered a few decades hence. Whatever, I was winging it!” -Joseph Lofthouse
- An interesting and troubling recent “RadioLab” dove into just how long it takes for a human to decompose in the desert, and what this means about estimates of death #s in crossing the desert to get around border fences. Using a human sized pig, they found it would take less than a week for it to be unrecognizable after wildlife came from great distances very quickly to get such an unusually large meal. Tragically, this indicates that a vast majority of migrants who die trying to avoid border obstructions have probably gone undiscovered and uncounted. the math indicates that based on the hundreds we have found, tens of thousands have died in the desert trying to cross where fences can’t reach. The wall would make it even worse. Talk to your evangelist about the Christianity of that.
Sounds like how BT was first made, with ground up catepillars. I haven't used it, but apparently BTK is for beetle larvae, and you may have made it yourself! In addition, few animals like the smell of their own kind rotting.
The goal seems to be to grow as much of your food/fuel etc as possible while utilizing local waste streams and undervalued materials. Any gardening technique has to be considered in the context of your local environment and where you have undervalued sources of organic matter and fertility. Most places have something nearby due to the immense and diverse waste produced by most civilizations. Where I am, wood is abundant and undervalued (its given away or burned), so I have gone with hugelkulture raised beds with paths that are on contour humus ditches absorbing my French drain (roof and bird run runoff) filled with woody debris and woodchips. Even setting aside the large amount of food I produce, the carbon sequestered by my garden will go back into the soil, and the water from my property water will filter more cleanly into our local salmon stream much more gradually. Most people could do something to improve their own food security and quality while also sequestering carbon and cleaning water that we pollute and percolating it slowly to recharge groundwater. I have done almost everything by hand and almost entirely with materials brought from within wheelbarrow range or as a part of multipurpose trip (I gather kelp, river sand, crab shells etc where I walk my dog anyway). This may have been some “work,” but I did not have to go to the gym to workout and eat much better. I can also trade what I produce for many other needs. All this adds up to money being saved every month while I work part time. If it got to the point where what I described became overly popular, I don’t see a big downside.
If the trees’ photosynthesis is unimpeded by other plants, in the vast majority of cases, grasses and other plants are beneficial in the long run to the whole system and in turn the trees themselves. Unless they are an allelopathic grass (some steppe grass) or create a significant fire danger, the grasses and other “weeds” are carbon fixators and nutrient accumulators that improve and hold the soil in the long run as they go though their life and decay cycle. In the soil, when push comes to shove in drought or nutrient shortages, the biggest vacuum wins, and that will always belong to the largest tree with the most photosynthetic area to transpire from. When things aren’t desperate, trees are fine with all the other plants covering and improving the soil and retaining moisture. In drought, the largest plant (or tree) in a soil network of roots can literally pull moisture and nutrients out of smaller plants through their stronger vacuum created with greater transpiration. This happens in Redwood forests on a grand scale during drought years and is how trees live for millennia. In the long run having the big, shade and nutrient providing trees survive helps those understory plants come back. It’s a lot like an economy, wherein smaller, diverse businesses are allowed to exist as long as they benefit the major industries that are “too big to fail”, but when things get dry the big boys pull their water and use their weight to assure their own survival no matter the cost to little guys. Then they say it was for the little guys’ good!
Trees work on long term strategies, and it is even more absurd to apply our short term, little guy capitalist mindsets to their care than it is with grains.
Devil's club has many medicinal uses (according to Pojar, the "devil" is a derogatory reference to its use by native shamans/medicine people doing "non-christian" things with it). When very young (before thorns emerge or harden), the leaf buds are delicious and juicy, tasting like a carrot-radish combo.
Oh, I was not suggesting damming a stream. That’s almost always problematic ecologically and I understand that the goal of regulating stream impediments is primarily to protect anadromous fish (salmon). I meant a key point dam, or one of the many other ways to tap into a clay layer and capture groundwater that stops and runs parallel to that layer. All the same, don’t risk your land based on someone on the internet saying it’s ok!
Salem was an incredibly backwards part of western Oregon when I went to college there, and absurd parking requirements blocked a professors’ permaculture subdivision/community project. The city also disallowed sorority houses with individual rooms because by their interpretation of the law they would technically be brothels.
Do things you love and do them well, and you will find yourself around people who you will enjoy being with and who appreciate you. If you have committed yourself to treating others well and giving more than you take, your presence will be seen as a positive by others if they are someone you want to be around.
I don't think my story is really something to for anyone copy. I met my wife while thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, not exactly a place one would think to meet women (it seemed about 10% of the hikers were women in my year). If you like outdoorsy, tan, sveldt guys though, it's the place to be! But I think the underlying principle of doing something you love, doing it well, and helping others enjoy doing it too, will make you the most attractive version of yourself.
I have zero "game." I am very shy by nature and was terrified of girls growing up. I read "Our Bodies Ourselves" way too young (10), and this blew my mind. They could find their "goddess" by sitting down on a mirror and looking for it?!? Women were ineffably beautiful beings beyond my comprehension. I also think I rightly questioned what I, an adolescent boy, had to offer beyond a whole lot of pent up angst and energy.
