The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

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Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
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Peach tree treatments...

Hiya safe -

This is our second year with our peach tree - first year we expect fruit.  It is in full bloom, along with the plum.  Should I be spraying that with BT now?  So far none of our other leafy green things have any signs of loopers (or anything else munching on them).  I'm all ears regarding treating peaches through the season to make sure I get to eat more fruit than the bugs.

I will ignore your "we all hate artichokes" comment so as not to bias further reading.....  Ours is booming and we have a tennis ball sized arty pushing up and out.  Cat and I were reading up on pruning artys once they come in.....looks like we may be headed for upwards of 30 artys - from one plant!!!

Everything else is going outside in the ground in the next two weeks.  My Radiator Charlie tomato seedlings are 8 inches high now. 

Lots to do in the next couple of weekends......planting, picking, a wedding......

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Safewrite 2 out of 3 is fine...

I had googled orchard systems at some point and and found the information about permaculture and fruit trees. From my reading this is what I have learned.

Grass is the enemy of orchards. Spring bulbs like daffodils, narcissus and hyacinth flower and die back by early summer and keep the area below the tree grass free. Spike roots like comfrey, dandelion and yes, globe artichokes cover the ground and encourage worms. They also provide free compost and mulch around the tree so the soil stays moist. Small flowered plants like fennel, dill, queen's Ann lace, tAnsy, carrot attract pollinator bees or wasps, predatory wasps which help tombalance the mini ecosystem
Around the trees. I have a diagram I will try to upload tomorrow that shows an example. I been very interested in permaculture since I started gardening. I try to incorporate One or two new things each year.

Hope this helps.

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earthwise
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Bad grass.

Lnorris wrote:
I had googled orchard systems at some point and and found the information about permaculture and fruit trees. From my reading this is what I have learned. Grass is the enemy of orchards.  

I can see where all of the plants you mentioned have some benefit, but why is "grass the enemy of orchards".

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Bad Grass

Hi Earthwise,

The grass competes with the trees for nutrients and also if it is allowed to grow right up to the base of the tree can smother the surface roots.  Grass also requires significant amount of water.  The layers of plants that I cited above contribute to the well being of the tree, whether it is through mulching the ground when the plant dies back, bringing nutrients up to the surface of the soil with deep taproots (comfrey) or attracting beneficial insects.

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Not dill!

I'm afraid that dill at the base of our young apple trees is a bad idea. Just so you know, in the deep south dill grows so HUGE that it would compete with the sapling trees for sunlight. Our last batch of dill grew six feet tall.

I love dill for salads and pickling,but it grows wild here. Everywhere.

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Dill on steroids

Six feet tall?! That's amazing. Here in NJ ours is not quite that prolific. I never knew dill could grow that tall.

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Black swallowtails.....

safewrite wrote:

I'm afraid that dill at the base of our young apple trees is a bad idea. Just so you know, in the deep south dill grows so HUGE that it would compete with the sapling trees for sunlight. Our last batch of dill grew six feet tall.

I love dill for salads and pickling,but it grows wild here. Everywhere.

safe -

Just say the word and I will be happy to mail you some Black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.  Left unchecked those suckers will take your 6 foot tall dill to the ground in 3 days......before moving on to the parsley and carrots.

All of our caterpillars learned how to fly early last year.....right over the fence into the neighbor's yard.

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Tree Guilds

Lnorris wrote:
I've done some reading on apple tree guilds. What is suggested is to plant daffodils around the base interspersed w/ artichokes and comfrey. In theory, the daffodils should attract bees to pollenate, the artichokes and comfrey will act as a mulch And fertilizer for the trees. I am going to give it a try this spring when we plant our apple Trees.

I remember the guilds now...I read about these in the book Gaia's Garden. Thanks for the refresher. Let me know how you make out. I'll give it a try too.

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We Represent The Apple Tree Guild, The Apple Tree Guild...

Thanks, Lnorris. Never heard of it before today.

Found it! Permaculture is beautiful!

Article with nice description.

Apple Tree Guild
"In conventional gardens an apple tree would be planted alone, and would require a number of inputs from the gardener, such as water, fertiliser, and pest controls. In the apple tree guild, however, things are more complex, but the guild is much more self-sustaining and productive, and the gardener can relax and take it easy. "
http://www.miiu.org/wiki/Apple_Tree_Guild

Resiliency And Permaculture
Everyone, check out this Resilient Community Wiki!
http://www.miiu.org/wiki/Main_Page

Permaculture section:
http://www.miiu.org/wiki/Permaculture

Poet

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Apple tree guild

Thanks Poet, I can make good use of this in my recently planted mini orchard.  I wonder if the same things apply to peaches and pears.

