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Project: Intense Food Forest in the Mediterranean Coast of Valencia, Spain. Land rehabilitation

 
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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So, next steps are:

ANTS: I have considered all options and I think that I need to have an active approach to this. At this moment, the system is pretty unbalanced. I know that, with time, there will be balance with more creatures and predators, but at this moment I can’t risk a huge percentage of my seeds. I need to “give a go” to the system and gain some advantage with ants, I need to push a little, let things grow, let other creatures come and then let everything just be. But in my next time there (I had to come to Madrid), I will do something about this (unless I see that, after the raining week and despite ants, things are growing there)

TREE SEEDS: One part of the project is to connect all the planted trees with lots and lots of tree seeds in “seed cocktails”. I planted some, but I made two calculations. First is that, at that pace, it would take me years to end connecting trees. Second, planting bit by bit meant lot of shipping costs. So in order to save time and money, I ordered 30.000 tree seeds. My calculation is 40 seeds per square meter, only in the tree rows. As Mark Shepard says, I want to play Yahtzee with all the dices. 25% was reinforcing the fruit trees that I already had, 25% of support trees, 25% specific for berries and 25% of many species of fruit trees, shrubs and other “nice to have” that I want to see if can grow in my place, my soil and my conditions. I will sow them before Fall ends, not all in the same day (I guess that might be pretty difficult) . I have to think on logistics, as many of them might need some previous work (scarification), but in order to prepare the muvuca I have to think in the less taxing approach to this.

VEGS: Every 10 days (+/-) I will prepare and seed one or two vegetable bed. I will aim for more density, yathzee again, dont want to see more ant destruction
 
Posts: 223
Location: Málaga, Spain
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Antonio Hache wrote:
TREE SEEDS: One part of the project is to connect all the planted trees with lots and lots of tree seeds in “seed cocktails”. I planted some, but I made two calculations. First is that, at that pace, it would take me years to end connecting trees. Second, planting bit by bit meant lot of shipping costs. So in order to save time and money, I ordered 30.000 tree seeds. My calculation is 40 seeds per square meter, only in the tree rows. As Mark Shepard says, I want to play Yahtzee with all the dices. 25% was reinforcing the fruit trees that I already had, 25% of support trees, 25% specific for berries and 25% of many species of fruit trees, shrubs and other “nice to have” that I want to see if can grow in my place, my soil and my conditions. I will sow them before Fall ends, not all in the same day (I guess that might be pretty difficult) . I have to think on logistics, as many of them might need some previous work (scarification), but in order to prepare the muvuca I have to think in the less taxing approach to this.



Last week I learned a wonderful word: ALMÁCIGA (*)
That's a humid plot of land where you can seed all your seedling, and transplant them later. Maybe you can have this 'almáciga' somewhere safe from ants. Since seeds require high soil humidity to sprout, it's a good idea to have them sprout in the same place, where you can water them comfortably, then move them to their final location when they are big enough to endure some weeks without watering. I think this is easier than having a myriad of seedling plastic pots inside a plastic greenhouse with controlled humidity and temperature.
Once your seeds have sprout, ants should not bother them unless you have aphids (pulgones), which come when your plant received too much nitrogen from manure or excessive irrigation.

(*) Seedling plot, in English.
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Abraham Palma wrote:

Antonio Hache wrote:
TREE SEEDS: One part of the project is to connect all the planted trees with lots and lots of tree seeds in “seed cocktails”. I planted some, but I made two calculations. First is that, at that pace, it would take me years to end connecting trees. Second, planting bit by bit meant lot of shipping costs. So in order to save time and money, I ordered 30.000 tree seeds. My calculation is 40 seeds per square meter, only in the tree rows. As Mark Shepard says, I want to play Yahtzee with all the dices. 25% was reinforcing the fruit trees that I already had, 25% of support trees, 25% specific for berries and 25% of many species of fruit trees, shrubs and other “nice to have” that I want to see if can grow in my place, my soil and my conditions. I will sow them before Fall ends, not all in the same day (I guess that might be pretty difficult) . I have to think on logistics, as many of them might need some previous work (scarification), but in order to prepare the muvuca I have to think in the less taxing approach to this.



Last week I learned a wonderful word: ALMÁCIGA (*)
That's a humid plot of land where you can seed all your seedling, and transplant them later. Maybe you can have this 'almáciga' somewhere safe from ants. Since seeds require high soil humidity to sprout, it's a good idea to have them sprout in the same place, where you can water them comfortably, then move them to their final location when they are big enough to endure some weeks without watering. I think this is easier than having a myriad of seedling plastic pots inside a plastic greenhouse with controlled humidity and temperature.
Once your seeds have sprout, ants should not bother them unless you have aphids (pulgones), which come when your plant received too much nitrogen from manure or excessive irrigation.

