Kim Goodwin

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since Jan 27, 2014
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Native of Oregon, love the forests, now staying warm and dry in the desert.
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4200 ft elevation, zone 8a desert, high of 118F, lows in teens
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Recent posts by Kim Goodwin

That looks like a perfect spot for elderberry to me.  In Oregon, they tended to prefer a little shade, and they loved a moist spot.

You might find some more good ideas in Steven Sobkowiak's videos (Miracle Farms in Canada, a commercial permaculture orchard), particularly this one where he talks about using plants for deer fencing.

I learn so many neat things from his videos.  In an other video he talks about his favorite groundcover plants for his guilds.  I was astonished to see that one of his favorites is also one of mine - Sylvetta, the perennial arugula.  I was surprised because he's in zone Freeze-Your-Butt off Canada, and I'm in zone 8a desert SW - sylvetta grows great in both places?! Wow.  And on top of that, it grow both in out in the open, desert sun 115F, and also as an understory in a fruit orchard?  (And his orchard understory is quite shaded.)

It's an amazing filler plant.  In the desert here it is edible in two big bursts, well edible to me. It's always edible...but it gets extremely peppery as it starts to bloom (and too hot for me), and it blooms twice here.  It has rhizomes; thick roots weave around under it, and it can withstand significant drought or be sitting in a good amount of wet soil.

But back to his video here, he talks about building fencerows, essentially.  And deer are a big problem for him, too.

And something maybe worth considering... It would take some management, but the food output is so good - an American, Chickasaw or Beach plum thicket.  They can grow at edges and still fruit with a significant amount of shade.  

Here is an article talking about growing American plums:
Akiva Silver, Twisted Tree Farm: Growing the American Plum

And this is what a basket of his American plums looks like!

Good luck and please keep us posted!
4 months ago
NOTE - I'm posting this paid internship from an email newsletter.  I (Kim Goodwin) am not the contact person.  Her info is below in the image.   Julia at SeedsTrust.

"Seed to Seed Internship

Hey seed folks! This growing season I am super excited to share a project we’ve been developing with Early Morning Orchard, a local regenerative veggie farm here in the Grand Valley.

We have been working on an experiential learning curriculum to teach students and young farmers regenerative farming techniques while incorporating seed saving and seed production methods. In addition to learning about the workings of a small veggie farm and orchard, they will get a sampling of other agricultural business models including seed production farming and the basics of starting a seed business.

Along with Western Colorado Community College and Palisade High School, we are working with the Mesa County Workforce Center to provide skills-based training for underserved populations in our community. We are offering paid positions for 22 hours a week and will be looking to fill those positions in the next month. If any of you know of someone who would be interested, please get them in touch with us.

Take a look below to see what all we are offering during our program!"

4 months ago
I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.

This book made me realize how much opportunity was missed during my life in the PNW.  I grew up in the wet coastal mountain range in a mostly defunct logging town - a depressed place, though I had no understanding of that as a young person.   Lots of people were quite poor, everyone drove old cars and trucks, some friends had outhouses and outdoor showers,  and most people worked in one of the towns or cities that were 45 minutes away.  

The school was constantly scheming to try to get enough students to be able to stay open.  This was a place that about half of the residents were multi-generational and the other half people coming from other regions, usually big cities, mostly to raise their kids.  But as time went on, most people with kids moved to town and the population dwindled and aged- a common story in the rural United States.

All around us were steep hillsides covered in trees, land both private and public (BLM), which was clearcut in an increasingly fast schedule.  I was astonished the first time I saw a satellite view of my home region.  The land is a patchwork of clearcut squares in differing levels of brown, light green and dark green.

Clearcuts "required" herbicide spraying, both aerial and by crews with backpacks, to stop the regrowth of so-called "trash trees".  In western Oregon, these were everything besides Douglas fir and red cedar.  Hemlock, once a dominant evergreen in this region, didn't grow fast enough to be financially viable.  Chinquapin and yew, oceanspray and vine maple,  plums and cherry, Oregon ash and willows, and above all, the hated red alders and big leaf maples - these were trash trees.  They took up viable space and made shade that slowed the growth of the Douglas fir in their plantations.  Eventually, the medicinal breast cancer fighting qualities of the yew were discovered and that tree gained a certain respect.  But the fast-growing red alder and the resprouting (coppicing) big leaf maples were loathed as problems that needed addressing and cost money and labor.  They either had to be cut out by hand or poisoned just long enough to slow their growth until the Doug firs got tall enough to out-compete them.

