Realeyes Farm Permaculture Design – Site Sector Analysis and Assessment

Location: Elmwood Township – Leelanau County – Michigan – USA – Earth


Region: Cold-Temperate, Zone 5b, We have four seasons which means a fresh start every spring, and long growing days in the summer. However this makes for a relatively short growing season so provision for food preservation and storage is essential.

Altitude: 590-620ft

Precipitation: Average rainfall is 3 inches per month. Autumn has the highest precipitation. Late winter has the least precipitation, but due to the snow melt, is one of the wettest times. The largest single historic event was 7 inches. There is some potential for droughts, especially with the changing global climate and the local sandy soil conditions.


Latitude: 45 deg N

Threats: Intense Snow Storms due to Lake Effect Snow

Habitat Types: 1. Cedar-Birch Swamp 2. Shrub Thicket (Dogwood, Autumn Olive, Elderberry, Highbush Cranberry) 3. Beech-Maple-Basswood-Oak Dominant Climax Forest (max age 100yrs) 4. Cleared farmland, primarily Sheep Sorrel and Spotted Knapweed 5. Inland Lake-Bass, perch, bluegill, seaweed, cattail, reeds, clams, muscles

Land History: This site has been in my family for several generations and used to be an active family farm. They produced mainly corn and beans and also had gardens, cows, pigs, chickens and more. It hasn’t been farmed in 40 years, and was planted out to Blue Spruce for Christmas trees 30 years ago. Most of these have now grown over 40ft and are spaced very close together. There were some apple trees planted on the property long ago which are still growing and producing well, although they could do better with some underplanting, mulching and pruning, and perhaps a foliar spray to deter fungal disease, and pests.

Average First Frost Date: September 17th

Average Last Frost Date: June 9th 

Wind: Prevailing wind out of the South/SW, confirmed by local wind flagging



Distance to Large Water Body: Lake Michigan – 21 miles which creates significant lake effect snow, and moderates local climate. The site also borders the inland Cedar Lake to the east.


Existing Species on Site:

Trees: Apple, Mulberry, Maple, Oak, Basswood, Ash, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Cedar, Service Berry, Weeping Willow, Birch, Poplar,

Shrubs: Autumn Olive, Grey dogwood, Red Osier Dogwood, Highbush Cranberry, Elderberry, Saskatoon, Stag-horn Sumac, Honeysuckle

Herbs: Sheep Sorrel, Burdock, Dandelion, Purslane, Mullein, Goldenrod, St. Johns Wort, Wood Sorrel, Lambsquarters, Grasses, Lilac, Brown eyed susan, Red Clover, White Dutch Clover, Horsetail, Cetum, Jack in the Pulpit, Wild Leeks (Ramps), Boneset, Joe Pye Weed, Daisy, Cattail, Water Reed, Mint, Wild Grape, Spotted Knapweed, Virginia Creeper, Trilliums, Queen Anne’s Lace, Raspberry,

Animals: Humans, Deer, Squirrel, Coyote, Fox, Skunk, Racoon, Chipmunk, Hawk, Robin, Blue Heron, Seagull, Geese, Ducks, Rabbits, Frogs, Clams, Muskie, Bluegill, Perch, Bass, Pike, Trout, Crow, Eagle, Swallow, Bats, Bees, Hornets, etc.

Sun Angles: Winter solstice: 22deg off horizon. Rises 67deg east of due south and sets 67deg west of south, Summer Solstice: 70deg off horizon. Rises 116deg east of due south, and set 116deg west of south.

Slope: Very minimal. About 2ft over 100ft towards the lake (east)




Thanks BARC for composting food waste on our site, providing us with copious free organic matter and feed for pigs and chickens! Let's keep closing the loops!