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

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 615
Is anyone else watching the Geoff Lawton videos? Here's one that shows a very early Permaculture (term not yet coined, but that's what it is) development in California. You really should check this out if you haven't seen it before. Also his videos on composting with chickens and his visit to Ben Falk's place are quite good, among others.
http://www.geofflawto...­
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 36
They are good , the food forest suburb video is awesome. Ben Falk has a sweet setup, I am taking his Applied PDC in July and I am gonna analyze everything about that place and the 175 acre commercial farm that Whole Systems Design Research Farm is expanding into for ten days. I like how in the video at WSDRF Geoff points out the awesome power of freezing water in the video with keyline plowing that heaves to create mini swales - awesome stuff. Probably the thing I like best about Geoff's videos is the dramatic music, it really stirs u up.
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 39
Now I want Geoff to do an in depth video with Sepp Holzer on his Krameterhof mountain farm in Austria. One of my gifts to myself this holiday season from Omand's Organics is a three segment DVD of Sepp's permaculture; Farming with Nature (30 mins), Aquaculture (30 mins), and Terraces and Raised Beds (27 min). I have seen segments of these and other videos online before but it is worth having it on DVD. I just finished watching them for the first time and even though I have read his permaculture book several times, it is wildly breathtaking to see his farm in more detail on video, especially from the air. His brilliance, productivity, accomplishments and design is completely staggering. In 40 years he has installed over 70 interconnected ponds and pools that total over 3 hectares of surface area teeming with fish, amphibians, birds, and crustaceans, terraces from 1000 meters to 1500 meters in elevation, 3 water powered generators power the entire farm, a water powered mill, over 9000 fruit trees including citrus (at high elevation in the alps!), hand built home and rental cabins, stone storage cellars, in ground pig shelters, and immense productivity all without any fertilizer besides the sowing of custom seed mixes (50+ species and varieties of flowers and vegetables) and the one time application of worms, worm eggs and bedding from one of his worm farms to the thousands of feet hugelkulture raised beds he has built. In one segment of the film they show a bit of his development of a neighboring 5 hectare plot he acquired from a neighbor in which he has terraced and plants over 1500 trees and their associated seed mix plant communities in the first two weeks! I don't think I have ever seen someone plant fruit trees so fast! It makes me want to learn German and visit his Eden.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 623
A friend who visited Sepp's place told me the citrus is Changsha mandarin. Also another citrus expert who watched Sepp's video mentioned a C. Ichangensis hybrid as a possibility. Both are hardy citrus types, but growing them in the Alps is still a feat. I'm working with Poncirus genetics mixed with those two and other parts of the citrus gene pool to try and find some next generation cold hardy citrus for growing in Maine. My first batch of seedlings are outside right now. Good winter to test hardiness with!
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 40
Excellent Greg! I was thinking of your post about your citrus experiments when I wrote the word citrus in my last post and also that the two varieties shown in the video were probably the more astringent hardy citrus varieties. The citrus shown in the video seem young (filmed 2008 I think) but producing heavily and very healthy looking, one is a lemon, one a lime according to the narrator/translator. Keep us all posted on your work with hardy citrus, it would be quite exciting to eat any citrus fresh off the tree outside here in Maine. Also it is a great winter to test hardiness with, the low at my house here at 45 degrees latitude is projected to be -18 F tomorrow night with a wind chill as low as -31. I am really thankful for the deep cover of snow over my perennials, I am not quite sure some of the ones that were recently planted would survive without it. I really like how Sepp loves rocks and stones everywhere for their multiple advantages, the biggest being heat mass which he uses every where here can. We sure got lots of rocks here in Maine, why not citrus, avocado, bananas, or more? Once I get settled at our final location I am plan to start plant breeding more intensively for Maine's changing climate.
Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 30
Hi Guys,

I had a chance to watch some of the Geoff Lawton videos and of course have added still more elements to my permaculture design - interestingly my back 40 (square decimeters) is terraced - either by human hands or by the water level of he stream previously dammed for a mill.

I am intent on have a 30 year mature forest garden back there in 31 - 35 years (!) but am struggling with how rapidly / drastically to proceed.

There is a relatively healthy mixed temperate forest out there already with 100+ year old apples, black cherry, ash, oak, pine - I am pulling all the invasives, but having trouble figuring out how much to level the plot and start over with cover crop and fruit, nut, berry etc. Lawton seems to be consistantly starting from arid flat land.

What do you recommend? - cut the pines on the south border for light - cut the cherry out of the orchard area - so I don't need to take them out later and risk crushing fledgling fruit trees. Scrap the old apples or try to rehab them? or keep them because they are amazing, regardless!