Doug

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Lnorris & Poet:Just in the nick of time.

Thanks guys. I needed that. Desperately.

See, I recently aquired two more apple trees and salvaged one previously planted that had been decimated by gophers. I also desperately want to plant comfrey but was struggling with a decision as to where to plant it. Additionally, I was on the verge on putting a weed mat down with wood chips under my fruit trees, and had been promising to plant flowers for my wife. This elegant solution is the answer to the prayers of a lazy deadbeat who can now accomplish everything in one fell swoop, leaving more time for a beer or three.

I would assume that this would work for all fruit trees, including citrus, and not just apple. 

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Apples are part I'd the rosaceae famly

So they are related to peaches, apricots and cherries to name a few. Glad the info helped. Poet has the perfect picture of what it should look like. My two apple trees arrived today somthey move
To the top of the priority list tomorrow. There's just not enough time in the day to
Do It all...

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earthwise wrote:    Thanks

earthwise wrote:

Thanks guys. I needed that. Desperately.

See, I recently aquired two more apple trees and salvaged one previously planted that had been decimated by gophers. I also desperately want to plant comfrey but was struggling with a decision as to where to plant it. Additionally, I was on the verge on putting a weed mat down with wood chips under my fruit trees, and had been promising to plant flowers for my wife. This elegant solution is the answer to the prayers of a lazy deadbeat who can now accomplish everything in one fell swoop, leaving more time for a beer or three.

I would assume that this would work for all fruit trees, including citrus, and not just apple. 

earthwise -

Be forewarned.....gophers LOVE comfrey and can do a lot of collateral damage. 

However, they do not love Remington Yellowjacket .22 Longs, and as they are high subsonic, your neighbors won't hear anything except a light thud.

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Dogs_In_A_Pile

Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

earthwise wrote:

Thanks guys. I needed that. Desperately.

See, I recently aquired two more apple trees and salvaged one previously planted that had been decimated by gophers. I also desperately want to plant comfrey but was struggling with a decision as to where to plant it. Additionally, I was on the verge on putting a weed mat down with wood chips under my fruit trees, and had been promising to plant flowers for my wife. This elegant solution is the answer to the prayers of a lazy deadbeat who can now accomplish everything in one fell swoop, leaving more time for a beer or three.

I would assume that this would work for all fruit trees, including citrus, and not just apple. 

earthwise -

Be forewarned.....gophers LOVE comfrey and can do a lot of collateral damage. 

However, they do not love Remington Yellowjacket .22 Longs, and as they are high subsonic, your neighbors won't hear anything except a light thud.

Dogs,

Thanks for the tip. I normally trap gophers and in the past have been effective with the Macabee traps, but some 'lead poisoning' is much more satisfying. This last year or so I've been negligent with gopher control and have paid the price. 

The link to the Apple Guild indicates that the Daffodil bulbs are supposed to repel gophers so I'll soon see which will prevail: the 'irresistable force' of the comfrey or the 'immovable object' repellant of the bulbs. If it's the comfrey then I'll wage a war of attrition on the little bastards; double team them with Yellowjackets and Macabees. Their free lunch is over.

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Incoming arty!!!

It doesn't solve world hunger, it doesn't solve Peak Oil, it doesn't address climate change and it doesn't fix the fooked up world banking system, but this is very satisfying.....

9 more artys coming in behind this one. Cat and I read that we can expect somewhere around 30. Time to find the aluminum steamer and melt some butter....

First artichoke

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Dog gone it, Dogs

I'm generally considered to have a green thumb, yet have not been successful with artichokes. I get wonderful plants/shrubs but no arties. Haven't yet tried 'em in the green house.

Congrats,Robie(i do have real handmilked and churned budr)

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Recycled Gopher

Haven't read all 1100 comments, so hope this is not redundant.  You can make a chicken feed out of dead critters by cutting 1/2" holes in the bottom and lower sides of a mud bucket, layer of straw, layer of dead critter, layer of straw, hang bucket near chickens, flies come and, viola, tastey maggots drop to the ground like manna from heaven.  the straw keeps the smell down, and you are left with a pile of bones and straw to add to the compost pile.  There's a permaculture link to this idea with pictures on the web. 

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Food Ark

National Geo   had a great article

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2011/07/food-ark/siebert-text 
 

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robie robinson
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Slow food movement

has an "Ark of Taste" the we've worked thru much of. http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/details/ark_of_taste/ Out standing to me were the Red Wattle hog and the Fainting/Myotonic goat.  Robie

FM the link wouldnt work for me and i don't have time now to wok at it.  Robie

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http://ngm.nationalgeographic

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2011/07/food-ark/siebert-text       Try this one . It is missing the beautiful pictures   but if you look up National geografic  food ark  you can get pictures of the rare breeds and  heirloom potatoes .

