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Please welcome new members here and if you have not introduced yourself yet, take a minute to let people know a little bit about yourself.

Welcome Laine from Santa Paula

Postby Laine » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:46 pm

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Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:02 pm
Location: Ventura County, California
Climate Zone: Sunset 21 (23), USDA 10a (10b)
I'm in Ventura County, California. I am planting at my home in Santa Paula (Sunset 21, USDA 10a), and at my mother's property in Camarillo (Sunset 23, USDA 10b).

My interest is in creating sustainable home agriculture / landscape systems that maximise production per unit of energy input, building systems that turn any & all home waste products into resources, never using chemicals in the yard, generally creating of each property an ecological network the output of which exceeds the total input (not taking into account solar input & - but only for a time - water input). I'm here because part of what I am doing is building ecological systems which I want to function like natural systems (which, once established, more or less take care of themselves), but I want all the individual plant, animal, fungal, protistal, etc, species involved to either create products desired by humans or promote the production of such products by supporting the productive species. As a result, I spend a fair whack of time teaching myself about the ecology of different food-producing plants. Often, the characteristics I want in a plant are not to be found in temperate-native plants.

The Santa Paula property was my first victim, and is mainly native at this point. It will morph into a more edible landscape with time. Structurally, there are multiple wood decks & boardwalks, which provide habitat for herps & other small animals, and act as a mulch, helping retain soil moisture. There is a lot of stone, ditto. There is a small greywater marsh making use of the laundry water, and a pigeon loft which serves as a compost area. The front yard is groundscaped to retain almost all the rainwater that falls on it, & almost all backyard runoff ends up in the marsh. Species include:

Dudleya (several species)
Lotus scoparius
Encelia californica
Ceanothus (local species)
Lavandula angustifolia
Psidium cattleianum
Rhus integrifolia
Heteromeles arbutifolia
Salvia spathacea
Salvia apiana
Salvia mellifera
Salvia leucophylla
Several bunch grasses I haven't keyed out yet
Lupinus albifrons
Artemisia californica
Yucca whipplei (three varieties)
Hylocereus undatus
Umbellularia californica
Eriogonum fasciculatum (two varieties)
Eriogonum crocatum
Eriogonum (local species)
Coreopsis gigantea
Diplacus aurantiacus
Clarkia unguiculata
Juncus occidentalis
Keckiella cordifolia
Quercus agrifolia (seedlings from next door's tree)
Ribes californicum
Sambucus mexicana
Solanum douglasii
Artemisia douglasiana
Atriplex californica
Actinidia deliciosa
Clematis lasiantha
Dichelostemma capitatum
Eriodictyon crassifolium
Asclepias fascicularis
Sisyrinchium bellum
Passiflora edulis
Citrus x Meyeri
Helichrysum italicum
Aloe barbadensis
Pellaea andromedifolia
Aloysia triphylla
Rheum (?) (rhubarb)
Armoracia rusticana
Musa acuminata

There are also two plots with mixed nitrogen-fixing cover crops in place (various clovers, alfalfa, etc.), and one area of mixed native wildflowers, tending toward perennial & nitro fixing (lupine, etc.). Near future plans include more citrus, avocado, white sapote, various berries, Elaeagnus & Hippophae, et. al.

The Camarillo property is currently a jumble of random horticultural oddments too numerous to mention. I am making alterations section by section, primarily at this point laying sheet mulch, pruning down the bigger & less useful plants (like the Peruvian pepper tree), planting cover crops in areas that have seen years of soil degradation & neglect, nibbling away at the Bermuda grass "lawn" with dutch clover overplanting, that sort of thing. What initially brought me to Cloudforest was my search for as broad a variety as possible of plants that both produce human food and fix nitrogen and will grow in Camarillo. Currently I am trying to lay hands on Inga edulis.

Here's a list of fruiting and/or nfx-ing recent additions in Camarillo. Some are merely seedlings in a cold frame at this point. There are MANY more spp on the property:

Eleagnus multiflora
Eleagnus umbellata
Eleagnus x ebbingei
Hippohpae rhamnoides (multiple varieties)
Cajanus cajan
Carica papaya
Citrus aurantifolia
Citrus x latifolia
Citrus paradisi
Citrus limon
Citrus unshiu
Persea americana
Diospyros virginiana
Prunus domesticus
Tamarindus indica
Casimiroa edulis
Phoenix dactylifera
Cynara scolymus
Helianthus tuberosus
Musa acuminata (5-6, probably all acuminata)
Litchi chinensis
Eriobotrya japonica
Colocasia esculenta
Ipomoea batatas

Cover crops on this property include all manner of nfx-ers, deep taproot plants (sodbusters - lotsa clay), pollinator attractors, weed smotherers, etc.

There are also a few cacti I am interested in, O. robusta being foremost - if anybody has a surefire way to sprout their seeds, lemme know.

I'm also interested in re-establishing native fauna, particularly amphibians, many of which have simply disappeared from urbania in recent years. I've had good luck with 5 or 6 reptile species thus far, mostly in Santa Paula, and SPla also sports slender salamanders, which is a major triumph, in my book (there are morels there as well, speaking of triumphs...). I plan on putting in sufficient water features at both properties to support treefrog populations, & if I ever see a western toad again, I'll be happy. Among other things, I need them to come around & nail all the slugs, which are definitely short on predators right now.

Birds of course take care of themselves, although I expect to bring in ducks / bantams / quail at some point, if they don't come along on their own (doubtful!). cottontails could be useful later in the plan as well.

Right now, primary interests include collecting as many perennial vegetables for Camarillo as possible, & broadening the variety of fruiting shrubs at both properties. I am deeply interested in trying to get Inga edulis to grow, at either property. I believe someone grows it in the Ojai valley, but so far, I haven't heard of it growing closer... and that is much different habitat. First I have to find seeds or saplings. I am directing a lot of thought / effort into rainwater catchment (which includes the water features mentioned above), slope terracing, & soil rehab. I'd also love to figure out what to do to make the sea buckthorn more happy, & build a taller greenhouse enclosure before the palms & papayas are tall enough to need it. And I need to build at least two Top Bar Hives before Spring springs out at me...

Here's a partial list of plants I have in mind for the future (some are in place now):


Re: Welcome Laine from Santa Paula

Postby Axel » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:58 am

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Site Admin
Posts: 3533
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:49 pm
Location: Hanalei Bay, HI & Fallbrook, CA
Climate Zone: 12b/H2 & 10b/S23
Welcome Laine. Your plant list looks fascinating. I have very similar interests in petmaculture. I have a very Densly planted orchard, every square inch is going to food production, well almost, since I also integrate many other plants in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Anyway, I'll start a thread on petmaculture so as to not detract from the introductions.
Tropical gardening in both Kaua'i windward Sunset H2/USDA 12b and Fallbrook Sunset 23/USDA 10b.

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