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Serenity Project: Seed

Seed Inventory January 2016

    This is a mistress list of seed on hand which can be used as a resource for kitchen garden & food forest planning, and/or for planning seed, tuber, or bare-root bush/tree orders for 2016.

Part One: House/Tropical

  • Avocado

Part Two: Perennials and Self-Seeding Annuals


  • Alpine strawberry
  • Peach (?)


  • Chestnut
  • Oak

Medicinal Plants, Teas and Herbs

  • Bee balm (raspberry)
  • Chives (x3)
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic chives
  • Lemon balm
  • Milkweed
  • Oregano (may be annual zone 4b)
  • Poppies – micro-orange (2014/2015), Ass’t from Lise
  • Sage (x2)
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow – wild white


  • Dianthus pinks (maybe)
  • Hollyhock – purple from Lise
  • Lavender – dwarf munstead
  • Lupines – mix (x2) NF!
  • Morning glories  from Lise
  • Wildflower mix from Lise (x2)

Part Three: Annuals


  • Oyster mushrooms

Flowers, Teas and Herbs

  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Cilantro (x3)
  • Dill
  • Genovese basil
  • Nasturtiums – dwarf cherry (hybrid)
  • Stevia
  • Summer Savory (x2)
  • Sunflowers – ass’t mix (garden 2015), Autumn beauty mix
  • Sweet marjoram


  • Cantalope
  • Ugly melon (x2)
  • Watermelon – ass’t unknown (x2), bush sugar baby, crimson sweet

Vegetable Rotation Group One – Legumes


  • Homesteader
  • Laxton’s progress
  • Little marvel
  • Oregon sugar pod
  • Sugar snap

Beans (fresh & canning)

  • Scarlett runner (vine)
  • Yellow wax (bush)

Beans (dry)

  • Ass’t unknown (garden)
  • Pinto
  • Red kidney
  • (also see kitchen supply next year)

Vegetable Rotation Group Two – Leafy


  •  Calabrese
  • “Sprouting broccoli”

Brussel Sprouts

  •  Eversham special


  • Rainbow swiss


  • Arugula (wild)
  • Mesculin mix


  • Dinosaur
  • Dwarf curled scotch
  • Nero do tuscana


  • Bloomsdale

Vegetable Rotation Group Three – Fruiting


  • Peaches and cream


  • Ass’t unknown
  • Lungo della cina
  • Marketmore
  • Wisconson SMR pickling

Sweet Peppers

  • Ass’t unknown (x2)
  • Marconi italian sweet


  • Acorn
  • Butternut (?)
  • Patty pan (summer)
  • Spagetti


  • Amish paste
  • Ass’t unknown
  • Beefsteak
  • Bonnie best
  • Roma
  • Silvery fizz (Cubit’s)
  • Sweet cherry (hybrid)
  • Yellow pear


  • Black beauty

Vegetable Rotation Group Four – Roots


  • Atlas
  • Colourful (Cubit’s)
  • Danvers half-long
  • Nantes coreless
  • Scarlet nantes




  • Red (seed)
  • Yellow (starts)


  • F1 hybrid


  • Yellow fleshed


  • “Radish”
  • Rainbow (Cubit’s)


  • American purple top


  • Swede

PLUS * one bag of unknown seed collected from kitchen, misc. and * 12 bags of wild seed collected early fall 2015 (misc. wildflowers and trees)






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Manifesto for an Abundant Descent into Human Extinction 1

Manifesto for an Abundant Descent into Human Extinction
Point One
Reality dictates, along the lines suggested by Limits to Growth, and with evidence of climate collapse accumulating daily, that we all redefine our imaginery of “what remains possible.”
Of course, everyone is doing that every day in response to localized signals from our environment. Meanwhile the global machine (The Empire) obfuscates the situation even as it acts to desperately keep itself chugging and (increasingly) sputtering along.
For those on the “left” and especially the environmentally conscious left, it is quite easy to spot this absurd denialism in the “right.”
It is considerably more difficult to spot it in our own speech, our own activism, our own pet organisations and beloved memes.
In his first post for Pray for Calamity td0s argues that “The predominant view of the so-called “climate justice movement” however, is that industrial civilization can continue in a fashion that allows modern western people to live essentially as they do now, with only a handful of tweaks. “
As anyone, left or right, who has carefully considered the Peak Oil perspective is well aware. This is impossible.
td0s is aware, and so he continues, arguing for “the need for social movements that are fighting drivers of climate change to accept a view of a low energy future.”
So the first point in my manifesto is
*I accept the reality of energy descent. I accept that there are no solutions available to prevent energy decline. I will organize my life to reduce my need for transportation fuels and electricity as rapidly and as completely and as compassionately as I can.*
Photo on 2015-05-21 at 12.07 PM

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Serenity Project: Hyndford,ON: Encyclopedia of Perennial Plants for Zone 4b


In this post I will be listing alphabetically perennial plants suited for cultivation in Hyndford, or any other Zone 4b location. I will include only the most basic information on each plant, hardiness, expected growth, function(s) and placement in a typical food forest, clearing/meadow or wetland. I expect the list to continue to develop over time but hope to have the majority of my research completed by December 2015.

