"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Friday, March 30, 2012

An Established Forest Garden

Rain rain go away, come again some other day! Record rainfall this month has put a damper on most outdoor gardening activities and with the ground still frozen solid under all that muck all I can say is yuck.:)

So meet the Guytons, looks like they have lots of sunny weather.

Here is another forest garden video for all you weed loving "hippies" whom, like me, never did care to color within the lines as a child.

Synopsis from YouTube:

The Guytons started planting their food forest in 1998 on two acres of bare land in Riverton, New Zealand. This style of gardening was new to Southland so their neighbours did not approve. Now it is an established food forest with hundreds of different plant species. Fruit and nut trees, berries and herbs and wild plants all blended together in a productive and sustainable way.



60 comments:

Dani said...

Mr H - Nope - never was a good art student either LOL

Dani said...

Brilliant, Mr H - absolutely brilliant. What encouragement they instill. Very inspiring - thank you for sharing.

Buttons said...

What are these lines you talk about. I have never seen lines either. Thanks Mr. H you always have something fabulous to share. B

Brenda@MyBackyardFarmyard said...

I really enjoyed these videos! Good for the Guyton's for persisting despite the naysayers. I would love to walk through their gardens--what an adventure land!

Mrs. Mac said...

Yes .. a waste of good land the maintained front yard. Ours is such a waste of the best sun on our entire property. I like how they had little patches of wheat growing here and there.

Frogdancer said...

I didn't notice the wheat! Thanks for posting these... a good way to get start the Easter school holidays.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Never been good myself of making a perfect line of the same veggies. If we are not renting, we probably be growing different tall fruit plants. We be moving so we are saving up for our new garden. Hope to have some place for our own to grow and plant many trees.

Lrong said...

Thank you for sharing the information on the Guytons... now, if I can try to incorporate some of the ideas along my slopes...

Anonymous said...

If only I had two acres to play with!
BTW: you may have had record rainfall, but we have had hardly any this year. We are already in Drought, which is most unusual for our part of the world.

granny said...

Rain...21.5 inches here in 8 weeks.Not great veggie growing weather :0)So looking forward to Late Autumn and Winter plantings.

Loved the video's Mr H !!
Wishing you a bountiful Spring crop :0)

Kelly said...

Good stuff, so glad you shared it with us. It is amazing what an influence a few people can have on a community.

Mr. H. said...

Dani - Glad you enjoyed the video, can you believe how big their Gooseberries were...wow. Mine only get about half that size.

Buttons - There really aren't any are there.:) "There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another." - Edouard Manet

Brenda - Yes, they certainly did bring about an amazing transformation didn't they. I would like to walk through their gardens too.

Mrs. Mac - It would be interesting to learn more about how they actually designed their gardens and how much the little patches of food, like with the wheat, amounted to.

Frogdancer - So much to look at, I think the wheat or some sort of grain crop was first shown at 3:29 minutes into the first video...I had to go back and look too.:)

Malay-Kadazan girl - Someday soon you will be walking around and under your own fruiting bushes and trees...I look forward to seeing the pictures of them.:)

Lrong - I will be doing the same, everytime I see the gardens and orchards of others new ideas spring into my head.

Granny - Still raining here too. I hope that your Autumn and winter months usher in excellent weather conditions for your crops.

Kelly - Yes, as Booker T. Washington once said - "There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple and useful life."

Dani said...

Mr H - Yeah, I agree. The few that have appeared this year are small too.

kitsapFG said...

You always find interesting things to share!

Rain has been relentless at our place too. Feeling quite hungry for sunshine at the moment.

Liz said...

I found the attitude of the neighbours fascinating. Organic now seems so accepted that I forget that it was considered weird such a short time ago. Loved their apple nerdishness - very entertaining.

Mr. H. said...

Laura - March came in like a lion and went out the same, hopefully April will be a lamb.:)

Liz - Being a bit of an apple nerd myself I also enjoyed hearing how interested they were in restoring some of the older varieties.

Lynn said...

Oh but to wander along their garden paths!

The indomitable spirit is much stronger than the shallow words of naysayers.

Mr. H. said...

Lynn - "The indomitable spirit is much stronger than the shallow words of naysayers."

Yes!...words to live by for sure.:)

Carolemc said...

ooh, looking forward to some inspiring videos, thanks Mr. H.

Here in the North of England I've been busy sowing seeds and getting the allotments ready for the new season.

In the cottage garden we're awaiting the arrival of a new hen house and run, which is to be in view of our kitchen at last. It will be great to enjoy the hens in the comfort of my own garden....and I'm hoping it will inspire me to rethink the back garden.

All the best to you and yours, it's really good to read your blog again,

Carole.

africanaussie said...

