Ark Valley Permaculture

Friday, August 24, 2012

Strawbale Chicken Coop

This coop is in Taos, NM

external pic, south facing, glass covered cuz it's summer

door, left of it is the food storage area under the coop roof

close up of strawbale attachment to door

interior, cob wall roost

nest boxes on north interior wall

close up nest boxes

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Perennial veggies that work here: (Salida , CO, 7,000 FT. arid)

Asparagus, Rhubarb, walking onions, lovage, horseradish, Jeruselem artichokes, nettles (cooked of course), safir celery, salad burnet, sorrel, prickly-pear cactus, dandelion (I know everyone hates these), purslane, good king henry, chickweed, balsamroot, perennial sunflowers, jerusalem artichoke

Trying: turkish rocket, groundnut, ramps, welsh onion, skirret,

Other useful perennial things :

Seasonings: French tarragon, chives, garlic chives, oregano, marjoram, thymes, sage, costmary, parsley (bi-annual)

lemon balm, mints, chamomile, fennel

Reseeders (if you let them): lettuces, arugula, carrots, parsnips, peas, cilantro, orach, dill, borage (flowers tasty), lamb’s quarters. Strawberry spinach

Berries and fruits: goji, raspberry, gooseberry, strawberries (alpine), nanking cherry, serviceberry (alnifolia,sp?), chokecherry, Netleaf Hackberry, currants,

Nuts: hazelnuts, burgambel oak (a cross that bears yearly),

Medicinals: red clover, valerian, self heal, Echinacea, comfrey, dandelion, hops, lavendar, lemon balm, hyssop, horehound, feverfew, calendula (reseeder), bee balm (reseeder), mullein (reseeder), plantain, rue

Good starting point with this combo:
Turkish rocket, garlic chives good king henry, white clover


Burgamble oak

Netleaf hackberry

Turkish rocket:

Sorrel, good king henry, orach, purslane, lamb’s quarters, strawberry spinach, chickweed, nettles:

Nutty Groundnut, Jerusalem Artichoke, ramps, welsh onion, Balsamroot and much more:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ark Valley Permaculture

2011 Potlucks with a Purpose

Come Mingle and Learn

Feb 2: 5:30PM Permaculture Ethics and Principles

Discussing the design basics of Pc and how to use them

Mar 2: 5:30PM Permaculture Tips for the Garden

Things to do to create a good ecological system in your garden

Mar 26: 9AM-5PM "Tooley's Fruit Tree Essentials"

This is an all day workshop with Gordon Tooley, premier

high altitude, heirloom fruit tree grower.A morning

session of an overview of orcharding and a grafting demo.

The afternoon will be some actual pruning on old and young trees.

Bare root trees can be ordered ahead of time. Grafting rootstock

will also be available for those who want to grow some more of

those great old fruit trees in town. Cost $75. More info soon.

May 11: 4:30PM Sheet Mulching

Get down and dirty discussing the soil. Needed: 2 yards as

Worksites. Volunteers? You must commit to gathering all the

sheet mulching materials!! Let us know who you are so we can plan.

June 8: 4:30PM Solar Dehydrator

Building your own to dry your fruits and veggies. This

will be “a put your own dehydrator together” party. Further info

will be available as we get closer to the date

Our format for these get-togethers will be:

Teaching 30-45 minutes, discussion 15 minutes and

work if scheduled, then the eating, drinking and

merriment - as long as we want

Place: Mostly at 9020 CR 150A, Smeltertown, (Merry’s house)

Want more info???

Or phone Merry 539-1198 Denise 539-2906

Care for the Earth Care for the People Fair Share

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Edible Forest Gardens

Edible forest landscapes are life filled places that not only provide food for humans, they are habitats for wildlife, carbon sequestering, biodiversity, natural soil building gardens of fruit and nuts, perennial and annual veggies and flowers.  These many-layered gardens are beautiful, resilient and self-renewing. With the emphasis on the whole system as an interrelated organism, interconnectedness is the key to a healthy, dynamic garden. Let nature be the model we use to design landscape.

 The edible food forest vision is to maintain the benefits of a natural ecosystem while increasing the amount of food produced aiming towards sustainability, productivity and low maintenance. To contribute to the stability, self-fertilizing and self-renewing nature of food forests, biodiversity is essential to the strength, resilience and longevity of the system. The careful inclusion of plants that increase fertility such as nitrogen fixers and the use of dynamic accumulators (deep rooting plants which tap mineral sources deep in the sub-soil and raise them up to the topsoil where they can become available to the other plants) contribute to this sustainability. Using plants specifically chosen to attract predators of common pests and to provide bee forage increases the stability of the food forest. Chose pest and disease resistant plant varieties. Tree canopy cover and leaf litter improve drought resistance and add to the nutrient cycling. Creating habitat nooks adds more dimensions to the food forest maintenance crew. The greater the diversity, the healthier the foundation and the less competition for resources.

