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daltxguy

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882 posts in 1668 days

Location: Murchison, New Zealand & Quebec, Canada
Hardiness Zone: 4a
Website:

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26 comments so far

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4296 posts in 1834 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 1668 days ago

I just had a chance to check out your website. Wow! I noticed that you manage a large area of indigenous beech forest in addition to your Radiata pine plantation. I read some of your permaculture plans and I am interested to learn more about how you are going to add edible plants into your pine forests. Will you also try to reintroduce the native beech into your tree garden? Any other native trees and plants?

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

882 posts in 1668 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 1667 days ago

Thanks for taking a look at my website Robin.

The transformation from a pine forest to a food forest will be over a period of time. Basically smallish areas of the forest will be opened up in order to maintain shelter and to preserve existing native plants which have already sprung up around the trees. Then it will be interplanted. The general plan to follow is to plant fruit and nut trees first since they take the longest to mature and they form the canopy, then fill in those spaces with the different food ‘layer’s ( understory trees, shrubs, herbs, ground cover, climbing vines). The exact plants to use will be some educated guesses and then trial and error. Different parts of the forest will have different micro-climates.

A number of other ideas from permaculture will be incorporated – the use of swales for water retention and distribution, terracing and the formation of small wetlands here and there to introduce diversity.

It’s doubtful that the full 50 acres will be transformed in our lifetime but as long as it begins to produce, I will be pleased.

Some beeches are already self seeding as the pine trees are interspersed with beech corridors but in general it’s difficult to recover the beech forest ecosystem in a human lifetime.

I’ll be sure to blog some of the finer details and progress.

Thanks for your interest. I see that you are planting a lot of American natives and it’s great to see someone doing that. There is a long history in NA of plant use and a lot of wealth to draw on. NZ has a much shorter history of inhabitation and there is a lot left to discover.

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 2351 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 1666 days ago

Hello and welcome to GT.Very interesting blog you have.I see you are from New Zealand.A friend of mine has a NZ oak growing in their back yard which I gathered some acorns from last fall.I am going to try to germinate them and start a tree here also.I started with 2 acorns in a jug for winter sowing.I have 6 acorns all together so I will try to germinate them in different ways.Hope at least one grows because their tree is just beautiful.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4296 posts in 1834 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 1665 days ago

Thinking about your project to convert your pine plantation into a food forest has me thinking about permaculture again and I am inspired to reexamine our entire property, and lifestyle, through a permaculture lens. (Learning and reading about gardening is one of my favorite pastimes when the snow keeps from actually working the soil.) My introduction to permaculture came from reading several books by Joel Salatin when I was researching keeping pastured chickens. Last night I ordered two books from our local library system:

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition: A Guide to Home Scale Permaculture

Have you read either of these? Can you recommend any good books about applying permaculture design?

Thanks!

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

882 posts in 1668 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 1664 days ago

Hi Bon.

Thanks for the welcome. I wonder what a NZ oak is. NZ has no indigenous oaks. Actually simple rule, if it is deciduous, it ain’t from here. NZ has only a single deciduous tree ( well maybe 2, one which is only on the N.island ) and that’s a tree fuchsia ( which is most unusual in that the flowers grow out of the trunk, not the tips of the branches).

All of the oaks here are originally from the UK or Europe. Likely it’s a European variety which grows well here. The oaks, however, grow a bit too fast here and the wood is not as favored as that originating from the UK or the US. Post a picture if you have one.

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

882 posts in 1668 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 1664 days ago

Hi Robin,

I think you will find that Permaculture principles tie everything together nicely. If you’re like me, you’ll find that all of the things which you thought were a good idea are actually weaved together into one by permaculture and it all begins to make great sense and it’s a great feeling to know that someone else gets it like you do and that you are not crazy or have random thoughts after all.

I actually have not read any of the books. The first one on your list is one that I very much want to read. It’s by David Holmgren who, along with Bill Mollison is the co-founder of the permaculture principles. There are some great videos of interviews with David Holmgren on youtube. I suggest you watch them. His view of permaculture has developed over the years from just an approach to gardening to an approach for living and a new paradigm for social structure – which is the subject of that book. He is clearly an intellectual and a futurist and stays one step ahead of his readers in his thinking and ideas.