(*) Seedling plot, in English.



Hola Abraham. I will think about it. My aim is to see what grows in my soil and conditions, but I was not expecting this Ant Attack. It would be great to see seeds growing crazily
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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I have clover growing all around. It grows on the veggie beds, also where I sowed tree seeds. Shall I leave it there and forget about it? Or it will be an obstacle to my other stuff? It was not before the seeds, it is growing after I seeded. On the beds, I take it away by hand, but it is really tiring. And then I have more and more. Between trees, I just let it be
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Forgot the picture
B8E491D6-4071-4C29-992C-49C9B355A5FB.jpeg
[Thumbnail for B8E491D6-4071-4C29-992C-49C9B355A5FB.jpeg]
 
gardener
Posts: 825
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Hi Antonio, what a strange clovertype you have there. Which kind is it? Yellow flowers, strange.
I cannot possibly say what you should do, so i say what i've observed being a clover lover.

I have been seeding a lot of clover in my veggie beds. Mainly it's white clover, it stays kind of low and creeps across the bottom.
In summer it helped cover the bottom. It was so dry and in the morning, dew was on it sometimes. If i watered the beds it retained the moisture a bit longer.
Now in autumn i'm pulling it out of the beds and replanting it into the pathways. I hope it will cover the pathways which i've mulched with woodchips.
The woodchips in itself retain some water and mycelia break them down. Mycelia form the food of some bacteria and tiny animals, which worms in turn like to eat.
The pathways have become very full of worms after a year. Every time i stick my hori-hori in it to quickly blast in some clover i see them. They used to be pretty rare. Some clover i just dump on the pathway to die. They have these tiny white bulbs on the rootsystem. They house nitrogenfixing bacteria in them, they feed the bacteria sugar and in exchange the bacteria produce NO3- i believe or something like that. Plantfood anyway.
Even if i rip it out and throw it on the pathway i am building soil. The clover dries up and gets eaten by something in the foodchain sooner or later. The soil gets richer this way. Look if your clover kind has these bacterial nodules. If you cut them through with a very sharp knive the inside should be red. That's the sign the magic is happening. Sometimes the soil is lacking these bacteria in very poor conditions. Then the role of this clover is even more important, because sooner or later they will capture them, they don't need many, 2-4-8-16-32-64, you know the deal. They multiply like crazy in the nodule. Then when you chop off the top, they nodules die in the soil releasing trillions of nitrogenfixing bacteria which will find their place in the soil biome and keep doing what they're doing. Making it easier for every legume to access these bacteria.

So i would say big hurray for the clovers. Learn to live with them.

I go to grow the pathways full of these clovers then dump 5 cm ( 2 inch ) of woodchips on them, the beds will get 1 inch of woodchips this year, if i can find enough time to make them. The nitrogen bacteria release will speed up their decay adding massive amounts of carbon into the cycle. Retaining moisture etc.
It's an experiment. It might be that in a year or so i have had enough of the work of keeping this clover out of the veggie beds, but for now i'm happy to mulch them and build soil with the clover wood chip combination. On top of that i've inoculated the wood chips with red winecap mushrooms, which are edible and very nice and popping up here and there.

Hope this helps you in some way decide what's good for your situation.

Alll the best Hugo
 
Abraham Palma
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Location: Málaga, Spain
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Antonio Hache wrote:Forgot the picture



If it were clover that would be wonderful. However, this is not clover. This is Oxalis (vinagretas del campo). You can even use them as a spice, just the stem of the flower, vinegar tasted. I loved to chew it when I was a kid.
Common wisdom says that it is a weed and that you should remove it so it doesn't waste resources for your crops.
At our garden we don't remove them unless they are screening the sun from our crops, we leave them as cover crop.

But, if you can afford it, you could purchase some clover seeds and spread them around, they will make a much better cover crop. The clover has a flower that looks like a white balloon. There's even a dwarf variety that will make your land look like a lawn.
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Hola Abraham and Hugo

So, it was a translation problem, as here they call it “trebol” and trebol translates by clover, but I guess is not the official clover type, just a popular name. Also, common wisdom here says it is not bad, and that when it falls is good for the soil. But , whatever it is, I’d love to know the best way to interact with it and not let it interfere with the rest of the things. I mean, how can I make it positive?
 
Abraham Palma
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Whoever calls this 'trébol' is mistaken. It is 'vinagretas', 'sorrel' in English or oxalis in its latin name.

