we're in the early stages of trying this with lots of stuff, but mostly focused on hazels, pawpaws, aronia, elderberry, and mulberry.
Another strategy to add to the mix is cutting scions from young seedlings and top working them onto established rootstocks, this will produce fruit much quicker than on it's own roots. This is how Luther Burbank was able to do selections on whatever ridiculous number of species it was on only 1/4 acre.
That list names basswood and blackberry as being juglone intolerant, which is definitely untrue. I've got both of those thriving within the dripline of black walnuts. I've never been able to find a list that didn't have errors.
These mountains tend to be phosphorus deficient, so it may be worth buying some rock phosphate, digging a deep hole within the dripline of the trees, and dumping a bunch in. There's no need to spread it, the trees will find it and use what they need, the important thing is to get it deep, as phosphorus doesn't move well in soils.
Another thing to try would be to coppice one or more of them and graft select walnut varieties onto the regrowth. Many select cultivars are chosen for consistent bearing, as well as kernel size. I'm told that select hickories and even pecans are graft compatible with black walnut, I haven't tried that myself, but I intend to soon.
Goats can definitely eat black locust in large quantities. Yes the blooms are a delicious edible, raw or cooked. My favorite use of them was a pesto of Locust blooms, black walnuts, and a little honey.
Re:rot-resistance, they'll rot more or less as fast as anything if the wood is from young trees (younger than 20 years). Younger trees are called Yellow locust, colloquially, because they are mostly sapwood. Older trees are called Black locust, because at about 20 years they seem to drastically increase the ratio of heartwood:sapwood. It is the heartwood that is extremely rot resistant. I know of farms in my area where the fence posts are 100 year old Black locust, in clay, in a temperate rain forest. They are still solid.
Black walnuts are one of the best food crops you could have, alternately you could maintain them as a coppice (honestly they regrow so well it would be hard to kill them without removing the stump). The regrowth is usually very straight, the wood is somewhat rot resistant and grows fairly fast in good conditions.
Some food plants that thrive near walnut are mulberry, pawpaw, elderberry, hazelnut. I would recommend working with what you've got.
Black walnut husk and Artemisia species are also natural wormers.
You might consider acquiring some Kikos, or finding a buck locally for stud service. Kikos were bred in a very wet environment (south island of New Zealand), specifically for parasite resistance and weight gain. Myotonics are also generally resilient, as they were bred in Tennessee, which is fairly wet. There are certainly lines of all breeds that are parasite resistant to some extent. We purchased a 4 year old Alpine that had never received any wormer, and lived on a small overcrowded lot.
L. Zell wrote:I'm shocked your goats aren't eating the poison ivy. Mine adore it, and have been slowly killing it back. I can point to it, and they come running and snarf it down. I would go ahead and "force" them to eat some of it, but maybe not all. Moderation in all things.
We also acquired goats hoping to control ivy. Success is limited. Preference seems to vary between breeds. Some of our goats will only eat it at certain times of day, or after they eat other things first. I think raising goats exclusively on forage from birth is helpful, but still not 100% effective. I'm still hoping to find a breed, or line, that really loves it.
I think it's fine to "force" the mama to eat it, as long as she has a generally balanced and healthy diet.
Chinese chestnuts were bred over the past few thousand years to be "orchard type" trees (30-50'), they also tend to be functionally immune to blight, that is why most people plant them.
Empire Chestnuts is a good source of materials, they sell grafted chinese cultivars, seed from those cultivars, seed from timber type hybrids, and bare-root of everything including chinkapins.
Regarding grafting, supposedly grafts are compatible between direct relatives (parents and children, for example). A friend of mine is planting out grafted cultivars from Empire along with seedlings from those cultivars (Empire will sell you seed from specific parents), once the seedlings get to a good grafting size he plans on grafting the proven parent onto all it's children, while allowing one rootstock branch to grow on. In this way he will have an orchard filled with proven producers while trialing a lot of new seedlings.
Personally I'm just planting seed from Empire, and seed from NNGA folks.
So I'd suggest joining the Northern Nut Growers and checking out Empire's site as a good starting point.
Driving over them is good for larger quantities, then pick the shells out with heavy rubber gloves. Another option that is possibly just as fast is to stomp the husk off. If you let them just start to soften, before they're turning black it's pretty easy. A search on youtube can find videos of various contraptions folks use, I'm not too mechanically inclined so these two simple methods work best for me. I've used both methods to process decent quantities (3-5 bushels of de-husked nuts).
I wish I knew what species it is, but I've found an evergreen Elaeagnus in a nearby city that has fruited the past two years in January in zone 6. It's not extremely prolific, but more than I've heard reported for ebingei.
I'd say they're definitely worthwhile from seed, just start way more than you have room for, select any that you like, chop and drop the rest. Even if you get no fruit you'll get the nitrogen and carbon fixation.
