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A Permaculture Design for a York PA Old Farmstead


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This presentation was prepared as part of a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course. It reviews the history of the farm and presents design ideas for 17 areas of the 35 acre farm established at the end of the 19th Century.

Published in: Environment
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A Permaculture Design for a York PA Old Farmstead

  1. 1. A Permaculture Inspired Plan for a Baby Boomers Workers Cooperative Demonstration Farm and Nursery A Looking Back-Moving Forward Farmers for 6 Centuries on a Piedmont Plateau--PA Hill Farm Prepared by Margaret Cahalan for Chesapeake Forest Gardens Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course --Chears --Kim Walsh and Lincoln
  2. 2. Goals Articulation for Design 1. Feasible business plan in the context of building a new economy and healthy life style 2. Experiment with Organic Land Care Standards implementation demonstration & Permaculture concepts 3. CHEARS Mission– Rural—urban links place for sustainable environmental literacy education and 4. Provide meaningful and valued work for baby boomers such as myself to contribute to adaptation and mitigation of climate change
  3. 3. Listing of Principles Toby Hemmingway • Observe • Connect • Catch and store energy • Each element performs multiple functions • Each function supported by multiple elements • Make least change for greatest effect • Use small scale intensive systems • Use edge effect • Accelerate succession • Use biological and renewable resources • Recycle energy • Turn problems into solutions • Get a yield • Design limits yield • Mistakes are tools for learning
  4. 4. Build on Assets/Problems 1. Historic Models --Farmers of Forty Centuries-King’s 1917 work studying sustainable practices in Asia- Forest Gardening—Robert Hart—Permaculture— workers co-op models—Native American models 2. York County Farming Systems History--Placed Based Education—Environmental Literacy 3. Climate Change Research—Adapt and Mitigate— 4. Health Motivation Young and old growth of chronic health conditions----as we age and as our peers age—dementia prevention 5. Farm itself—close to cities, diversity of landscape—wetlands, few crop fields, streams, hill sides—old buildings that are standing—farmed
  5. 5. Observe and Interact Farm Natural Features • 37 acre farm in York PA • Piedmont Ridge and Valley • Soil—Chester Glenelg—Hopewell Township of York County • 1.5 hours from DC –also 40 minutes Baltimore • Developing area—agriculture and Stewartstown-few subdivisions • Mostly slopped • 13 acres crop land • ¼ acre pond • Bordered by 2 wonderful streams and spring fed one right down middle • Wetlands—major feature • Small house—animals barns
  6. 6. 6 Major Periods in Histories 1. Pre-Europeans---Three Sisters—since 1100 practiced companion farming—self sustaining 2. Colonial --Diversified Small Scale farming—1750- 1830—Herb gardens raised beds—self sustaining 3. 1830-1885—Mechanized small farms—livestock and crops for new markets—Baltimore 4. 1885-1940—Shifted to cannery crops, orchard, poultry 5. 1940-2000—More specialized capital intensive loss of small farms and reliance on off-farm income— Alternatives Biointensive—Organic--Permaculture- Forest Demonstrations 6. 21st century—experiments with adapting and mitigating climate change
  7. 7. Who are Gardeners? 1. Native---Sasquesahannok by 1700 only 300 left and listed as extinct in Wikopedia 2. Colonial York formed —1749--Colonial—English, Quakers, Dutch 3. 1800-1900 —Germans—Irish, Scots-Irish settlers 4. Hash Farm 1900-1999—live stock, diverse gardens, hay fields 5. 2000-2011—Hobby farm—horses and birds, gardens, landscape plants, pond 6. 2011—2 city families interested in doing environmental projects together—CHEARS, Permaculture, ?????
  8. 8. First Gardeners • Native Americans In 1722, the American Indians who inhabited what is now York County granted permission for a survey of land west beyond the Susquehanna River. The Onondaga, Seneca, Oneida and Tuscarora nations subsequently signed a treaty of peace and deeded to the Penns "all the river Susquehanna and all land lying on the west side of said river to the setting of the sun...“ Sasquesahanok (Iroquois language) in 17th century fought and defeated Maryland settlers and also Lenape (Delaware) in several wars. Decimated by disease were absorbed by other tribes by 18th century. Listed as extinct as separate tribe
  9. 9. What Were Major Crops in York County?