It's an invasive species, it spreads wildly. But it requires shade and humidity.
Unlike the clover, the sorrel does not add nitrogen to the soil.
But it is a nice little plant that does little harm, in my opinion.
Unless they interfere with your crop, I say let them be. That's what we do in our garden.
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Abraham Palma wrote:Whoever calls this 'trébol' is mistaken. It is 'vinagretas', 'sorrel' in English or oxalis in its latin name.

It's an invasive species, it spreads wildly. But it requires shade and humidity.
Unlike the clover, the sorrel does not add nitrogen to the soil.
But it is a nice little plant that does little harm, in my opinion.
Unless they interfere with your crop, I say let them be. That's what we do in our garden.



It is dark here, but I thought I was not going to sleep thinking on this, so I took my torch and went out there in the middle of the dark.

All the “fake clover” that was close to wherever I sowed a seed, I took it out from the bulb (not difficult). I dont want it a span closer to the seeds if it has no benefits and it is going to interfere.

The rest, I left it there. Tomorrow morning I will review it with light. But I am going 10 days to Madrid and I need to give some advantage to the seeds before the fake clover strikes back.

 
Posts: 49
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada, Zone 6a, Rain ~60"
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Hi Antonio.
I just wanted to pass on something I read about how ants are dealt with in the tropics of the South Pacific, where I guess the ants could carry a small house away if they wanted.

Every morning as an "offering" someone places a small dish of cooked rice outside each of the 4 corners of the house. This is to keep the "gods" happy and these natural forces could very well include the ants! I'm not sure if this kind of offering, of rice or grain etc, nearer to the ants nests or away from your planting area would give them something better or closer to carry away.

In the south Pacific, this ritual apparently keeps the ants from entering the house and seeking food inside, as all they want is available outside it. It takes them roughly a day to empty each of the dishes and they are refilled every morning. I like this idea of making it a "ritual" to be in a supportive relationship with the ants too.

If you're not in residence there all the time, perhaps you could find someone with some spoiled grain or corn that is no good for planting and leave a huge pile of it near any ant nests you can find. Enough that it will keep them busy for a long time!
Just a thought.

Blessings on all your seeds!
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Susanna Hammond wrote:Hi Antonio.
I just wanted to pass on something I read about how ants are dealt with in the tropics of the South Pacific, where I guess the ants could carry a small house away if they wanted.

Every morning as an "offering" someone places a small dish of cooked rice outside each of the 4 corners of the house. This is to keep the "gods" happy and these natural forces could very well include the ants! I'm not sure if this kind of offering, of rice or grain etc, nearer to the ants nests or away from your planting area would give them something better or closer to carry away.

In the south Pacific, this ritual apparently keeps the ants from entering the house and seeking food inside, as all they want is available outside it. It takes them roughly a day to empty each of the dishes and they are refilled every morning. I like this idea of making it a "ritual" to be in a supportive relationship with the ants too.

If you're not in residence there all the time, perhaps you could find someone with some spoiled grain or corn that is no good for planting and leave a huge pile of it near any ant nests you can find. Enough that it will keep them busy for a long time!
Just a thought.

Blessings on all your seeds!



My grandma gave sugar to the ants. Kind of the same philosophy!
 
pollinator
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Hi Antonio,

this is a late thought since I've only just come upon your thread but you've already had your big planting stage.

You've mentioned Alnus along the way. This might not be a great fit because normally the trees in this family like to grow in a wet spot.

Regarding goumi and its relatives (eleaeagnus sp), what I've noticed that although a fully grown bush/tree is quite robust, they do require some babying in the first 2-3 years. There's a also a special caveat in case you're using them in a shelterbelt against the wind: they can grow "too fast" in the sense that strong wind can rock the bush the loosen the roots. We've had to stake several elaeagnus at our place.

Maybe one more thought - figs and especially mulberries will drop a lot of leaf mass that you can then hapilly use to mulch around young plants etc. This is actually also true of hazel (I mean corylus, not hamamelis). You know what they say about hazel - "a plant so good people started naming their daughters after it"  but I don't know whether it will grow well in your very warm climate.

This is my small input, can't be of much help because your growing zone is so different than ours.

 
pollinator
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Chickens would make quick work of the ants. If that’s not an option, bird feeders, bird houses, brush piles for shelter for birds and reptiles. I might even start spreading bird seed around the ants while calling birds in. It may sound and feel silly at first, but it works with song birds and fowl alike (learned it from Joseph Cornell, the author of “Sharing nature with children”). To do this, make “psht” sounds imitating a mother song bird in a pattern of either 3 rhythmic calls, a 1-3-1 rhythm  (psht..psht psht psht..psht) or a 2-3-2 rhythm, ideally while giving out food. I have gotten local wild birds to come to my call even when I don’t have food. Of course the ants will eat some seed, until the birds come in and realize the bird seed is an appetizer and the ants are the main course. All birds, including hummingbirds, eat insects, especially when raising young. However, birds will then think those seeds you are planting in neat rows are a buffet for them, and will dig them up, and maybe this is just giving you smarter, flying version of your previous problem!
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Crt Jakhel wrote:Hi Antonio,

this is a late thought since I've only just come upon your thread but you've already had your big planting stage.

