Jim McKendrick and Deborah Mobbs are determined to leave their land better than before they bought the property. For the last 12 years, they’ve leased 40 of their acres to Jim’s long-time bud who has been churning up corn, soy, and wheat, as well as a lot of soil in the process.
In the spring of 2012, Jim connected with me in the nick of time to design and transplant our first year of heartnut, hazelnut, chestnut, nut pine, plum, butternut saplings, kiwi vines, as well as many other understorey beneficials.
Concurrently, Trees Ontario was enlisted to plant a couple hundred trees along the outer perimeter of the field. The fields were first seeded with white clover (sic) as a groundcover, and tilled to aid in machine planting. The soil was still bare two weeks later, likely due to the lack of rain in germinating the clover seed. Knowing that permaculturists don’t like bare soil, like efficiency/laziness, and seeing what a shame it was to have a tilled weed-free soil bed, I have since interplanted onions, potatoes, mitsuba, squash, sunflower, and carrots.
Jim is a skilled woodworker who has been trained by the old-world craftspeople to cultivate loving and memorable pieces. His deep respect for timeless woodworking methods and forest consciousness are reflective of the olden days. More of this and examples of his fine work are showcased at http://timelesswoodwork.com/. His business also generates a large quantity of sawdust which makes for a great mushroom growing substrate. More details to come.
Next year, we are looking to incorporate hardy persian walnuts (!), as well as providing space for an organic farmer to work the fields.
July 3rd update: the soil is so nutrient-deficient and free-draining, that not only did the clover not establish a foothold, hardly any of the directly seeded plants have taken off. The rooted plants are doing okay since we’ve been doing necessary waterings.
September 2012 update: while over half of the nut pines on this site did not make it through, all of the other trees withstood the dry summer, and are doing wonderfully. The ragweed field is driving me nuts but at least there’s a bit of white clover groundcover underneath. I have also inoculated the garden giant mushroom into the flower bed mulch, and look forward to some tasty mushrooms mid next year.