Thanks for your ideas

d
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 624
Hi Derek,
I love that you are spending time thinking this through deeply. I have a largely forested lot, though I do not have any trees as old as those you are talking about. As a steward of your land and of the planet these are import decisions that you get to make. These are my gut reactions:

1) Old trees have earned extra respect. They perform many dominating roles in controlling the environment they reside in. They often are building soil at significant rates and control nutrient cycling. If you remove them nutrients will become available to the new trees you plant, but your new trees will not function the same way in the space and within a few years some of the soil richness may wash out of that area. If you remove them I'd get the new trees in immediately.

2) The trees are holding A LOT of carbon. This is an important aspect. I'd have plans in place for that carbon. If you can use the wood for lumber the carbon will stay locked up as long as the wood is kept dry. If lumber for building or furniture or what not is out of the cards, then using it for firewood to displace the use of fossil fuels is a next good use. Anything less than 2" in diameter can be used for mulch to return the tree's nutrients to the soil, the carbon will also feed soil organisms. But larger than 2" diameter I would use for firewood. If you can make biochar while utilizing the heat that would be ideal. All ashes and biochar would go back to the soil.

3) I'd keep as many of the big trees as you think you can keep, but then take down all the trees that would be a risk to drop and crush your trees, as you mentioned. The trees that are smaller and can be managed when dropping them, I'd leave until you need to remove them (but keep them back enough to limit competition with your trees). Again, anything less than 2" diameter I'd return to the soil in the form of mulch. This will allow the smaller trees to regulate the soil as your trees are growing and allows them to be added to the leaf litter over the course of several years while your trees grow. This way the soil continues to be fed well for quite a number of years. If you can manage the current trees such that they become a coppice that might be a good way to go....holding back their dominance so that your trees can take over. Effectively you can take advantage of the regrowth as a multiyear chop and drop crop.

4) If it's too much to handle all at once and you can work in from an edge then you can do only as much as you can handle. I think most people think in terms of kill everything and start with a clean pallet. I would never do that...it doesn't take advantage of what the forest has created very well.

5) If you haven't lived with this land for a few years I'd wait and spend some time living with it, observing it and contemplating what the trees and landscape are up to in that space. Can't uncut the trees once you drop them. I previously lived on a lot that was clear cut before I owned it and I always wished that the previous owner had left it alone...they made a serious mess out of that lot. Take your time and work at a contemplative practical rate. Your trees are a valuable resource.

Just my 2 cents.
Greg
Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 31
Thanks so much!

It really helps to bounce ideas around outside of the vacuum in my head!

All your points are well taken - and I will keep going on removing the invasives and spend another couple seasons here deciding which trees can stay. I really want to plant fruit trees ASAP, mixed into the ecosystem, but that is when I realized that the black cherries which are starting to fail will come down - one way or another - and if they are coming down, shouldn't I take down a couple pines too? :)

I have been in this location since 2009 - and I too believe it is critical to spend 4 seasons - if not 8 or 12 before making major changes - after a few "false" starts, I am gearing up to forge ahead!

Thanks again

d
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 625
Makes sense on the invasives, black cherries and pines. As for the apples, someone here may have some good experience in rehabbing old apples and be able to give you some good advice about your trees. If they can be brought into bearing they would make amazing citizens in your food forest!
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 41
Great stuff!!
Right on with respect to old trees, I can imagine my future grandchildren climbing on and playing under, benefiting from, and enjoying the millions of trees I will plant in my lifetime.

I agree, too much info available on starting from open areas, not enough about starting from forest. More people including ourselves need to pursue this area.

If you don't own the set Edible Forest Gardens By Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier, it is well worth the investment. They are very dense with information, very dense. It has info on starting from any temperate system, field, forest etc.

Develop your scale of permanence, refer to the keyline scale of permanence, the most important part of the land use system developed by P.A. Yeomans. Found online at
http://www.soilandhea...­

Observe the health of your existing trees. Any fungal, bacterial, or pest problems? If so what can be done to help restore balance (flora, fauna, carbon, minerals, etc) . I would keep the healthier plants, and use the unhealthy as biomass (fuel, lumber, mulch, hugelmounds etc.)

Balance the species for balanced soil. Conifers will acidify and tighten the soils with their acidic needles and shallow roots causing more surface runoff, shallower less aerated soils, with low fertility and they don't bring up much of any minerals from the subsoil.

Include plants that grow at all levels above and below ground.

Coppice often for different uses (Fuel, Lumber, mushrooms, fodder, biomass, etc)

You can also fell the trees on contour and use them as biomass and nutrient accumulating dams which become hugel swales over time.

Inoculate as much of the healthier felled timber as you can spare/afford with edible/medicinal fungi.

Something you may also want to consider is you may have some timber which might be in demand from hobbyists.

Include as many dynamic accumulators of as many species as possible into your design and plant them as early as possible in the implementation.

Try to never have bare soil exposed for long.

Plan for the outcome. You may have design restraints now but what will it be like in 10, 50, 100 years? How will your design, which is designed to catch and store energy change over time?

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