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Jared Woodcock

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since Feb 25, 2015
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Recent posts by Jared Woodcock

"These are my main objectives:
- Improve the soil
- Prepare the grassland for scything next year"

Those two objectives are still a bit nebulous and I think if you flesh them out further it will help you determine your next step.

What are you defining as "improved"soil? For example are you going to plant a garden or grow crops in the field? What are the needs of your future crops? What is your baseline right now with you current soils?

I have seen a lot of people put a lot of work in for the sake of "improving the soil" just to figure out that they could have been more effective if they spent the same amount of effort with long term planning.

What are you going to be scything next year? Do you plan to cut the field for hay?

I have cut a lot of land with a scythe, a brush hog, grazing, and a haybine. Each has its place it just depends on what your long term goals are. The timing of cutting on each and every species of plant will have an impact on its life cycle and influence the composition of the field. Once you know your longer term goals you can work you way backwards and choose each tool that you have appropriately.

My advice would be to not feel guilty if you don't get it done and don't run forward in haste. The plants that exist in the field right now are still playing a role even if they go lignet and set seed. If your next step is chickens you will see that they love overgrown pastures and they need woody shrubs to get away from aerial predators and to use as shade. Chickens are also well equipped to pick the seeds off of the over mature grasses and turn them into protein.  

Good luck and enjoy the journey!

3 years ago
We use deep mulch to establish no till gardens in sod. If it doesn't kill back the weeds and sod then your mulch wasn't deep enough.

As for cover cropping in this system it is unnecessary. You are adding so much more organic matter with the deep mulch than you would with the cover crop. Once you have it established and weed free from a few growing seasons then you can scratch cover crop seed in as was previously mentioned. I have done a few small trials and our winter small grains as a cover crop only produce enough mulch to cover a 5th of the bed that they grew on. I gather leaves in the fall and put them on very heavily. This is limited to a small scale garden of around an acre or less. Once the garden is established then you just keep rotating the crops and adding whatever amendments that are needed, no heavy tillage and no cover crops.

Jay and Paulie have been doing this method for a while and Jay has told me that he feels that he doesn't feel cover crops are necessary in his system either.
3 years ago
I have been on the other end of this story more often than not. As a kid a man bought the 100 acres that bordered the back end of our land. There were old skidder trails that were used by all to hike, ride horses, and atvs. When the new landowner moved in he planted a bunch of trees on the trails and felled other trees to cut off the paths. My father told me to respect this mans ways and to not ride on the trails anymore. Many other people who were used to using these trails kept on entering them from our property, because of the lay of the land and the fact that my father kept his trails open. The landowner wasnt around much and we didnt have very many chances to bump into him. Fast forward 25 years, my father is dead and my mother remarried, they are building a new house and logging the land. The previously mentioned neighbor saw the logging and came over enraged because he doesnt know his property lines, he thought that my mother's husband is completely unrelated to my father and he began to rant on how the previous landowner would drive all over his property and throw beer cans and jack deer. None of this was true about my father, he didnt even drink. It was true about his property though, but just because ATVS would occasionally enter from our land he immediately judged my father as a hillbilly.

Dont be that guy! In my opinion it is way worse to be the outsider who comes in and only sees the bad and the differences that are on the surface, than to be the local who has enjoyed the woods for generations. Those folks are there for the same reasons as you, live off the land, and not have others bother them....
4 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:The purity standard of permaculture has gotten so high I'm thinking of disavowing it and just going back to gardening.

You nailed it right there Tyler,

The two most significant men in my life were my father, and my neighbor who liked my father's style and sold him the homestead so he could raise his family. I worked for both of them in the garden, planting trees, hunting, building, and whatever needed to be done to survive off the land. There werent any hard rules other than do it right and dont die. They had well thought out designs not because it was cool and fun, but because if you didnt plan out the interactions of what you were doing it wouldnt work. Once I started to meet folks talking about permaculture in college I was confused. I thought I must be missing something. They were talking about the hillbilly/mountain man homesteading style that I grew up with, like it was a new cool way of living and it would save our society. I am still confused about permaculture but I am pretty happy to be "gardening" raising livestock, hunting, fishing, and generally just living the good life amidst the cloud of confusion.
4 years ago

Todd Parr wrote:I don't have tons of rocks like some people do, so I just make piles of them for snakes to live in.  Try to put darker colored ones on the top and outside.  They will soak up more heat for the snakes to bask on.

This is key to deep mulch gardens in our area. Our biggest issue with deep mulch is the rodents and having good snake habitat greatly reduces that pressure. Also it is pretty cool to watch a snake swallow a vole while you are picking peppers!
4 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:

Jared Woodcock wrote: You dont have to irrigate, if consistent high yields dont matter just water as needed and after a season or two your soils will hold most of the water you need.

Not my experience in my climate.  I've not yet found a no-irrigation food growing technique here.  

Good point, I should have qualified that I live in New England USA, we do have to water to get smaller seeds to germinate, and we arent too picky about yields. We also keep cows and horses so our compost is pretty rich. We kind of steal from paul (pasture) to pay peter (garden).
4 years ago
For a small home garden the lawton/lasagna/deepmulch method is very effective. You can build all of your beds in a few hours and maintain them with very little effort. You dont have to irrigate, if consistent high yields dont matter just water as needed and after a season or two your soils will hold most of the water you need. This gardening method wasnt invented by a permaculture designer it is just how people have grown their kitchen gardens for centuries before the invention of cheap rototillers. No need to reinvent the wheel here.

A 100 foot row of a single crop in a market garden is not a monocrop. Monocrops are when you have acres of a single crop, not really a concern for a home gardener.
4 years ago
Hi All,
We are hosting David Yarrow from Terra-Char ( for a two day Bio-Char intensive on our Queensbury NY campus.

Biochar for your Garden & Farm
April 16 & April 17
Saturday & Sunday | 9am to 4pm
Instructor: David Yarrow, Terra Char

Biochar is yet another tool in the toolbox of regenerative agriculture! In the last two decades, Biochar has and is receiving more attention of its benefits to agriculture and of its other uses. This Biochar workshop will have both a lecture component and a hands-on component, where attendees will learn how to make an efficient and easy to build Biochar burner, produce biochar during the workshop, and learn of a variety of uses of biochar, from producing fuel, to running engines and heating greenhouses, to producing wood vinegar, and more! Whether you are a novice or have some experience, this biochar two-day workshop is for everyone! Learning to make biochar on site, for your farms, fields, and gardens, is a wonderfully inexpensive soil amendment, with so much potential benefit to receive!

There will be a one hour lunch break each day (on your own).
4 years ago

Brennen Dean wrote:I don't see why you couldn't try it. That way you'd have a breed of rabbit that is better suited to your area and to eating the native plants there. You could even selectively breed them, choosing to continue lines that fatten up faster, or that have better fur, etc. You might be able to breed some of the wild ones with domestic ones to create a good local hybrid.
If nothing else it would be a cool project and it would help other people who are thinking about doing similar projects so they can build off your successes and make sure not to make the same mistakes.


That is basically what I was saying. I had tried this many times with little to no success so learn from my mistakes. Our domestic rabbits are not the same critter as a wild rabbit (in the US) and they cannot breed. As for raising rabbits on local wild forages, Pretty much every domestic rabbit I have had does well on this type of feed, yes you could select for the best but they are all pretty good at it to begin with.
5 years ago
We didn't make any videos sorry. David will be back through the area a few times this summer. Email him at the email on the flyer and he will keep you in the loop.

5 years ago