The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Food Forest Suburb - Davis, CA - designed in '72 - wow

Food Forest Suburb - Davis, CA - designed in '72 - wow

David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 985
How easy it is to focus on whats above ground. 25% of the biomass on earth is fungal. Prevailing dogma suggests that trees are responsible for most carbon sequestration. It would be useful to start imagining things underground other than nutrients, ph etc.­

If you want to see how some resources are managed in and from the forest, there is a good place to visit in Washington Maine. So far no one has taken the time to see the whole project.

David Spahr
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 627
Thanks David! I was hoping you'd post in this thread. This is a big part of why I was suggesting that clearing all the trees and starting new is a mistake. The trees need to transition from what is there to what is wanted to continue feeding the soil web and all it's amazing fungal mass. I knew you'd say it better than I would. The trees are needed to keep funneling the sugars from photosynthesis down into the fungal web that's so integral to the soil. David, have you ever considered making some Youtube videos of your place? Might make it more accessible. If your next book is coming soon it could make a great advert for it "For more on this David Spahr" smile
Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 43
Very, very important aspect David. I would love to to stop by this summer and take time to see the whole project. We all immensely appreciate your input and perspective on these threads.

Fungal mycellium is the neural network of the ecosystem in conjunction with bacteria.
In succession from annuals to perennials early succession will have a fungal to bacterial ratio of 0:1-1:2, Mid 1:1, Late 2:1-200:1, and old growth 201:1-1000:1.
It is estimated that only 5% of bacteria and 10% of fungi have even been discovered.
Makes me think of this excerpt from Oliver Sacks', Oaxaca Journal: "Most of the world's plants - more than 90% of the known species - are connected by a vast subterranean network of fungal filaments, in a symbiotic association that goes back to the very origin of land plants, 400 million years ago. these fungal filaments are essential for the plants' well-being, acting as living conduits for the transmission of water and essential minerals (and perhaps organic compounds as well) not only between the plants and fungi but from plant to plant. Without this fragile gossamer-like net of fungal filaments the towering redwoods, oaks, pines, and eucalyptus of our forests would collapse during hard times. And so too would much of agriculture, for thee fungal filaments often provide links between very different species - between legumes and cereals, for instance, or between alders and pine. thus nitrogen-rich legumes and alders do not merely enrich the soil as they die and decompose, but can directly donate, thru the fungal network, a good portion of their nitrogen to nearby plants. United by these multifarious underground channels (and also by the chemicals they secrete in the air to signal sexual readiness or news of predator attack, etc.) plants are not as solitary as one might imagine, but form complex interactive, mutually supportive communities."

Some research suggests that more than 25% of the sugars plants produce during photosynthesis goes to feed the surrounding soil food web.
Without the right fungi or bacteria present the nutrient content shown on a soil test is useless. Healthy soil has physical, mineral, biological, and energetic balance.

Trees are important water pumps and beneficially raise the water table for surrounding vegetation. Deep rooted plants pump mineral rich water from the subsoil and transpire it out above ground.
If you do need to cut trees, leave the the stump and root system. Among other benefits, the stump still provides the water table raising effect. Either include the stump into earthworks (hugelmounds, swales, terraces, etc - not in pond berms tho but in the ponds as habitat and fertility) or you can plant around it. If unable to adjust your design or plant around the stump, grind it down to the desired grade leaving the remaining portion underground. Most deciduous trees will re sprout from the stump if cut above grade and hence can be coppiced, conifers generally will not re sprout and will decompose rapidly.

Other ideas I have used for existing trees if they need to be cut to allow more sun exposure would be to cut or trim them to form supports for structures, climbing plants, fencing, etc. The species and cut will determine the life span of such a structure.

On a related note, increasing the organic matter content of your soil has, besides the profound ecological benefits, profound economic implications. Stumbled upon these figures from NRCS:
"For every 1 percent of extra organic matter, a soil can hold an additional 19,000 gallons of water per acre. That 1 percent soil organic matter also contains an estimated $900 worth of nutrients in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and carbon."
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 986
Tyler, You are most certainly invited. It should be noted here that most projects I have executed were done in the lowest cost way I could think of. I keep "buying stuff" to an absolute minimum. Once I get the 5 truckloads of woodchips (dirt cheap) spread correctly, things should look pretty good. Winecaps!

Although I have mentioned hugelkultur, what I do is actually a cross between Hugel and lasagne gardening. I thought of it myself. I had no knowledge of hugelkultur when I started. Made some mistakes. Ones I put at the edge of the woods were constantly being invaded by wild plants. I let 2 piles go and now raspberries and blackberries are growing famously. Not the worst mistake possible.
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