  10. 10. Many Streams Farm Overview
  11. 11. Many Streams Farm Areas 1. Pond 2. Wetlands—Bog Habitat 3. Ebaughs creek along road 4. West small area across Bridgeview Road—Rail road track access 5. East small area across where Ebaugh and Shaw stream meet 6. Entrance-road-grass park A. 6A. Gate--Road to Shaw Stream--Possible Greenhouse site—mixed berries B. 6B. Drive way with 75 osage orange trees; Wine berries C. 6C. Flat Grass Gathering area—grass park; D. 6D. Grass slope 7. Wooded area leading to Shaw stream— south east slope A. 7A flat area a top 8. Beautiful area along Shaw Stream A. 8A 100 –mushroom logs 9. 1890’s small farm house; 1950’s garage A. 9A—House veg garden and 2 peach, 3 pear, 4 apple and 4 blueberry and grape, flowers, tansey, grasses, rose of sharon, sedum B. Garage—large-tools workshop C. Shed –2013—composting toilet D. Tiny house –office sleeping 10. 19th and 20th Century live stock farm buildings A. 10A Old 19th century barn B. 10B Corn crib C. 10C Hog house D. 10D Newer barn E. 10E Other animal structure F. Old garage
  12. 12. Many Streams Areas (page 2) 11. Flat field with large old apple tree and nut trees—possible forest garden site-border of farm A. 11A Corner turn large hickory— volunteer osage orange— coppice them B. 11B Beautiful views Horse pasture slope down to Shaw Creek—tree nursery 12. Spring and water flow A. 12A Spring flow cross drive and flow to pond—CREP program B. 12B Above slope and flat area— Paw Paws 13. Steep sloped down to Ebaugh’s creek and mixed wet and dry land and bottom 14. Flat open field secluded—woods surrounded—Native American Companion planting—medicine wheel 15. Largest field—hayed—East Biointensive demonstration -14 foods—growing green compost; barrier needed—next to monoculture of corn field; Bradford pear invasive coppice/remove/graft 16. Small woods near power lines 17. Behind new barn—South facing—Hedge row –invasives— Paw Paw nursery—Potato area
  13. 13. Areas 1 -5 and 12 Wetlands— Bob’s Bog
  14. 14. Pond and Wetlands
  15. 15. CREP --Area 1 and 2 and 12 and 3 Keep Wetlands in Mid-Succesion and free of invasives • Plant species commonly associated with bog turtle habitats include alders (Alnus spp.), willows (Salix spp.), sedges (Carex spp.), spike rushes (Eleocharis spp.), jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), rice cut-grass (Leersia oryzoides), tearthumb (Polygonum sagittatum), arrow arum (Peltandra virginica), red maple (Acer rubrum), skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), cattails (Typha spp.), juneberry (Amelanchier spicala), sphagnum moss (Sphagnum spp.), and bulrushes (Juncus spp. and Scirpus spp.). Tussock sedge (C. stricta) and sphagnum moss is commonly used for nesting and basking.
  16. 16. Catch and Store Energy • Water flows- Ebaugh’s Creek--Strong current Streams—lining boundaries— steady flow—experiment with using the water from streams to power some activities like plumbing water to greenhouse • Solar panels. Wind • Insulate, Upcycle things with embedded energy--greenhouse
  17. 17. Area 6 C and 9 —Health Promoting Gatherings and maybe you pick mixed berries
  18. 18. Area 6A Creative Response to Change Upcycle--Re- cycled Community College Greenhouse from Minnesota sent to us by farm partner—Sheltered place to work for those who may need it --
  19. 19. Area 7 woods and 8 Forest Bathing and Mushrooms Major Asset of Farm—Shaw Stream
  20. 20. Areas 9 and 6 Colonial Medicinal and Raised Beds—Kitchen Garden—Square Foot Gardens— pear and cherry and blueberry
  21. 21. Area 10—Animal Buildings Creative response to change • Use barns for crafts and learning about farming history and future • Maybe for rescue— see Pete Peacock
  22. 22. Farm Museum in old buildings-- 1900, 1950, and 2011
  23. 23. Heirloom Apples—Part of forest garden in area-11 • In the early 1800s, York County orchardist Jonathan Jessop cultivated the York Imperial Apple, which was best known for its great flavor that actually improved in storage • Adapted to soil and climate in 1914 Smokehouse, Fallawater, Stayman Winesap, and Grimes Golden • Others planted are Baldwin, Jonathan, Rambo, Ben Davis, Rhode Island Greening, Northern Spy, Hubbardston, Mammoth, Black Twig, Gano, and Smith Cider • Wild Apple –Malus ECOS
  24. 24. Robert Hart’s Garden Plan
  25. 25. Area 11 and area 17 ---large apple tree and some nut trees, osage orange 21st. Century –Edible Forest Garden Plan--Jacke and Toensmeier
  26. 26. Area 11 and 17 Try Others Ideas Paw Paw Polyculture
  27. 27. Area 6 B –75 Osage Orange along driveway and and 11A and 11B many volunteers in horse pasture • Widely planted as hedge –keep livestock in thorns • Insect repellant • Native American used for bows- strong orange wood ship building
  28. 28. Hedgerows --Filberts--Hazelnuts • The Celts believed hazelnuts gave one wisdom and inspiration. There are numerous variations on an ancient tale that nine hazel trees grew around a sacred pool, dropping into the water nuts that were eaten by salmon (a fish sacred to Druids) which absorbed the wisdom. The number of spots on the salmon were said to indicate how many nuts they had eaten. A Druid teacher, in his bid to become omniscient, caught one of these special salmon and asked a student to cook the fish but not to eat it. While he was cooking it, hot liquid from the cooking fish splashed onto the pupil's thumb, which he naturally sucked to cool, thereby absorbing the fish's wisdom. This boy was called Fionn Mac Cumhail (Fin McCool) and went on to become one of the most heroic leaders in Gaelic mythology
  29. 29. Area 14--Integrate rather than segregate—Multiple Functions Companion Planting of Native Americans • Companion planting was practiced in various forms by the indigenous peoples of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans. These peoples domesticated squash first--8,000-10,000 years ago then maize, then common beans, forming the Three Sisters agricultural technique. The cornstalk would serve as a trellis for the beans to climb, while the beans would fix nitrogen which also benefited the corn. Sunflowers were also grown along with beans as a trellis for them, or just to the north of the Three Sisters, to draw away aphids.