You've mentioned Alnus along the way. This might not be a great fit because normally the trees in this family like to grow in a wet spot.

Regarding goumi and its relatives (eleaeagnus sp), what I've noticed that although a fully grown bush/tree is quite robust, they do require some babying in the first 2-3 years. There's a also a special caveat in case you're using them in a shelterbelt against the wind: they can grow "too fast" in the sense that strong wind can rock the bush the loosen the roots. We've had to stake several elaeagnus at our place.

Maybe one more thought - figs and especially mulberries will drop a lot of leaf mass that you can then hapilly use to mulch around young plants etc. This is actually also true of hazel (I mean corylus, not hamamelis). You know what they say about hazel - "a plant so good people started naming their daughters after it"  but I don't know whether it will grow well in your very warm climate.

This is my small input, can't be of much help because your growing zone is so different than ours.



There are some Alnus that grow pretty well in the area. Elaeagnus is another story, that might be more difficult, but I want to try them. Mulberries and figs are mandatory for me, they are going to be important for the project
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 124
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Ben Zumeta wrote:Chickens would make quick work of the ants. If that’s not an option, bird feeders, bird houses, brush piles for shelter for birds and reptiles. I might even start spreading bird seed around the ants while calling birds in. It may sound and feel silly at first, but it works with song birds and fowl alike (learned it from Joseph Cornell, the author of “Sharing nature with children”). To do this, make “psht” sounds imitating a mother song bird in a pattern of either 3 rhythmic calls, a 1-3-1 rhythm  (psht..psht psht psht..psht) or a 2-3-2 rhythm, ideally while giving out food. I have gotten local wild birds to come to my call even when I don’t have food. Of course the ants will eat some seed, until the birds come in and realize the bird seed is an appetizer and the ants are the main course. All birds, including hummingbirds, eat insects, especially when raising young. However, birds will then think those seeds you are planting in neat rows are a buffet for them, and will dig them up, and maybe this is just giving you smarter, flying version of your previous problem!



I think that I'm gonna reach balance and I just have to keep an eye on ants until everything takes form. So it's a special effort for this first months, hopefully
 
Antonio Hache
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Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Update on the project

- I checked the 480 planted trees, one by pne. From the 400 support trees, around 30 are not okay / dying. Half of them are Cassuarina Equisetifoilia. I thought that one could be great here, but it looks like is not going to be that way

- The 80 fruit trees, one Guava died and maybe one Avocado. I knew tropicals  were going to suffer, but I wanted to see if some of them could make it okay, to reinforce them in the future. Papaya and Mango are going quite well. Best performers are Olives, Citrus, Pomegranate, Almond and Fig, not a surprise here. I wanted to try chestnuts, but are not thriving.

- BUT I am worried with the “prunus type”. Plums, Apricot, Peach, Cherries... are deciduous trees. But I am not sure with their health. They are dormant and losing their leaves, but I did the scratch test and well, I am not sure. It is more white than green, although it has “some” green. How could you tell? Branches broke easily, I pruned them to give it a growth sign and liberate growth hormones.

- I am planning to reinforce trees in January. Planting dormant trees in Winter uses to be okay here. What I will do is a 50/50 policy. For example, if I have 12 Cassuarinas to substitute, I will try 6 new Cassuarinas (to see if maybe they neeeded to be in another place, or a different plantation style) and reinforce other 6 top performers (like chinaberry or robinia pseudoacacia). If I have to change 6 chestnuts, I will put 3 chestnuts and 3 of other...you get the idea

- I loved to make, 12 days ago, seed cocktails with 30.000 different trees and shrubs from different strata. Most of them are mediterranean classics, but also I wanted tomplay with crazy and random stuff. This is “research and development”, and kind of STUN with direct seeding. Just throw a lot of seeds from a lot of species and see what thrives. Whatever thrives, can be good to invest. There are things sprouting like Almond and Walnut (those are previous, not from the 30.000. Before this I already threw some stuff)

- Also I made seed cocktails to improve the soil. Just to broadcast. I took ideas from here and there, some premade cocktails with “mediterranean seeds” and also advice from this forum , Sepp Holzer, Geoff Lawton... White Mustard grows like crazy!

