I tried various different grasses and most can be used and eaten as grains as long as they have relatively big seeds that stay on the plant for a little while after maturity. In the images attached, you can see a grass I tried (not sure what grass it is, but I found it in my lawn here in WV). Annual grasses seem to work a lot better.
Here are my thoughts on some grasses I tried:
-Grass in images below - tastes like rice except worse in every aspect; texture is crunchy but also unpleasantly squishy at the same time
-Foxtail grass #1 - very hard and bad texture, tastes more like milk than milk does (I guess that's where the milk flavor comes from)
-Foxtail grass #2 (Setaria faberi from earlier in the thread) - seeds are small and hard to work with, but flavor is nice and the hull is edible
-Forest sedge - very good flavor, sizable seeds, but shatters immediately after maturity so I can't collect mature seeds; edible leaves
-Other forest grass - good flavor, shatters in about 8 hours and seeds mature at different times on the same plant so it can only be eaten young; flavor is similar to sweet corn; can't collect mature seeds
There were about 10 other species of grass that I tried, but I could not figure out how to make them into food.
I did not find anything worth saving the seeds of.
I'll throw another one out there. This is one of my favorites as far as large scale goes. Veta La Palma farm in Spain The website can be switched between Spanish or English in the upper right hand corner.
The website says it's about 28,000 acres. They are most famous for aquaculture and their wild aquatic bird habitat but also grow rice; pastures using grasses, legumes and marsh plants; raise dairy cattle and breed horses.
I first learned about them in this TedTalk which is quite entertaining and good for people who aren't already "sold" on or educated about the concepts of permaculture or holistic agriculture. A chef visits them and has his understanding of food and farming changed. I love how he talks about the fish skin.
Before posting, I was reading through the thread and it made me ask myself - is this farm permaculture? Or permaculture-enough for this list? All the comments in this thread made me look very closely at this, which is good.
What I think... like Sepp Holzer's it's diverse and supports lots of wildlife while producing lots of raised food. Unlike Holzer's, this farm looks like it relies on more big farming machinery, like for the rice planting and harvesting. I doubt they are hiring hand rice harvesters in Spain, right? Thinking about what Tyler brought up a bit ago, I don't know how many people live there but I imagine some likely do live on site with both the size of the farm and also the herds of cattle and horses to care for. Could this farm continue on its own natural processes, producing food and feeding animals and people without human care...? I can only guess, of course., not having even seen it except in the video. If the wetlands don't require human intervention to stay wet, then it seems like it would be possible at least for the fish and the horses, maybe cattle, to survive on their own. For me, the ability to continue on its own in some form is the most interesting part of the permaculture aspiration.
I've never achieved that goal. The ability to continue in a food-producing form is the elusive holy grail of permaculture for me and when I see systems that could make that work in any way it's very exciting. This is probably not very relevant to the topic of finding examples to show non-believers, though.
I'd love to see how many people work on this farm. I imagine the semi-natural aquaculture part to be less labor intensive than conventional aquaculture or gardens...? It would be nice if they listed more about their practices.
Cj Sloane wrote:To make fast work of drying apples. I use a french fry cutter and can process 2 lbs/ minute. Then I dry them and sometimes powder the dried ones for extra compact storage.
That's really cool. It looks like you are just putting in the apples whole. When do you remove the seeds, before you put the cut apple pieces in the dehydrator or do you just pick them out when you are eating the dried apples?
I am now (Aug 31) pulling flowering/seeding stiltgrass to prevent seeding. The pullings I am packing into black plastic bags and setting in the sun for several days. Is this sufficient to ensure that seeds are nonviable?
I rotationally mow my fields to provide mulch for my vines, trees and garden beds. Providing naturally grown food for the Fresh Food Revolution Co-op along with like minded small holding community farmers is my form of corporate defiance.
Good for you. I hope your actions will be enough though.
I just worry that the ,next thing will be patenting "land races " not that I am bothered about Joseph becoming a millionaire* , its just that "other folks "** might try to stop me making pretty rice for example as well
* sounds a great idea to me and I suspect Joseph too
** such as those jolly chaps down at monsanto
In order to make things clear, I hope...this thread is about the five acre piece of land that I am speaking of in this thread https://permies.com/t/68636/hypothetical-land-offer-Ozarks where we are considering some type of very long term lease so that someone could homestead there for their lifetime (and their children's???) Still just brainstorming the whole idea...please share any thoughts about leasing over in the other thread...thanks.
Everything everyone has said is so spot on that I have nothing to add...except that this concept is even MORE important in barns and outbuildings for animals.
I have a sheep barn and people are absolutely disgusted that my barn in Maine, on my commercial sheep farm, is wide open. It has a roof of course, end and side walls and a concrete floor, but above 4 feet everything is wide open. Now down low; within 4 feet of the floor it is draft-proof and what a difference. Since lambing takes places in mid-winter, drafts can kill lambs quickly, yet my sheep barn has eliminated my mortality rate by about 25%! That is HUGE. It all boils down to keeping my sheep in dry bedding, out of drafts, and wide open above their heads for ventilation.
