Southeast Gardens | PERMACULTURE HOMESTEAD Backyard Food Forest | Travelogue

Southeast Gardens | PERMACULTURE HOMESTEAD Backyard Food Forest | Travelogue

Leaving Lizzy Lou’s Family Farm on my
drive to Permaculture Homestead, I passed through the Black River Preserve. The
river, characterized by meanders, oxbows, artesian springs and mature swamp
forests, is stained it’s dark tea color from the tannins of dying vegetation. The
best way to see it is in a canoe, but I had to press on. Today I am in Columbia,
South Carolina, with my friend Tory from Permaculture Homestead and I’m so
excited to meet TorY in person and to see what he’s got growing in his
backyard food forest. We’re going on a little treasure hunt and then we’re
gonna sit down for a chat, so stay with us. Enjoy the journey! Ha, ha, ha. And here’s Erin and
she’s gonna feed the animals. Good morning! Alright. Attention, attention… How many rabbits do you have? Three. Okay. Do they just eat one time a day? Yeah and
they’ll get grasses and stuff from, when Tory will weed and he’ll feed them as well. Good morning, girls! There’s a line, to lay eggs. There’s a
line to lay eggs? There’s a line to lay eggs this morning. That’s my job on the homestead right now. Well, that one is making things with the things Tory grows here in the
garden so finding new recipes and interesting ways to use the food. Your
profession is dancing, and teaching dancing, uh, ballet, yeah,
which is awesome. Yeah. I use that skill I’ve worked on a long time to help somebody else now. Alright, have a great day! Yeah, you, too! We’ve gotten tons of rain lately, so I
just need to dump out everything that can store and catch water, trying to get
rid of mosquitoes out here. But nothing goes to waste at the permaculture
homestead. Welcome to the food forest. Our first
treasure for you today is my goji berry. I love goji berry, a great perennial for
zone 8. They fruit all the time, huge clusters of
fruit, and they start about mid-march and they go throughout the whole year until
fall. So the goji berry are a favorite of our
native pollinators, especially mason bees. Goji berry is in the tomato family. They
taste much like a tomato. A handful of these small goji berries has more
lycopene than a full sized tomato. This is tansy. In medieval times they used it
as, like a pepper. They would dry the leaves and grind it and use it as a
pepper. I use it to bring in native pollinators, just to have beneficial bugs
in here, really pretty button like yellow flowers. You’ll see pollinators on these
all day. I don’t weed here on the homestead. I
kind of let things go wild. Once or twice a year I’ll come out and chop and drop,
just chop and drop any overgrowth. Right here is a native muscadine. This is a
grape, a wild grape local to zone 8. Anywhere in zone 8 you can grow it. They
are currently putting on their fruit. Muscadines are great for juice and
jellies, can mash them, boil them – and wine – and wine. Muscadine wine is a big popular
one down south. Sweet potatoes in buckets. I am rotating out my spring potatoes and
starting sweet potatoes for the fall. They should be ready by November. You’ve got a
little bug action, I see. Yeah, once again, we’re totally organic, no pesticides,
no chemicals of any type, no weeding, nothing really. I’m really trying to find
the hardiest plants that can just take the damage and keep on going.
There is a wood chip pathway around the whole food forest just to make it easy
to get around, and along the way you can stop and see guilds of plants, which is a
permaculture principle, just planting in guilds, okay. And this I would call a sub
tropical fruit and tree guild. I’ve got this centralized Moringa tree which
generally gets 20 to 30 feet tall. The next layer down is a shrub layer and
I’ve got things like hibiscus here – gorgeous –
I have nitrogen-fixing shrubs in the form of Goumi berry Elaeagnus um balata
this is Goumi berry, autumn olive. Wow. We have an herb layer, ground cover layer, of
parsley and artichoke, which has taken some pest damage, but it’s still alive.
It’ll come back. We have this root crop of ginger and a vining layer. If you need
a vine layer, we got some sweet potatoes that have naturalized here on the forest
floor. So the next treasure I want to talk about is water harvesting. We don’t
have sprinklers back here or drip irrigation. I utilize a trench system or
a swale, dug on contour, in this case my uphill is this way and downhill is this
way. So as water comes downhill it’ll fill up in this trench and then soak and
seep downhill to the root zones of all my trees and shrubs downhill. It’s a lot
easier for the plants to stretch out their roots and find the water than it
is for me to inundate them with water and they may get too soaked. (music) Oh it’s so, ummmm,…. that is so good! can you make tea or something out of this hibiscus? Yeah! Okay. The
leaves or the flowers or what? Flowers. I just kind of eat the flowers. This is one of my favorite herbs.
This is anise hyssop and it’s got this chocolate flavor to the leaf. I’m using
it as a companion plant for my Mars grapes. So this is the first year they’ve
been in here. I probably should prune the fruit off just to let it focus on growth.
