Barb Allen

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since Jun 28, 2019
Southern Oregon
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Recent posts by Barb Allen


I was fortunate enough to buy land in southern OR that is heavily populated with hazelnuts of many ages - from large mature ones to new-borns... scattered throughout my 5 acres.  In an area near my chicken house and garden is a tidy grove of large ones and I surrounded it with metal t-posts holding a double layer of deer netting with logs holding down the base. I set it up as a large "run" for my hens, who have a very safe covered run as well when they need it.  The hazelnuts have THRIVED with the hens (although I have never had more than 6 hens at a time).  They create dust baths at the bases. I cut long shoots every year to make wattle and trellises, etc. and leave the bits and pieces on the ground when I clean off the side branches. This discourages some digging - but I have to say that even where there aren't branches protecting the soil it hasn't mattered. The hazels are thriving and growing bigger and faster than any on the land. Granted they get a bit of water now and then that the others don't get - and of course - chicken poop! But they are NOT suffering - they are very happy!    

So - if you can get them to an age where they are well established - I can tell you from experience they will be fine with hens. They provide wonderful cover from hawks and lovely shade in the summer. In the fall I throw in masses of oak leaves for the hens to dig through all winter - getting worms and overwintering bugs.


5 months ago

Patrick Humphrey wrote:I live in Florida where its hot as heck and we have some red russian kale that is still going. The stalk is super high but it is still creating leaves at the top. Ive never had any go to flower yet surprisingly.  I need to clear it out but i dont want to get rid of it LOL



Hi Patrick, I have had great success MOVING Kale plants (even in late August!) - at almost any time in their life! So you might try moving your red russian somewhere where it can just keep going and not be in the way.  You might also try cutting some back to 6 or 8" and seeing if they will resprout a top. Most kinds that I grow do this very well.

And - I forget who asked about it continuing on after flowering -- My experience has been good with this as well!  I have even let really special plants go to seed, collected the seed, and cut off the seed stalks and had them just continue on.  I find kale one of the toughest most useful long producing plants in my garden. I get the wonderful flower sprouts to eat in spring - and always let some flower for the bees - and harvest leaves for me and the chickens all year round!  If one of the plants gets aphids at the top around the new leaves (a common phenomena), I just break the whole top off and give it to the chickens - who love the aphids as well as the kale!   I have plants that are going on 5 yrs. old...  If you break the tops off they will branch out instead of making a tall skinny plant. They you have short bushy plants with many more leaves and tasty bud heads in the spring.  A great plant to experiment with!
These are a few pictures from the garden this summer... The food "forest" is not shown in these...

The soil is decomposed granite which makes wonderful pathways - but doesn't even grow weeds without a lot of help! I used lots of leaves and wood chips and occasional loads of horse manure and bunny poo over the years - but mostly I don't do much now but chop and drop except for the annual veggie area.

I have been working on this place for 12 yrs. but much of it is only a few years old - since I am adding and changing every year.  I'm 80 yrs. old and plant it and take care of it myself with no help.  My son helped me create some of the hugelmounds (all through the gardens) and the arbors and the pond. Please understand that I am not bragging - I am pointing out that a huge garden can be created that even an elderly woman can care for... well - an elderly woman who happens to really LOVE gardening and loves having a reason to get out of bed and into the garden all year round!  Keeps me healthy and limber... but mostly keeps me sane...  :-)
1 year ago
Thank you Rufus. This idea has actually been mentioned. The race horse guy is the owner of a big coffee chain (Dutch Bros.) - a bit like Starbucks but smaller... but he is also FROM and lives in our community and cares about it and is a bit of a philanthropist.  It's very possible that some version of this idea would be interesting to him and there very well could be room for it. I agree with your approach and would actually find it easy to take since I don't have any huge "investment" or emotional attachment to these ideas.  
1 year ago

T Blankinship wrote:

Barb Allen wrote:This is sort of spooky.



It is not spooky, it is cool! I am loving the posts.



It's the TIMING that is spooky... That someone should post something here about building a permaculture park the very day that I designed one and submitted it to the City council and mayor... and went to a city council meeting about it.... (they are going to sell the park to a guy who will house race horses instead :-(  .... ah well... I gave it a shot! and it was great fun)
1 year ago

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:
If you ask how to get such a LOCAL project off the ground, I would suggest to enlist the help of teachers, all grades, within a town. A student's curiosity is boundless and for not much money at all, you can easily lift the enthusiasm for such a project. [Note to the Parents, explaining the project, appealing to them to provide seeds, young trees, bags of mulch from their [non-toxic-] lawns... The appeal to the teachers is that these are lesson plans that practically write themselves, full of opportunities for students of different abilities to shine and fitted to their discipline.
You could point out to the School Board [folks who always want to tighten the purse strings] that for the minimal cost of providing the seeds and plants, (or supplementing what parents can bring, the plot would more than pay for itself: less mowing, a feather in their cap to accomplish a great project, no pesticides [parents will like that]
Around here, we have sometimes what is called a "school forest". It is a piece of land attenant to a school where the Natural/ Earth Science teachers can bring the little kids and show them nature like it should be shown, with lots of explanations, signs.



