"A Victory Garden"- my family's site in the States.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Finchj, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 Native Elderberry in a lung-shaped patch!

    Here we have the “Native #5” Elderberry. The second swale has a 3” elbow pipe working as an overflow pipe (rather than having a spillway). This pipe was emptying into a straight shot line to the upper pond. One of the great things about evolving with a site rather than simply implementing a design and leaving is the ability to fine tune these things.

    Wanting to put that water to use one more time before going into the pond, I swung a small trench into a double bowl-shaped pits and mounds patch. This double bowl resembles lungs in shape, (unintentional) and has a few different levels. This creates a great situation for maximizing diversity in the little guild. Of course, I would have loved to have an entire palette of plants to choose from, but we make do with what we have. And I’m really pleased with this one.

    The native elderberry sits in the center of the downslope mound. Surrounding it is a barrier of lemon balm. To the east we have echinacea planted in a large cluster. On the base of that side of the mound, we have yarrow shoring up the path’s edge. The driest part of the mound, which circles up towards where the water enters the bowl, are a mass of oregano. Yarrow is planted into the irrigation channel, along with some oregano and seeds of white clover.

    On the other flank of the native elderberry are cuttings of bee balm. Inside the pit we sowed a mix of cover crops: red, crimson, and white clover; alfalfa, California and common poppy. Three cuttings of Bocking 14 Russian comfrey are situated among the low spots. The deepest and most wet sections of the bowl have yellow irises planted in them.

    Wanting to test the new construction, we filled the bowl with water from the hose. Within a few minutes, water began seeping out and into the upper pond. Slow, spread, and sink in action! (The upper/small pond is empty, but visible in the first photo)

    Now for the garden to just get back on track with rain…
     
  2. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 “Select” Paw Paw (Asimina triloba)

    We bought 4 “Select” Paw Paws from Edible Landscaping. This is not a named variety, but rather plants grown from seeds of “select” Paw Paws: trees that have performed well in the past.

    One of the four is planted in the eastern side of the old four sisters guild and adjacent to the second swale in almost full shade. It did not need any water harvesting earth works added since it will be able to utilize the swale’s sinking of rainwater.

    We did, however, surround it with some lemon balm and sowed the cover crop mix along with lettuce, cilantro/coriander, and chives around it and in the rest of the long bed.

    The second photo is of Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and an unidentified maple forming a sort of “sombrero” on the fenceline. Horsetails (Equisitium spp.) in the foreground.
     
  3. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 Second “Select” Paw Paw

    Three of the four paw paws are in the old four sister’s guild- the place that had the most sun during the first two years is now dappled shade most of the day due to the rapid response of the canopy trees to our regenerative efforts.

    Planted at the base of the hill next to the lower/large pond, we did some minor earthworks here. While it shouldn’t have access to sheet runoff like in the first year (when the swale would spill over down the center and destroyed part of the four sisters haha), I still created a pits and mounds strategy.

    The mound opens its two arms to hug the main pathway (left side in the last photos) and the minor path along the pond. The water is then channeled into a pit, where again, a paw paw sits in the center above the main collection site. This patch is filled with red clover, a few comfrey cuttings in the pit/bowl (which word is best… hmm), and oregano to shore up the defenses against encroaching mock strawberries and other undesired species.

    The rest of the patch was then sown with cover crops, lettuce, chives, and cilantro.

    If the bowl does overflow, it will spill on either side of the pit where the pathways inevitably dampen the mound to a lesser height than the rest of the berm there.

    (Lastly, there is a more wild patch we didn’t get to full of oregano and mock strawberries. We are thinking of running some hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) vines up the river birch (Betula nigra) that Edible Landscaping gave us for free (lost tags, can’t tell if they are male or female, hard to sell)!
     
  4. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 “Select Paw Paw” behind the large pond

    This was the first one we planted. No water harvesting was put in place when we sheet mulched this area back in 2012, so we made a pits/mounds pattern here again! I love adding pits and mounds to the garden- a lot of fun to do “mini contouring” for plants.

    Anyway, this one is again surrounded by lemon balm, an unknown Baptisia (native nitrogen fixing shrub), bee balm, oregano, yarrow, and comfrey. The opposite end of the bed has a volunteer tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera [love that!]) and a superb patch of cultivated strawberries. Into that mix we also put about 10 echinacea crowns. There is also a volunteer milkweed near the west end of the pond (center left in the second photo among some branches that act as shelter for the frogs).

    Into the eastern side of this bed, near the false indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa), we will plant a “Shangri La” variety of mulberry- once the mulberry is strong enough.

    Lastly, you can see the end of one of our little hugel beds that has been dominated by mock strawberries. We didn’t get to that either, but will just let it be for now.
     
  5. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 Cultivated, unknown variety of thornless blackberry and black locust.

    The black locusts I planted in 2012 continue to grow pretty quickly. The largest of the 2 trees (one has a sucker coming up) lost about 3 feet in a storm so would be even taller by now.

    Nearby is a blackberry patch. We had tried moving the black berries from here, but as you may know, once planted its almost impossible to get rid of. But even without any care they have put on a huge amount of delicious berries! Sadly, since we are the only game in town, the local junebugs (Cotinis nitida) have taken a liking not to rotten fruit, but ripening berries.

