Right now I'm still in college, and living with my parents. Flat broke but have a ton of free time.
So... the question, What can I do? What are some suggestions.
Right now my parents own a 1 acre lot which they've been trying to develop into housing. Not working out too well with the city. So I figure I might as well practice here, for when i'm (eventually) on my own...
It's a zone 8-9(ish) area. The soil is heavy clay, as is typical in this area. Before we bought it, it was sprayed for years. It's probably been 4 years since the last herbicide spraying. Nowadays the fire department sends us an angry letter when we don't keep it mowed/sprayed in the summer months (anything above 6inches is a fire hazard).
I'm interested in Hugelkultur, I can easily get unlimited truckloads of woodchips from the landscapers delivered for free... But have no access to heavy machinery, so I'd likely be doing any digging/moving by hand...
I haven't been able to find much about permaculture for my climate, it seems like most permaculture is done in much colder places. (like where snowfall is greater than 1inch every five years)
Hey there. I too am a fellow bay area resident. There are a few places that offer good resources for topics you can find in this forum. I also live with my parents right now. Although I will be shipping out to the Air Force in 2 months, so no long term projects for me. Its funny because I think of permaculture being more of a warm climate thing, only because I lived in hawaii for some years and was exposed to the permies over there.
We do have a compost pile we put all of our kitchen waste in. I have some snails I am raising for escargot, helix aspersa, I found all throughout the yard. I made a small aquaponic system, that is going well, I will also be selling it when I leave, so if you are interested let me know.
A good way to learn about your local climate is visit farms in the area. You can learn a lot by visiting and taking tours.
Workshops are also a good way to learn. I just went to the bio gas workshop this weekend in Ukiah. It was very informative. I also will be going to a wild harvesting walk in San Francisco park this Sunday.
Hey Badgerman and Oracle So you want to start a garden, First get a book called "Strawberries in November". It's the only book I've found that is written for the Bay area gardener. It tells you which plants to grow in which months. You both live in the bay area, as do I. I have two gardens, one a home garden in Oakland and the other in Hayward as a demonstration permaculture garden at the university. The university garden was started February 23 and I'm having great results. With the demonstration garden I'm trying different methods and seem to be having good results with everything.
Badgerman: you have a one acre field of weeds that the fire department wants maintained. First mow or weed whip everything to the ground, that's called chop and drop. Then cover the whole field with 4 inches of wood chips.
Congratuations you just created your first microclimate. The dark wood chips will warmup the area and hold the heat for those freezing cold summers that the bay area is known for. Collect your neighbors greenwaste and layer it on top of wood chips. Try to lay down two inches of brown waste and cover with just enough green grass clippings to hide the brown. In a year this will have rotted down to pure black gold. When you have the mulch a foot thick send out another email and I will advise you to the next step.s
Where are you in the SF Bay Area? San Francisco, East Bay, Peninsula, and South Bay have different climates and they are a bit spread out as well. I have spent the last year working on my yard in San Carlos (Peninsula), but it will take another year or two to really get going.
I strongly recommend joining the California Rare Fruit Growers Association - http://www.crfg.org/ There are a lot of people there with good advice.
I am just minutes from Hayward and working on getting my garden up and going.
I am resuming the raising of rabbits and guinea pigs and have lots of room.
I am trying to replace non-edible plants on our property with plants that we can eat or feed to the rabbits in the hopes of eventually being able survive with what we have in the yard if the need arises. (More as an experiment and lesson for my homeschooled kid than fear of that happening.)
I would love to meet up with locals and share our experience and produce, work with others breeding meat rabbits, etc...
Off to find Strawberries in November, thanks for the recommendation!
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