Oh thanks for that - gosh they are an inspiring family. the diversity that have is amazing!

Heiko said...

Sorry to hear about that awful weather you're having. We seem to have the opposite problem of drought and unseasonally warm weather. Inspiring garden! Ours will eventually look like that and I've just met two different people who want me to design forest gardens for them too. I'll be doing the Permaculture Design Course in May. It's spreading!

AJK said...

Thanks for sharing about the Guytons! What an inspiration!

Mr. H. said...

Carole - A new hen house and run, how exciting. My wife and I have always commented how neat it would be to watch our own hens through the kitchen window...I just have to get around to redoing the fencing one of these days.

Africanaussie - The diversity in their gardens is indeed amazing. Makes me want to run out and plant more fruiting bushes.:)

Heiko - That is really great, I wish you the best of luck with these permaculture projects and look forward to hearing all about it. Sounds like you will be very busy this summer. The weather is pretty normal for this time of year...it just gets tiring after a while.:)

AJK - Glad you enjoyed the videos, it truly is inspiring to see the changes that took place on their property over the years.

Wendy said...

They seem like a great couple!

Mr. H. said...

Wendy - Yes, they certainly appear to have created quite the happy lives for themselves.

Mr. H. said...

Anonymous - Sorry about not listing your comment...looks like it ended up in the spam folder...oops. I would take our wet weather over your dry anytime. Hope that drought situation changes for the better.

AGRARIAN BIBLE said...

Hi Mr H - Could you please give a tutorial on growing celery from seed. I use a lot of celery but haven't had much luck with seeds. Thank you, Aimee

Mr. H. said...

Aimee - Celery can indeed be a bit tricky to get started, here are some tips on getting them going.

1. Celery germinates best between 70°- 75°F. If you are starting them indoors it will take around 2 to 3 weeks (or more) for that germination to occur and for full size stalks allow 130 - 150 days for them to reach maturity.

2. Use a damp friable seed starting mix, spread seed liberally over the soil gently tamping it into place with your hand and barely cover with just enough soil to cover the seed but not too much as they do require some light to germinate...especially if the germination has to take place in very warm temperatures.

3. If starting your seed in a container it helps to cover it with either a clear plastic lid or bag to help retain moisture. If sowing directly outdoors make sure not to let the seed bed dry out.

4. Once germination occurs the plants will grow best between 50 - 70°F, and if possible you do want to avoid cooler conditions until the plants have acclimated so as not to stress them out which can cause some of your seedlings to bolt to seed prematurely.

5. To plant, simply prick the seedlings out once they are a couple inches tall and plant in the evening or at a time when the sun will not be beating down on them. Make sure they are well watered for the next week or so as the little roots take hold.

6. While they can handle some drought well watered celery has much larger and more tender stalks. Plants that do not get enough water are still perfectly edible but will tend to be more fiberous.

Hope that helps some.:)

WeekendFarmer said...

Send some rain this way! I need grass...[tears].

Happy Spring!!!!

Mr. H. said...

Weekendfarmer - It's one way or the other isn't it...what ever happened to a happy medium. I'm promtly sending a whole passel of raind filled clouds your way.:)

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Neighbours never approve of anything outside the ordinary do they? But with permaculture making such a splash these days I'll bet that the Guytons will have a few of them on board in no time.

Mr. H. said...

Tanya - I have a feeling they have had quite an influence on many people in their community.:)

Jonathan said...

Thank you for sharing such inspiring videos. :) I have been planning and building a system that I didn't even know was called permaculture. Increasing the amount of life in the garden so that all remains in balance. You just taught me something today!

Mr. H. said...

Jonathan - How exciting that you are working towards a diverse system of your own. Glad you enjoyed the videos.

Kim said...

Wonderful videos. The garden in my mind is very similar to theirs :) its great to see it implemented somewhere.

Sad thing... The line in the second video "its great to spend time with people who do things that most of us wouldn't even think about.". Why do so few actually think about it? Growing food used to be a source of pride and self reliance, now it's just some thing that weirdos do. Glad to be a weirdo :)

Mr. H. said...

Kim - Yes, it is somewhat frightening how extremely far removed so much of the population is from their own food. I'm glad to be a weirdo too.:)

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing, it was very inspiring ! Funny with the neighbours there, I think they have always draw inside the lines ;-)
Lisa/Lisas garden, Sweden

Mr. H. said...

Lisa - I'm glad you enjoyed the videos and agree with you about their neighbors.

"Beyond all our actions stands the
larger shadow: How are we to choose between what we have been taught to think right and something else which manifestly succeeds?" — Jacob Bronowski

Lorena said...