    I wouldn’t mind sharing, but they put out a nasty stench onto the berries if you disturb them during their feast. Their nibbling habit opens up the berries to fungal attack and they rot on the cane. Next year we will have to consider netting our berries.
     
  6. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 Unknown blueberry on little hugel mound

    The blueberries I planted the first year (the gifted plants that we don’t even know the variety of) are hanging on, but not producing. I guess whatever variety they are, they need a lot of water. This bed is being overtaken by the mock strawberry as well, but the blueberry will survive that so we can hold out on managing it.
     
  7. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 Strawberry, lemon balm, oregano, echinacea patch

    This is the largest patch of strawberries and is doing very well in partial sun! In the first photo you can see the huge pile of “weeds” that we need to compost and a pile of reserve clay from the zai bowls. We will put the clay to use in other area of the garden where we need to do some earthworks.

    Bumblebee not moving very much on the echinacea. One day we noticed some small wasps were biting the bees while they were foraging… all very strange.
     
  8. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 Last PawPaw

    One of the two paw paws planted along the second swale. This one will have the most sun of any of them for the time being, but within 2 years the canopy will close overhead from a tripartite commission of red maple, river birch, and willow oak.

    Near this paw paw we have Bocking 14 comfrey, phlox, strawberries, black eyed susans, a rose, echinacea, lemon balm, assorted clovers, dandelion, and aster. And probably some other things too.

    Also visible, barely, is a passion flower or maypop (Passiflora incarnata) that volunteered under the willow and managed to find the twine marking off a bed. Pretty cool as we need more good native vines in the garden!
     
  9. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    24.7.2014 Red Maple

    I wanted to also share the red maple’s recovery since 2011 when we started this project. The last photo shows the state of the trunk before we intervened.

    Over the course of three years, the tree has finally had access to water, nutrients, and less competition from grass as we have implemented our plan for the forest garden.

    Not once in the past 3 years has the tree split open again and been close to death.

    If this garden hasn’t accomplished anything else, at least it saved this tree’s life.
     
  10. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    Last set from my trip.

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    24.7.2014 Day is done

    Frogs in the pond waiting for the sun to set before venturing out into the garden for their evening meal.
     
  11. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    This is great Finchj! Thank you for taking the time to post your slides ... excellent work at your family's place!
     
  12. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    9anda1f, thanks! I feel like I bombed this thread with a million photos, but at least it is for "my" system and not some poor sap!

    We are very excited as our system is entering a transitory stage between dedicated soil building and diversifying the architecture. The soil was so poor when we started that the investment in even hardy trees like the N. American PawPaw and elderberries was out of the question.

    After 2.5 years of dedicated soil building (the first year had soil building principles, but was focused on a different strategy I haven't seen anywhere else), there remain only a few patches where the soil is too poor for this next phase. The rest is turning a corner with soil building in the swales "working as intended" to the joy of everyone!
     
  13. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Looking great :y:

    Thank for sharing the pics :)
     
  14. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    After 10 months off and on:

    As you may know I’ve been working on a final paper of sorts that covers the project at my parent’s place in North Carolina, USA.

    The paper covers some basics of permaculture design and walks through what happened for each year. While it is very long (147 pages), most of it is comprised of photographs or figures so don’t be too intimidated. This is not a “how to” kind of book. It is a story about what we decided to do and why. There is no preface: it just jumps right on into the process.

    I’ve tried to keep the file size down (the entire thing in one file is still only the size of a single RAW image from my camera) by compressing the images. You can still zoom in quite a bit if things look fuzzy. If everything still looks fuzzy, try opening the file with your internet browser. Yes, seriously, your internet browser is a better PDF viewer than, say, Mac OS X’s Preview when it comes to images.

    Feel free to share the link if you want, but please do not upload any of this to your own pages without asking me first.

    The following link will take you to a folder with two options. Option A has the entire thing in one PDF file. Choose this if you want it read it through at once and are prepared to have your computer lag a little. Option B has a file for each chapter, for a total of 6 files. They are named so that if you download them all and you have your files sorted by name (which is normal), they will be in the right order.

    Here is the link:

    https://app.box.com/s/9agoyonwqv2iv5x1ow9m

    Happy holidays! Soon the sun will make its way back to us :)

    Here are some sample page spreads:

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    TOC sample page

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    2010 soil discussion sample page

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    2011 summer garden sample page

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    2012 spring sample

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    2012 summer sample
     
  15. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    thanks, i'll take a look at the whole thing

    i'm always up for a good read. : )

    is this an assignment for a course or degree that you would want feedback?
     
  16. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    and don't do what i did the first time and download the top folder, it doesn't work. you have to go into that folder and get the proper file. Oops. :^ )
     
  17. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    Songbird, sorry for the exceptionally long wait in replying. I meant to reply ASAP, but for some reason I was being given error message after error message when I tried to log in. So I gave up trying.

    It was originally a supplementary document for a university application, but between the time I began work on it and the application period opening, the goalposts shifted: additional documents would no longer be accepted. So now I'm just trying to share it so others can take a look and see what there is to see, if anything.
     
  18. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    A great documentary of your work Joshua! I am especially intrigued by your thoughts on delineating pathways (page 122) and plan on incorporating such here.
     
  19. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    ok, thanks for the reply, no worries, i put it aside and then deleted it when i ran out of space, but i've now got it back for another try. : )
     

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