 The architectural structure of a food forest uses the primary aspects of different niches, the life strategies of plants and how they partition resources above and below ground. Aiming for the most beneficial stacking of plants, use of canopy trees, small trees and large shrubs, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, ground covers, climbers and vines and the root zone facilitates the best use of space.  Each of these layers contributes to the multiple species interaction, forming the food web that regulate and distributes energy and nutrients.  Each species express inherent characteristics and form the basis of all interaction between itself and surrounding species. Resource sharing and mutual support stabilizes and binds community together.

 The big trick is habitat mimicry. No one takes care of your favorite place in nature!

 Perennials are the place to start. Chose a central element (fruit tree) and build a network of mutual support plants around it. Within this layering network of plants choose those which fix nitrogen, suppress weeds, accumulate minerals, attract insects and birds, attract predatory insects, mulch plants, repel pests, plus those that act as fortress plants and habitat plants.

 Mimicking nature on the home level can transform landscape to sustain and feed humans for a long-term biologically sustainable system that once established needs little work to maintain. Plants acting in mutual support can withstand extremes and the onslaughts better that isolated species.

The major drawback is the planting and establishment requires large numbers of plants and alot of work. (Plant the trees and shrubs, and then start the understory from seed.)

For a full list of plants and plant groupings and resources for a Salida Food Forest See the charts and articles on this site.





J. Benyus on Nature

Nature is and extraordinary designer.

Nature runs on sunlight,

Nature uses only the energy it needs.

Nature fits form to Function.

Nature recycles everything.

Nature rewards cooperation.

Nature banks on diversity.

Nature curbs excesses from within.

Nature taps the power of limits.

                                                          J. Benyus

Guidelines for a food forest

     A food forest provides its own fertilization, weed suppression, pest control and habitat for more than humans. Each organism is tied to many others. Connectedness is key in a healthy ecosystem. Multifunctional is necessary.


Gardens are dynamic systems, ever growing and changing.

Self-renewal is key to self-maintaining.

Perennials start the process. They renew themselves plus recycle and capture     nutrients.

The more diverse the system is, the healthier the foundation and less competition for resources.

Basic need of a guild: (groups of species that create networks of mutual support)

    A central element (fruit tree)

    Nitrogen fixers

    Insect and bird attracting plants

    Mulch plants

    Nutrient accumulators

    Pest repellents

    Habitat nooks

Plants acting in mutual support can withstand extremes and onslaughts better than an isolated species.


To Start:

             Find out the mature size & shape of the trees you want (width x height)

      Never plant canopy trees closer than their maximum potential width allows

      A gap between trees (at maximum width) of ¼-½ of the tree canopy width, 

      will allow significant light through to the lower layer.  

      Just 1-2 hours sun per day in summer can double the energy they get

      In general, put largest canopy trees at north end/side of site, 

      smallest ones at south end/side

      Incorporate any aesthetic objectives.

      Stacking of plants: canopy trees, small trees and large shrubs, shrubs, herbaceous     perennials, ground covers, climbers and vines, roots zone

      The tables below (in other posts) will give you the idea of what is possible in Salida, Colorado, elevation 7,000 ft.        




Low Tree Layer

Common Name


Nitrogen fixer

Dynamic accumulatorPlants



Predatory insectoryPlants



Pest Repellent





Apple Ripston

Eating ,cooking,

cider, fair storage

Apple Hawkeye

great flavor

Apple Sweet 16

eating, storing, pie,drying

Apple Wealthy

eating, storing into Dec.

Apple Blue  


eating, Storing

Apple Canadian


eating, keeps one month

Cherry mesabi

tart, pie

Cherry meteor

tart, pie

Plum Castleton

 good producer

Plum Greengage

Self fertile

Plum Superior

 Bears early

 Good pollenizer





Pear Summercrisp

eating, storage

Pear Luscious

dessert pear

Apple  Black Oxford

deep purple w/ black blush, eating, cooking, drying, great cider

Wild apple stock

heritage seed

Plum  Gracious

yellow-orange, mottled redskin,good eating, sauces,  jams

wild apricot 

started from NM seed


apricot M604

excellent home preserving