The ability of the red alder and the big leaf maple to grow quickly, straight and tall, making trunks the size of my wrist in a year - it was viewed as a curse, not a blessing.  People didn't understand the roles of those plants or see even any alternative value for them.  They were troublemakers and problems, not nitrogen fixers, erosion/flood control, tree forage and soil rebuilders, pollinator, large animal and fungal feeders.  The healers and sustainers of the forest.

The book, Coppice Agroforestry is a book that can change generational attitudes.  In it is not only the history - as much as can be determined thus far - of coppice use in the mostly temperate world but also an instruction manual as to how it can be reborn today.  Communities like where I grew up have a trove of value around them that they just don't know how to use in a sustainable way.  I'm speaking from personal experience, not an intellectual, outsiders assertion.

The book not only reflects many years of the author Krawczyk's experiences, but the decades of experience from those he interviewed, studied with, and the ancestors (of all of us) who he documents.

It's hard to pick a favorite chapter in among so much valuable information, but if my husband and I had to agree on one it's the phenomenal Chapter 1: A Cultural History of Coppice Agroforestry.  Reading that chapter, we were astonished by how intentional the management of forestry was by people hundreds and thousands of years ago.  

Case in point from that chapter, pages 29-30  - a Western Mono cradleboard takes 500-675 straight sourberry sticks and a larger one takes up to 1200.  So a weaver has to harvest up to 10,000 stems of the right length, diameter and type per year just to make a dozen baby-carriers.  And a village of 100 people would require a team of 25 weavers doing this!

With that much coppice required every year, those straight sticks have to be created through intentional practices or there would never be enough of them naturally available.

I miss Oregon and what I could have accomplished there had I known more.  But most thankfully this book is useful anywhere.  Since reading it, I've come up with a coppice plot plan for me and my husband's developing permaculture farm in the desert SW.  It's been a valuable resource for understanding what you can do with trees and how they can be incorporated more fully into a permaculture plan - it's not just nitrogen and shade and chop and drop.  I would say this book is right up there with Mark Shephard's Restoration Agriculture in the breakthroughs in thinking it can create.

A quote from the book really stood out to me as describing what I see as the inspiration of permaculture - trees and their roles in nature.  It made me better understand how almost all forms of human society are based, in one way or another, on the relationship we have with trees.

 Mark Krawczyk in Coppice Agroforestry, Ch. 1, pg. 31 wrote:Imagine what a horticultural society might look like in the modern world and what it would take to internalize a worldview that inspires us to tend rather than dominate nature.

This is a highly valuable book for permaculturists, crafters, woodworkers, livestock owners, woodstove users, farmers and foresters alike.  I think it will become a "bible" or reference on these topics.  It is a completely practical guide and now is at the top of my "must have" permaculture book list.
4 months ago
Tyler, loving your Addam's Family vibe.  Inspiring.

Our need to create our family cemetery (will be in Arizona) just got a little more real - my husband's mother's ashes just arrived in the mail.

It was quite a family discussion. We learned some interesting things, limitations that primarily came from other people, versus say a government agency (AZ is pretty lenient about family cemeteries, as is Oregon where I'm originally from).

In my husband's family, not all his siblings could get themselves to talk about where/how/what to do with their mother's body ahead of time.  So it really had to come down to her imminent passing (though she had been sick and bedridden a couple years already).

Then once the conversation could start, no one knew what their mother wanted. That's because she really didn't know herself, and couldn't talk about it while still able to talk.

Eventually they decided on cremation, then didn't know what to do with the ashes.  A burial plot from her marriage to their dad seemed, ahem, inappropriate.  (The dad had long remarried. The mom still had the burial plot from the divorce... And they didn't get along.)

This went on and on! It was wild.  One sibling wanted to spread the ashes over the sea, another sibling wanted a "place" for the ashes - but wasn't willing to search for or volunteer one, other siblings didn't care what happened.

I finally bounced it off my husband -what about the family cemetery I was planning? It was going to be for any of my family members, but his mom was welcome.

One sibling loved the idea, but was worried it might be weird or creepy. I already had a family cemetary in Oregon, and they are actually rather common in the desert SW, too. So I don't find it creepy...unless you are aiming for that!

Another sibling "didn't think mom would want to be buried in AZ". Why, we do not know...

Eventually, my and my husband's offer won out simply by default. No one else had a better idea they wanted to push.  And her ashes arrived last week.

My husband has a lot of siblings, so this was a very different process than for my family, which is very small. More people, more emotions and thoughts and concerns to address, it seems.

Ultimately, as much as two of the siblings wanted to figure this stuff out earlier, we discovered that some people don't know how they will feel until after someone passes.  So not everyone can make decisions ahead of time.