I am doing this so that I have a master list of plants: some I already have and will be transporting, those I definitely want and others I *might want*…This list will then be used in designing first, our potager or kitchen garden and, later, broadacre food forests with meadow clearings. The list will not be exhaustive. I will only be including plants I might be interested in using. I dunno if any of you have had this experience, but an awful lot of plant lists for cold temperate permaculture include plants that are not suited to my hardiness zone. I read the lists and plant descriptions (which often to not include specifics on hardiness), then get super excited about a plant…then I find out I would need a greenhouse to grow it. Shattering. We plan to eventually include greenhouses, but will prioritize their square footage for starting plants and for subtropicals we are addicted to: bananas and cinnamon, for example. Lovely thought to build 50 acres of underground greenhouses, but it is not going to happen.

Later, I will be making a list of Zone 5 plants I am really in love with. Eventually, as we develop the property and learn itès microclimates, we may give some of these a go. But none of them can be counted on and we need to start by focusing on plants proven to produce in Zone 4a.

From this primary, alphabetized list, I will then develop function-specific & placement-specific plant lists for Zone 4b. I am primarily conducting this research in preparation for our move to Hyndford, ON in late spring 2016 but hope others might also find it useful in food forest or garden planning for cool temperate climates.
Notes on my notes 

  • Each plant name will be connected to a descriptive internet link.
  • I have included brief notes on each plant’s potential functions: Food (for humans or domestic animals) WILD (known to be particularly beneficial as food or habitat to wild species) Mulch (potential mineral accumulation and/or fast growing for mulch) WOOD (lumber, tool handles, fencing, fuel uses)  Coppice (known to grow back after coppicing or pollarding) Greywater (good plants for purifying water) Hedge (usually thorny plants well suited to hedgerows) NF (nitrogen fixing) and/or Medicinal.
  • For design purposes, food forests are usually divided into 7 levels: Canopy, Under story, Shrub, Herbaceous, Ground cover, Tuber, and Vine. I have modified this for my own notes because I will be designing two different types of food forest: Zone 3 broad acre (taller and including pasture) and zone 1 kitchen garden (shorter and closer to home.)

My categories are:

1. Tall canopy (trees expected to grow taller than 50ft),

1/2. Medium (Canopy and/or Dwarf  trees I expect to use as canopy or in my home garden, these may also be used in the broadacre food forest as under story trees),

2. Understory: Shade loving trees suited for under story in the broadacre application, but not for canopy in the kitchen garden)

3. Edging Shrub: Woody shrubs suited to full sun/part sun in the kitchen garden or south facing applications in broadacre food forest clearings,

3.  Understory Shrub: Woody shrubs that are happiest in partial shade, likely best suited to broadacre food forestry.

4. Clearing/Edge Herb: Herbaceous plants that need more sun, suitable for the kitchen garden or southern exposure in food forests.

4. Understory Herbaceous: Herbaceous plants that prefer part shade, primarily suited to broadacre food forest applications.

5.Clearing/Edging Groundcover: Ground creeping plants that need more sun, suitable for the kitchen garden or southern exposure in food forests.

5. Under Story Groundcover: Short ground cover plants that want partial to full shade.

6. Edging Tuber: Tuberous or bulberous plants that need more sun, suitable for the kitchen garden or southern exposure in food forests.

6. Under Story Tuber: Tuberous or bulberous plants  that want partial to full shade. Useable in broad acre or kitchen garden.

7. Climbing Vine: When perennial vines are planted (at which stage of food forest maturity) is more important then where, as they are capable of climbing up trees to grab their share of sunlight. As a result they are grouped together, being suitable for virtually any placement, if succession is taken into account.

  • At the end of each plant description, I have made notes on whether this is a plant I have in my current garden (GOT), or am considering adding to my collection (?) or have decided I definitely would like to try growing (WANT).

Encyclopedia of Perennial Plants for Zone 4b, Alphabetized 

Angelica – Angelica archangelica BIENNIAL (Hardy Z.4 , 5′-6’T , Food, Medicine: Tall Layer 4 –  Herbaceous Edge or Clearing/Understory – Full-Part Sun) ?

Black Eyed Susan – Rudbeckia hirta  (Hardy Z.2, 2′-3’T , WILD- long blooming, late season pollinator food, Layer 4 -Herbaceous Edge or Clearing/Understory – Full-Part Sun) WANT-NATIVE!

Chives – Allium schoenoprasum (Hardy Z.3-10, 12″T x 12″W, Food, Garden Border Layer 4.Herbaceous Edge-Full Sun) GOT

ColumbineAquilegia (Hardy Z.3-9, 1′-8’T. depending on variety, mine are 1-2′ x 1′-2’W, WILD – esp. birds, Herbaceous Edge/Understory Part Sun-Part Shade) GOT

False IndigoBaptisia australis (Hardy Z.3, 3-5ftT x 2-3ftW, WILD-butterflies, Deep rooted dynamic accumulator, medicinal Layer 4-Clearing or Edge Herb-Full Sun) ?

