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Can intensive gardening work with the permaculture mindset or would the crowding lead to more stress on plants and therefore encourage pests?
 

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I'm not sure what you mean by intensive gardening. However, Permacultur is about planting in such a way as to naturally take care of pests. From the studying I've done it looks like the rowed farming areas are in the middle of other areas. The other areas help with the pest care in the rowed areas. Also help with the water and such. I imagine intensive farming is rowing, right?
 

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I am not entirely sure lol. Maybe it would help to explain what I want to do. I live on 2.24 acres but a lot of it is not usable for gardening because of heavy trees, ormy house, driveway and outbuildings. Every where I garden has to be brought up to condition before I can plant in it because its just yellow blow sand (which has next to no nutrients and water vanishes fast.. and its just worthless really. Anyways I have carved out 5 different garden spots, 55ish fruit trees, 40-50 blueberry bushes (not sure where it stands as i lost a couple this summer)Both the trees and bushes are young yet so they dont get in my way much while I try to garden around them. (all planted within last 5 years)

Overall between trees,bushes and my gardens I use up about an acre of land. I cannot expand further, I have stolen all I can steal from my children and husband! no playing over there lol! I also have chickens, rabbits and a family milk cow (fed hay , pooped cleaned out every week and kept in a pen with a nice shelter)

okay back to my point lol.. I cannot expand my gardens further but I NEED to grow more. I have 8 children.. yes 8... and I want to be self reliant with feeding my children the healthiest best food available- what i grow! (like maybe 500 quarts of food this year? lots of salsa, potatoes, green beans, and carrots.... We do really well with what we do but I want to double production. So I want to garden more intensively. I want to overlap things to get the most out of my land with nature doing a lot of it. But if I get too crowded then pests might flourish right?? Like I said, I have 5ish garden spots. Well I dont plant everything by themselves. I might have potatoes in 3 different gardens. I did one really large tomato garden but then I also had two small spots in two other gardens. Strawberries are in two spots. I dont put all of my eggs in one basket. I find bugs might be strong in one spot but not enough so i can just yank something rather than fight it because I have back up in another spot. (like stink bugs on my zucchini)


So I want to keep permaculture concepts whilemaking it more intensive. Perhaps t would be like some of you trying for a market garden with permaculture concepts except im not selling mine?
 

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Are your fruit trees and blueberries producing yet. Once they are full swing you should have plenty of fruit and berries.

It sounds like your biggest challenge is amending the soil. Do you raise livestock of any kind? I find my litter from the chicken coop does little miracles to the growing areas. I also go to a pet a pet farm and get bushel baskets of aged manure. Then there is the kitchen compost, leaves and pine needles. Also brewery waste when available. There is family in California that lives in a city area, I believe, and has fed there family and also operated a market garden on a small amt. of land. I'm sorry I don't remember their name.

You might want to check out honeyberries. I tasted some for the first time this spring and put in 2 plants. I would use them in desserts but also in meat stews. Sweet and acidic at the same time.

I would like someone with more experience than myself, to define permaculture, as relating to this site. I'm not sure if I comprehend the full meaning and all that it covers either.
 

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Well it sounds like you have the right ideas. You do mix up your plantings. I have had some huge produce this year and all I did was take all of my seed packets, mix them up in one bucket and then I went around and sprinkled them about. I can't go to one place and pick a turnip, I have to go all over, but I have tons of turnips and none of them are being demolished by bugs. So it's kind of more labor intensive in that you have to go all around to pick your crop, but as far as what you put in, much easier.
Some things can be grown right under the trees, like lettuces. Some things, like peas and pole beans, can be planted to grow right up the trees (if the trees are large enough to not be strangled).
You have to keep some of the specifics of your area in mind. Like I can't grow corn in rows, I have to have a big block of it because of weather issues. So I can't stagger my corn about. Always keep guilds in mind as well. If you have to do a block of corn do your beans and squash with it. I've got a fair amount of herbs growing willy nilly all over among my other produce, etc.
Also keep container gardening in mind. I have big stacks of tires filled with dirt that have been great for gardening various things in less space. So hang some tires from trees and plant things in them. Stack some on the ground and plant things in them. Make more space!
 