- Vegetable Beds. I make one or two new beds every ten days. I am new with it, my family grew citrus, not vegetables. I am improving each time, and lots of trial and error. First two beds are going worse than the rest, some other beds are looking great. The problem with this is that is very tiring, I do it all by myself, nobody can help me due to lockdown and covid restrictions. I travel between Denia and Madrid (freelance workers are allowed to travel between regions) and I feel that trees can be managed this way but vegs might need a more “hands on” management, specially when you have “agret” (oxalis pes caprae) invading everything.

What worries me more is the “prunus” situation and identify if all of them are sick or what is going on
 
Hugo Morvan
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Hi Antonio, nice to hear of your project again.
My two cents: the  Cassuarina Equisetifoilia is an Australian tree, if it is not naturalized in Europe then the following could be the case. I've read about people in Europe not getting their Sequoia's to grow. They tried this, they tried that. Until somebody took a bunch of soil from the mothertrees and transplanted it to the baby trees nothing worked. Then they grew fine. It was the case that the seedlings were lacking in mycorrhizal fungi. Those fungi connect to the roots and establish a trade, the tree gets nutrients and water from the fungi, the fungi gets sugar from the leaves. Fungi can break down plant material and access much further away water sources because of it's ever growing networks.
In the case of this Sequoia the specific kind of fungi was not in Europe. They had to actively import it in soil.
So off to Australia you go man!
Or maybe somebody else who has had more luck before you with growing this tree up huge and tall can lend you a bucket full of soil to spread around your trees.

It might not be this at all. Some trees don't like transplanting.
About apples i've read the following, first year pause, second year slow growth, third year booming.
First year they develop root system, second year they move into growth and third year they're back to business as usual.
A careful strategy, which makes sense to me. All those leaves cause evaporation, which is only possible if the root system in place is capable of replacing the take up of water evaporated. So first they invest in repairing the rootsystem to their liking.

I've noticed the same with my limited experience of transplanting Prunus type trees. They self prune immensely. They just shut off the sapflow into certain branches to restore/rebalance the disturbed water flow. They "know" their water intake has been messed with, to survive they cut off the evaporation.
Little these trees care for our worries, it seems..

I am going to transplant 15 Peaches today. I've got some 15 others to go, but they're in a shaded place under the oaks, the frost has touched their folliage a lot less and they're still green. I'll wait for them to take the energy out of the leaves first.
I will add some soil of a successful peach growing in the garden into the soil mix. A nice soil biome transplant can only add to biodiversity growth if nothing else.

Paying attention to the underground situation might benefit your project immensely. the whole chop and drop concept is based on building soils. To profit of the results importing soil biomes from elsewhere could kickstart soil growth as well. Not that much work, just take a bucket and garden spade on walks.    
 
Abraham Palma
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I don't know how it is in Denia. Here in Malaga it is quite hard to raise apples, since they need cold. Some varieties of pear do better. About prunus, what really shine here are the plums. Peaches have many pests. Just remember prunus need a male to seed the females around, so if you don't have a pollinator, you should graft one every 4-5 trees. If you haven't tasted it yet, I'd recommed to graft the 'black splendor' variety in a few female trees. This variety is from Sevilla, but I think it can work there too, since we had it in Malaga a long time ago. (Grafting is a must have skill for any tree farmer).

Of course, olives and almonds will do well, they are so hard and drought resistant.
 
Antonio Hache
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Hola Hugo y Abraham

I have been checking the trees and they are all okay. Just dormant, but is is hard to tell. Let’s see how winter goes for them. Anyway, I am going to replant some more, I want the system to keep on going.

Also I already made 9 vegetable beds between tree rows. With different success rate. I harvested radish and chard, and soon I will harvest rocket, beet, pakchoi and lettuce. Some things dissappeared cause of ants, other were eaten by slugs, but well, piano piano
 
Abraham Palma
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My first vegetable bed was not very successful, of the many seeds I poured over, only a few radishes and potatos on the way, but I didn't water it, only rainwater. Today I've learned that I have to water the bed the first time, then let the rain keep the moisture. Or plant seedlings.
Now I've dug a sunken bed, tomorrow I will put some seeds, and will water them, at least until they germinate. Here: https://permies.com/t/152917/permaculture-projects/sunken-bed-time-tips
More pics tomorrow.

You know some veggies are going to be lost to pests or mismanagement. Just create abundance with the lesser effort, some of it will thrive.
 