It was amazing how things changed when I started doing something that felt like self-realization as a backcountry ranger/trailworker/restorationist. I was around women and people in general who I deeply respected, found beautiful in an aesthetic as well as Kantian sense, and who brought the best out of each other. This just naturally led to more intimate relationships between everyone, platonic and otherwise. Also, while it's a B movie, The Tao of Steve did have a disturbingly accurate distillation of how to be more attractive: Be excellent, be desireless, and be gone. It worked for me, I don't think my wife would have gotten so hooked on the Ben stuff if I hadn't gotten about a hundred miles ahead shortly after we first met. It also helps to always be able to walk faster than her, so she can't get away:)
Beautiful work! I have done a decent amount of dry rock work on trails and in landscaping, and can appreciate that was a lot of work done very well. What a wonderful accomplishment to do something that will live far longer than ourselves. Wandering around the landscape looking for the rock to fit a particular place in your wall is a very pleasant and satisfying thing to do, but the rock bites bring you back down to earth. Nothing will conjure a more creative curse than a smashed finger though, and it helps to laugh through the pain.
It may not be plausible on a large scale, but you could likely get away with any pond done by hand, or that has less than a 2m dam wall. If you are particularly worried, you could fill in a pond like depression with woody debris and call it a rain garden. It would go unnoticed by satellites and serve most of the ecological/hydrological functions of a pond besides fish/duck rearing. Put ducks or fish uphill and make it the overflow/drainage and you have a humus pit. If you do get authorities asking questions, anyone with any knowledge of watersheds in the NW would understand this to be very positive to more sustained, consistent water flow downstream/hill. In CA a similarly absurd law about the state owning rainfall has been intentionally unenforced by Gov. Brown where its not causing harm, and reversing it for small scale roof catchments is on the ballot. Changing water rights laws like these seems like a cause worth getting politically active for in permaculture circles. In hiking the PCT, I saw livestock causing grievous harm to riparian areas on headwater streams throughout Southern CA into the Sierras, all for $1.68/acre for grazing rights, while by the letter of the law, people in the desert are disallowed from catching their own roof water. It makes a man want to just scream "Serenity Now!"
Mr. Liu’s work is inspiring and inspired. I love this idea as a longtime camp kid turned counselor and coordinator at ymca Camp Colman, where during the 80’s and 90’s the leadership was brilliant. The number of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger songs I learned by heart around the campfire indicates the directors’ inclinations. While I don’t remember it being explicitly stated as a source of their pedagogy in trainings, I bet they would be very inclined towards permaculture philosophies. These amazing women also always made everything fun and funny, even cleaning up. I heard the same explanation fifty times on how to do your dishes, and every time Kim made it funny. Lois always made you feel safe and cared for, and was the greatest public singing conductor I’ve ever seen.
I ended up writing my masters thesis on how service learning experiences that form a sense of altruistic community while immersed in nature can facilitate self realization and more socially and environmentally responsible behaviors. The positive impact of these camps will be far greater than what happens on the site itself, with ripples going out with each participant. We may be just rain drops in the ocean, but altogether we are the tide.
I have moved hundreds of cubic yards of woodchips by wheelbarrow. I find a two-wheeled barrow, a Mcleod (a big hoe-rake hybrid), and a hay fork are indespensible. If you have a decent barrow, you can tip it toward the pile and fill it half way or so with the mcleod in just a few seconds, then tip it upright and fill the rest with the fork. It's also always good to fill it only to the point where it is still easily movable. A full load that gets dropped half way there is way worse than a half load that gets where you want it easily.
Tim, while I think you should be welcome here regardless, why are you here if that’s how you feel? Subsidies put “most farmers” atop a house of cards with feedback loops leading to dependency on large corporations and the subsidies they dictate through lobbyists. This is why many farmers are adopting permaculture principles and profiting from it on all three bottom lines. I have seen a moderate sized and well established vineyard quadruple output and income streams within 5yrs using permaculture endorsed practices. I have seen how in Samoa, subsistence polyculture practices that looked a lot like permaculture sustained a culture that had much better health and quality of life outcomes than what had resulted from “modern agriculture” So in my overly opinionated opinion, your comment sounds willfully ignorant.
Based on permaculture principles put into action, I eat and drink better than most French Kings ever did and live in an incredibly beautiful place for well within my means. If I had a million dollars, my life wouldn’t change much. I do come from a relatively affluent background and my education was provided by family and merit based scholarships with little debt. But if this is poverty, I don’t know what to call the sanitized squalor most humans live in.
I thought posting where you could call to take direct action was an attempt to provide a route to solutions. I also would say that people that disagree with me should be welcome on these forums too and are welcome to critique my point of view on any post.
