Norwegian permaculture garden. Help needed!

Hi!
We are two guys from the southeast of Norway (A place called Asker, not far from Oslo) planning to convert our garden lawn into a much more (hopefully) productive permaculture style garden! It's not a particularly large space, around 60 m^2. We are complete beginners and have no practical knowledge whatsoever. We do have a certain amount om theoretical knowledge from reading and watching vids but we need some support from you guys!
So here are a bunch of questions, if you have any tips to give us about a few of them or even all of them, it would be much appreciated!
1.REMOVE LAWN OR SHEET MULCH ON TOP?
How should we deal with the lawn? Is it a good idea to dig up the lawn cover and start a mulch bed or even just start planting straight into the bare soil with mulch on top, OR should we rather just do a sheet mulch on top of the lawn and let the lawn decompose underneath over time? Is there any risk of the lawn coming through the sheet mulch and would it in that case be better to get rid of the lawn alltogether? We might try out both techniques but any input from you guys on this would be great!
2. TOP UP WITH MULCH EACH YEAR/SOIL COMPACTION DUE TO SNOW?
In a sheet mulch layered raised bed system, do we need to "top up" with mulch/manure/compost etc every year or does it just stay as it is once settled and decomposed? What about winter time? Here in Norway there's A LOT of snow during winter, and wouldnt that compact the soil beyond whats good?
3. TILL THE SOIL?
The soil here underneath the lawn is quite compact and with a lot of clay especially as you go deeper. There's also a lot of big rocks. If we plant something straight in the soil, is it advisable to till the soil first to improve soil structure and aeration? Or would such tilling destroy the humus/microbial layer in the topsoil? Or do we do this just once as we start it up and then leave it? Again, what about soil compacting due to heavy snow?
4. COMPOST SOIL VS WILD FOREST SOIL
Whats the difference between composted soil and soil from the forest floor? Do we have to buy ready compost soil, or could we just go out in the forest behind our house and grab some soil from there to use in our garden?
5. COMPOST SYSTEM
We are going to start up a hot composting system, made with recycled pallets. Do they need to have a "roof"? Should we have one warm compost put together all at once and then another ongoing cold compost? Again, what about winter? temperatures get down to -20 celsius quite often, how would this affect the process, it would obviously freeze, but is that ok?
6. THE BIG BROWN IBERIA SNAIL
Norway has a big problem with the Iberia snail, the big brown one. How should we deal with this? Killing them is not really a desirable option, we are looking for ideas on natural, peaceful ways of distracting them/keeping them out of the garden in the first place! Any herbs/flowers that they hate? Can we make a barrier around the garden? What about natural predators, which ones are they and how do we attract them into our polycultural diverse garden?
7. A LITTLE POND
We want to start a little pond as well, should we also grab reeds/plants from a nearby large semi natural pond and plant them in our pond to get instant aquacultural activity, or wait for it to happen naturally? How do we keep the water from getting stagnant?
8. BUY WORMS FOR WORM TOWER?
We wanna have several worm towers in our garden, should we just wait for "normal" worms to come to our tower filled with manure and kitchen scraps, or do we need to buy and supply composting worms? Where do we find these worms to buy? What about the winter, will the worms die and come back or do we need to supply new ones each year?
Thanks for taking the time to help us in our project and therefore helping the earth as a whole! Gardening is definately the sustainable way forward!
Mads & Mikkel - Grindegutane
--
Quantonium

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 8 May 2011 12:01:56 +0000, Quantonium

http://travel.guardian.co.uk/pictures/image/0,8564,-10604115616,00.html
http://library.thinkquest.org/12924 /
http://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2010/10/02/norwegian-festival-gretes-great-gallop-norway-run-troll-stroll
http://luni.net/?p 30
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
@gardenbanter.co.uk says...

Hi. I garden in west Scotland, about 3degrees of latitude further south from you.. but on the coast so much milder winters. This garden is 8 years old; when I began it was all lawn and I didn't dig any beds.They were all made using a permaculture method, on top of lawn. Look up "lasagne gardens" on the net.

What I did was get hold of lots of large cardboard packing boxes from local shops (the biggest boxes are best, electrical shops are good) , cut one side, flatten them out, and lay them like overlapping roof tiles on top of the grass to block out all light. That kills the grass.Then pile organic matter thickly on top of the card to hold it down. I used seaweed, animal manure, leaves and and lawn mowing cuttings (vast amounts of grass, from lawn-mowing businesses.. they were glad to let me have it). Keep piling on mulch. Within a year, all the mulch and cardboard (and lawn) will have disappeared, leaving clean soil. But, you can start planting right away;pull back the mulch, cut an X in the card to open a hole, plant trees or bushes, or potatoes.
I cut a narrow strip of turf out round the bed perimeter, to stop the lawn outside it growing in. Use your turfs to hold down card.