Antonio Hache
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New Update:

We’ve had the coldest winter weeks in decades, even with some frost. Very bizarre for this town, just close to the Mediterranean sea. Now we are okay, with a normal winter (15º c) , but temperatures on last weeks have been more like “continental”. That was bad for some vegetables like squash or tomato wich were growing fine. And specially bad for the new tropical trees (I know that tropicals dont have a good time establishing here, but when they do it, they survive)

Most of the 480 trees are growing okay. I added 50 more, to substitute those with a bad transplant and also just to have more. About the 30.000 seeds that I sowed in seed cocktails, there are things sprouting but is hard to tell what is what. For sure, I have a couple of peaches, one walnut, one almond tree and physalis peruviana. But there are many other green things sprouting, I will have to wait to identify them. The extreme cold also put in danger some things, like this new walnut tree growing from seed. Luckily, with the new weather, they will survive. Also there are weeds growing around, I have to be carefult with this, but well, like in real forest, trees should find their way

I cultivated more vegetable beds, with different results. I’ve seen that the beds with better results are those wich share this three things

1.- High seed density

2.- I make a first till with the “motor hoe”, and add rock powder and manure. If, after that, I add a special soil mix with humus and coconut, everything goes better

3.- Using cutted grass as mulch. If I use no mulch or other mulch like leaves, things go worse.

I might change my strategy with vegs. My goal was to start selling in April/May.  But due to covid restrictions, hard in Spain, I am having logistical problems. So I might cultivate vegetables just for family consumption, focus on trees exclusively and wait/hope for better times
 
Hugo Morvan
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Happy to hear the Siberian temperatures did not happen where you are. Minus 38 degrees Celsius (-36,4F) in the Pyrenees ain't no fun and it's bad for trees in Scandinavia, let alone Spain!
Do you have something like a strategy for climate chaos?  
 
Antonio Hache
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Happy to hear the Siberian temperatures did not happen where you are. Minus 38 degrees Celsius (-36,4F) in the Pyrenees ain't no fun and it's bad for trees in Scandinavia, let alone Spain!
Do you have something like a strategy for climate chaos?  



Hola Hugo!

Well, weather is crazy! In Madrid we had lots of snow, the city was paralized. In Denia, not snow, but cold and lots of rain.

My strategy is:


- Vegetables: Add to the beds always something a bit out of season

- Seed cocktails: Adding not only mediterranean stuff, but also continental or tropical.

Climate is nuts, so I put a bit of everything and we will see what thrives
 
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Hi Antonio
Have you thought of asking for help from WWOOF, Willing Workers on Organic Farms? A volunteer or two may come with some experience to contribute. You may have to wait until covid is over, though. https://wwoof.es/
Your prunus can be on various rootstocks of that same genus. In the UK, the rootstock is commonly mirabelle, Prunus cerasifera. Yours may do better on almond, which is more accustomed to digging deep for water.
If you want an edible Oxalis, O tuberosum, the oca, produces succulent top growth as well as tubers. Not to be eaten in quantity though, oxalic acid.
 
Antonio Hache
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Anthony Powell wrote:Hi Antonio
Have you thought of asking for help from WWOOF, Willing Workers on Organic Farms? A volunteer or two may come with some experience to contribute. You may have to wait until covid is over, though. https://wwoof.es/
Your prunus can be on various rootstocks of that same genus. In the UK, the rootstock is commonly mirabelle, Prunus cerasifera. Yours may do better on almond, which is more accustomed to digging deep for water.
If you want an edible Oxalis, O tuberosum, the oca, produces succulent top growth as well as tubers. Not to be eaten in quantity though, oxalic acid.



Hi Anthony! I thought about that, but now we are having heavy covid restrictions, so I guess everything has to wait for a while
 
Abraham Palma
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Anthony Powell wrote:Hi Antonio
Have you thought of asking for help from WWOOF, Willing Workers on Organic Farms? A volunteer or two may come with some experience to contribute. You may have to wait until covid is over, though. https://wwoof.es/
Your prunus can be on various rootstocks of that same genus. In the UK, the rootstock is commonly mirabelle, Prunus cerasifera. Yours may do better on almond, which is more accustomed to digging deep for water.
If you want an edible Oxalis, O tuberosum, the oca, produces succulent top growth as well as tubers. Not to be eaten in quantity though, oxalic acid.



I didn't know that plant, the oxalis tuberosa. If it could replace the oxalis pes caprae and produce the same amount without any help that would be great. I've read that Andinian people have to boil this root several times to remove the oxalic acid and make it edible, though.
 
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Hola Antonio. Te sugiero que hables con Alberto, en Finca Almacil
https://fincaalmacil.com/
Agricultura ecológica y de proximidad con pequeños propietarios.
Suerte y ánimo.
 