I have eaten the leaves, I'm not certain which species it was, it's planted as a shade tree in a nearby city. We harvested a good amount of it and used it for salads, it's quite nice, with a good fresh flavor. I'm not a fan of lettuce or other 'standard' salad greens, but I really liked these, and our 3 year old got ahold of the jar and ate them all. They are definitely not 'starvation food'. I'm not sure what season they'd be palatable, I think I've heard Eric Toeinsmeier say through July/August but I don't know from first hand experience. I sowed seed from cordata and platyphyllos in the early fall, so hopefully I'll have some seedlings to plant out come spring. We also have Tilia americana growing on site, so I'll be coppicing soon and experimenting with it's edibility.
Other good uses are it's soft, sculptable wood (preferred by woodcarvers, and good for bow-drills), and it's bast fiber.
The reference on PFAF says it's from a book co-authored by doctor Duke. A search on his phytochemical database gives a list of compounds found in Honey Locust, you might look through that for further info?
You may notice the fleeting reference in that article stating
"phytic acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the gastrointestinal tract, unless it’s reduced or nullified by soaking, sprouting, and/or fermentation."
We eat large quantities of acorns, black walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and hickories. All of these get processed in some manor such as "soaking, sprouting, and/or fermentation". You can definitely taste and feel the difference, raw nuts have a heavy feeling that seems to prevent overeating, whereas soaked and toasted walnuts and hazels I can and do eat all day. Acorns and chestnuts are a major starch source for us, and their phytic acid levels are markedly lower than fattier nuts.
I'd agree, but River Cane (the only native bamboo) was an incredibly important aspect of the entire southeast prior to colonization, and even for early European settlement. Most bottomland was covered in cane breaks, which provided winter feed and cover for the massive heards of Bison, Elk, etc. Cane breaks are currently an endangered ecosystem.
My feeling is that with petrol decline it will be increasingly stupid to devote bottomlands to hay production, so reintroducing River Cane could be very smart.
pawpaw, elderberry, hazelnut and aronia are also riparian species. These wouldn't go directly on the bank, but they won't mind inundation or wet feet. I'm surprised Mark didn't mention hazels, old timers in the Southern Appalachians call them "rivernuts", I think it may be a climate thing, in warmer areas they prefer more water, whereas farther north they don't need it as much?
Others could be Hazel alder (Alnus serrulata, a good nitrogen fixer with dense roots), River cane (primo winter animal fodder with dense root net), Sassafras (a great leaf vegetable plus roots for flavoring), Sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata) a perennial herbaceous vegetable that prefers moist soils.
Marvin Warren wrote:Does anyone have any good alternatives to cardboard/newspaper for sheet mulching?
Weighted down old sheets, carpeting, blankets will kill what's there, then can be removed and planting and mulching will be more successful.
I've also used fast-growing annual groundcovers with good effect, sweet potatoes and winter squash/gourds. They need to be weeded a couple times over the first month but then will overtake most things.
I purchased the DVD. It's definitely pricey, but it's a little over 12 hours of lectures with in depth discussion of establishment, plant selection, harvesting, marketing, of hazelnuts.
They use and promote chemical fertilizers, and although they do use some animal integration they are in the very early stages so the info on that is very limited.
One major negative is in one of the lectures someone asks about how this system can be affordable if they charge $7 per tree and the response is "we only charge $5 per tree". That was in 2011, now their prices are over $7 per tree.
My feeling is that the DVD course is a worthwhile investment if you're planning on growing Hazelnuts on a commercial scale (there is very little focus on chestnuts, and they say in the lectures that 10% of their chestnut trees can be expected to produce well). Otherwise it's too much.
Like CJ suggests, I'd plant them as densely as possible if you're trying to grow timber/polewood. They tend to not grow very straight in full sun. If it's timber you're looking for you could plant very dense (1 foot spacings maybe) then thin every year or two, selecting for the straightest ones, and prune the branches off those.
Black locust should be fine pruned any time of year. In my area the power companies cut under their line easements usually in the spring/early summer and black locust stump sprouts dominate most of these areas.
Just wanted to put it out there that the following have been mentioned in this thread and all are thought to be non-nodulating Possible nitrogen fixers (meaning they either don't fix nitrogen or don't fix very much)
Honey Locust- Gleditsia triacanthos (plenty of other reasons to grow this one)
Red bud- Cercis canadensis
Kentucky coffee tree- Gymnocladus dioicus
American Yellowwood- Cladrastis kentukea (also known as C. lutea)
Hardwood cuttings planted directly in the ground will take, I haven't done this a ton, but I've had about 50% success.
Also, stooling works very well, and depending on the situation they may root sucker aggressively when coppiced, in which case you can dig up suckers and just let the original grow, then repeat annually. Around here stump sprouts and root suckers will grow easily 7-8' in the first year.