You'll be amazed how fast it disintegrates and disappears as worms drag it dow into the soil.I keep on mulching the soil surface, year after year to build fertility and discourage weeds.
What about winter time? Here in Norway there's A

That's what nature does. It won't matter. What is much more important, is that you are building an open humusy soil structure with worm channels

I don't, unless I'm sowing very fine seed direct (like lettuce); then I just scratch up the surface.

When you are planting, just take out any rocks that are in the way (save them for making walls, paths, drain sumps etc)
If we

I don't till.I make a hole big enough to fit the plant.

Neither, make compost.

That's what I have, and mine have a "roof" (a frame made from pallet wood with plastic stapled on). Rainfall is high here and lids let me control the moisture level in the heaps so they stay hot and don;t get leached out. If they look a bit dry I push back the lid and let it get rained on.
Should we have one warm compost

I make them in a row (saves walls, space and heat). Fill one and leave it to mature while you fill the next one. If you are energetic you can turn full heaps into the next empty bay (introduces more air).. it saves a bit of time before the finished product is ready, but not essential.
Compost is one of the mulches I use on soil; so I make a LOT of it. ( using kitchen and garden waste, manure, seaweed,grass cuttings,shredded paper, shearing wool, thistles from farm, anything decomposable I can get hold of).
Again,

yes
can't help you..we rarely see snails here. We have slugs, I use barriers of wood ash or shell sand to keep them away from vulnerable crops.

Feed birds, and make bird tables, feeders and nest boxes. Birds with young eat a LOT of pests. They also keep scratching in mulch, turning it over and breaking it down.

There are lots of books about this.

Fishing tackle shops ("red brandlings", in English).They aren't earthworms.
I would put all kitchen waste and worms in the compost heap rather than a worm tower; then they will work away together whatever the temperature and you won't need to do any worm management ever again.
Janet
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I hear it gets cold there ;O) What do you mean permaculture style garden? What do you plan to grow? Permaculture implies perennial plants like trees, rhubarb, asparagus, or artichokes.

Depends on what you plan to grow.

Normally, if you feed the soil, the little critters keep the soil healthy, but I'll leave it to some of out more cold hardy posters to respond to that one.

Tilling the first time only is advisable to speed up the development of the soil. This is particularly important if you plan on growing potatoes.

Don't know what you're talking about. Compost becomes an ingredient of soil. The forest litter can be used as mulch.

So composting will take place during your spring and summer. A large pile (hot) is desirable for sterilizing weed seeds.

Ducks, chickens, and frogs. The first two will also give you phosphates, and you are on your way to permaculture.

All the aquaculture I've seen uses running water, like Florac in France.

<http://www.globalsciencebooks.info/JournalsSup/images/0906/DSDP_3 (SI2)12 9-142o.pdf> may be helpful to you.

--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

Normally, if you feed the soil, the little critters keep the soil healthy, but I'll leave it to some of "our" more cold hardy posters to respond to that one.
--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 8 May 2011 12:01:56 +0000, Quantonium

Do you mean 60 square metres or 60 metres square (3,600 sq m), your methods will need to be more mechanised and robust if the latter, with 60 sq m you can do it all by hand and save gym fees :-)

If you do it thoroughly the grass will not grow through (I am betting it is too cold for kikuyu) and so this will save effort. If you remove the grass what will you do with it? Throwing it away is a waste. You could compost it and return it to the soil. If so why go to the trouble of removing it in the first place? Compost in situ.

I don't know about snow compaction as it doesn't snow here, ask a local. In general you have to top up organic mulch as it decays over time regardless of snow.

It depends on drainage. If the soil has much clay and is not on a mound then planting in a hole that you have carefully dug and filled with friable soil will drown your new tree/shrub. You are effectively planting in a pond and few plants will do well. In those conditions build the friable soil up on top of the non-draining soil and plant into that.
If it drains well you can improve it in spots without too much bother.

Natural soils and man-made soils both vary greatly over the world. It isn't possible for us to say remotely how the two that you have in mind compare. You need an experienced local to inspect them and judge.
Regardless of which you use how exactly are you going to collect and transport it? How much do you need? What will that cost to move?