Hugo Morvan
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Just Bayle, welcome to Permies, please post in English, we do not care if you make errors, we all do, no other languages not permitted.
 
Antonio Hache
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Just Bayle-Sempere wrote:Hola Antonio. Te sugiero que hables con Alberto, en Finca Almacil
https://fincaalmacil.com/
Agricultura ecológica y de proximidad con pequeños propietarios.
Suerte y ánimo.



Hola! I had not seen your message. Thanks for the info!
 
Antonio Hache
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So, a quick update on the project.

We've had crazy weather with some frost, very unusual here. So this rare cold was terrible for some of the vegetables and for all the tropical trees. Luckily, the tropical trees are only 8. Not all of them are going to die, I think some of them will have a new life in next weeks. In 30 days I will decide if I change them.

All the other trees are going more than okay. With vegetables, we are harvesting spinachs, lettuce, chard, turnip. And soon we wil have more lettuce, beets, carrots, radish... Although it is going okay, I am afraid that Covid Restrictions are going to change my project. I need help, I can't manage by myself all this amount of vegetable beds and we are not yet in the point of hiring people. The idea was to start with the help of family members, but you never know when can you travel. So maybe I change my approach and cultivate vegetables only for family consumption. And add more trees. I don't know.

About seed cocktails, I placed more than 30.000 seeds and I am already seeing results. Different kinds of "prunus" are sprouting: Almond (lots, you can see the pictures), Peach, Apricot, Cherry... also I found Chestnut and Walnut. The seeds did not have only trees, I was aiming to cover the full range of strata (from canopy to ground cover), so there are also growing things like fennel, dill, nettle, sea kale (yep, I placed perennial vegetables). And many things that I can't tell what they are. I will probably make a refill in March, as the first days of spring are also a good time to sow things, and after that just hope for the best.

I broadcasted also seeds for ground cover, soil improvement etc. Well, this has gone wild. Ten days ago it was kind of cold, I had some weeds, specially asteraceae. After that it rained. After that, sun came. What happens when there is heavy rain and sun? Crazy growth. So well, you will see the pictures, I think I will have to put a special effort managing this, but I will use everything as green manure.

So, my next steps, for the next 2 weeks, besides planting/harvesting vegetables are:

- Check the space between trees in the tree rows. I don't want more empty space than the size of my forearm. So I will go with a notebook and a map and write where do I have to place a new seed cocktail, wich is going to be (I guess) smaller than 3.000 seeds.

- Managing all the cover crops that I placed around. I want things to go to seed, so next year I don't have to buy seeds again. So I will chop and drop one corridor for week, only things with flower.

I think that's it!

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Abraham Palma
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Nice pics.
Could you give us a few pictures for the whole property? To see how those trees are growing?

I see you have some dandelion, their leaves taste like lettuces if you take them young. And also it looks like the oxalis are no longer dominant.

If you can't manage that much vegetation, maybe you could ask a local sheeper. Just don't let the sheep eat everything.
 
Antonio Hache
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Abraham Palma wrote:Nice pics.
Could you give us a few pictures for the whole property? To see how those trees are growing?

I see you have some dandelion, their leaves taste like lettuces if you take them young. And also it looks like the oxalis are no longer dominant.

If you can't manage that much vegetation, maybe you could ask a local sheeper. Just don't let the sheep eat everything.



Hola Abraham! The trees are okay, but most of them are deciduous, so without leaves it is difficult to make nice pictures and differentiate anything. Leaves are re-appearing now, so I guess in 15-30 days I might be able to have nice pictures where we can see the trees development.
 
Susanna Hammond
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Hi Antonio, nice to see your update!

I want to echo the suggestion of trying WWOOFers or something similar to get some help in the short term. I'm from Canada and I did farm and hotel work in the UK and Europe via a website and app called Workaway.info.

I had planned to be traveling again all through 2020 and 2021 before Covid happened. So last summer, I used the Workaway app to find a farm just 18 minutes from me here in Canada and I worked a few hours a day about 5-6 days a week from April to Oct 2020. Because we were so nearby, travel restrictions were not a problem. My hosts' helpers did not arrive as they were stranded in France.

The usual arrangement for Workaways is 5 hours work per day, 5 days per week in exchange for room and board. No salary is required.

It's completely free to register an account as a host. You can put up a basic profile and then see if there are people in your area.

I just did a quick search and here's an example of a couple who like to look after farms:
workaway.info/en/workawayer/ken07000

I see they are German and likely not on the road due to Covid. However, there are quite possibly some local farm workers in your area who might be able to travel to your place under the current rules.
The farm owners here in Canada that I worked with thought they would have to give up their garden completely last year without helpers, but we found each other!