I tethered 3 goats all through the summer. I generally tried to tie them to trees without other trees nearby, I also used a tire weighted down with rocks, cinder blocks, etc. You definitely have to watch them, and stay within earshot, but it's workable. I'm sure relative intelligence of your goats will determine how dangerous their entanglements might become.
I think the Skeeter agroforestry videos on youtube are a good example of "somewhere in between" small scale polycultures and scaled up production gardens.
I think there are wildly divergent methods to scale up production methods. Mark Shepard seems excited about mechanical processing, which is fine and probably necessary to fulfill a goal of feeding the populous. On my farm I am trying to engage folks in the production, harvesting, and processing of their own food. This is generally thought to be impossible in our culture of expensive labor costs. My hope is that by cultivating an empowering new mythology about our sacred relation to the plants that co-evolved with our ancestors I can leverage human energy to close my loops (i.e. pay the bills, cycle the nutrients, harvest the acorns, etc.).
Mark Shepard's model is great, and he is a great inspiration, but I think there is a potential for a more drastic paradigm shift than simply annual crops to woody crops.
just a note, mulberries have much higher protein as a forage than blackberries. They should also have a longer harvest window. Also the leaves of most varieties are edible (and also high protein) and the young bark can also make cordage. The wood is quite dense and rot resistant, and makes good firewood or fence posts. They would also not require irrigation, as their roots are much deeper.
Another option for the stumps is innoculation with mushroom spawn, they won't break down any faster but you'll get a lot of food for a long time.
There are other ways to preserve meat than freezers, like jerky, canning, or on the hoof. If you can't deal with lots of goat and pig meat, what are you going to do with the sheep and cattle? Also, I believe some sheep and cattle breeds are more adventurous eaters, I know highland cattle will eat brambles, brush, conifer seedlings, etc. How are you planning on fencing in the sheep and cattle? Step in electronet might not be the best for pigs and goats, it may be cheaper to just put up the fencing you plan on using for sheep/cattle and add some electric lines for the goats/pigs.
Making hugglebeds seems like a bad excuse for machine use to me. Uncompacted soil will hold more moisture, leaving stumps in the ground will increase humus, good pasture management will also increase moisture capacity.
Just some thoughts, I have an obvious bias against large machines.
I haven't tried it, but was told by a local guy with lots of rocket stove/natural building experience that yes it will work. The sawdust will burn, leaving lots of little airspace, which is great for insulation. Another option is perlite, although obviously more expensive
I don't think anyone's suggesting introducing a species. They're already here. I went on a hunt for these, "golden clams" they're called, and we introduced them to an urban aquaculture system. I haven't been back to see if they made it.
Derrick Eads wrote:I DO intend on "properly" designing the property, and planting 100+ fruit and nut trees right off the bat, as well as their companion ground cover and shrubs.
If I am fortunate "most" of those trees will survive. If not, I will suffer a setback and wait ANOTHER 2-3 years for those I have to replace to be even slightly productive
Making large investments of time and money that are contingent on "fortune" doesn't follow any natural patterns that I've observed, whether or not it is "proper" I have no idea. Working out from a controlled front, planning for succession, and following the natural patterns of your landscape may prove to be a more productive method. The landscape you describe sounds like it could be fairly easily managed for deer, turkeys, goats, and pigs. Some of the oaks on your site may have edible acorns, which means you have seedgrown 18 year old nut trees, no need to clear them and replant. Those that you do clear could be fuel wood or mushroom logs or building material, but you'll need to work at a slower pace to utilize them for those purposes. Cleared areas could be run with animals to finish the job, then planted with lots of pioneer species to nurse your edibles (black locust, eleagnus, bayberry, siberian peashrub, honey locust, sea buckthorn, basswood, are some of the things I'm using). The pioneers can be either seed planted or bare root planted very inexpensively. This would allow you to slowly expand your fruit and nut areas at a reasonable rate that relies less on fortune.
You mentioned in the original post that you want to clear cut so you can start "from scratch". I don't believe there is such a thing, as the soil seedbank is always full of something, and most of it (along with stump sprouts) is likely to outcompete most of what you plant. This is where animal rotations and designed pioneer successions would help. I know it's exciting to get fruit and nut trees in the ground, but working slowly will definitely give a higher success rate. On my site I'm establishing minimal amounts of select cultivars, my plan is to use them all as parent stock. For pawpaws, persimmons, and chestnuts I'm starting hundreds of trees from seed, so that by the time they're ready for grafting my parent trees will have lots of available scion. Elderberries, aronia, and hazelnuts I'm acquiring in small quantities which will be cloned as they mature. I've got quite a few mature hawthorns on site, which I'm going to graft with pears and medlars and possibly serviceberry.
The concept of a "master plan" doesn't exist in natural systems, and it's prevalent use by permaculturists is a major flaw in my view.
For what it's worth, I'm not a seasoned expert, I am in my first year of managing a 100 acre farm which is mostly forested.
Good luck, I hope you come up with something that works for you.