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Cambium

Farm For The Future

67 posts in this topic

Nice one Cam.

My bad :blushing:

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I've watched the first and last videos you posted and a few others on permaculture on youtube over the last few nights. I think my whole outlook for my future has changed in a few short days. This is the way forward for me, and no need for 50 year mortgages or the suicidal stress of the rat-race. I feel a sense of direction I've never felt before :smoke: Thank you for posting these videos and opening my mind to a way of life I may never have witnessed.

Heres one, based in California I watched last night. A great show if you haven't seen it. Just look at the house he builds for $6000 and a bit of mud and straw. I wonder would such a dwelling stand up to the UK climate?

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I've ony recently discovered permaculture over the last year, and feel exactly the same! It just makes sense. Its also a great feeling discovering a whole new avenue of interest, been loving researchig, finding new vids (here and elsewhere) ordering new books etc.

Gonna a book myself on a design course next year, and hopefully some natural building courses (building with cob looks fun, and i love the idea of 'sculpturing your own home)

I've been researching central portugal, lovely climate, fertile soil, abundant mountain water and affordable land. Yurts, domes and cabins can be erected on any land without planning permission, as they are considered temporary structures. Plus there are lots of permaculture / sustainable living projects going on.

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I've had my small holding in Brazil (1.75 acres) for 8 years now and I have learnt the majority that I know from experience and observation. I've made many mistakes and wasted a lot of time and money but now I think I have a pretty good model for revitalising the soil and getting things to grow without the need for artificial inputs. I only discovered permaculture a couple of years ago and was suprised to see that it basically provided a theoretical framework to what I was already doing. This year armed with my new knowledge and my experience I have embarked on an ambitious project which hopefully in a few years create a food forest and wildlife habitat in about a quarter of my property which was originally a citrus orchard. Its been a challenge due to the way it was used before and the practices employed by my gardener who just wants to do what is easiest. The soil was badly compacted and eroding at a frightening rate. I started by putting in small swales made from logs and earth trying to direct the water, break up its energy and control the erosion. I filled the swales with leaves over the course of a year to try to put some organic matter back into the depleted soil. Over the last month or so I have been planting the swales and now comes the most difficult bit for me, the waiting. I have planted lots of fruit bearing trees, cocoa, kiwi, raspberry, coffee, bananas, a few flowering trees, some nut trees, various palms, lots of flowering bushes, herbs mixed in all over the place, root crops, chilies, as many leguminous climbers as I could fit in, on and around everything else and a variety of flowers and plants that I hope will have a natural pest control action. I have also been experimenting with a natural insect repellent made from tobacco leaves, chili peppers and garlic soaked for months and watered down and sprayed on the plants, which seems to be working well. Compost is also a big thing in my house with everything organic that the chickens don't like going in there along with ash from the fire and droppings from cleaning out the chickens. What I have done here is nail together old bits of board to form a box open at the top and bottom which I locate in the area where I want the compost to go. I'm figuring that by the time the wood breaks down the compost will have also broken down and the whole lot can be just spread around the immediate area. I have also realised that the 'weeds' that sprout up naturally are great things as they provide ground cover and are a never ending source of organic material for mulch, I like nothing more than wandering about my garden snapping off the weeds that have become too invasive and chucking them down under the other plants, obviously while smoking a joint and drinking a cold beer.

I already have too much fruit for my own needs so I give the extra away free to poorer people who are not lucky enough to have their own bit of land. I think this is an essential part of a permaculture practice.

Any tips that anyone might have or pointers as to where I might be going wrong or could make improvements would be most welcome.

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Sounds like a great spot forest dog, and in Brazil too you must get really fast growth. Can't offer any tips I'm afraid, if anything it would be the other way round. Theres loads of great videos on youtube though about premaculture and forest gardening. Once the system is 'dialled in' so to speak theres no need for pest control, its all done naturally. ie, let your chickens/ducks wander the property to control slugs and sowing the right types of plants to attract the insects that prey on the ones you don't want.

As Otherwise L.A.C said, it just all makes sense. You already have an over-abundance of food from a small holding. We have really been fucking natural soil and waterways up for a long time now with chemical ferts and other poor practices. As things stand it takes ten calories or energy to produce 1 calorie of human food...you can see where that goes in the long run.

I just love the sound of the term 'forest garden', it conjures up an image of paradise to me, of abundance, of a beautiful synergy. All the best with your projects for the future :yinyang:

Edited by HailCannabis
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brilliant thread.

brilliant.

one of these days.........

thanks for posting.

massive respecttoyou forestdog.

your spot/plan sounds idyllic

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Thanks a lot guys, but it just seems like the only way forward if you want to have a future. The principles of permaculture actually go a lot deeper than gardening/farming, they go right to the heart of society. If society were based on permaculture principles imagine what a place that would be to live, where sustainability and efficiency are the guiding standards, along with fairly sharing the excesses, not just regarding food production but in every aspect of life.