These are table grapes, and I just put some companion plants with it that like
to be with the grape that bring in pollinators, that deter pests by their
smell and aroma. Parsley is another one, when it starts to flower, it’ll bring in
beneficial bugs. I’ve got flat leaf, curly. It does a really good job of cutting down on the grass, actually. It’ll just choke it out. You’ve got
the Apple mint all over. Yeah, I let it spread. I’m not afraid of it. Mother Nature does a really good job of
self-managing this for me. These raspberries are going wild. The
blackberries, yeah, we have Awatchataw, Arapaho, Navajo, all the Indian varieties
and then we have a Triple Crown and a Prime Art Freedom. They’re all from the
University of Arkansas. They’re all thornless varieties – nice – bred for the
South. So the next treasure I want to show you is our chicken coop and run area.
It’s at the top of the property. It’s pretty far from the house, so it doesn’t
really bother us, the noise, and I keep my bees back here as well. We do suburban
beekeeping, and bees are under a lot of pressure nowadays with chemicals,
pesticides, they’re under attack by predators mites, moths, mice. It’s been
tough for us to keep hives back here. I really feel like I need seven or eight
hives to just keep up with the winter losses that come. Currently we have one
hive on site. We’ve had as many as two and I’ve tried to split them but with
winter losses and bad weather and pests, we’ve had a hard time keeping more than
one hive on site. My hope is this spring to go ahead and split this hive and have
two or three hives made from it. Passion fruit is a great ground cover. It’s a
native plant here in zone 8. It prevents the weeds from growing, so as you can see
there’s really no grass back here, not a whole lot of weeds. The passion fruit
just kind of takes over it so I get weed suppression and an edible crop at the
same time. Do the chickens like passion fruit? The chickens do not eat the
passion fruit at all. Over here I’ve got two plum trees. They like to be together
to pollinate each other. This is a mexly plum and a santa rosa plum. It has a
ground cover of mountain mint. It’s a very hardy mint, once again brings in
beneficial bugs. It’s got this aromatic scent that repels other pests. I have a vining
layer of the passion fruit. This is a crape myrtle. Oh once again just to bring
in pollination, not edible. And you’ve got your compost decomposing over in the
corner. Yeah, top of the property. Well this is leftover from a pond project
that I did not complete. This was me thinking I was gonna put a pond back
here and realized it’s just too wet in general. So I do all my composting at the
top of the property. We are now standing at the highest part of the property. From
here to my back door represents about a two foot drop in elevation. So what I get
back here is all my compost. The chickens will come back here, they help me turn it,
– mm-hmm – it’s weeds, it’s chop and drop from
my plants. It turns into this rich, black soil that I use in the spring. It looks
sandy. It is a little sandy. I live on a sand pit. That’s great for carrots – yeah –
bunch of other things – it is – and sweet potatoes. Right. I live in a,
it’s an ancient river basin I’m living in, so it’s very, very sandy soil and the
first thing I did the first year and a half was just bring in organic material
and grow a lot of cover crops to try to get some sort of organic material going.
So this is a brown turkey Fig. We had some frost damage this year, and in the past
four or five months, it’s already put on a good three four feet of growth. This
particular fig I’m gonna just let it go wild. I’m gonna let it get as big as it
can, and I’ll let the chickens go ahead and live in it and roost in it. Well, they
will love the shade. Yes. So these are all my old fruited canes. I’ll chop them, I’ll
throw them in my cage, and then I’ll bring the new canes to the cage just to
give the forest some sort of shape, so I’ve really got this living art going on here.
It’s an art installation, it really is, because underneath you have all this
wonderful compost that’s breaking down. This plant is winged sumac, Rhus copallinum, and they call it winged sumac because of the wings in between the leaf
pairs. The stem actually wings out. Oh, I see that. I let it grow, the birds planted it here
and it’s a shrub layer, and what I’ll get in the fall is a large red drupe, it’s
called, and you can take that drupe and make lemonade or dry it and grind it to
make a spice. That’s how the Indians used it. You’ve got lambs quarters here. Lambs
quarters, yes ma’am, birds brought that in and now it’s everywhere. That’s right. This
is a Lee jujube, really good for hot temperatures
– beautiful, and how do you eat Jujubee those are like a little tiny
apple things, right? That’s right, they do look like a tiny Apple early in the
summer and if you let them ripen on the tree in the fall they will shrivel up
and kind of turn into a really sweet date. Another name for it is Chinese
date. And what’s all this? This is goldenrod, wild, one another wild
one. Okay. I let the goldenrod go because I need a
