I started reading up on permaculture last spring, and experimented with a few things last year. I didnt really get into it untill this year. I live up in thunder bay, way up in 48 degrees latitude. The city is givin an average of zone 3a, but the city has a range from a cold 5 (some places) - about zone 2. My house is in about zone 4.
I have a small yard to plant in. About 60x15 feet, mabey a bit more if you add the other small spots. There were only 2 owners of this house, and both of them were prolific gardeners. So the soil was pretty good when we planted grass 20 years ago. The amount of rain we get is pretty good concidering some places. We never really have any drought problems here.
At this point im only experimenting. The only real long term plants I have are some peony ( the thing has been here for at least 70 years), 2 100 year old lilac, russian olive, honey gold apple, and a few things that im not sure will make it ( apple, and pear seedlings, as well as an almond seedling i grew ) I added Highbush blueberry (chippewa and blue crop), heritage raspberry, Chester blackberry, john adams elder berry this year. Im hoping to grow some espalier cherry trees, as well as some apricots I grew from seed. Im going to be experimenting with figs next year after |I get some cuttings.
Some annual veggies seem to do well here. Radish have been solid for me. Beans as well. Ive seen some people grow some great grapes. Berries of all sorts thrive here as well. Broccoli does alright. Lettuce and spinach see, to bolt fast if sown in the ground ( first time ive tried both though). Buttercruch lettuce did well, but it bolted before i could harvest the head lol. Celery seems a bit slow, but I havnt amended the soil at all, and they needs tons of water.
A few experiments so far have shown I can grow some types of bamboo (protected). I also managed to over winter hardy hibiscus (moeschetos). Im going to experiment with a few things as well next year such as apricot, ginkgo biloba, dawn redwood and eastern redbud.
I do however, break one of the golden rules, by having plants i dig up every year lol. Not a big deal really.
I have a few strawberry plants that are spreading as ground cover, as well as some newly planted spurge. This year I have buckwheat as a nitrogen fixer, as well, as letting tons of self soen species grow such as dandelion, native pansy and clover. Theres tons of things that managed to cover the soil, but I cant begin to identify it yet lol. I plant lots of herbs liek cilantro, dill (self seeding here), oregano and chamomile, as well as beans and peas. I have grapes, clematis and some annual vines liek Ipomia for the vines, as well as false indigo, various lilies, roses, wegelia and some others for the shrub layers.
Its been a great learning experience. I have a better idea of yeilds now, and a better understanding of the concepts ive read about over the last year. Im hoping next year will provide me with a decent first harvest!
We moved here from New Zealand about 3 1/2 years ago so it's been a big change for me (I was born and grew up there).
We're renting while we look for somewhere to buy, and depending on what we buy, I'd like to purchase some land in the area for a permaculture garden.
I saw your posts about the microclimates in the area and I know that many of the market gardens were on the South end and towards Candy mountain because of this.
I see you're not a fan of the Lappe area because of the cold, (and the shallow, acidic topsoil), but I'm wondering about this area considering that it is more rolling country, which means that the opportunities to engineer micro climates are greater than on the floodplain of the Kam river. The Lappe area has no end of windfall for making Hugel beds which means the soil quality really isn't a massive deal, and the land there is cheap because it's not all that useful in the traditional sense.
On a different subject, would you be keen on an urban permaculture project? I've been eyeing up the old hospital site on Algoma St. It's currently 5 acres of dead flat concrete carpark, and the city has no idea what to do with it.
You can see it by pasting the following into Google maps search box:
Location: Manitoulin Island - in the middle of Lake Huron .Mindemoya,Ontario- Canadian zone 5
posted 3 years ago
I am going to be working in Thunder Bay for 3 months ( Jan,Feb, and March 2017) as a locum veterinarian at the TB Vet Clinic. I have been an avid permie for decades and am hoping to connect with some other permaculture types during my stay in TB. I have a 100 acre permaculture farm in the establishment phases on Manitoulin Island, called Tree of Life Farm. I have owned this property for almost 9 years now. This is my 3rd property that I have set up as a permaculture site. It has been much more challenging here than my previous experiences in southern ontario. I built a passive solar strawbale house with composting toilets and once I make enough money working out of town , I can finish the attached passive solargreenhouse with a climate battery, which is now just a foundation.
I have planted around 1,500 trees/shrubs of over 20 species and have 2 new fairly large hugel beds. Windbreaks are a priority as the wind is fierce here, with some damaging micro bursts every winter. Once I get to stay home and farm, I will be integrating more livestock into the system. This summer my adult kids and I raised 15 meat chickens ( Frey's slow growth breed) and slaughtered them ourselves as a learning experience.
Anyway, if you are near TB this winter, respond to this and maybe we can get together to share permie stories.
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