Ben Zumeta

+ Follow
since Oct 02, 2014
Ben likes ...
hugelkultur dog forest garden solar wood heat homestead
NW California, 1500-1800ft,
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Ben Zumeta

I can’t think of anything better than hearing Tom at campfire at “The Fishing Trip,” my friend Forrest’s epic multifamily camping-hiking-cooking-winemaker sharing-fishing gathering in the Oregon Cascades. His songs come from a life lived in service and exploration of nature, as a ranger, naturalist, and map-maker in the Olympic mountains and around the west. Take note he wrote one of these songs after a climb of Mt Olympus and five days in the backcountry, with a guitar he carried along the way! Enjoy, and thanks to Tom Schindler for sharing!

Master Sculptor:

The River:

Check out many more at
13 hours ago
25$ for 25 crowns is very expensive, so I see your frustration. They are a west coast company, but Peaceful Valley has several varieties, and all less than 25c/crown, and in bulk (1500) under 12c last I ordered. Somewhere in the East coast must be a decent price for good strawberry plants!

On the growing, I use hugel beds for drainage and a lobger season, and kelp or compost tea sprays for plant vigor and disease resistance. The get top dressings of coffee grounds and a little worm castings. I also nearly bury the crowns every fall in woodchips, and then only the vigorous push through in spring. This is instead of selecting runners myself.  We definitely lose some to disease, but not many.
1 day ago
I noticed that too, but figure from context and James’ info about dwarfing being recessive they must have meant “differences” from the standard size. This would make sense to me, along the lines of the 1/10,000 chance of getting fruit almost exactly like the parent, but I am no breeding expert.
2 days ago
Anyone know if dwarfing is generally a recessive or dominant trait?
2 days ago
I have similarly had no trouble with borage, but have lost some comfrey. I think it’s our bipolar rainfall patterns here in northern CA, as those saying its easy for them seem to be largely outside the dry summer-wet winter belt of the west coast.
3 days ago
I have had a great pyr-akbash for 7yrs now, and he’s the best. They do need confinement from roads, as they roam to their boundaries and seem to assume cars will avoid them. It would take quite a shock to stop a long furred lgd like our Willie, but I’d prefer that over him in a road trying to dorect traffic. For any dog I would be concerned about a leash on a cable getting tangled and causing strangulation or limb injury, and even more for high pain tolerance LGDs. I saw one nearly kill a friend’s dog, but that was a pug.

We have a 6ft woven wire fence around 1acre of our zone 1-2, and that keeps him in, while he keeps predators off birds and deer off our trees.
3 days ago
My Mom, Terrea Zumeta, was my first teacher in gardening, and helped inspire my love of helping things grow. People always said we  had the most beautiful garden on the block, and she seemed to always find joy and inspiration there, even when things were dark for her and the family. She encouraged and helped me in starting my “landscaping business” at age 12, and lined up my sole client (our neighbor and my little brother’s babysitter. Mom worked for 40 years as a nurse, mostly in psychiatric care, and it broke her body down, taking an enormous emotional and psychological toll on her as well. Still, she always loved the living world, and was  immensely generous to pretty much anyone, including my siblings and I. I would not be where I am without her on so many levels, and am eternally grateful for my Mom. She passed away in July, 2020, before she could visit the 25acres my wife and I purchased with her generous support (Dad also helped generously, but he’s thankfully still around to see it!).

Mom planted and did so much for me and my siblings. So, I have dedicated everything I’ve planted since her passing to my Mom. This includes pretty much everything in the videos, as we had  just settled in a few months before she died. As of  5/1/2022, the TZFF  includes over 300 fruit and nut trees planted, a similar number of smaller perennials , and hundreds of nitrogen fixators and pollinator supporters.

Mom raised her kids to do what they love while doing good, and in this spirit the food forest will be the home of Old Growth Orchard and Nursery. This will be a membership based you-pick and perennial plant propagation hub. This video is as much a “before” video as anything I have other than the video tour I made for Mom when we were just closing on the place. The camera work leaves a lot of room for improvement, but it was good to get this snapshot in time with my rambling free associations at the moment overlayed.

The basic idea is diversity in every dimension, allowing for successful succession to a climax old-growth edible forest, one way or another:

Part 1 (zone 5 inwards to zone 3 - native forest, walnuts, chestnuts, mulberry, and oaks):

Part 2 (zone 4-3 - oaks, chesnuts, stonefruit, pomefruit, mulberries, cherries and much more)

Part 3 (zone 3 inwards to zone 1 kitchen garden, blueberry key-hugel, nursery, inner food forest):

4 days ago
Good questions. I’ve planted mostly standard in my zones 3-4 and some semi-dwarf in my zone 2. This is because mu clay soil will require robust roots to break through them and become drought tolerant and well anchored. I also believe producing more biomass is inherently valuable, and necessary to tie up excess atmospheric carbon. They are great for urban lots, but 8ft tall “food forests” are simply not going to cut it when it comes to replacing lost forests while feeding the world. We need massive overstory canopies with complex and diverse productive understories. Replacing row crops, let alone standard sized tree orchards, with monocrop rows of dwarf espalier trees (as is becoming the norm in orchards to save labor costs, to my chagrine), may reduce tillage, but is still not going to serve the ecosystem functions of an actual forest. An ecologically functioning forest, as opposed to an orchard, woodlot, or tree farm, is characterized by a diverse multi-layered canopy, and lots of woody debris of all shapes and sizes creating habitat, holding water, and building soil.

Chestnuts, oaks, mulberries, linden, hican (hickory-pecan cross), walnut, cherry and seed grown apples will be my eventual canopy overstory, succeeding interplanted stonefruit, pears, elderberry and hazelnuts once they get too old or shaded out after a few decades.

As for dwarf and semi dwarf, this is referring to  rootstock, which may produce fruit on their own but have been bred for their genetic root characteristics, and are grafted with a varietal with more desirable fruit. The suckers from the root system, if allowed to fruit, would produce fruit with half the mother’s genes, and half the pollenizer’s (likely the closest viable neighbor, possibly from itself for some varietals).

The fruit from the grafted part of a tree will have seeds with half the genetics of the mother (the grafted varietal), and again half from the pollenizer. It will not have any genetics from the rootstock unless it produced flowers and pollen that fertilized the grafted flower.
5 days ago
Sounds like a good project. I’d break down the beds into double-reach width, and use the pathway soil to raise make them deeper. You could do a central linear path, or get creative with keyholes to minimize path space, and create microclimates with different aspects.