fall source of nectar for my bees. It also is just my visual reminder letting
me know that, hey, fall is here, it’s time for me to do some bee maintenance.
Mushrooms, wild ones. I do have some cultivated variety I put out here.
Comfrey. This is another native local favorite, this is pawpaw, Asimina triloba,
and it’s currently about six feet tall. It started out as a stick in the ground
two years ago and it puts on North America’s largest native fruit, and it’s
a big, about the size of a small football. And another name for it is custard apple,
because that’s what it tastes like when you cut into it and eat it up. Moringa,
– yes ma’am – and you’ll chop that back or… – yes – so will that survive the frost?
Great question, I get that question a lot being here in zone 8. We’re in this
subtropical temperate zone, temperate forest because we get a frost and
Moringa do not like a frost. So this will die back. What I’ve done, though, is cut it
back and this year after a winter it has grown back at the root, so it throws up
suckers when it gets hot again, basically. So another treasure here on the
permaculture homestead is community and I’ve got my community helping me out.
Everybody around here brings me their grass clippings and nothing goes to
waste. We use these grass clippings as,
I’ll put them in the compost or I’ll feed them to my rabbits, which then make
manure and I used that manure to feed my plants so we’ve got this never-ending
cycle going on. So we fertilize here using natural
methods this is a 55-gallon drum filled with comfrey
and rabbit manure – hmm – and I will let it sit in here and ferment for a couple
weeks, dip it out using a five-gallon bucket,
and I will feed my plants with it basically. We water our plants, of course,
but I use a gravity-fed system from source to sink, the source being my roof
and the sink being my swales, and to make it easy, I have a simple drain system. (loud splashing) I’ll let the water drain down my swales. The water will kind of meander down. (music) (water trinkling, birds chirping) I have three water tanks here on site
for three swales that I have here and they’re not all lined up perfectly. I do
use some tubing. This is a simple pool tube and I’m gonna flood another swale
up here, my second swale. It’s definitely a more gentle stream here, still pretty
steady and this too will meander down the pathway, down to the other end. It’s so cool to think you have streams in your backyard, ha, ha, ha. That’s what it is. I will pepper vegetables throughout the food forest floor. Here’s a small example
of that, we have okra, basil, there’s marigold here, and more parsley right
over here. There’s some green beans also coming in, a little bug eaten, but
they’ll make it. They’re already wanting to produce just
a tad. This one here is Sambucus nigra, black elderberry, it’s a local native
edible. I actually found it in a ditch and propagated it here on site. It’s a
great shrub layer – Wow – it brings in the mockingbirds. It brings in all types of
native birds. You see it going at that elderberry? It has antiviral properties, the berries
do, they also bring in a lot of native birds which is my pest control at the
same time. So I’ve get this great privacy hedge, I get beneficial birds coming in,
and I get this antiviral berry right at the time of year that we need it, during
the fall, and it flowers in the spring when many people are getting the flu,
beautiful great medicinal shrub to have in your your property. Must take a little
while to pick those tiny berries, I would think just. Not really, you kind of brush your hand over
it and they fall right on out. Wow. They’re kind of seedy, they do need to be
processed. I cook them down, I boil them down. I do not eat them raw. Okay. I’ll
either boil them, mash out the juice and mix it with honey to make a syrup, or
I’ll boil it, mash it, filter out the juice and add it to alcohol to make a
tincture. So I am certainly an artist. I do try to bring a lot of diversity into
the food forest. In just my wingspan we’ve got some asparagus,
we’ve got pineapple guava, we’ve got some more Moringa right here, I’ve got
longevity spinach behind me, and I also have rabbit tractor systems here.
This is how I weed my food forests. I’ll bring my rabbit along, we’ll pull the
cage, he will pull up the weeds, eat them, dig it up, leave his manure, and I’ll come
behind him and wood chip over that and that’s how we kind of keep the depths of
this food forest fairly maintained and weed free. This is one of my new favorite
edibles I’ve planted this year. It’s Gynura procumbens, or longevity spinach,
and it does require some shade, so I have it planted underneath my elderberry,
which gives it shade throughout the day. It is a semi subtropical plant, doesn’t
like frost, so it will die in the in the winter and what I’m going
to end up doing is taking cuttings. It roots really well in a cup of water.
I’ll take cuttings in the fall and root it up until spring.
This is a perennial curly leaf kale. It’s been decimated by white moth but this is
Mother Nature doing her pruning. This plant will come back in the fall. It’s
already a year and a half old. I expect it to keep producing like this for