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So I was interested and looked up different things to see how you can farm intensivelyl and practice permaculture. I didn't find anything. Seems like all of the intensive farming with permaculture things I looked at all used pesticides and such. So not permaculture.

I think you just need to find space where you don't think you have any. You do!
 

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Can you go up? I live in the city without a ton of room. We hang planters from our fences, I used old gutters on our white picket fence, from the street they just looking planter boxes, in rows and grow lettuce, radishes etc in them. In the back we used wooden planter boxes we made on our privacy fences and grow tomatoes, peppers in them. They don't get as big as when in the ground but its still yield on previously unused space
 

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I'm not to hot on permaculture, but I've found that wide rows work much better than singles. You can grow two or more plants in the same area, i.e plant something fast like radishes inbetween your potatos they'll be done and out of the way before the potatos need the space. I've always put beans in the flower beds or up the fence. (climbing ones obvioulsy!) It can be a good idea to plant cabbages and other long standing winter veg in nursery beds close together and move them into their permanent beds after whatever else was in there is out. To avoid pests crop rotation, and for me onions everywhere, nothing seems to like an onion.
 

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LittleRedHen---
Not Pure permaculture but I had similar ideas 5 years ago.

My 1 cleared acre +1 1/2 woods/brush land and set up sounds so exactly like yours....except no rabbits or cow....it made my eyes pop! Having your own fertilizer is such a great boon for your intensive plans! Pile it up and let it heat Hot under black plastic for a year to kill seeds and bacteria,then rotate it out,and you'll have all the nutrients you need for whatever type of intensive you do.I had to import several loads of soil for my intensive...like someone else mentioned though.

Crowding plants is Not what raises more pests....lack of predator insects and creatures is what lets them get out of control. Wild growth and rock piles house many good natural predators like frogs,garden snakes and lizards and brings in the wild pollinators to the "weeds" as well as mantis or ladybugs,etc. Patches of clover will bring in honey bees for pollination of your fruit trees too and it's a nitrogen fixer to dig under or cut and use. I grow some comfrey to use as fuit tree fert/mulch too.
I started differently;combining a more permaculture fruit tree set up with intensive raised beds in between and my berries along the perimeter. We have hot drought summers so partial shade from the trees on many of my intensive beds are not a problem. Except for good mulching around the trees I let everything wild except grass(and path or bed perimeters to stand on) grow Around my intensive raised beds. You could set containers or half barrels all over the place too in sunny spots if you don't want to incorporate raised beds or get small fertile deep dug out and high piled rows on top of carboard(at first) to kill the weeds underneath.
I also put clover over my initial layer of cardboard and straw(we had 90%rocks/10% red soil not sand with grasses) when it totally rotted after the first year.By the end of 2 years I had all kinds of bigger wild plants come up through my originally ground covered straw/cardboard mulch but not nearly the grass.
Anyhow it's 5 years years later and I have more produce than I can manage by myself out there(DH does a lot but Not the gardening or processing!)

If you really Want "intensive" you won't have true permaculture but you Can have the best of both worlds. My only out-of-control pests are spring slugs(that the snakes and lizards do a good job on but not Total) and summer grasshoppers that I dust with diatomaceous earth; early on for those----gotta get 'em little. With a semi "wild" permacultureISH set up you will have losses to bugs and birds but the yields should more than make up for it.
The Hemenway book Gaia's Garden is great for techniques to do What You Can with permaculture and not try to be Perfect. It's often hard to grow enough diversity or annuals with true permaculture.
Hope I gave you some ideas! You CAN work in those food producing areas! BEST WISHES!!!
 

