To any of you wonderful permies willing to gift this movie to me and my family, it would be much appreciated. Our income has suffered greatly due to the pandemic and we desperately want to up our gardening and self reliance game for the coming year. Blessings to all who are trying to make this crazy world a better place!
I got Mike's amazing book from the library a while back and copied the engineering tables as I hoped to build one one day. But somehow I misplaced Table 1 of the engineering tables. It looks like it was on page 107. I tried to check it out from the library again but it looks like their copy may never be checked back in. Could anyone please share that page/table with me? It would be greatly appreciated as I am in the planning stages of my own build.
To answer Ken, Area 1 is my suburban backyard which is about 75'x50' running north to south and the slope runs east to west. My trees and bushes I have planted on the north side to eventually become windbreaks and to not block the sun from the vegetable beds/terraces.
I just bought my comfrey, yarrow and other seeds from horizonherbs.com. They seemed to be one of the only places with True Comfrey (not the sterile Russian hybrid like Matthew is using; not that there is anything wrong with that) and all the other guild herbs I wanted. Plus they had an Anasazi four sisters mix I wanted to try.
Matthew: Where did you get the Goumi and Sea buckthorn you planted in the same hole as your trees? I want to do the White Clover cover crop as well. Did you just get your seed from Amazon? What about your black locust seedlings?
Thanks so much to all for the replies and great advice. I haven't had time to respond because I have been hard at work on Area 1. I've been turning over the sod and making pseudo-raised beds by piling on compost, leaf litter and some old hay to help add organic matter, making swale paths between them and planting fruit and nut trees and berry bushes. I was pleasantly surprised when over-turning the sod I came across lots of earthworms and other critters. That tells me letting the dandelions and other "weeds" take over last year has paid off in fairly loose, brownish soil. Lots of rock though.
I have been meaning to take photos but haven't yet. I'll try to post some soon.
My next step is to guild my fruit trees but I have a question about how to go about it. I want to do comfrey, yarrow, nasturtiums, chicory, dandelions (already present in abundance) and an N-fixing cover crop. What is the best way to plant these from seed? Do I need to overturn the sod around the trees, add some compost, sew seeds and mulch or is there a simpler way that doesn't involve pricey compost and disturbing the dandelions that are already there?
Thanks for your replies Mike and Oskar. Great information. My goal in both areas is to grow as much edibles as possible, including fruit and nut trees, and ideally have them producing food year-round. I have decided to leave the shape of Area 1 as is but hand dig out small walking/wheelbarrow paths/swales to create more of a terrace effect and slow/collect runoff. (wow that was a lot of /'s) For the growing "beds" I am covering the lawn with many inches of leaves, grassy straw, clippings and either chicken or aged horse manure. Area 2 I am going to mechanically terrace as soon as I can and I like your buckwheat, perennial and sweet potato ideas Osker. As for the pine trees, I am thinking of chopping them smaller and scattering the pieces before having them worked in mechanically. I plan to do a soil test on this site though to determine how acidic it already is.
1) I do wish to plant blueberries so would it be wise save the pine needles and/or pine timber to be buried where I plan to plant those?
2) Should chicken manure be aged or composted before being used in a vegetable bed or is it safe as is?
Again, thanks for any and all advice and suggestions.
I have two areas of land, both sloped, that I would like to convert to a Holzer-style permaculture that provides lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables. I have read through much of the forums and gotten some ideas but still have some questions. Any advice on the best ways to do so would be greatly appreciated. The land is in Upstate South Carolina.
Area 1: Currently covered in Bermuda grass and dandelion and probably a bunch of other weeds. The area is large enough to be turned into 2 or 3 terraces where it is currently one gradual slope facing west.
Area 2: A large slightly steep, east-facing slope that was logged (slash and burn my guess) within the last 8 years then left to turn into rock hard dried out red clay devoid of growth and life. Then 5 years ago it was mechanically churned up and "terraced" with a couple breaks to slow waterflow and then grass seeded and straw covered. The grass never took off and the area was left wild. Now there are some pine trees and lots desert-looking grasses growing over about 60% of it. The soil is still mostly red clay but probably has more organic matter than it did before (the straw and grass seed at the very least). The slopes are too large and steep to cultivate, in my opinion.
My questions are:
1) For Area 1 is it wiser to hand dig a few breaks/paths so as not to disturb the top soil but then have to find a way to get rid of the grass or to mechanically turn everything up and terrace it?
2) I know Area 2 most likely needs to be properly terraced (probably mechanically) to function well but I cannot do that at this time. However I want to do whatever I can to amend the soil now or is that a waste since it will just be dug up and disturbed in a year or so?
3) How can I increase the organic matter for Area 2 quickly so that it is not mostly red clay and will support vegetables and fruit/nut trees? Clover or buckwheat cover crops? Heavy straw cover?
4) When I do terrace Area 2, can I hack up the 6-8' pine trees to be put back in for organic matter or will they have an allelopathic effect on future growth? Should I get rid of those in the interim or do they provide any benefits?
Thanks for reading and, again, any advice is greatly appreciated.