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Farm future, full speed ahead

Thursday night, February 18th, Erin and I left the kids with my mom and drove down to Madison for the Madison Area Permaculture Guild's monthly meeting. The night's plan was for people to bring topographical maps or Google Earth images of their properties and split into groups for some brainstorming and idea sharing. What resulted was an energizing night full of ideas, wisdom, and gracious permaculture knowledge.

Our group took a look at the Google Earth images we brought with us, and we discussed our vision for it. Our group members then took it and ran with it, giving us great insights on water harvesting, sun exposure, the best areas for a garden, and more. We told our group how it often is quite dry on top of the hill, so we discussed the possibility of using swales to harvest and collect the rain water, letting it soak in at the top of the hill instead of all running to the bottom. We told our group that we wanted to plant apple, cherry, and pawpaw trees on the property, and they gave us some tips about planting trees on the downside of the berms and planting tree-friendly species below the trees to create a synergistic relationship.

This spring we will be attempting this large undertaking. It's a little scary going out and digging up your property, but we've been educating ourselves about this for years, and we're ready to give it a try. We recently purchased 30 trees from - ten Antonovka apple trees, ten sweet cherry trees, and ten pawpaw trees. I've met Grant Schultz, the man behind New Farm Supply and Versaland Farm, and he's doing great things down in Iowa (near Iowa City). Check out to learn about the farm, or if you're interested in buying trees, go to He doesn't have a huge selection, but I promise you'll find good prices and great products.

So with the addition of geese, beef steers, trees, and a swale system, it's going to be a busy, busy spring! Farm future, full speed ahead!

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