If you can, I'd set up their bath to passively empty/overflow into a garden area. I have a post "hugel-chinampas...now with duckoponic swales" with a video of my setup, which has my birds completely free to fly away but could give you some ideas for utilizing the liquid gold they turn their water into. Basically, i used a french drain pipe overflow for my pond that runs into flat basins filled with woody debris and woods chips to form a passively fertigating path in between hugel beds that wicks up all that goodness. Just remember the first harvest off any animal is the manure, and that's especially true with ducks who have the highest phosphorus content of any common barnyard manure and conveniently make their own tea.
Great work! Any way to add Del Norte and maybe Humboldt, Trinity and Siskiyou County in NW California to the list? In Del Norte county, just south of the OR border, we have more in common ecologically and culturally with the NW than the rest of CA. We also have an immense potential capacity for permaculture here and as an essentially island community (amongst a sea of mountains and forest wilderness) could benefit greatly from the regional autonomy it could provide. I'd love to help however I can.
It is unfortunate that the apolitical aspirations of the forum have castrated its ability to prompt direct action and inform other members of ways they could help in matters of clear importance and pertinence to permaculture. I just wanted to help protect Wyoming grizzlies, including females with cubs, from newly approved trophy hunting, and got blocked. This is just sad.
Horse manure is great for N-hungry leafy greens and corn but not fruiting plants, especially woody perennials like grapes (which can produce great wine grapes when jammed in between rocks on a cliff) and fruit trees. Horse manure is known for producing twenty foot tomato vines with two tomatoes. An approach you could try is growing N hungry veggies on it for a season or two and then transition to your fruiting plants. That is what Sepp Holzer suggests.
You can also feed horse manure to chickens and ducks or worms and they will improve it with phosphorus and other good nutrients and microbes.
For the tea, you could use it beneficially at 50:1 water-slurry for microbial inoculation. 1cup to two gallons (32 cups) seems pretty safe to me, but I’d start at 50:1 to be safe if you are banking on this. If you want another way, duck pond/pool water straight on most plants works pretty darn well, and only requires the work of having ducks, which in my experience is easier and more rewarding than chickens. For your slurry, You can use a simple siphon diluter-mixer (they mix 16:1 so you but you can start with a 3:1 or 2:1 mix in another container near each plot) and use your normal hose based watering method or hand water. But you are talking about 1500gal of liquid at 32:1 with 50gallons slurry, which weighs upwards of 12,000lbs. That makes a 16$ siphon diluter or four worth it.
If you can aerate it that thick I would, or at least stir it as thoroughly, vigorously and frequently as you can. Don’t let it go anaerobic, keep it to less than three days brewing. Kelp, oats, and most common weeds, mushrooms and fruits would all be great to mix in ASAP to get taken up by the microbes from the manure.
Look up Dr RedHawk’s posts on soil and biodynamic preps for more in depth info.
My Kuruk friend told me my spirit animal is a badger, because I fight back when cornered even when it’s hopeless and I am a compulsive teacher (apparently they teach their young a lot). She didn’t even know how much I love to dig (see my posts with pics and videos of what I’ve dug by hand).
I would like to be an Orca. When I played the personality game where you name your favorite animal, and give three descriptors of it, I said “beautiful, intelligent, and perfectly evolved”. I then learned the descriptors are supposed to reflect how you see yourself. I had to laugh, as I cannot claim to have any of those attributes more than any other animal.
I would not like to be an overbred dog. Poor little guys, if karmatic reincarnation exists, I hope dog breeders come back as the breed they brought into existence. How bout they try being a chihuahua and not being neurotic, angry and scared.
iNTP here. my Kuruk (NW CA native) friend told me my spirit animal is a badger. I do love to dig and am not pleasant when backed in a corner, and apparently they are compulsive teachers like me. My PCT trail name was the Lorax, and I bet my namesake cartoon was an INTP badger too.
I think you are totally right about the breathing practices as well, as I saw with a girl on a trail crew I lead who had asthma and who was in no shape to be on a backcountry crew. She learned that with controlled, mindful breathing so she would be fine 90% of the time she would have otherwise have been be overusing her inhaler. In my experience I can control my breathing mentally as long as I don’t panic, and I think this really can only come from experience doing it. It’s also amazing from teaching swimming lessons how much of a difference having been taught mindful breathing makes in learning to breathe while swimming. This mindful breath control, in even young kids, seemed to correlate strongly with parents from cultures that seem to value and teach it.
Thanks all, this is starting to make a lot more sense. It seems now the better question may have been “why is the west coast so dry in the summer?”, as this is a more novel climate pattern (<5% of the earth is summer dry winter wet). But we got a great explanation of why that is already with the dehumidifier analogy above, thanks all!
I am Gerting it at home, producing or trading with home produce for 1/3-1/2 our food and drink with very low overhead. I am also making decent money part time working with volunteers, interns and students on our local community college food forest installation to increase local food availability and provide for our free food pantry for those in need. The main aspect i’d emphasize is that permaculture allows you to build capital (in all its forms) and live off the interest like an endowment, whereas so much of our economy and food is dependent on practices that rob from the principal resource base their profits depend on. The latter is not profit, it is stealing from our descendants.