For some reason in Indiana "old fashioned" is what comes to people's mind when you mention sustainable practices. This village being set up in an old ways fashion does not surprise me. There is a deep nostalgia here for the past, but to me this seems to belie the useful place old ways has in our future.
There are people that want the lifestyle of the countryside mixed with similar neighbors for their families to live next to. Skip the gym membership, enjoy the simple pleasures of good food and community. It's a high priced option because of all the lifestyle selling you can do. In fact, I would point out that this was the original dream of the suburbs - a small, simple patch of countryside to raise a family in that isn't too far from modern life. To create a suburb in a permaculture way is exactly the kind of long term thinking the world is hungry for.
Or maybe have that arm extend out over the letters in a "here it is" and welcoming way. A nice way to send a welcoming message to new and old users. Fits in the "be nice" ethic of the community here as well. You could then easily move the "ermies" over closer to the P.
I guess you can assuage much of the alarm around oils usage by diluting the oil. It also makes a bottle last much longer.
Also, unless you are sick or in acute pain, don't ingest essential oils in any quantity over a single drop. And again, dilute it. And before you do ingest anything, just research it quickly online, considering the source.
I have some hay bales that have sat for a year outside. Some of them are growing grass right off the top as they sit there, so things will grow on them. They did heat up tremendously last year in the first few months and ultimately got very unpleasantly moldy, which bothered my lungs. That said, in December I put logs inside a stack of them and as of now the unstrapped bales are melding and decomposing around the wood. I stuck an oak seedling in one of the bales but I haven't checked on it. It's my impression that things are moving in the right direction, but I can't tell you how much success you would have if you are doing anything similar to me.
I can confirm the geranium oil does help. Soaks into leather too and provides longer effect. Peppermint has also done the job. We keep a spray bottle ready at all times. That said I also believe ticks have cycles and we may be in a down turn. The winter was also harsh enough too I believe. Interestingly we've had opposums nearby recently too.
If re-wilding is your passion, I believe the poor would be a great audience for that and you will need financial support from elsewhere.
In reality, focusing on one class of people to the exclusion of others will always be an alienating force in your messaging. "This ain't for rich folks" isn't the vibe that will send the cash heading your way, LOL.
But I believe the poorly educated who are now in their late 20's and up would be extremely receptive to this form of education that is full of life-hacking, meaning creating inspiration. Usually regret about a bad upbringing and facing a life of low opportunity is a realization that hits after all the fun and mischief of youth is over. I would contact some people in the counseling profession to see what opportunities they think are out there to build a fun program for transitioning adults. Likewise, reaching children before they're completely lost to the system is a big deal.
There are more traditional avenues of getting your message out and there are a lot of people who would like to hear what you're saying, just in a more traditional way.
Any opinions on using the described method above of using edible mushrooms to inoculate tree roots vs the fungal inoculates available from the store? My focus is on tree health more than an edible yield of morels, but cheap and lazy work too.
Also, if a bag of inoculate is expired in 2013, how likely will it be completely useless?
Arbor Day Foundation has decent prices. Lawyer's Nursery has good pricing on bulk. England's Orchard and Cummins Orchard are some good sources for fruit and nut trees. Raintree is also good. Hidden Springs is a good one I have bookmarked for next season because they are out of a lot right now. Lastly, One Green World is good for permie type trees on the west coast. You can price shop with Stark Bros, who is a big operation but many small places can be closer and cheaper too.
I am going to also put valerian around these autumn olives, but I'm going to do it around the drip line. From simple observation, I can see if there is any benefit to being near an autumn olive for the trees nearby, it is when the tree is outside the bushes drip line. When it is inside the drip line of the autumn olive, the tree is smaller than those around it. Just a hypothesis supported by some common sense.
What I will also do is chop and drop those autumn olives that are right in another tree's root zone, thereby leaving OM in the soil and N.
Brett Aldrich wrote:I guess what I'm really trying to say is, since scientific literature is really starting to pin down the many factors and relationships, a definitive source for all of this combined information would be extremely helpful. Especially if it had a search function that allowed you to punch in your niche factors and then it would recommend plants, fungi, or lichen to place in the niche. Maybe someday
I often dream about creating something akin to what you're saying. There are so many factors that can go into deciding what and where to plant and most online charts or lists can't handle it in full. I'm thinking a few drop down boxes could spit out some results the way mortgage calculators work online. May be a helpful, if not still limited tool.
Matu Collins wrote:Woo hoo! We have clearance to develop a plan to get rid of the pool! Now, what to do?
I'd like a greenhouse, but the plans I have found are for cement pools and ours is a vinyl liner in earth/sand. Also, the fact that the pool is on the north side of the house puts a damper on things but it could still be ok, it's not right up against the house.
There is a great cedar fence around the poolyard, so I don't want to bring in heavy equipment in and knock down the fence trying to fill in the pool.
I'm looking for a low-impact solution that will not effect the house's foundation and will not have water standing. Even a little pond makes the house diffucult to insure, and insurance cost is driving the removal of the pool. I'd like the space to be useful. Is a simple greenhouse design possible? If we just fill it in, what could we fill it in with and how?