Lots to learn!
4 months ago
The bean, one many of us can grow, Mucuna pruriens is studied for alleviating Parkinson's symptoms.
4 months ago

Cristobal Cristo wrote:Kim,

I just read "David advises planting as wide a diversity of species as possible, always including eucalyptus, melaleucas and acacias".
So basically he plants native Australian species, but I and I think Abraham also, are interested in fruit trees. I already have over 500 eucalyptus that I consider weed on my property and I want to eradicate them. It grows super fast, when cut to the ground it will regrow 3m per year. Not bothered by drought, freezing, wet mud of winter, nothing. I'm cutting them now, because the weather is perfect for such a heavy labor.

I get that because I'm attempting to do the same thing as you and Abraham.  Maybe I didn't carry the thought far enough to properly explain.

David Auria plants those trees because they are native ones that grow there.  Maybe his method is a stepping stone, something that could fill in the gaps that occur in aridland permaculture between planting pioneer species trees on water catching earthworks and increasing their survival rates... to planting trees that do require a lot more water, like fruit-supporting trees.

People could try trees most likely to grow in our areas. Mixes of nitro fixers and leaf litter producers and soil web builders, natives or non-native (like my mix I'm trying here).  And possibly a combo might work out, build soil and microclimes, and eventually help the space to be able to support fruit trees.  An inspiration for this I see in my region-fruiting mulberries growing wild, usually along roadsides where there is obviously a bit of extra water infiltrating.  Road "swales".  So I'm observing those and trying to figure out how I can fast track that on my land.

So first I'm trying the pioneer species that are not fruit trees.  And it's way easier to start with these trees as I can get loads of seedlings or rooted cuttings started.  

Moving on to fruit....I think that in my region, it may be possible to grow lotus date persimmons, mulberry, jujube, Mexican elderberry, Hansen's bush cherry (sand cherry), autumn olive and pineapple guava (feijoa).   I've been able to grow and/or propagate several of those well so far.  The lotus persimmon can also be used as rootstock for Asian persimmons - a neat future possibility to me where I can hopefully add variety... and a next step.

This year I'm trying a few new varieties of  fruiting trees/bushes on their own roots here to see how they do and where they fall on the water usage scale (using irrigation first to gauge this usage).  I've put in American plum, Chickasaw plum, seedling apricots, Persian mulberry seedlings and next on the list are crabapples and species/seedling pears.  Hardy, hopefully deep-rooted trees for future rootstock potential.

Here is a resource that may be of interest to you. It has water use of some fruiting plants, but not all:
Garden Oracle Tucson and Phoenix gardening - water use and difficulty level of hot arid land trees

And that's the last strategy  - get the most drought tolerant rootstock trees in after the pioneer species.  Then once the rootstocks are established, graft yummier varieties on them like Steven Oldham of Skillcult does on his Frankentree:

So my plan is long term and takes a few steps:

Plant pioneer species. See who survives.
Add hardy rootstock fruit species. See who survives.
Graft on as many tasty fruiting scions as I think each can handle.  Find out what that is for each tree.

And hopefully, end up with a variety of fruiting plants that are getting their water from permaculture means.

It will take awhile. But it'll be fun to see what happens!
7 months ago
Abraham and Cristobal,

I came upon this guy's tree establishing method that still has me flummoxed, but obviously works well for him in Australia.  Here is a quote:

David’s Auria Arid Region Forestry Project near Minnivale, in the Western Australian wheatbelt, has planted nearly a million trees in trials that began in 2001.

Some of David’s techniques are counter-intuitive, but after a million trees, there is no question they work.

Just before planting, trays of trees are placed in water, until the root-balls are fully saturated. The trees are then planted with the root-balls 20 centimetres below the surface. With just a few leaves exposed, the transpiration rate and evaporative loss from the root-balls are reduced.

Contrary to expectations, the trees do not suffer from collar rot.  They produce roots from the buried trunk in the same way that cuttings do. David also plants late in the year, after winter weeds have died off...

...Dead weeds are slashed and ploughed in, adding vital organic matter to the soil, stimulating microbial activity, and improving the heat-insulating and moisture retention qualities of the soil. Trees planted in this way, over the months from September to January, have proved to have outstanding survival rates, even when planting is undertaken on days when the temperature is well over 40 degrees celsius - and despite the fact that trees are never watered.