Garlic ChivesAllium tuberosum (Hardy Z.3, 1-1.5ftT-potentially invasive, Pest Control Companion plant!, Food, Layer 5-Edge or Clearing Groundcover-Full Sun) GOT

Heirloom Chinese YamDioscorea batatas (Hardy Z.4? Grown in Montreal,  Tuber up to 3ft underground, Vine 9ftTall x 5ft wide, Food. Layer 7 Vine) WANT

Original Poet’s Daffodil – Narcissus spp.(Hardy Z.3a-9b 12″T & clumping, WILD: Early Spring Pollinator Plant!, Layer 6 Edging or Forest Tuber, Clearing-Part Shade to Full Sun) GOT

Rosa rugosa (Hardy to Z.2, 4′-6’T x 4′-6’W, Hedge, Food, Medicinal, Layer 3-Edging or Understory Bush) WANT

Valerian, Common – Valerian Officianalis (Hardy Z.2/Z.4-7, 3′-5’T x 2′-4’W, Medicine, Tall Layer 4 – Clearing or Edge Herb-Full Sun) WANT

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Serenity Project: Hyndford, Stage One: Basic Research

“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.” Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity.


Matty and I have committed to moving next year to a 98 acre property my mother owns in Hyndford, Ontario.(45N, 77W)

In this post I am collecting the basic data I have accumulated on the property. Probably boring as heck for most people, but interesting as heck for a permaculture geek like me. Primarily, I am writing this for my own reference, but it may be helpful for locals interested in understanding how scientists categorize our climate, soils, etc.

(By the way I collated a lot of this information using an excellent article written by Duane McCartney which explores in great detail Canada’s “Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile”.)

Hyndford rests in a cold temperate climate, part of The Canadian Shield, in the Great Lakes/St.Lawrence Lowlands region. The land thereabouts is roughly 500 metres above sea level and the land has traditionally wanted to be Boreal Forest.

We are, therefore, determined to gradually reshape 40-50 of the 98 acres to a Boreal-inspired, food forest with meadow clearings, while leaving the rest to re-wild at it’s own pace. The land seems to now include about 10 acres of natural wetland that has developed and expanded over the last few decades.

(Hopefully we will add photos and details of our observations after our next visit.)

The land is rolling, humid ;landscape but rather flat with only a 15 m drop from the highest to the lowest points on the property. That said, the small Bonnechere River tributary that runs roughly North to South through the property seems to have carved a narrow and deeper path through the southern end of the property, past the second marsh. It may need to be bridged.

Agriculture Canada recently redrew it’s plant hardiness zone maps and Hyndford was “upgraded” to Zone 4B. Details from Renfrew of recent weather patterns indicate average yearly precipitation is 32 inches/118.5mm falling as either snow or rain relatively evenly throughout the seasons. Temperature swings rather steeply each year. Average in January is -12C and in July +19.7C. The yearly average temperature is a lowish 4.9C. In the past 100 years, temperature extremes have ranged from -42.5 to +38.3C.

IMO, we therefore need to plant & prepare ourselves and our animals for temperatures ranging from -45 to +45C as well as for flooding (from the nearby river & it’s tributary that runs through the property), deluge & drought.
The IPCC expects similar regions to dry out as climate change progresses. Indeed, Ottawa Valley and especially the Bonnechere River watershed (in which Hyndford rests) were hit by drought in 2012. Shallow wells in the area dried up, and river flows were severely impacted. (It is common practice to draw from wells no more than 18 feet deep. One local driller reported he was not finding water before the 123 ft mark during this drought.)

Apart from drought, both earthquakes and wildfires are anticipated hazards in this region.

There are at least three distinctive soil types on the property: loamy sand, sandy loam and clay loam. The clay loam is under the back 1/3-1/2 of the land. Loamy sand is directly south of it toward the road. The smallest soil patch, sandy loam, (perhaps 3 acres?) is to the front East side, in the front field, South of forest. This will have to be confirmed from the ground, but it’s possible there are two very small sand pits on the property, within the loamy sand section (makes some sense). With this mix of loamy soils we are well set up for planting and for natural building with cob and plasters. (Yeah!)

These are the basics as I have been able to lay them out prior to our first visit to the property. I haven’t walked it for at least 30 years. There are two buildings which will need to be carefully inspected. One is a post and beam barn (about 75 feet long) and the second is a classic Ottawa Valley log granary. We expect to renovate the latter as our first permanent home.

Classic Ottawa Valley log home or granary. This one has been renovated to become the Tourist Info centre in Eganville.

Classic Ottawa Valley log home or granary. This one has been renovated to become the Tourist Info centre in Eganville.