I have to thank you guys for your old blog post"Jack's back". I have been giving gifts of scarlet runner beans to all my relatives with small kids, so they can start gardening projects. I send them the link to your blog so the kids can be inspired to see how big the beans will grow. I truly believe these were the beans referred to in the Jack in the Beanstalk children's story. Many Thanks. Perhaps you can tell Jack that he is inspiring many kids to learn to garden. He has created a horizontal chain of fun and gardening knowledge that is growing as fast as the beans!

kitsapFG said...

I hope things are okay on your homestead and with your family. It's been quite a while since you have posted a new blog and I miss reading about what is happening in your world. Just thinking about you.

Mr. H. said...

Lorena - That's great, how fun for the kids and I will definitely let our little Jack know what you said. So glad you shared this with us.:)

Laura - Thanks for asking, things have never been better. We are just so absolutely busy with projects that I have no time at all for the blog. The garden is starting to grow and we added a huge expansion to it...now I just have to figure out how to maintain it all.:)

Sense of Home Kitchen said...

Fantastic videos, thanks!

~Brenda

Mr. H. said...

Brenda - Thank you for watching and enjoying them.:)

GetSoiled said...

Hola Mr. H! Long hiatus of mine, no? I am in the middle of large scale house projects but wanted to drop you a quick line that your blog was my fresh air for the day. Number 2--> love the new top of the blog pic! And lastly, I am so looking forward to watching those videos you posted tomorrow night! Thanks my dear friend, and please give my best to the lovely
wife of yours! :)

Mr. H. said...

GetSoiled - Glad you like the header picture, it is of an apple tree that once grew in an orchard that has since been taken over by beaver which unfortunately destroyed the trees...but, fortunately, we have been able to keep the genetics of many of those trees, including the one in the picture, through seeds that have since grown into nice sized trees on our onwn property and will hopefully produce for us in the near future.

Best of luck with your projects, they do indeed become all consuming don't they.:)

GetSoiled said...

Okay...so I had to go to YouTube directly because my computer did not want to play the videos from your blog...I had to pause YT because I am cracking up laughing about how the neighbor describes and compares her gardening to the Guytons'...that is EXACTLY (emphasizing, not yelling) all of my neighbors (and my hubby's family) see our garden...which they call The Jungle.

Another thing from your reply to me: really? You are able to grow genetically speaking the same type of apple tree from seed? I am flabbergasted and excited, I thought you could only get an identical kind from grafting...very interesting!

Off to watch the rest of the video.

Mr. H. said...

GetSoiled - Glad you are getting a kick out of the video.:) As to the apple, it will not be genetically the same but will be of the same gene pool as the apples in that orchard. I will get back with you in a couple of years on what type of fruits they set.

sylvie in rappahannock said...

Mr. H, I was a little worried to see no new post with no break warning. But based on recent comments you are so busy you don't have time to post. Sounds like me. All the best with all your projects.

Mr. H. said...

Sylvie - No worries:) Same as with you, just too darn busy to post lately. The garden is in and everything is growing but other projects have kept us extra busy this spring. Hope all is going well with you too.

GetSoiled said...

whoa...you are becoming like me...but I hope not, because I do miss your postings quite a bit Mr. H. And thanks for the explanation on the apple genetics :) Come back to us!!!!!

Bronson said...

What an awesome garden! Sorry, just had to say it.

Matron said...

I can't believe the rain we've had here in London either. What an awful Spring! Where is Summer?

Mr. H. said...

Bronson - It is, indeed it is.:)

Matron - We have had 2 warm days in a row, hopfully it is a sign that summer has finally arrived. Hope your weather changes for the better as well.

cathy@home said...

I am starting to plant more trees after watching the videos just wanted to thank you for putting them on your blog

Laurie said...

I found your lovely blog today, through Mrs. Mac's The Thrifty Garden/Home. Thanks so much for sharing these inspiring videos. I loved seeing all that they're growing. Much to learn there.

granny said...

Missing your wonderful posts Mr H !!
I hope all is well in your neck of the woods :0)

Buttons said...

Oh Mr H I hope all is well in your world. I imagine there is lots of water to be carried in this drought to your beautiful gardens.Take care. B

DENICE said...

I really liked it; your vegetation look very good. I will definitely in my garden along with I am looking to put a deck at plot of house for party. I heard about Rhino Deck . They are very good & follow safety measurement also. Do you have any idea about them?

garden maintenance tips said...

your video sharing is awesome. I can get good information from your blog. I want you to provide more information about garden.

Elizabeth said...

Ahhhhh a raw foodists dream forest. I could live in that forest and be so content eating all of that beautiful food and enjoying the wild life. I so enjoyed this video...thank you for giving me this escape!
Peace and Raw Health,
Elizabeth

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