I'm still keeping the cover on for tadpole season
Just kidding, sort of.
Snake pit (sorry, can't help it this morning)
Finding the 7 or 8 Autumn Olive plants on the forest edges of our property is easy now that their silvery leaves are out.
I look at the footing of these plants and see nothing special going on in terms of exceptional growth. Grasses and what not.
Sharing the understory with them are other native and invasive shrubs like honeysuckle, dogwood, and blackberry. These plants have no age context for me, so I can't tell how beneficial their placement next to the Autumn Olive is. Likewise with the tall trees. There is no context for me to judge the full benefit.
So, is it worth my time to guild into these existing N fixers?
I'm going to throw in some comfrey and see what happens.
Any suggestions or experience with planting into existing trees?
There may be some info on the root systems of those three trees that you could look up. In general, they seem pretty tough and give me pause. If you're on the edge of the field, you may be alright, but, for example, I'm taking out a bunch of Rose of Sharon this year that was planted on the drain field just to be sure. 4 of the bushes were rather large and we've not had a problem, so there's that.
In the end it's all guess work. If you're keeping them small, that is certainly in your favor. It then becomes a yearly or bi-yearly necessity though.
the VA Dept of Forestry lists Russian Olive (and Autumn Olive) as invasive and is pretty anti-planting of it. [Insert whole “if you fix nitrogen, please invade me!” thing here]. Black Alder seems to have been introduced in Colonial times, so it’s quasi-native at this point.
We already have the following moderate to high nitrogen fixers on the property (pretty extensively in both cases)
* Black Locust
* Autumn Olive
We have some other low volume fixers in the tree and shrub realm, but I’m looking for something that would ideally give me or wildlife an edible yield. This will be going in on an eastern facing slope that is currently an open paddock that hasn’t been browsed for two years (and has pretty good grass cover).
So, QUESTION 1: should we invade with Russian Olive, knowing that it can spread like wildfire? or stick with something a bit more safe/tame/already on the property?
QUESTION 2: We had also discussed doing what I’ll call nAnP, which is using, say, a serviceberry low level between alternating Apple and Pear/Plum/Cherry. Wouldn’t have as much separation benefits as the pure NAP, but gets things tighter together.
I don't know on question 2, but question 1 prompts me to show you Eric Toensmeiers site on N fixers, native and non native, high N to low N. http://www.perennialsolutions.org/all-nitrogen-fixers-are-not-created-equal His point about non-edible N fixers is that they are supporting what should be good tasting stuff anyway. Plus, if you can use high N species, you can plant less of them in favor of better tasting stuff.
Emily Gilquist wrote:Thanks for the ideas, guys!
George, doesn't covering the grass with hay lead to more grass seeds -> more grass? I could see straw working. I'll likely end up piling compost and straw on top of the whole thing. More biomass for all!
I found out today that the whole thing has been planted with clover and Jerusalem artichokes already. I guess it's not as hopeless as I imagined!
In my case, which I should have shared, I have a bunch of old wet hay that has rotted over the last 10 months. We did use fresh hay last year though too. We have not seen much resprouting...yet. From my standpoint, when you're trying to get control of an already grassy area, using a lot of cut grass to smother it works fine. A 5-10 inch blanket of hay - or often times a machine packed section of a square bale that is 2-3 inches thick, really kills whatever it falls on. From there, as Ruth Stout proclaimed, you just keep adding hay each year.
We are early in our establishment, so a blanket kill is not an issue. As we add more and more perennials, I think this will become a challenge to mulch properly when unwanted plants come up. Although, if it isn't planted too densely with valuable plants, then a 2-3 inch thick square bale section will always have it's place.
In one section of grass that was killed by the hay last summer, I planted a fall cover crop with rye and some other stuff. It has come back up this year and is looking pretty nice, actually. So, if you wanted to select an area to sheet mulch or kill off with hay or straw (go thick), then come back with an ideal cover crop mix after removing the mulch, that may well work. It's a path I will likely take this year or next. All that hay on the hugels would be fine if I were doing transplants into it, but wanting to add seed, especially a seed mix broadcast, makes it a short term fix for me.
Depending on how long water stays in those channels you could really grow about anything you wanted. The high tunnel adds in a whole other dynamic, too. Your season will extend. If you're zone 5 or 6, you could look at growing a zone 7 or even 8 type of plant and see how that goes. Not sure what a -10 degree day would do inside there, however. If you kept the water flowing through those channels and out the tunnel, you might have a real interesting microclimate at that point.
You may want to get some traps for the voles, but I would check for a year to see what they're eating. It describes in the link above what vole damage to trees looks like, so if you find that I would trap them this year.
I just bought a pack of 2 reusable mouse traps and they are SO much nicer than the old wooden kind. Less blood (none), and even if it landed on your finger it wouldn't really do anything. In fact, I might move mine to the garden tonight to see what those holes in my hugels are.