You can get a lot of the basic concepts of permaculture from material online ( start here http://www.permacultureprinciples.com/ ) and I think those books might provide some examples but permaculture is not formula based but rather design based, so you can apply the principles in any way you see fit. If it works, it’s permaculture. Of course there are ideas which you can borrow in your own implementation. I took a permaculture intro course which exposed me to a lot of the ideas but we were designing by the end of 2 days.

The key thing for the gardening aspect is to know the plants which work well in your area. or to understand plants well enough to know what conditions are required and to know if you have these before you plant. The key to permaculture is to make nature work for you in a natural way, not forcing it to do what we want it to do as ‘modern’ agriculture does today.

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4296 posts in 1834 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 1602 days ago

Steve, I just finished reading Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren. I think it is an excellent book and I recommend it to you without reservations. Previously, I had only investigated the concept of permaculture through gardening and farming (raising chickens and goats). I enjoyed the way the book went through the twelve permaculture principles and how he has applied and learned about them through that application over the years. He uses many Australian plant and animal examples that were new to me, but the concepts were still clear. Being from an arid and geologically-old country, he has different challenges than we do in New England, but as you know, the principles can be applied anywhere. I liked his common-sense, non-radical (in my opinion) approach and found his ideas easy to understand. I can see opportunities to apply some of those ideas in my own life. It isn’t a how-to book; it is a book about ideas, with examples of how he has applied them in his own life and has seen others apply them. After reading the book, I think I would really like to take a permaculture course.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

882 posts in 1668 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 1602 days ago

Thanks for that Robin. That’s an excellent review. You should post this as a blog as well. I’m sure others respect your opinion as much as I do! I’ll be sure to track down a copy now…

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View LadyPantheress's profile

LadyPantheress

43 posts in 1630 days
hardiness zone 7

posted 1601 days ago

Thank you for your reply. I am not sure what my secret is on my peppers. To tell you the truth I feel it is still a bit early to confirm success. I have been using pellets LG for the peppers and the small ones for like the Marjoram, Oregano and Egg Plant.

Thank you again for your kind words:-)
Hugs
LP

-- ~ Harm None ~

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14672 posts in 2571 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 1308 days ago

checking in on New Zealand this holiday season….. I heard there was earthquake “aftershocks” from September?

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

882 posts in 1668 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 1308 days ago

Yes, MsDeb. A 4.9 on 26th Dec and many others before then and since then. Some more damage in the city. I no longer live in Christchurch but rather in Murchison, 300km to the north and which was the epicentre of a 7.8 (way bigger than Haiti) in 1929 along a very well known fault line – smart move? we’ll see :) Thanks for checking in.

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14672 posts in 2571 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 1307 days ago

glad that all is well!
:)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14672 posts in 2571 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 1270 days ago

FRACTALS – I saw your post about the fox glove random draw and “fractals” and I thought … “hmm fractals, hands, gloves… our hands would need a special kind of glove if our fingers weren’t “round”“

So I did a search for “fractal hands” and this is what came up…

(this images is from the website: http://www.ecards-passion.net/EN/ecards-art2.htm)

Definitely needs a special kind of gloves!

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Vince Kirchner's profile

Vince Kirchner

192 posts in 1360 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 1270 days ago

Steve,

Are you still there or have you also been blown away by the cyclone that is hitting Australia? It appears from the path that you will still get a little of the aftermath. I just want to make sure my friends are safe and sound. If we need to take up a collection to get you a few new shutters, a couple gallons of paint and a few hens we can get started immediately. :-))

Vince

-- If you wouldn't spray it in your mouth, why would you spray it on your food?

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

882 posts in 1668 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 1270 days ago

MsDeb – fun with fractals – that’s hilarious – luckily our hands are not fractals – though veins/arteries and nerve endings are!

Vince - safe and sound here – the tropical cyclones stay well to the north of us. We are @ 42S, about in line with Tasmania and we have penguins on this island! The cyclone looks to have fizzled over the Tasman sea – just a spot of rain, nothing more – just enough to keep the gardens watered and the plants growing vigorously in the summer heat. Thanks for checking! :)

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14672 posts in 2571 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 123 days ago

March 26/14
We received notification that our dear friend Daltxguy has passed away.

What an honour it has been to know you, Steve. You have been an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge! I am so glad that we got to meet you at our summer picnics.

