Emmons week 2 - base mapping

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Base Mapping, Sectors and Permaculture PrinciplesHilary EmmonsIntegrated Backyard Homesteading - Winter 2017

1. SectorsSun: very little of the site receives full sun due to closely surrounding buildings and tree cover, so creativity and flexibility will be needed to ensure productivity in the garden. On the plus side, there are opportunities for woodland plantings such as berries. In addition, the roof of the house, and to some extent the garage, are clear of shade and potential candidates for solar panels. Last, the west-facing side of the brick house releases heat in the evening, creating a warmer microclimate that could enable some natural/low-tech season extension.Google Earth view shows heavy tree cover and nearby buildings, which limit sunlight access.

1. SectorsWind: the prevailing wind in the area is westerly. The house and property are well sheltered to the west (buildings), north (trees), and east (rock ledge) providing wind breaks. (Deep Green Permaculture, Blocking Incoming Energies.)

A high rock ledge provides a windbreak along the east side of the property.

1. SectorsContamination: the site is a densely populated residential/urban area with roadways close by. The soil has been tested and has above-optimal levels of lead, as well as lower levels of other heavy metals. Water/soil runoff from higher elevations to the northeast is likely to contain similar contaminants (Landscape Catchments, Bane, p. 71).

In a small space, we have no choice but to situate garden beds near drives or roadways.

1. SectorsNoise and light pollution: close to the street and to neighboring buildings, noise and light pollution is to some extent unavoidable. Of greatest concern is the back of the property, which we want to develop into a sanctuary in the city. Its well sheltered on three sides by structures and natural features, but to the north it abuts a busy parking lot and multi-tenant building with a disruptive security light.

1. SectorsWildlife: there are numerous birds nearby and in residence, including bluejays, sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, pigeons, crows and even the occasional turkey. On the ground, we have to contend with squirrels, neighborhood outdoor cats, and rats; along with less-frequent sightings of skunks, raccoons, and possums.

Backyard turkey! Unfortunately, the neighbors might object if we start hunting these for food...

2. Permaculture PrinciplesSelf-regulate and accept feedback (Bane, p. 32). My site is an experiment in intensive urban homesteading. I should expect to receive feedback from neighbors, site inhabitants including livestock, and the landscape. In keeping with the principles of iterative design (Bane - p. 56), I expect to continually make changes, take in feedback, and make adjustments to my design, beginning with the broadest components and refining down to smaller details over time.Cultivate diversity. I am attempting to convert a conventional urban/residential site into a productive homestead. In doing so I will increase diversity - currently the site is planted in a conventional manner with a few trees and shrubs, a lawn, and a small wooded area. The soil is neglected and degraded. By introducing and/or inviting a wider variety of plant and animal life, each of which serves multiple functions, I will heal a neglected and contaminated site, improve the health of the ecosystem, and greatly increase the productivity/sustainability of my space. (Bane, p. 38)

3. Water AnalysisRegional information. The site is in Boston on the coast of Massachusetts. The area receives an average of 43.77 inches of rain and 43.8 inches of snow annually; precipitation is spread fairly evenly throughout the year. (source) The closest watershed is the Charles River. The soil type in the area is fine sandy loam (source).

Water entry and exit. Water enters the site through precipitation, which concentrates in runoff from the roofs of the house and garage; through gravitational runoff from higher elevations to the northeast; and from the public water supply, with the entry point located to the south. Water exits the site as it infiltrates into the soil (particularly the rich woodland soil on the northeast of the property), through runoff to the street and into the storm drain system, through drainage from the house to the city sewer system, and from evapotranspiration of trees and plants.

4. Water Analysis (continued)Elevation and water flow. The highest elevation on the site is the northeast corner of the property, a wooded area on top of a high rock ledge which narrows and runs down to ground level along the east side of the property. The elevation slopes sharply down to the west into terraced planting beds and a seating area. The garage and house are located on a gentle north-south downward slope. Although no significant flooding has been observed, there are areas of slow drainage in the north-facing seating area and along the west side of the property. At the northwest corner and along the east side of the house, some soil erosion is observed in heavy rain.

Pollution. The site is surrounded on three sides by busy driveways and parking lots and on the fourth side by a public street, all of which see year-round car traffic and winter snow management including rock salt and chemical melting agents. Therefore, pollution is a concern throughout the site.

5. Water Analysis: Base MapThe Base Map of the site includes property lines, buildings, existing planting beds, and major trees and natural features. Since the site is small, the scale of this map is 1 inch : 8 feet. A larger image is attached to the post so you can view details more clearly.

5. Water Analysis: Base Map with Water LayerThe Base Map with the Water Layer over it, showing paths of water through the site, gutters, downspouts and hose hookup, and areas of poor drainage and soil erosion due to water flow. A larger image is attached to the post so you can view details more clearly.

5. Water Analysis: Water Layer (standalone)The Water Layer on a solid background for better viewing of details and water flow. A larger image is attached to the post so you can view details more clearly.

ResourcesThe Permaculture Handbook, Peter Bane and David Holmgren. New Society Publishers, 2012Deep Green Permaculture: Zones and Sectors - Efficient Energy Planning.NESoil.com - Soil Survey Data for New England StatesWeatherDB - Aggregate weather data graphics using NOAA weather reportsSuncalc.net - Tool to calculate the path of the sun in any location based on time of year.