Really I'd like to dedicate my life to this, I've been offered a 40 acre place for £200 a month but it would take so much time and work and sadly the reality for me is that I have to earn money to pay my bills. Hopefully one day something will come along whereby I can finance something along those lines. Any ideas guys ?

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I wonder would such a dwelling stand up to the UK climate?

Not got time for the video at the mo, but if it's cob that we're talking about, then yes! Needs patching periodically, but you couldn't get more sustainable (maybe digging into a natural slope, but you would still want something like a cob lining. I think that locally, the favoured option was slats, something like hazel, under a mud casing. Slats providing strength as oppose to the straw in cob. Different types of mix and construction are found in different parts of the UK and the world depending on soil type available and climate. Nice one finding the thread :smoke:

Any tips that anyone might have or pointers as to where I might be going wrong or could make improvements would be most welcome.

Alright mate :) A quick googley tells me there has been some studies going on in your neck of the woods using overstory nitrogen fixers like Mimosa and others to improve productivity. I know the tests done in Africa were producing higher yields for annual crops than they were getting with intensive.

Be worth thinking about how you're going to mange your timber systems, I'm imagining you'll be needing fuel and product as well as food out of it at some point. Worth looking at coppice rotation systems (short and long).

You could maybe put some of the timber from coppice to good use as a substrate to grow mushrooms for market or medicine. Some of the areas that you have improved cover and moisture could be spawned with some good edibles that would be suited to your climate.

Good luck mate, sounds like you've done a load since we last spoke.

Edited by Cambium

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Thanks for the advice Camb, you're right mate, I have been hard at it since we last spoke.

I've got quite a few overstory leguminous trees, two massive Delonix regia, which are spectacular in flower, and several wild species that have just sprung up. What I lack more is leguminous shrubs and I'm not sure what I should be looking for or what's available here.

I have a couple of fast growing trees that I copice for mulch and thinner branches and about 10 massive eucalyptus that provide all the fuel needs just from fallen stuff. I know they are not very good trees but they were established well before I moved in and I couldn't possibly cut them down as they are really beautiful and provide a roast for larger birds like toucans and vultures.

I've thought a lot about mushrooms but don't have access to shop bought spores, could I do it using fresh mushrooms ? I've looked about to try and find out more about mushroom growing but it seems most advice is set up for a commercial venture or for magic shrooms in doors.

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I've thought a lot about mushrooms but don't have access to shop bought spores, could I do it using fresh mushrooms ? I've looked about to try and find out more about mushroom growing but it seems most advice is set up for a commercial venture or for magic shrooms in doors.

I don't know anything about mushrooms found where you are or specifically how you would grow them, but I'm fairly sure the Japanese took Shiitake farming to Brazil and I'm almost certain that there will be various vars of Oyster that will grow well. You can clone from fresh mushrooms, but ideally you do it with sterile conditions and you might have to go through a bit of agar to isolate vigorous mycelium free from contaminants. Magic mushroom growing technology is good for edibles, particularly germinating spores, cloning, cultures and spawn expansion. You will just be looking at fruiting logs or creating beds outside and not in a controlled environment. Paul Stamets has some excellent books about growing gourmet mushrooms, but I don't know how they would translate to your climate and species. I imagine it would only take a few tweaks, but temp and humidity are the key factors controlling mycelium growth and fruiting. Choosing species that will spawn and fruit in the environment that you can provide is really important. You could in theory spawn beds all around the property that fruit seasonally throughout the year with hardwood shiitake logs stacked in a shady humid spot that you cold shock into fruiting as and when you can. Your plot will definitely thank you for having fungi on the land disassembling all that goodness for you.

Black locust makes an excellent nitrogen fixing shrub when its coppiced. The wood is known a iron wood, is deemed to be the best firewood on the planet by some, excellent for utilisation around the place too. The foliage is a great fodder crop too. Good idea leaving the mature trees.

Edited by Cambium

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great post :D

i wish land was cheap :headpain:

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Interesting and worthwhile talk. No herb spirals or useless guilds.

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Just had a flick through. Looks good, I'll watch it later tonight when time allows. Seems to be American based, but no harm in that.

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Yeah, very much US based. We have to take it back 10,000 odd years to find evidence of natural sustaining food systems, whereas the US have well documented and often photographic evidence of the abundant resources that were present before Europeans arrived.

The way he describes the primary forest and prairies that the first explorers encountered is heartbreaking. I was reading about how some of the most valuable timber in the world sits at the bottom of the lakes in the mid west/west US. Felled and discarded old growth trees when Euros moved west, they are preserved fro the elements in acidic water and they have been prospecting for them for a while I think. Not just the US either, but anywhere that has lakes and a history of primary forest.

His approach to tree crops is really inspiring and I had no idea that sweet chestnut is not considered to be a nut, but rather a swollen perennial grain!

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