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I feel for you- Florida has "sugar sand" as a main soil. The yellow in your sand indicates some clay, which will help to hold some water (unlike my sand, whiter and finer than granulated sugar) I have put everything in pots. I started with cutting the top off 1 gal milk + juice containers and punching drainage holes in the bottom, now I'm trying to switch to 18 gallon tubs for $5-6 from Walmart & Kmart. And I punch the holes for drainage an inch or two up on the sides, as bottom drainage holes are easier for tree roots and ants to invade. I'm putting most EVERYTHING in pots nowadays, including the trees in 20-35 gallon pots.
With 8 kids, I would pick and choose what to grow. I would only grow things that are VERY productive, such as edible podded peas, beans, root vegetables, brassicas. I would stay away from such things as corn and artichokes that take up lots of space and grow very little.
Another thing I would do is buy or check out from inter-library loan Eric Toensmeiers book, Perennial Vegetables. He concentrates on temperate zones and gives complete breakdowns on preferred habitat and whether some warmer-climate perennials can be grown as "lift and plant" types- put in ground or pots outside in summer, bring inside in cold winters. Yams such as Chinese or Cinnamon Vine (Dioscorea Alata) are hardy to zone 4. The miniature aerial tubers can be collected and sautéed briefly in butter. Ground nuts (apios Americana) and Giant Solomon's Seal and Fuki grow in shade andApios loves damp ground. Water Celery can be overwintered in cold frames or inside your house. If I plant it in water, it takes over the world, but Eric tames his by planting in dry semi shade. I highly recommend this book, it really will open your eyes to possibilities in permaculture plantings.
I am thinking
Edited at 7:23 pm I have no idea what I was thinking above, but after a 5 hour drive from my mother's house back to the city I got out Erics book and checked into what you could grow in FULL SHADE: Fuki or Petasites Japonicus has edible leafstalks, likes wet feet, and grows north into Canada, Giant Solomons Seal has edible shoots and likes its feet wet. In Partial shade you could grow Good King Henry- edible shoots, leaves, flowers, and seeds, Chinese artichoke or crosnes, a white 1-2 inch tuber -very profuse groundcover, scorzona or skirret -scorzona is black edible roots and also green edible leaves, skirret is white edible roots. Chinese artichoke is recommended for raised bed planting or large containers as it is highly invasive. You might consider planting nut trees. I know you are in Michigan, but I googled nuts of Canada, figuring that if they grew in Ontario they'de grow in Michigan. Chestnuts, Heartnuts, Gingkos, Hazels, Chestnuts, Walnuts, Butternuts and Hickories will all grow in Ontario.
Lastly, buy long maturity potatoes and grow them in towers. If you grow short or medium maturity Irish potatoes, they will only put out so many tubers before maturing, no matter how deeply you mulch them. If you plant long maturity potatoes and keep mulching them they will keep putting out tubers till LATE, LATE in the season. Good luck with it all.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
i dont think the yelllow means clay... just means the sun didnt bleach it yet LOL i can seriously run a hose at full blast on a tree in sand and its like the water melts away... it never pools/puddles any..

I need to grow too much food to do a food forest type permaculture but i need the benefit of working with my ecosystem that permaculture encourages. I guess i need to tweak n make the most of both worlds
 

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i dont think the yelllow means clay... just means the sun didnt bleach it yet LOL i can seriously run a hose at full blast on a tree in sand and its like the water melts away... it never pools/puddles any..

I need to grow too much food to do a food forest type permaculture but i need the benefit of working with my ecosystem that permaculture encourages. I guess i need to tweak n make the most of both worlds
I don't know that I completely agree with you on food forests. Food forests are amazing because they are stacked tall, thus taking less space for more food. At least that's the goal.
 

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I have to grow for family of 10 on about half acre of space with low natural fertility. I already contend with trees blocking much of the southern sun. I cant just plant anywhere.. its blow sand whrre i havent improved soil. In hindsight i wish i improved it more first but too late.. im working up. Everything dies that isnt partof a heavily improved area. Now im working o improving constantly but i definitely am limited until things progress. Its far far easier go improve land in blocks away from tender immature fruit tree rootswhere i can work in materials and build it up
 

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Obviously with your soil issues that is step one. Get compost mixed in. With chickens, rabbits and a cow you should be producing a decent amouunt of amendments.

Start around your trees and go out from there. Around your trees you want your shade type vegie or partial sun. As you go out then plant your full sun stuff.
As your trees grow so will your plots where you are planting. While they are small you can plant tomatoes on the south side of trees and lettuces and shady stuff on the north side. Just an example.

Another thing you can do is make small compost piles between trees and plant in there. Let some go to seed each your and you may not even have to do the work every year, just harvest when its ready. :). I'm experimenting with that this year.
 