  The neighbor  has Red Wattle Hogs .. yummiest ever tasted .

FM .

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Food Ark - Essay And Pictures

Full Moon, The links don't seem to be working. it appears the link has some odd characters at the end that shouldn't exist. Probably a browser or language/font rendering issue, causing cut-and-paste problem.

But remove the odd characters characters, and it seems to work:

Food Ark
"A crisis is looming: To feed our growing population, we’ll need to double food production. Yet crop yields aren’t increasing fast enough, and climate change and new diseases threaten the limited varieties we’ve come to depend on for food. Luckily we still have the seeds and breeds to ensure our future food supply - but we must take steps to save them."

And...

"It took more than 10,000 years of domestication for humans to create the vast biodiversity in our food supply that we're now watching ebb away. Selectively breeding a wild plant or animal species for certain desirable traits began as a fitful process of trial and error motivated by that age-old imperative: hunger. Wild wheat, for example, drops its ripened kernels to the ground, or shatters, so that the plant can reseed itself. Early farmers selected out wheat that, due to a random genetic mutation, didn't shatter and was thus ideal for harvesting."
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/07/food-ark/siebert-text

There is also a gallery of images related to food production - plants and animals. Just look at the Andean potatoes!
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/07/food-ark/richardson-photography

Poet

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SC garden in April

Fantastic season so far.

Getting my soil tested by my local agricultural cooperative extension, and following their advice, worked. The addition of plain old masonry sand to cut the amount of organics in my compost has gotten amazing results. At this point, my main fear is that I won't have the energy to can or dehydrate it all.

  • Swiss chard that never topped four inches last year (and overwintered so I had a head start) is now over a foot tall.
  • Black-seeded Simpson (leaf) lettuce that never got bigger than three inches is now making eight-inch leaves.
  • Jericho cos lettuce (a drought-resistant Romaine) that never got over six-inch leaves is now sporting 8-inch leaves.
  • Carrots are growing twice as fast
  • Cukes, beans, and squash took off like a rocket

I also took their advice and moved my blueberries to six-feet from the truck of a long-needled pine. It seems the filtered partial shade and acidity of a pine tree make a perfect habitat for blueberries.

Not all of the innovations were suggested by the Cooperative Extension. Moving one 3' x 14' Square Foot Garden box seven feet west out of the main filtered shade under the long-needle pine was my idea. It was a chore, but necessary since nothing would really grow there. Although the box still gets full of pine straw, after we mixed the sand into the compost  and I planted strawberries that was not an issue. Strawbs were the perfect solution since they need the straw to keep the berries off the ground. The bare root strawberries (Earliglow variety; best deal here)  have gone insane and in three weeks grew from a couple of graying, dubious leaves each to 4" tall x 6" wide plants. The instructions said to plant them 2-ft apart but if you do the math they are more like a little over a foot apart. The idea was to have the closer spacing cause these to fill the box as soon as possible. Low maintenance, high yield (I hope) perennials for the win!

One of the risks of adding sand, though, was our cats. Sure enough, they used the strawberry box and the herb box as litter boxes, but they only killed two strawbs (and some catnip - their loss). Then things started to grow and they found the sand pile by the compost pile so my garden beds are safe.

Other cool things: orange blossoms smell heavenly. We will have to pluck off some of the Brown's Satsuma cold-hardy oranges to keep the branches from breaking from the amount of fruit trying to grow on the still-tiny tree. There are leaves on the new raspberry canes, the yellow and red Southern-variety apple tree saplings, and the hazelnuts. Peach tree #2 (behind the fence in the forest garden) got sprayed with BT this year (yes, Dogs, spray the blossoms and the young fruit). The two new bean-pea-cuke trellises were screwed into the SFG boxes at the base and the peas are climbing theirs. The cukes are too young to climb but  there is a hill at the base of each pole.

Trellis frame late March. It now has cross-bracing and the peas are twice as high.

Full Moon suggested getting dried beans from the supermarket and using them as seed. We did that this year with black-eyed peas and limas. Wow, talk about viable seed for cheap!

All that's left to plant are okra (not time yet) sunflowers along the front fence (with peanuts as ground cover), two 4' x4' boxes of tomatoes (with nasturtiums underfoot - not time yet)  And potatoes/yams: we're late planting them, but we need to rent a cultivator the first year for their new location, and for the new front-yard bed getting the peanuts and sunflowers.

Oh, and due to lots of work for my son, and travel for me and hubby, the grape vines are not in yet. Finishing their supports is next

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safewrite

How far apart are you spacing your hazlenuts?  We just put some in and the recommended spacing seems too far.  They are spaced 8' apart.