My condolences to family/friends – especially to his Mom (who we kind of know through her contribution of the Hungarian food at our picnic.)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View justjoel's profile

justjoel

1058 posts in 1951 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 123 days ago

I’ve recently had the thought, though not new I’m sure, that every moment is an opportunity to teach or to learn, or both. I think Steve embodied this even if he wasn’t aware of it. I have always been grateful for the inspiration and encouragement he has given me, the wisdom he has imparted with patience, and for his ease of learning a new trick here and there from the rest of us. His dedication to the natural world, to permaculture, and constant learning has been an inspiration to me. Very strong words coming from me, considering I’ve only met him here, online, through this wonderful group of like-minded, very likable garden tenders. He will indeed be missed.

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3793 posts in 2201 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 123 days ago

I am so saddened to read of Steve’s passing. He was a very Special young man who lived his convictions and generously shared his knowledge and his concern for the environment. What a devastating loss for his family and friends. For us all who had the privilege of meeting him. My sympathy and prayers to his Mother.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4296 posts in 1834 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 122 days ago

I will really miss Steve. We enjoyed such a pleasant weekend when he came to visit my family after he took his timber framing course. I will miss reading about his ideas, his encouragement to live differently and his wonderful sense of humor. I can think of so many ideas he shared with me, ideas that have changed my gardening and how I live in the world. I send my sympathy to Steve’s mother, family and friends. When spring comes, I will plant something in his honor so that when I see it grow, I will think of him and what he taught me. Something that provides food, something beautiful.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View Vince Kirchner's profile

Vince Kirchner

192 posts in 1360 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 122 days ago

This is a shock, questions are racing through my head. What happened, was this sudden or a lingering ailment? I also enjoyed our bantering of ideas back and forth on permaculture and gardening in general. Steve made me stay sharp because I did not want to misquote any reference or he would catch me for sure. Debbie, is there way we can get a card to his Mother through you or some other way?

I will also plant something in Steve’s honor.

Sitting quietly…

Vince

-- If you wouldn't spray it in your mouth, why would you spray it on your food?

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14672 posts in 2571 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 122 days ago

I like the “planting something” idea and I, too, will do so!

Card for Steve’s Mom: maybe Joanne can help us out here

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

24 posts in 1833 days

posted 122 days ago

Steve spent a few days at our house in late August of 2011. I will always remember the date, because we joked that we invited Steve, and he brought an uninvited guest named Irene. That was tropical storm Irene.

I remember Steve helping me move some stuff out of harm’s way in my workshop when Irene found some new ways to get water inside. Steve had just taken a timber-framing class and we had a great time investigating the construction details in the recesses of our 1800 house. Steve was a natural and immediate friend of our two young boys.

Steve was an amazing man and he will be greatly missed by so many.

-- "...and the flowers bloom like madness in the spring."

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14672 posts in 2571 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 122 days ago

Thanks for the photo, Chuck.
That’s how we will all remember him, I’m sure.

Vince >> I smiled at the “keeping you on your toes” part … :)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

39 posts in 1008 days

posted 122 days ago

Sad to read of your passing. May God bless you and your family.
ChuckV..thanks for the photo and the story as well.

-- Where would we be without the farmers ?

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4296 posts in 1834 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 117 days ago

For those who want to send condolences to his family, Steve’s obituary is in the Ottowa Citizen: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/ottawacitizen/obituary.aspx?n=steven-racz&pid=170449913&fhid=5747

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View bicycleJo's profile

bicycleJo

1 post in 123 days

posted 111 days ago

If anyone would like to send a card to his mother and sister Adrienne you can use this address:

Gisella Horvath
Apt 901 – 1285 Richmond Rd.
Ottawa, ON K2B 7Z4

I’ll be sure to pass on all of your kind comments to his mother.

There was no autopsy done, but it is believed that he had a sudden heart attack. He had mentioned to me that he had been having occasional dizzy episodes, and some headaches, but alas I do not believe he ever got himself to the local clinic. You know Steve, he was probably too busy with all his hobbies! It really is a shame that he was not able to build his cabin on his forest property and expand his garden. I’ve known him since 1985 and one of his first woodworking projects was making a desk for me. I never met anyone as crazy about woodworking than him. There are plans to build a cabin sometime in 2015 being organized by a woodworking friend in Colorado, and other plans to have bi-annual get togethers to remember him. For his short time here he lived a very full life and touched a heck of a lot of lives, but it still rotten that his life was cut short so very soon. Steve is buried in Pinecrest cemetery in Ottawa under a large tree …he would have liked that.

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