another year and a half. This is my heritage raspberry patch. It is a local
ever-bearing raspberry. It’s been grown here for over 50 years. It produces twice
for me, once in the spring and once in the fall. We’ve already had a large
spring flush and it’s currently putting on its fall growth right now. So this
cane will produce for me in the fall and then once again in the spring. And you’ll
cut all those canes back for next year? Yes ma’am. I’ll chop it and drop it. This has thorns? This is the thorny
variety, yes. Well, weren’t all the heritage varieties thorny? Yes ma’am,
mm-hmm, so this is something they’ve bred to take the thorns out to make it easier
for gardeners. I don’t mind the thorns, helps pests stay away from it. Do you
have raccoons here? No raccoons. Sometimes squirrels can be a problem, not that bad
though, squirrels aren’t too bad, mice, maybe every now and then they’ll try to
go for the chicken food. What about rats? No rats. We have snakes back here, though,
too. Me, the wife and I have seen snakes slithering around back here. What kind of
snakes? A corn snake and a rat snake. Okay. Good. Definitely some varieties, I
checked them up make sure they weren’t poisonous.
Well, the rat it’s nice to have the rat snake – yeah – take care of your rat… to take care
of any mice or rat problem that we may have. Wow,, ooh and what would you do if
you did see a poisonous snake, because it’s very possible. It is very possible
with all the ground cover here. I don’t know what I would do. I might just let it
be. Oh wow, got to try that one. I will. And you can eat the stem on this, this is,
this is like a sweet all the way down, no hard, no crunchy, mmm. I gotta get that
variety. From the figs and the plum and of course all the small fruits have
produced real heavily, blackberries, the raspberries, the elderberry, the gummy
berries… So the wire just performs the function
of adding shape to all the vining plants. To these blackberry canes, yes ma’am, and I mean, it’s also gonna work as building organic material into this that I can grow into.
I’ll put annual vegetables into this cage in the spring. in March. You mean,
you’ll grow them in there. I will grow them directly into the compost that I
made in the cages – nice – so you have to kind of get some shape here. It’s expanding, we’re adding more cages, got
to keep my pathways open. This right here is pineapple sage, you have
oregano, and catnip, all in between two trees here, serving as a ground cover
preventing weeds from growing. Well, so it’s just the peaches that have stumped
you so far? So far, just the peaches, but as you can see, the Paw Paw’s will get
tall and I’ll just prune the peaches down into more like a shrub and less
like a tree and I’ll let the Paw Paw’s be the over story. Okay, it’s break time,
what are you gonna serve us? We’re gonna have lemon balm, apple mint and chamomile
tea, a great herbal favorite. I don’t know if you guys can tell but it’s really hot
here. He has had a little costume change – feeling better – and we are drinking
Southern style iced tea in mason jars with fresh mint and chamomile flowers
– and lemon balm – and some of their honey, which they collected last year. How many
gallons did you say? I would say about 8 gallons, because we had two of those
five-gallon buckets about all the way full – oh – and we sold quite a bit that was
from two hives. Ah, that is so good, now let me try this – okay – because he says to eat this raw. Oh yeah, raw is always best. Okay. It’s gonna have a… definitely tastes
like a plant. I’ve been eating raw food for a
while now. I’m pretty used to it. mmm It is good. Yeah, an aloe kind of taste to it. I mentioned Malabar because it’s kind of
got that Malabar… that’s true that’s true – crunch to it. And I was gonna try, I’m not
sure if I’ve had raw asparagus before, so I’m gonna try this, because I saw him
eating it. You’re gonna love it. It’s sweet all the way down. Wow! Wood chips, I fully believe that it’s the
wood chips, somehow, that keep that tasting good. Well, the thing I love about
permaculture is, it’s got a great story. I don’t have that story in my garden. I
just have the micro-farm in a, in Los Angeles. You have a very well-maintained
garden, Kaye, I love it. But permaculture, like biodynamic, has a great story, and I
can see why there’s a lot of interest in Tory’s channel. So be sure you check out
Tory’s YouTube channel Permaculture Homestead. And he is so enthusiastic, and he’s a
wealth of knowledge, and he, he’s passionate about what he’s doing, and you
can see from this video his enthusiasm, and we just scratched the surface what
we could be talking about here, but you’ll see more in-depth stories and
explanations and information on his channel. Because he intends to take a
guild at a time and just break it apart and really talk about it. But we’ve had
this wonderful overview, and thank you so much for having me. No problem, I appreciate
you coming! You will have to come and see me in L.A. Oh I certainly will
alright. Well he lived in Los Angeles, so it’s not above the realm of possibility.
Alright, thanks for watching! Appreciate it. God bless. (music to end)