  30. 30. Buffalobird-Woman’s Map of SE Gardens
  31. 31. Corn, beans, squash pattern
  32. 32. Buffalo Woman’s Drawing of Stage (woman sat on or under to watch and protect crops—did crafts)
  33. 33. Varieties of Corn, Beans, and Squash
  34. 34. Grow Varieties of Sunflowers • Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas. Sunflowers should be allowed to mature in the garden. There are several indicators of maturity. The back of the flower head will be brown and dry; most of the yellow petals will have dried and fallen; the seeds will be plump; and the seed coats will be black and white striped
  35. 35. Medicine Wheel
  36. 36. Traditional Corn Field on border of area 15 and 17—Needs more buffer
  37. 37. 15 and 17 area Experiment with Green Manure and Composting • Green Manures • Nitrogen fixers (lucerne, red glover, field beabs, white clover, peas, lupin, vetches) • Other (Buckwheat, mustanrd, yellow trefoil, rye)
  38. 38. Most areas have invasives 1 to 17--Use edges and value the marginal Use small and slow solutions • Plant hedgerows with natives; Filberts, choke cherries, berries, elderberries, jewel weed, juneberry, marsh mallow • Use for crafts and reduce invasives such as bittersweet, wild rose, common reed • Made fences to keep livestock out of fields and on the farm • Many invasives growing in hedgerows now— • Coppice and graft bradford pears • Coppice willows in wetlands, remove
  39. 39. Fences to keep livestock in – replant
  40. 40. Areas 15 and 17--1970s Alternative Grow the 14 Foods that can give complete diet in the 1000 square feet of garden space in the Biointensive Demonstration Garden 1. Collards (kale, broccoli, chard) 2. Parsley 3. Onions 4. Garlic 5. Parsnips 6. Potatoes 7. Sweet potatoes 8. Soy Beans 9. Wheat 10.Filberts/hazelnuts 11.Peanuts 12.Turnips 13.Leeks 14.Sunflowers From 1970s book--One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in Less Than 1,000 Square Feet By: David Duhon
  41. 41. Value diversity– Potatoes—field 17 • Blight related to propagation through cuttings of small pool— new varieties but in-bred • 1846—Potato famine • Great Revival 1850 and 1860’s cross old deteriorating with wild varieties from Mexico and South America—Peru • Early Rose—famous result • Chester loam soil good for potatoes • Read more: gardening/heirloom-potato-varieties- zewz1303zsch.aspx#ixzz2k4JsrpRc Several varieties of heirloom potatoes. On the left, Conestoga. The three large rose- colored potatoes: Bliss’ Triumph. The pale pink potatoes: Garnet Chile. The long, narrow potatoes are Austrian Kipfelkrumpl. The greenish example in the center is intended to show a potato exposed to sunlight; such potatoes are poisonous and
  42. 42. Most areas have Invasives Slow and small solutions-- Invasive to Discourage found on farm 1. Oriental Bittersweet 2. Chinese Silver Grass 3. Giant Hogweed 4. Giant Reed, Common Reed 5. Japanese barberry 6. Mutliflora rose 7. Wineberry (good to eat) 8. Winged Burning bush 9. Butterfly bush 10. Bradford pear 11. Norway maple 12. Tree of heaven 13. Creeping euonymus Natives Found 1. Wild ginger 2. Wood fern, New York fern,green and gold 3. Wild geranium 4. Joe Pye Weed 5. Native Bamboo 6. Pasture rose, swamp rose 7. Blackberry, Raspberry 8. Red and black chokeberry 9. Inkberry 10. Winterberry 11. Sumac shining and smooth, staghorn 12. Hickory, oaks, beech, maples, black gum, ash, walnut, sweet gum 13. Redbuds 14. Willow oaks 15. Red Cedar 16. Milkweed
  43. 43. 2014 Action Plan • Mushrooms --develop • Grants==Transition to organic, Aging, Dementia prevention • 4- Chears workshops • Greenhouse up in 2014 • Shore up new barn for use as classroom Yoga etc. • Coppice some osage and willow • Graft the Bradford pear— or cut down in fields • Plant hegerows along neighbors corn fields • Remove or cut back some invasives and replace with native berries • Maintain orchard trees and plant hierlooms • Scions of heirlloms order $3.00
  44. 44. Top Challenges • People power to do this • Invasives • Mowing—just to keep up hard • Time and interest
  45. 45. Obtain a Yield--Products • Habitat for Turtles • Goal –50 percent of personal food • Environmental education and research— gardens of past and future • Nursery for heirloom, edible natives • Opportunity for seniors to continue to contribute and be integrated • Reduce health care needed • Improved quality of life