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Question for Agroecology team: Small scale permaculture

Posts: 67
Location: Kalispell, Montana
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I am currently working on a small-scale, 1.5 acre permaculture project on a forested mountainside in NW Montana. We have a seasonal creek which flows through a small pond, lots of conifers, and high yearly snow pack. Our climate is very much like the climate in the Austrian alps, and the altitude is similar. I would like to know what Sepp would consider to be the 5 highest priority projects for a piece of land like this one to get it started in the right direction for long-term ecological success. What should I be focusing my resources on first, and why? And how might I best approach the management of the existing forest?

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The Project
Posts: 306
Location: Montana
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Sounds like you've got a great site, you should be able to produce a bounty of food in harmony with nature. At Sepp's projects in Russia families are able to produce all of their needs on a single Hectare. This is just a little bit bigger than your lot.

It is impossible to answer this question well without seeing the site but Sepp would say water, water, and more water. If you wanted to start low impact it sounds like you already have a pond and water storage to work with. If you are going to do earthworks water is again the place to start. Water, it is the most important resource on the planet. All life is 70% water, this is why you start with the water. From there lush vegetation develops that you can guide.

Observe the plants and animals on your property and put yourself in their position. How are they doing? Are all of their needs met? Are your needs met? These are the best places to start. The management for your forest will depend entirely upon your specific forest and the state that it is currently in.

Judith, Johnny, Zach and Team Holzer AgroEcology
Posts: 61
Location: Off grid in the central Rockies of Montana (at 6300') zone 3-4ish
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I am wanting to add a fire resistant break around the lower portion of our gardens as I know its not a matter of if but when a fire will burn up to our property. When I first started on the site I created a defensible space around the house site and now I feel as if I would like to fill it back in with fire resistant plants and shrubs. I have read that golden currants are fire resistant but have been unable to find many other zone 3/4 shrubs that are. Does this sound like a plan I should go with or shall I leave it open. Does anyone have a list of fire resistant shrubs for my zone (we receive about 12" a precip a year). I have seen the devastation fires cause as I worked wild fires for around ten years and do not want that to happen here. I also use goats and pigs to reduce the fuels on the most prone side of our property. I would love to have ponds but would be difficult to keep surface water on my small site as it is a dry, steep mountain. I do plan on doing a small natural pool type pond on the upper potion of land. Any info/comment would be appreciated.
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