This is a great idea Cécile. Perhaps I can use some of these ideas to get something going here.  Thanks for taking the time to share all that information!
1 year ago
That's true, Marie. It looks like they are going to turn it over to race horses, so it's a moot point.
1 year ago
As someone said - it's likely not such a big problem since the trees are going dormant then anyway.

I grow all my garden in the midst of a 50+ yr. old forest (very tall pines, oaks, madrones, fir trees) and nothing gets more than about 3 hrs. of sun a day in summer (some get nothing in winter because of a big hill to the south). I get wonderful apple crops, and Italian prune, asian pear, cherry, everbearing Illinois Mulberry, and fig crops.  I planted english walnut, filberts, paw paws and a persimmon that have not gotten old enough to bear but are looking great. Some things have taken a long time to start fruiting - like two of the first apples I planted - took 7 yrs. but now give me wonderful crops.  I have pomegranate, and hardy kiwis that are now starting to bear well, and grapes that bear well -but took 7 years to get started.  

I just try stuff.  Blueberries are my biggest disappointment - only the Sunshine Blue variety will give me any fruit to speak of. They must just need a lot of sun to bear.  But I can't tell you all the 100's of types of plants I grow that experts say need "Full Sun" - that do just fine here. Some may not bear as well (or as young) as they would in full sun - but they do just fine. They give me "enough"....   :-)
This is sort of spooky.  Last night several friends and I - from a local group called Sustainable Rogue Valley - took plans and ideas to a city council meeting. We had found out a couple weeks ago that the city was putting a beautiful big bottom land acreage (250 acres) they bought 10 yrs. ago and never found a use for -- up for sale - and there were two bidders (one a non-organic farmer and one a rich race horse enthusiast who wanted to set it up for a training center for 400 race horses!) It's right next to the Rogue River...
   
Our group had cobbled together ideas and funding possibilities and arguments for not selling - each of us focusing on the whole but on their area of "expertise".  I put together a plan for a 5 acre "Resiliency" Park - that would be solar and wind powered, and have a small campground (it is right next to a boat ramp) that is tucked into a "food forest" - fruit tree guilds around each campsite. The shower/bathrooms were to be "natural buildings" of some kind (straw bale, cob?) with composting toilets, and showers rain water to some extent. The campsite would wrap around a large native "woodland" - where native edibles would be featured and mushroom growing and plants like ginseng and goldenseal would be grown with the local native plants. There would be a large "dragonfly" pond in the midst with native edible pond plants growing in it.  

Along the sunny side of the woodland would be "useful" plants gardens - featuring dye, medicinals, edible "weeds", fiber plants, etc.

There would be a Camp Host who would act as a docent giving daily tours and teaching classes in various permaculture subjects. He/she would live in some sort of alternative housing (tiny house, cob house, yurt) that is solar powered, with composting toilet, a small grey water pond, a small annual veggie garden with demonstration compost bins, worm bins, etc. There would be a small set up for a few hens - and a hoop house.  

In a large area surrounded by the ag fields there would be a big pavillion for events and things like yoga, chi gung, etc. It would be surrounded by a "lawn" planted with mini-clover, dandelions, wild strawberries and other plants that would take occasional mowing and the "lawn" would be dotted with larger food trees (walnut, pecan, persimmon, cherry, mulberry, etc...) for shaded picnics and hanging out - and once a year there would be a Resiliency Festival.

The Resiliency Festival would invite vendors of all sorts of eco products and systems (solar panels, small instream hydropower, etc) and there would be classes and demonstrations in useful and homesteading permaculture sorts of skills.
We saw the park as being a great tool for schools and 4-h clubs and garden clubs, etc. with special classes being set up. I even worked a program in for teaching homeless teens here...

I did a quick sketch to give a bit of a visual for the council members... as well as a 3 page proposal... that included a nearby wetland/wildlife sanctuary.  I'm going to try to include it here - although I realized in my rush to get it done for the council meeting that I left out many features (like the solar and wind, greywater processing, etc)  I have never done an image here so I don't know if this will work...

The bottom line is the city is probably going to sell it to the race horse people because they just don't want to deal with it and don't care about the wetlands or things like resiliency or permaculture (I was careful not to use that term to describe any of it... :-)

It was great fun putting this together I must say. As a landscape designer since the mid 70's I have designed several parks and my designs always focused on food plants and native plants. Our Sustainable Rogue Valley group created a series of 5 Firewise Demonstration gardens (all the plants are fire resistant - we are in wildfire country!) in the local fairgrounds that include a Permaculture garden, a Pollinator garden, a Monarch butterfly garden (that monarchs came to the first season!), a Native Edibles garden and a Rain Garden... They are over 3 years old now and thousands of people see them during Fair time since they are down the main thoroughfare.   But this Resiliency park would have been fun....  





1 year ago
A few thoughts:

Part of the area could be a very deep compost bin - perhaps with layers of cardboard and paper at the bottom... Just keep piling leaves and other debris and leave it.

If the ivy is coming through from the neighbors it's more of a challenge because it will continue to come.  I have trained mine to cover a 6 ft. fence - makes a nice evergreen "hedge".. needs occasional pruning but then I have compost material...

And if worse comes to worse, make baskets! English ivy makes wonderful basket material.  It's pliable and easy to strip of it's leaves - and when it blooms it makes amazing bee food!    
1 year ago