Keep sharing your updates Antonio, it's encouraging and inspiring to see your progress!
 
Antonio Hache
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Susanna Hammond wrote:Hi Antonio, nice to see your update!

I want to echo the suggestion of trying WWOOFers or something similar to get some help in the short term. I'm from Canada and I did farm and hotel work in the UK and Europe via a website and app called Workaway.info.

I had planned to be traveling again all through 2020 and 2021 before Covid happened. So last summer, I used the Workaway app to find a farm just 18 minutes from me here in Canada and I worked a few hours a day about 5-6 days a week from April to Oct 2020. Because we were so nearby, travel restrictions were not a problem. My hosts' helpers did not arrive as they were stranded in France.

The usual arrangement for Workaways is 5 hours work per day, 5 days per week in exchange for room and board. No salary is required.

It's completely free to register an account as a host. You can put up a basic profile and then see if there are people in your area.

I just did a quick search and here's an example of a couple who like to look after farms:
workaway.info/en/workawayer/ken07000

I see they are German and likely not on the road due to Covid. However, there are quite possibly some local farm workers in your area who might be able to travel to your place under the current rules.
The farm owners here in Canada that I worked with thought they would have to give up their garden completely last year without helpers, but we found each other!

Keep sharing your updates Antonio, it's encouraging and inspiring to see your progress!



Thanks for your suggestion. I will check it out!
 
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Just a quick note from Catalonia re Ants
I now grow nearly all my vegetables from seeds in pots first and then transplant them.
I have lost too many seeds to ants, and I do not like to kill them.
Good luck with your amazing project
 
Antonio Hache
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Chris Dav wrote:Just a quick note from Catalonia re Ants
I now grow nearly all my vegetables from seeds in pots first and then transplant them.
I have lost too many seeds to ants, and I do not like to kill them.
Good luck with your amazing project



Thanks Chris. Now, ants are hidden, but they will re appear any given day. What I am doing is planting more seeds, so they cant take out all of them
 
Antonio Hache
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New update on the system

- Trees. This is my main goal. I planted total 550 I guess, and I have lost most of the tropicals (only six) due to an unusual cold. And frosts! That is new for us. I will try again in April, so they will have more months to adapt (I had a previous mango and avocado that had no problem with this cold).

- Tree seeds. This is my favorite part, I am planting lots of tree (and bushes) seeds between the planted trees. Using the “muvuca” method. I got crazy with it. I purchased seeds from all around, some (most) local stuff and some not mediterranean. More than 300 species (not all the same quantity, for example I planted hundreds of almonds but only ten macadamia nuts). I want to make a forest with the minimum cost, and I am using the STUN technique, I want to see what survives here. I planted total 40.000 seeds. I have growing mostly almond, apricot, peach, plum (all prunus genre), chestnut, walnut. And things that I cant identify yet. On a lower strata basis, there is fennel, dill and sage. I think that in the next two months I might see an explosion. There is no surprise yet, the things that are growing are the most common (maybe chestnut and walnut are less typical)

- Cover crops, green manure and fun. I also broadcasted, for soil improvement and also for having a “prairie look”, lots of flowers, grasses, ground covers, clover... things that I read here and there. Prairie I wanted, prairie I have. Getting crazy in some parts of the place.

- Vegetable beds, I am changing my approach, maybe you can give me ideas. I was planting vegetable beds between tree roows, so I could use all the available space. But I had in mind the idea of selling it to the local market, so I made big beds with different consortiums (10m x 0.8, so 80 square meters). But covid restrictions (heavy here) are a pain in the ass for my plans. I needed help and people cant travel here, and also some places are closed. I wanted to start a CSA. But now I am tired of all this work alone (I now I can look for volunteers) and thinking that I might change location of the beds and plant only for family consumption for the whole year). I think also that I need to locate mostly perennials in strategic places, and leave some beds for annuals that we love. I should think on how to change this
 
Hugo Morvan
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So exciting! You’re really really going for it.
Yeah Wwooffers and workaway ers. You have to be there and many now just want to get away out of the city for a holiday. Some are good workers, but they need lots of guidance and need you to be there. Feed them, keep them motivated. Sorry i said that.

But it’s great getting all these perenials in place. Maybe when you see what works and tastes good  in a few years you’ll be selling those. Or herbs could work, they keep longer than veggies when dried. Have you looked into hyssops?
Herbs can stand droughts much better and don’t need all that watering. Tons of medicinal herbs to be discovered as well.
And they function as wind breaks/ shade/ insect repellant/ bee attractors stabalizing your habitat. And making it easier to work your veggies with all these positive traits when Covid restrictions are finally over.
 
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