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What do you find grows great in nice soil but has shade? Where the cows spent 2 years (its been tilled up so its not over rich (since we kept taking manure away from it) and its much a sandy loam now) gets some south sun in afternoon then back to shade until about 4-5 pm and it has the western evening sun which in summer means about 4-5 hours more for a total of probably 7-8 hours a day but not constant. It definitely cannot have corn or tomatoes
 

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Corn probably not. Tomatoes you would be surprised. Keep in mind that full sun means 6 hrs or more a day. Obviously you'll get better production in 8 or more hours but 6 hrs will produce. I experimented with that a couple years ago.

A quick search for veggies that like shade will give you a bunch of hits. Basically your cool weather stuff, lettuce, kale, peas, beans , herbs,ect.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/shade-tolerant-vegetables-zm0z11zsto.aspx
 

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thank you.. i printed it out
 

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I am not entirely sure lol. Maybe it would help to explain what I want to do. I live on 2.24 acres but a lot of it is not usable for gardening because of heavy trees, ormy house, driveway and outbuildings. Every where I garden has to be brought up to condition before I can plant in it because its just yellow blow sand (which has next to no nutrients and water vanishes fast.. and its just worthless really. Anyways I have carved out 5 different garden spots, 55ish fruit trees, 40-50 blueberry bushes (not sure where it stands as i lost a couple this summer)Both the trees and bushes are young yet so they dont get in my way much while I try to garden around them. (all planted within last 5 years)

Overall between trees,bushes and my gardens I use up about an acre of land. I cannot expand further, I have stolen all I can steal from my children and husband! no playing over there lol! I also have chickens, rabbits and a family milk cow (fed hay , pooped cleaned out every week and kept in a pen with a nice shelter)

okay back to my point lol.. I cannot expand my gardens further but I NEED to grow more. I have 8 children.. yes 8... and I want to be self reliant with feeding my children the healthiest best food available- what i grow! (like maybe 500 quarts of food this year? lots of salsa, potatoes, green beans, and carrots.... We do really well with what we do but I want to double production. So I want to garden more intensively. I want to overlap things to get the most out of my land with nature doing a lot of it. But if I get too crowded then pests might flourish right?? Like I said, I have 5ish garden spots. Well I dont plant everything by themselves. I might have potatoes in 3 different gardens. I did one really large tomato garden but then I also had two small spots in two other gardens. Strawberries are in two spots. I dont put all of my eggs in one basket. I find bugs might be strong in one spot but not enough so i can just yank something rather than fight it because I have back up in another spot. (like stink bugs on my zucchini)


So I want to keep permaculture concepts whilemaking it more intensive. Perhaps t would be like some of you trying for a market garden with permaculture concepts except im not selling mine?
My garden is in ground 4 ft wide row type usually called beds. Paths are 3 ft wood chip filled. It makes for much easier crop rotation and I only add material to the beds and never the paths.
 

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I garden intensively, best thing I ever did. No, it isn't really row gardening. The beds are about 4 feet wide and the paths are about 3 feet wide. They are mounded to allow for more growing space and the beds are never walked on. Each bed is surrounded by a narrow trench that acts as a rainwater collector (rain falls and runs off the paths to collect at the base of each bed for deep watering). I have very little pest problems but then I intermingle plants to help with this. Usually, what I might lose to pests is small. I would highly suggest reading Grow More Vegetables and reading up on French Intensive or Biodynamic gardening. There is a science to preparing beds, planting/coplanting etc. It is all worth it though, best gardening method ever. I spend much less time in the garden and grow more food than I ever did with row gardening and frankly it is prettier as well. Will be glad to answer any questions that you have. Blessings, Kat
 

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Can intensive gardening work with the permaculture mindset or would the crowding lead to more stress on plants and therefore encourage pests?
Have you considered straw bale gardening? If your soil is problematic, it might help to grow above ground on bales. There is more and more information on it on the internet these days; shouldn't be hard to research it.

I was going to try it last year since I don't have the physical stamina to be gardening the traditional way (bending over all the time, crawling on my knees to get stuff planted), but I could NOT find anyone to deliver straw bales to my place.
 
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