Doug

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Safewrite, a q on soil testing

It's delightful to read how well things are growing for you and how satisfied you are by that!
I'm wondering about the soil testing you did. I"ve held back from doing so because I'm never sure what types of soil I should be sending in -- the soil that exists on my yard or the soil in my raised beds, where I grow 75 pc of my crops.  Each bed probably has a different profile as I use somewhat different ingredients when sheet composting, so that starts to look complicated and daunting as well.
I'm curious how many samples were tested  and from where you took them, and wondering what specifically the sand did to improve your plants' ability to grow.

Sue

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behind...

Safewrite, you are doing very well...

Here in Augusta the early summer ruined the azaleas for the Master's.

I was out of town and came back to find my yard a jungle, unpruned trees groing wild, and no vegetables in the ground yet.....we have had summer weather for at least two months, and I may have missed the window for growing greens.....the blueberries and strawberries took care of themselves...got to get busy.  It is a little cooler now, but not exxpected to freeze.

Last year it was hot but very dry, so growth was limited.....before that I dont remember any year warming up like this.

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hazelnuts, soil testing, behind

Doug,

The suggested spacing on the hazelnuts sounded wide to me, too, especialy since I wanted a nice thick hedge of hazelnuts to screen the woodpile (and future chicken run) from the street. I spaced them 3-ft apart, and I am hoping the branches get massively internaced. The recommended spacing will get you the highest yield of nuts, but I was not entirely looking for yields.

Suesullivan,

I did an extenisve post on agricutural cooperative extension services, but basically this was the process. I picked up some soil sample bags when I was their local office buying a book. I came home and filled two soil sample bags to the line, one for my lawn and one for the compost in the raised beds, and brought them back and dropped them off. I had the basic $6 test done (see list) and the results came back that my raised bed soil was very healthy but had too much organic matter. Basically, that meant my compost had too many rotted plants and not enough "dirt." So I bought the cheapest "clean dirt" I could find, which turned out to be masonry sand, and we mixed it into our SFG boxes. As I stated earlier, it seems to have helped a great deal. For what i's worth, I picked a representiative raised bed since the beds' soils are all slightly different in composition. I have 18 raised beds, and I was not about to pay 18 times $6 ($108) to test each box. Oh, and one soil sample analysis would have cost about $15 had the whole thing been done through the mail: they could have sent me a mailer, and I could have mailed the soil sample back to them. But it the cooperative extension office was nearby and I just incorporated dropping by there with my weekly errands.

maceves,

You and I are in the same growing zone. Take heart: I started my greens later than this two years ago, when I had my hip replaced on March 30th. It's probably too late to plant peas, or certain varieties of early cabbage, but that's about it.

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soil amendments: before and after pics


Overwintered lettuces and carrots, transplanted to a box with the new soil mix one month ago.


The same raised bed one month later....

The center of the box has the "Bright Lights" Swiss chard that would not grow higher than four inches last year. That's  a six-inch-deep bed for scale. I rest my case on the usefulness of soil testing.

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Thanks for the reply, Safewrite

I think I'll get some testing done on two or three of our beds/growing areas. I had a longtime gardening friend over last week who thought the raspberry canes showed signs of iron deficiency (their new leaves were yellowish) so it's probably time, four years into growing here.

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Crowdfunding an Open Source Permaculture resource

Hi folks,

I want to make you all aware of the crowdfunding campaign, now in its final days, to create an Open Source Permaculture tool:

Sophia Novack, a self-described permaculture geek, is currently leading a crowdfunding campaign to support the creation of Open Source Permaculture, an online resource and tool, which consists of a Q&A website and wiki, as well as a free Urban Permaculture Guide eBook.

Her vision is to create a comprehensive online public resource for anyone seeking information on sustainability for their home or community. The web site would have all the resources and support they need, just a click away. 

If you agree with me that this is the sort of thing we all need, please join me in supporting them with a contribution. Thanks!

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Mexico

When I was in Mexico during hyperinflation I was shocked by how indifferent the normally very friendly Mexicans were to our financial plight when my husband broke his back.  The assumption was that Americans always had money, their friends always had money, and somehow the Americans would always make the best of it.  My Mexican family helped with what they could, and yes, my American friends did help, and finally I was able to get money from the U.S.  While I was fairly well liked, I just had to recognize that everybody had problems and when the going got tough, the family was the support system.  If  we had been there with no family, there would have been no support.

Now that is before all the gangs and the violence.  I had a job and was respected at my work.  I expected all the inconvenciences and enjoyed learning the culture, the language, and meeting people.  I lived in the community, not in some gated expat subdivision.

If times get bad, expect the Americans to get blamed, justified or not.

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