Today’s Show Won’t Be Live Until about 3PM — 13 Comments

  1. I’m in the same horticultural zone as Mark. Any plants from warmer zones he’s had success with that didn’t die off completely last year? Does he plant anything from warmer zones, or is everything he has adapted to his area?

  2. Question for Mark:

    What advice would you give a 23 year old who is working to establish a farm similar to yours?
    I’m dealing with 500 acres of cropland in Michigan in conventional management that my family currently owns. I will be able to rent some in four years after the current lease is up. I’m am in direct line to inherit management of the land when my grandfather passes. He is currently resistant to any idea of organic farming, let alone permaculture or beyond organic. This makes it difficult to do anything in the way of much tree plantings. I currently am raising and selling a small number of pastures pigs, chickens and eggs.

    Also, any advice for the actual land improvement would be greatly appreciated, especially in ways that my grandfather could be convinced to allow.

    Thank you very much and I greatly appreciate you work and will be reading your book this winter and am awaiting the release of your DVD after supporting your cider operation.

  3. Question for Mark:

    If I wanted to create a similar restorative system over just about an acre of nothing but lawn right now, and can’t afford to throw hundreds of trees in all at once… how would you prioritize particular plantings? I’m hoping to hear a recommendation for what specific trees and supporting elements in some kind of an order that makes the most sense.

    Love his book!

  4. Questions for Mark:

    1) Do you incorporate nitrogen fixing trees into your tree rows?
    2) Do you attempt any shrub layer in your tree rows?
    3) What kind of spacing for light penetration do you shoot for in-between your perennial crops in the production rows?
    4) What is your preferred type of fencing in the alley crop pattern?
    5) Do you use hazelnut shells in gasification on a regular basis?
    6) Can you step through what the timing of perennial crop harvests looks like annually?
    7) What do you NOT like about your design, and what would you have done differently?
    8) What type of earthworks do you find is more useful, if you had to choose, keyline or swale?
    9) What are your thoughts about debt, and any comment on trying to operate debt free?
    10) What is your general response to “Ask for forgiveness – not for permission.”

  5. Question for Mark:

    If you had to terrace on steeper land, would you use still try to use the same alley cropping pattern?

  6. Question for Mark:
    1) Do all of the different enterprises on your farm have the same parent company (yours) or all they separate with expenses/income going back and forth? If the latter, how do you manage the amount of data/records needed for tax time?
    2) What would be the minimum acreage of “average land” needed to provide for a family of 6? Would I be correct to assume central Iowa would have a higher ROI per acre than average?
    Thanks Jack and Mark! I can’t wait for the show!

  7. Question for Mark:

    What are your thoughts on replacing hardware fencing with natural fencing hedges to keep in livestock in the alley crop pattern?

  8. Question for Mark,

    How do you deal with drainage tile lines? I’m planning on implementing your system on a small scale here in NC Iowa on cropland, starting small on our 7 acre acreage then maybe expanding to a 180 acre field that my father owns but recently patterned tiled for regular crop production.

    Thank you,


  9. Question for Mark,

    Besides seeds and plant material, what are the external inputs, if any, that you recommend investing in to improve the quality of your soil for broad acreage? One example that comes to mind would be rock dust remineralization.

    Thank you,