Von Herwig

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since Jul 31, 2013
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b)
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Recent posts by Von Herwig

From the photos, the leaf doesn't look like buckthorn to me. I'd say chokecherry. They're commonly confused. http://igrow.org/gardens/gardening/chokecherries-and-buckthorn-whats-the-difference/
6 years ago
Thanks Dale! I really appreciate it.
7 years ago
Read throughout he entire thread and saw no mention of buckthorn. I'm clearing about an acre of the stuff and hope to use it as the primary component is numerous large (6' x 40'-ish) hugel swales. I know it's a dense wood, so I'm unsure of it's suitability for a hugekulturl bed. I know nothing grows under it, but I'm pretty sure that's due to it's invasiveness and density, rather than any chemical issues.

The trees on my property are large and mature, some up to 10" in diamater! That's monstrous for buckthorn. There's also a fair amount of 2-3" diamater trees as well. I have huge piles stacking up and would really rather put them in the ground than through the chipper. Anyone have any experience or knowledge about using buckthorn in hugel applications?

I also have about a dozen mature ash trees that will need to come down due to emerald ash borer. I'll use the bulk of this for firewood, but I'm sure some will end up in hugel beds as well. Any issues with ash? I didn't see much specific info in the thread about ash either.

I would do some experiments, but I really need to get my swales in and I'll be renting equipment this fall to dig trenches, so time is not on my side. Just thought I'd check to see if anyone had any advice before I make any potential mistakes. I appreciate anyone's insight here!
7 years ago
Nice to meet you Josef. Good to hear of other like-minded folks in my neck of the woods. I've read a fair amount - Mollison, Holzer and Shein's new book. Been reading lots online and have been through most of Paul's podcasts. Right now I'm trying to determine my zones. Thankfully, with my property (see shot below) is fairly straightforward.



I plan on Zone 1 being most of the "YARDE". Chicken coop is already built just south of the shed on the western edge of the yard. Herb and vegetable plots will go in next spring.

Zone 2 will come south of the creek, once I finish clearing out a bunch of buckthorn. The plan here is to use the fallen wood to create hugelkultur beds that will support an orchard. I hope buckthorn is suitable for this, because I have 3/4 an acre of the stuff. Not wimpy trees either - big, established trees. My chainsaw has been busy.

Zone 3 is the area marked "Prairie." It's fallow farmland (last farmed in 1967) that has a ton of diversity already. I hope to clear some areas any get some nitrogen fixation this fall before I do some test plantings in the spring. (Probably start with 3 sisters, some Jerusalem artichoke, etc. as an experiment)

Zones 4 & 5 would be on the southern end of the prairie. Because the satellite photo is in early spring and I think a bit outdated, it doesn't show just how dense the forest is here. I've already transplanted wild ramps here in the spring and hope to explore mushroom growing here, as it's a dark, established forest.

Also, I've started a blog at http://www.colloquial.org/ to document some of my progress. Maybe some folks here would be interested in following along. Excited to finally have a place to start planning for!

7 years ago
Hello all! Long time lurker, first-time poster. Late last year the stars aligned for our family. A new baby came and we found our little slice of "Eden" - 2.5 rural acres in Milwaukee County (needle in a haystack) - close to my work as a Creative Director. We had been looking for municipalities with more lax zoning laws for livestock, etc., but still within a reasonable commute (less than 15 miles.) We found a property with about 1/2 acre dedicated to house/lawn, another 3/4 acre of forest, with the remainder as prairie. There is a seasonal stream that runs 8-months of the year, but lies at the lowest point in the property. Soil is a clay/loam mix that seems very fertile based on the prairie diversity. Fairly flat parcel with slight elevation slope towards the stream.

I've spent the last 9 months shoring up household stuff, building a chicken coop and workshop, clearing lots and lots of buckthorn (oh, and raising an infant), and I'm now to the point where I want to develop the prairie into a productive system. My ideal system would be a food forest that contains a fair amount of fruit trees and shrubs. Lots of wood makes me gravitate towards some large hugelkultur components as well.

I'm a bit paralyzed by where to start. (Recent google searches include "milwaukee skid steer rentals", "does my municipality allow controlled burns", "used 8hp wood chippers vs. using goats for brush removal", and "building a cordwood sauna.") I'm entertaining getting my PDC, but in the meantime I'm curious if there are any other Milwaukee are permies that I could bounce some ideas off? I'd consider hiring a PDC-certified consultant as well, but would like to see a portfolio of current work in that case. With a piece of land this size, I'd also be open to hosting a workshop or something as well.

I'm no slouch. I can build almost anything and live to work, but need some guidance on where to start with a grand plan. Holler if you know anyone in the area or if you are that anyone.

Cheers!

(The girls)
7 years ago