The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Second generation polycultures

Toensmeier's forest gardenThe best part of Paradise Lot is that Toensmeier is completely honest about which parts of his forest gardening experiments succeeded and which parts failed.  It turns out that he had nearly as many growing pains building polycultures in the forest garden as I did, and came to some of the same conclusions.  For example, Toensmeier recommends letting trees and shrubs get established for a year or two before adding anything to compete with them, and likes to plant sun-loving annual vegetables in young forest gardens to take advantage of the light before the canopy closes up and to keep your attention tuned to these spots.  He also intentionally places vigorous species in subpar habitat to slow them down so they won't take over the world.

On the other hand, Toensmeier was more tenacious than I've been and came up with some polycultures he considers a success, such as:

Although it's not a polyculture, I was also intrigued by so-called fodder banks --- dense plantings of trees and shrubs that are coppiced one or more times per year to produce leaves for livestock or people.  Toensmeier planted littleleaf linden, edible-leaf mulberry, and fragrant spring tree to produce people food, but I've been planning a similar system with mulberries to feed the chickens in their pastures.

Learn how to pasture chickens in Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics.

This post is part of our Paradise Lot lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I need to read this book. These sound exactly like the kinds of insights I am looking for.
Comment by Sara Sun Mar 10 15:46:51 2013

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