Ventilation with livestock is so important because they not only give off heat, they give off moisture too and that needs to be dissipated. As humans we often associate being cold to animals being cold, but that is not true at all. My livestock prefer temps around 20 degrees, which for us would be our 70 degrees. That is a HUGE difference. And of course as their urine and manure builds up, so too does the ammonia levels causing breathing issues.
While a super tight building might cause rot and mold issues within a structure for humans, in a barn designed for livestock, failing to adequately adjust for ventilation is a killer.
I have several 1 cubic meter tanks to water my garden.
For the time being, I have never totally emptied them.
I (stupidly?) thought I could grow azolla or another floating aquatic vegetable in them while using the tanks for watering.
The biggest problem I see is the harvest... but there must be tons of other obvious things I haven't seen yet.
What a tremendous resource. Thank you for writing this!
I love the natural look of wood, both freshly cut and the beautiful orange and brown patina of aged wood. I would prefer a safe preservative that didn't darken the wood much at all, as pine tar oil does, so I was looking into cedarwood oil and came across this product:
It is cedarwood oil combined with solvents and silicone, and claims to remove water from the wood by off-gassing, thereby dimensionally stabilizing the wood and somewhat petrifying it. It also doesn't need periodic re-application, as some natural preservatives do.
I followed the link on that page to the MSDS and it looks fairly benine, but there are some compounds listed I don't understand. What do you think of it?
What would you use on your house if you were building a log cabin or Wofati? Would you coat the entire log or just the outside? I have no specific project in mind, but am doing research for future application. Thanks!
One way to kill a plant is to use boiling water over the bark, the water will be absorbed by the soil and will kill the roots and so the entire plant. The amount of water depends on the size of the plant..
It's gonna be difficult to get good germination with thyme in a broadcast context. Really small seeds that need to be pushed into the soil surface and kept moist. Definitely better to germinate in flats.
Propagating by root divisions would nearly guarantee transplant success. But that is a lot of plants. Maybe start with a small area and gradually expand? That's what I would do.
But really, why replace one monoculture with another? Grass is the natural skin of the Earth. It gets a lot of unfair criticism. Maybe in a dry Mediterranean climate I could see the preference for thyme over grass, if water conservation is key. But in most climates, grass is going to grow far better than thyme. I am forever weeding grass out of my thyme patch!
Biodiversity for the win! Plant a lovely polyculture, just like nature does!
Yes, it is true borax is ok in most books, not mine! It is elemental, can't be destroyed, once in watershed always in watershed, forever is never a good thing to me.......just a thought. I don't like to put anything in my watershed that will be there when my great great great grandson is using.
In a class I took we were told ( drafting/engineering beginners high school class).....do nothing in a design that cannot be reversed......it's a wise statement here too, in my book. As a permie the mistakes we make need to be reversible for our safety and others.
Have you had any issues with your pigs obeying the fence? I've raised pastured hogs a couple of different places and they've always been generally disinterested in getting outside the poly wire because they got their daily ration of grain plus unlimited access to nuts and acorns from the trees that were in their paddocks as well as the forage we planted for them. Does relying on them to feed themselves also make them more prone to wandering?
Our pigs are very well trained to the fence. Every now and then there is an opportunity to slip out, and there is usually one creative personality in every group of pigs. The funny thing is...they slip out for some interesting clover but hang right near the perimeter to stay with their friends. Lift the fence up and they run back in. Social bonds are strong. Might be due to a family unit thing.
there will be far fewer pests willing to eat it and keep it in check
For what it's worth, my pigs LOVE this plant, and when we move them to a new spot, they'll eat every speck of Creeping Charlie, including the roots, before they'll touch anything else. It's far-and-away their favorite forage.
I have ever-slow-flowing creek on my plot, that's where I think mosquitoes bread, and I can't help that. But I noticed they seem to emerge from tall grass (which was ranging from knee to waist level without mowing.)
After I started trimming the grass to 3 inches, it became much better. They still bother me in the dusk, and it's better not to approach the creek at that time (and of course I did not mow the very creek bank,) but at least they are not eating me alive when I am 100 feet away.
Reduced the number of ticks, too.
I liked the idea of introducing more predators (there are already a lot of swallows, and a few bats,) but still, in a balanced ecosystem involving humans and mosquitoes we are supposed to be the source of food, I am afraid.
John, deal, as long as I can throw in some barberry.
Scott, if you live near a commercial photo studio, you can get those big rolls of paper for free. they use them as backdrops and throw em out all the time.
nice idea with the rabbit tractor down in between the rows. fertilizer lands right next to where you need it.
there's so many gems already in this thread, but to riff off everyone else, for me, the wisest investments are the ones that kickstart the exponential function found everywhere in nature. if you don't have a specific direction yet, then pick ones that build your foundation (like the soil) and fill in the details as you go. like a chicken tractor and a 55 gallon drum to make biochar for instance.
also, i bet ya a golden acorn that if you got 15+ acres of woods, there's much more there then some scraggly pines and small maples. much much more.
one last thing: someone on one of the threads mentioned using a cheap sawzall with some wood blades for cutting wood less than an arm diameter. since then, i've using one for pretty much everything i'm doing right now. the chainsaw sits on the shelf.