Hot composting will be hard at low temperature. You will need to build big compost heaps (at least 1 cubic m) and insulate them (old carpet is good) and add a roof of some insulating material to keep the heat in. It will be hard work to turn or to supply with air which is necessary to keep a hot heap working.
Below 10C not much decomposition takes place. Once it freezes nearly all activity will cease until the weather warms up to where the microbes are happy. You may be composting only in high summer and it may not be hot heap.
I had a friend who moved to Canada. All winter they threw their cat litter and dog's turds on the "compost" heap, where it promptly froze. Quite a pile grew but it seemed harmless enough and was often buried under snow so it wasn't unsightly. However when it thawed in spring it was a different matter, they had to bury it.
{I am not recommending carnivore feces for composting, the point was about lack of microbial activity when it is cold}
Why do you want to do hot composting? Where will you get the material? Collecting a cubic metre (at least) of material and chopping it up small so that it will decompose in a hot heap is a huge amount of work to do manually and this much would not be available often in a small garden.

No idea, never met a big bad brown Iberian snail.

If you have water birds that will visit your pond (to eat the fish that you have thoughtfully provided for example) they will bring in some water plants but that will take a while.
A pond is by definition stagnant. If you want to stop algae etc growing in it you will have to treat and/or filter and/or circulate it. People write books on the subject of the ways to clean such water, there isn't a simple and universal solution. A pond newsgroup might be more use than a gardening group.
Consider that the smaller and shallower the pond the quicker it will freeze which may make aquaculture difficult or impossible.

Once again my knowledge is limited about cold climates. One point though, compost worms and earth worms are different and grow in different conditions. You need to decide which (if either) will do well in your situation. I would not be looking for any solution that required renewing the population annually.
The point about permaculture is to adopt those practices that fit your land and climate and then to adapt them to your specific situation, not to import practices from elsewhere regardless of suitability and to force them to work in a place where they don't fit.
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Reading your whole post, I think the answers to your questions have everything to do with what you mean by permaculture.
If you're going to grow food on your front lawn, I'd wonder why. In most places, growing food means fences, netting, raised beds, etc.
You'll get the best advice with better questions.

Sheet mulch? You mean mulch with some kind of weed barrier.
Start small, you're beginners.

Snow does not compact soil. The ground freezes the snow piles on top. The act of freezing expands the soil and if anything loosens the soil.

Don't til unless you're starting a farm.

You can't take soil out of a forest in most civilized countries. The soil on a forest floor is compost.

Hot and cold compost? you're over thinking this stuff. Put garden waste in a pile. I year later turn it over and you'll find soil. In the winter not much will go on in the pile. No big deal.

Google says you are SOL.
This is one reason why food production is best done on farms. Google says they eat EVERYTHING. I wonder if that includes lawns?

Way too much for a beginner. Ponds are a specialty onto themselves.

Again, way over thinking this stuff. Throw garden waste in a pile. Do nothing else to it except turn it over are remove the soil after a year or 2. All this advanced composting stuff is for people that arrange their sock drawers by color.

I garden for beauty. Nothing wrong with growing food but we'll continue to feed the world from farms for the indefinite future.
--
Dan Espen

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed the poster was looking for answers, not attitude.
--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Billy Megillah wrote:

Then why did you respond, all you ever give is tude, albiet loooong winded verbose tude but tude nevertheless... WTF happened, run out of time to post your usual unabridged billytude megillah?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article <Wildbilly-94BF3C.22310208052011@c-61-68-245-

Permaculture IS an attitude; it's a philosophy of life, an outlook on how to inhabit and nurture the planet. The OP needs to grasp the "why" before looking at "how".
Janet
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I guess I felt it presumptuous to tell the OP to "ask better questions". None of us want to ask dumb questions. As we confront reality, the quality of our questions should get better. Just sayin'.
For the overview of permaculture, I'd recommend "A Farm for a Future", <
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xShCEKL-mQ8

A beautifully produced BBC production in five parts that may not be directly applicable to their situation, but displays permaculture approachs to family food production.
--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank you very much for the answers! We've learned a lot, and it will be fun to begin! We've gotten cow compost, soil, hay, planks, stones and other stuff! Seeds are ordered as well! :)
Have a nice day!
--
Quantonium

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Saturday, May 14, 2011 10:45:16 AM UTC+2, Quantonium wrote:

Hvordan går det med hagen? hadde vært morsomt å komme innom for å se! er selv ivrig på skoghage prisnsippet. Setter opp et lite prosjekt på n esodden for tiden.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sorry if my answers are not sufficient for you.
I have my own "attitude" and it is going to come through no matter what I do, but I believe I gave the OP some good advice. If you are a beginner, start small, and work up from there.
The OP doesn't have to save the world in one big step.
--
Dan Espen

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.