David says that watering destroys the insulating qualities of the dry soil that encapsulates the stems of the seedlings. If the trees are watered, the water on the surface evaporates away quickly due to heat, wind and low humidity, which then draws all the moisture out of the soil and root-balls via capillary action. Belts of trees reduce evaporative loss from sheltered crops while elevating the humidity of the air – both of which benefit crop yields. David advises planting as wide a diversity of species as possible, always including eucalypts, melaleucas and acacias, to create more effective windbreaks while capitalising upon the symbiotic relationships that exist between them.

In the infertile soils of the arid zone, planting a diversity of trees in a shelter belt minimises competition between them for scarce nutrients - another important factor in survival and growth rates.

The above article is on page 10 of this linked PDF.

I want to try this now, here.  I've read more of his stuff and his method works on many sorts of soil types.  If it can work here it would be game changing for me...

I started last year with just a couple little seedling trees I started from seed I collected, just to stick my toe in so to speak.  It was SO HARD not to water them!  I felt so bad... but I'm still giving it a go.

To do a real test of this, I think I need to grow out a few hundred trees.  So I'm working on that.  The things I've decided on for my area (SW NM, zone 8a, 12 inches rain per year, semi-arid grassland Chihuahuan desert) are black locust, golden leadball tree (Leuceana retusa), tagasaste (Tree Lucerne, Chamaecytisus palmensis syn. proliferus), Texas live oak (Quercus fusiformis), some mimosa (as in Albizia) and Jerusalem Thorn palo verdes to start with.   I was able to collect the seeds for most of those locally and I bought the tagasaste from Kym Orrock (see above a few posts).

I'd love to add in things like Siberian elm and chinaberry but people here would freak out.  They would survive though!  :-)  In our locale, the palo verde, leuceana, and Texas live oak qualify as native, so that will be easier for people here to ignore if I start getting some success with this method!
7 months ago

Kym Orrock wrote:Tagasaste Tree Seed Available End of February - Apologies for the delay - The world is upside down when trying to get anything done. But getting closer now

Thank you for bringing it up again, Kym!

I bought tagasaste seed from Kym a few years ago. The germination was excellent when I followed this nursery's directions:

Lucerne Tree Farm - really great directions for germinating tagasaste/tree lucerne

And for anyone else interested, here is a list of my fav resources and articles about tagasaste:

Redwood Hill Farm - Growing Our Own Drought Resilient Goat Feed – Tagasaste

Deep Green Permaculture on Tagasaste

Ag Tips from Australia for growing Tagasaste in silviculture

I'm still having a challenge finding the conditions they like on our property, but this will be my third year working on it and maybe third time's a charm?  

7 months ago

Alton Helm wrote:This has become a great revenue stream for us.  Our property is just west of Missoula, Montana, and we have a section of the property that is more difficult to farm, but is perfectly fine for tent campers and small rigs.  We have about ten sites (dry sites with a fire ring) that we rent out for $27 a night, and we sell firewood, beef, pork, etc. that we drop of with campers when they check in.  If you’re interested in doing this, check out our site: I think we have probably 600 positive reviews in two full years, and the camping revenue is pushing 30k a year.  It’s not completely passive, but it’s low overhead AND a lot of the people that stay with us are local, so we get the added benefit of meeting people in our community and acquainting them with our farm.  If anyone is interested I’d love to chat about Hipcamp, setting up the sites, liability, revenue potential, etc, it’s much more interesting than talking about alfalfa…

Welcome to Permies!

That's fantastic information you've shared.  Those are gorgeous pictures in your listing.  I think the price is very attractive as well. I stayed at a private campground in AZ for a similar price, and it wasn't nearly as picturesque.

You certainly seemed to have hit on the magic mix of lower maintenance, attractive site, and working with others.  Thank you for sharing.  I'm hoping to do something similar someday.
9 months ago

Michael Helmersson wrote:

Kim Goodwin wrote:so you have to as they say "kiss a lot of frogs to get your prince".  

I've been following this guy for years and in my understanding of his endeavours, he has shown that the idea of complete randomness in apple seeds is a myth. He has successfully cross-pollinated trees with desirable traits and produced trees with a blend of those traits. He deserves a lot more notoriety and praise for his work than he gets. Nice guy, too.

Right!  It's true.  Thanks for clarifying that point.  He still had to grow a lot out, but not like a thousand trees to get one edible one, like people often imply or believe the case.  And the aspect of combining characteristics, which seems obvious, wasn't to the general cultivation world.  I wonder why that is?  Fascinating.

I think he has great instincts and intuition, too.  Like Luther Burbank.  

I hope he comes on sometime and explains more of how he started all this apple adventure and his insights.  I think this could be the permaculture apple that Paul has so wanted to see make it into stores!  I hope he can share grafts someday.  I'd love to try it out.
9 months ago