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30 thoughts on “Southeast Gardens | PERMACULTURE HOMESTEAD Backyard Food Forest | Travelogue

  1. Subscribe to Tory's channel here: And leave your questions for Tory under this comment!

  2. wow Kaye you really made this forest look good, appreciate you coming by, of course we have liked shared and added to favs'. Really wish i had the editing and video skills you have. Thanks so much for sharing and stopping by you are always welcome.

  3. Thank you for introducing us to this Christian rabbit lovin' family! They are fully functional! She has the grace and beauty of my daughter who was also studied ballet since she was (3). i love how they keep and use the water that God has given to us. His permaculture is like a living Rareseeds catalogue. I love the function and look of Tansy. I will have to get my seeds out. I just love and admire their lifestyle! We have tons of Golden Rod in the NorthEast. I admire his simple drain system, nothing to get broken. I really like his choice of vegetation. "Birfeeders" are so unnecessary. Cardinals were naturally attracted to Buckwheat and Oat seeds. I wonder from where he gets his seeds and fruit vines. I don't like asparagus, but I suspect I'd like this fresh one. I also like the looks of the fern asparagus. It reminds me of beautiful hair blowing in the wind. There is so much to say and enjoy about this video. Thank You:-)

  4. I love his channel! His food forest is amazing! One time I did a meme for his channel ! He has so much growing that is producing great food and so much in the early stages. I honestly cannot wait to he his food forest in 3 yrs because every year it only gets better 😊

  5. Hi Kaye! Great tour on permaculture homeatead along with Tori !! He just guides us too:) nice speaking skill♥♥♥

  6. Will finish tomorrow but enjoyed the start on this ! He is passionate about permaculture techniques…love the plants he has selected…anxious to see how my autumn olive & gogi's do in harsher low desert of Phx…

  7. Never said what was wrong with the peach. Is it borers? . When I lived in NM, and old farmer told me about Yerba mansa. It is a little root perineal, pretty little flower. Grew in the ditches there where not much else would. He told me in addition to many herbal benefits, it does something to the soil when you plant it around stone fruit, so the borers won’t stay in the soil around the base of tree in winter. I don’t know what all, but I never sprayed or anything, just planted Yerba mansa around the base, and the borers were gone in a couple years, and my new trees didn’t get them. So you just get a handful of roots or plants and toss them in and they grow. I am up north now. Was going to try some here but it might get too cold.

  8. Glad to find somebody in my zone 8 area!! Gardening in the south definitely has challenges as well as victories!

  9. Hello Kaye, Tory is so full of enthusiasm and passion that it really influence one to go out and start a permaculture forest. Beautifully shot video and great music. I enjoyed all of the video. I was hoping that a rat snack would not appear. You would have got frightened as I would. xx Patrick

  10. This is just one zone south of me and I am amazed at how far along everything is at the end of March. Cool video.

  11. Very nice forest garden but be careful with lots of vegetation too close to your house. The moisture will rot your siding or bring termite.

  12. The water system is so well thought out and fascinating. I covet. LOL I'll have to think about this and make it work for me. Thank you for the inspiration.

  13. Pretty rabbits my grandmother and grandpa always have muscadine bush. And the muscadine wine is so sweet best wine on earth

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