Crunchy Mama's Urban Homestead

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Homesteading Word of the Day — plant guilds

Greetings!  I hope that this post finds you happy and healthy!

Today’s Homesteading Word of the Day (or rather PHRASE of the day) is “plant guilds.”  Plant guilds are groups of plants that grow together and support each other in various ways.  In nature, many plants grow together in the same area.  In gardening and homesteading, we can choose plants that will actually help each other grow instead of compete with each other for the nutrients in the soil and for the sunlight needed for photosynthesis.  Many plants will actually share the nutrients that they acquire from the soil with other plants

I came across this webpage that has a great explanation of plant guilds or permaculture guilds: http://www.neverendingfood.org/b-what-is-permaculture/permaculture-guilds/

Here are some of great excerpts from that webpage: “Permaculture is based on natural systems like those that we see in forests.  In a forest system, there are multiple layers of vegetation growing together in a very diverse setting.  We see many types of trees, shrubs, plants, insects, animals, and various other things all living together in a system that continually strengthens itself.  All of these components of a natural ecosystem serve a function (or several functions) that support each other like the strands of a web.  One strand on its own may be weak, but the combination of all the strands together add to the overall strength and usefulness of the web.”

“A good Permaculture guild generally has seven components: food for us…food for the soil…diggers/miners…groundcover…climbers…supporters…protectors.”

PLUS at the bottom of the page there is a free one-page illustrated download called Permaculture Guild.  From that download: “A “guild” in Permaculture is a system of efficiently grouping different plants together in order to use everything to its fullest potential.”

And here is a free ebook on plant guilds by Midwest Permaculture http://midwestpermaculture.com/eBook/Plant%20Guilds%20eBooklet%20-%20Midwest%20Permaculture.pdf

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary” or just click on this link: https://crunchymamasurbanhomestead.wordpress.com/category/vocabulary/

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Homesteading Word of the Day — pollard

Greetings!  Yesterday’s homesteading word of the day was coppice.  Today’s HWOTD  is related — pollard.  They both mean cutting back or pruning trees or shrubs but the height at which the cuts are made are different.  Generally speaking, coppicing occurs closer to the ground and pollarding occurs higher up.  Obviously, there are reasons for each methods.

Midwest Permaculture’s website has a very helpful post on the similarities and differences between the two methods as well as the reason why you would want to do either.  Here are a few helpful paragraph’s from the post.

Coppicing and  are two methods of wood pruning that allows us to continually harvest wood from the same trees while keeping them healthy for centuries. They produce a sustainable supply of timber for many generations while enhancing the natural state for wildlife and native plants.”

“The main difference between the two methods is that coppicing occurs at ground level while pollarding is done 8-10 feet high to prevent browsing animals from eating the fresh shoots; typically, coppicing was done to manage woodlands and pollarding was done in a pasture system.

Coppicing a tree produces multiple stems growing out of the main trunk — suitable for firewood, fencing, tool handles, and many more woodland crafts. A properly coppiced woodland, harvested in rotational sections called coups, has trees and understory in every stage and is a highly effective method to grow a fast supply of naturally renewing timber. By working on a rotation we are assured of a crop somewhere in the woodland every year.

Pollarding (from the word “poll,” which originally meant “top of head”) has been used since the Middle Ages — in fact, there are still stands of continuously pollarded trees that date to that time. Today, it is a technique that can be used in very urban environments to prevent trees from invading utilities or sewers . . . but its historical use of a wooded pasture system also fits into a permaculture method very well — stacking functions to get more yield out of one area.

What makes these methods so appealing is that by keeping the tree in a perpetual juvenile state, they actually extend the life of the tree by hundreds or sometimes even thousands of years. Diseases rarely have time to take hold of the young growth and weather elements do not affect trees of short stature so they live much longer than their unpruned counterparts. ”

I highly encourage you to visit the webpage, especially if you are a visual learner, because it has some illustrations and photos of the methods plus it goes into much more details about the benefits of these methods.

Lastly,  in regard to the pronunciation of the word pollard, the stress is on the first syllable — PAH lurd.

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary.”

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope that you have enjoyed this post.  Please consider subscribing via email or in your favorite reader.  I’m also on Twitter and YouTube!  Have a great day!

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Homesteading Word of the Day – coppice

I was reading a post in a permaculture forum and the post wrote that he coppices his trees at 10 feet.  I imagined that that meant that he cut them at 10 feet but I wanted to be sure.

From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/coppice, as a verb, coppice means “to trim back (trees or bushes) to form a coppice.”  It can also be used as a noun.

See also how http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coppice defines it.

Pronunciation: the stress is on the first syllable — KOP – is.

Be sure to check out my post on a similar pruning technique — pollard.

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary.”

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope that you have enjoyed this post.  Please consider subscribing via email or in your favorite reader.  I’m also on Twitter and YouTube!  Have a great day!

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Homesteading Word of the Day – riparian

Yesterday I was watching a Paul Wheaton video in which he used the phrase “riparian species.”  I had no idea what riparian meant so I looked it up.  I thought that I’d share with y’all — just in case you didn’t know what that word meant as well.

From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/riparian?s=t, riparian as an adjective means “of, inhabiting, or situated on the bank of a river.”  See the link for more definitions.

In http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/riparian, the definition is “relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater.”

Pronunciation is ri-pair-ee-uhn.

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary.”

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope that you have enjoyed this post.  Please consider subscribing via email or in your favorite reader.  I’m also on Twitter and YouTube!  Have a great day!

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