Tag: Woodland

The Brushwood Fence

A brush fence serves multiple useful functions, it looks nice and tidy, and it requires only a few inexpensive materials. If you find yourself with an overabundance of cut limbs and brush, consider this interesting and easy to DIY solution that yields privacy, wildlife habitat, compost, and more. Read the article for complete instructions on how to build your own brush fence for under $100.

Thriving with Marginal Land

Marginal land is a term used to describe land that isn’t well suited to industrial scale farming. But for a small farmer with a little creativity, these spaces can offer unique potential for inspiring harvests and new forms of abundance. Read the full article to learn how I’m thriving with several types of marginal land here on the farm.

Why I Farm Native Plant Foods

I wasn’t much interested in native plants until I came to live on this land. I knew that native plants were good for the wildlife, and that they could be pretty, but I was only interested in edible plants. I could imagine native plants in the landscaping, because I had seen them there, but I never imagined them in food production. I had never seen them in orchards, I had never seen them in vegetable gardens, and I rarely saw them in garden catalogues. Little by little, the native plants won me over. Did you know many of them are edible? Read the full article to learn more!

Rake Leaves, Make Compost

Autumn leaves are the essence of abundance. In my part of the world, we have an almost unimaginable bounty of fallen leaves right now. We have so many fallen leaves, most people throw them away. We have so many fallen leaves that they can feel like a nuisance. But every single leaf contains multitudes. A leaf can be mulch, a leaf can be compost, a leaf can nurture new life in many forms. Like the Zen proverb “Chop wood, carry water” teaches us, dedicating ourselves wholeheartedly to the task at hand is infinitely powerful. For today, I’m going to rake leaves and make compost. Whatever tomorrow brings, today’s actions will serve to create more abundance than I had yesterday.

Stages of Succession

The first year I took my land out of industrial corn/soy production, Butterweed, Daisy Fleabane, and Giant Ragweed took over. I tried to grow cover crops that year, and the Giant Ragweed was particularly difficult to work around. I was still trying to figure out what to do about these “problems” when they just…vanished. Now I have a lot of grasses and goldenrod, dandelion and violet, and lesser amounts of vine and tree volunteers. Even these plants are temporary, and eventually they’ll make way for the next stage of growth. It’s just another stage of succession in the land’s march back to its highest self.

Poison Ivy : An Unlikely Ally

Poison Ivy might be the most hated plant around. Although it is a difficult plant to love, this plant has some surprising virtues, and plays an important role in native landscapes. The thing is, this plant is not really here for human beings. It’s here for everybody else. Read the full article to learn more about native plant species Toxicodendron radicans, and its beneficial role for wildlife, insects, and soil.

The American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) and Family

The American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) is an almost mythical native tree. Legend has it that prior to the 1900s, a squirrel could travel from Georgia to Maine just by hopping from chestnut branch to chestnut branch, without ever touching the ground. Now the American Chestnut Tree is blighted, but thanks to hybrid chestnut trees we can still enjoy chestnut harvests in our home orchards. Read the full article to learn more about the American Chestnut and for chestnut storage techniques and recipes!

The American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) : A Versatile Native Nut

The American Hazelnut (Corylus americana), also known as American Filbert, is a small tree or shrub in the Birch family. Although our native hazelnut is a different species than most hazelnuts available commercially, it is widely reported that the nuts produced by our native tree taste very similar to the more widely available European species. Read the full article to learn more about this amazing native food plant!

Native Plants of the Deep Woods

Many powerful native plants thrive in the deep shade of the forest canopy. These plants are just as important to the forest ecosystem as the large trees that so often receive all the glory. Yet most of the time, when land that was previously cleared is reforested, little to no attention is paid to the understory. The native plants that once carpeted the forest floor do not return once the new trees have grown tall enough to shade them unless someone comes back to replant them. Many of these woodland plants are slow-growing, delicate plants that require very specific habitats, protection, and patience. These plants require and deserve our respect. In this article, we explore fourteen candidates for the understory of your forest garden.

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