A de-thatching blade on a lawnmower does a passable job of scraping back the grass enough to get tiny seeds like clover and alfalfa to start. Cut the grass as low as you can first but only where you're going to seed, then make a couple of passes with the de-thatching blade. Spread your seed and then start cutting the grass just beside your seeded strip, shooting the grass clippings over your seeded strip as mulch.
It will take some trial and error to get things just right, how wide a strip you can seed while leaving enough grass to use as mulched clippings.
If you have a mower that will bag the grass clippings, even better. You can cut as much grass as you like, save the clippings, and de-thatch and seed, then use your bagged clippings as mulch.
I've done a few test strips this spring with a riding mower and it's worked out well with the small seeds. I used a couple of old blades that I bent enough to contact the ground but I'll have to make a couple of proper blades with spring loaded tines if I want to go to a larger scale.
Buckwheat are fairly large seeds, if you go by the planting depth rule of 2x as deep as the seed diameter you'll need a lot of mulch or a thin layer of soil over the seed. At least drive over the seed a few times with an ATV or riding mower to drive it into the dirt.
we got the similar symptoms on many of our thistles here. was also thinking septoria -- it's spreading across our land like crazy. mints/basils/comfrey/mugwort/hibiscus/salvias/garlic mustard all have similar symptoms. was initially thinking it was due to the moisture in the air/soil (we had a very wet June/early July). whatever it is has had no effect on the strong thistles which are good 6 ft + at this point.
does any of her other plants have this or just thistles?
i've been hacking them and throwing in the pile to char to try and minimize spread of the whatever it is (fungus?).
the black fly hypothesis is interesting. maybe they are carrying the whatever it is from plant to plant on their "feet".
I heard.that andrographis has low germination rate, bt maybe their seeds were not fresh. Richters is in Canada, so I am not sure they would ship to California, and even if they would it might not come, because of regulations here. I will try tofind it here. I also would like to grow myown licorice root, but that one I might be able to find in the nursery as a plant and harvest a bit earlier. Or so I hope. I was thinking echinacea would be easy to find, but the only ones I was able to find some cultured varieties for pretty flowers.
Dougan, even 1/2" of the white roots will start it up again, it's that hearty and that successful. I would bag it and take it away.
You will see results, it's pretty satisfying to carefully pull up the roots in long stretches, being careful not to break them. Your area isn't as big as it might feel, and if you stay on it, get those roots out of there every chance you get, you will see a difference. Even when you think you're done with the digging, kick the soil around with your fingers and you'll find bits of it. Then mulch over to soil keep the soil moist for your own plants.
The heavy sheet mulching Craig suggests will slow it down, but it will always be around the edges of the mulch until you get the roots out of there.
Cristo Balete wrote:elle, I meant a fence around the whole garden, not each tree. With a "road" between the fence and the trees wide enough so that the tree limbs don't overhang the fence. Raccoons can use the overhanging limbs and break them. Deer will stand on their hind legs to eat any green leaves that overhang the fence, and can yank down a limb
siu-yu, rain pretty much rinses off soap or egg yolks. Even wet fog will. I haven't found soap to make any difference, and I'd be concerned about putting too much soap into the water and damaging the leaves. Animals' sense of smell is much better than ours, so a light coat of the diluted yolk does the trick.
It helps to clean out the sprayer each time because the yolk can clog it.
Ah I see. I suppose that would then depend on the size of the area.
thanks for the suggestion as summer is starting to heat up I will provide shade....
I was thinking about coco coir mixed in with the soil... thanks for the help heaping compost today... they grew about an 1 1/2" yesterday so they must be liking something...
i wouldn't be surprised if it was too low. first offers usually are, especially when they're made to elderly disabled folk.
whatever happens, just don't sell yourself short, and consider that the "resale" value of your property may be radically underestimating the value of your land.
"Don't forget Jake, it's Chinatown."
you might want to read the stories of the people who held out in their rent-stabilized apartments around Atlantic Center in NYC when the developers came knocking.
not quite permaculture, so will leave it there with best wishes for a successful outcome for all of you.
thanks, Jessica, that's a totally leftfield idea, i like it. unfortunately, i was gifted a heavy duty chipper that wouldn't process the rhizomes very efficiently, but does make darn good chips, so that idea's out for me.
funny, my better half also got that book, but i haven't cracked it yet.
medicinals are where it's at, yea?
bet you got some good chaga up there in Maine.
i was listening to a talk about lyme & herbs and they were discussing rhodiola as one of the remedies.
you might have a good climate to grow that...