mos6507, I think you maybe struggling over the fact that the land you are living on is not owned by you. Your parents probably don't care about the sustainability of the land as much as the dollar it (the land) will bring to the closing table. I think you should look into affordable land in the vicinity. Build your food forest there. And when it comes time to sell, include in the sale the stipulation of trust that the land will be tended to as a food forest and not some urban construct. Part of ownership of land is the freedom to utilize it as you see fit, and to see that it is maintained into the future. The type of land trust that you speak of is already inherent in the real estate laws, at least here in the US. The founders of this nation had great foresight when they implemented the tenets of landownership. You can stipulate in the sale of land, the future use and means of use of said land. Any deviance from that agreement is a breach of contract in which the seller can file suit. You could also create a NPO or LLC and entrust the land to it and remain in control of it, even though you have physically moved onto greener pastures..
One word: Biodiesel. Diesel that is processed from vegetable oil instead of petroleum. The energy content of diesel is much higher (read as more fuel efficient.) That is why diesel vehicles get better mpgs. You can usually scrounge the needed oil from restaurants and such. The other two main ingredients are methanol and lye. As long as you are comfortable handling these potentially dangerous chemicals, the process is mostly self fueled, albeit with a little added heat and agitation. Nowhere near the energy input that is needed for distillation.
Probably the easiest and most sure fire way to turn your lawn into a garden would be the lasagna method. While it takes time to build an optimum soil with this method, you can start planting in it before that point. Now by lawn, there can be different definitions around the world. I'm assuming you mean a grass sod that is mowed on a regular basis. In this case, I'd recommend letting the area you plan on converting to a garden bed get very overgrown, (at least 1 foot, or 1/3 meter; preferably more.) The cut the grass down and use it as the first layer in your lasagna bed. Cut the grass as close to the soil level as possible. I'd cover that with some compost and then some fallen leaves if available. If not, the grass alone will do just fine to start with. The cut grass should initially form a layer several inches (10cm or so) thick. This will initially mat down and form a layer that should be able to keep most weeds from sprouting and the heat from the grasses initial decomposition may be enough to kill or at least send most weed seeds into a deep dormancy. You can also use discarded newspaper, cardboard and such but there are issues with that such as chemicals in the inks and glues that I won't get into here. You do some research on that use them to your own comfort level. If you don't have a grass sod lawn, you could also plant a cover crop such as any grain or legume or mixed cover crop. Just let it grow up and then cut it down as described above. I hope this will get you started. I'm sure others on here can provide some other excellent advice, and I'll check back on this thread later. Converting lawn to garden is a topic I'm interested in and have been learning as much as I can about it in the past few years.
Plankl wrote: How deep was your layer and what was it exactly? Straw or hay?
More mature the meadow is, longer the hay is. That's what you want with this method.
I was also thinking of using leaves the same way as i did it with hay. At least 20+ cm deep layer of leaves. A nice layer of soil and leaf mold in a year time + leaf mulch.
Also, if you bring leaves or hay on a place full of living plants you win. More soil in less time. Of course you could also add fresh om.
I heard buckwheat grows better in poor soil. Cowpeas being to good to his neighbor?
Sorry it took awhile to get back. The layer left over from the cowpeas and buckwheat was only about an inch/2-3 cm. Roughly chopped by the mower. I estimate it would have been about 4 inches or so if I had a scythe. I spread the leaves on top of that. Then the straw that I bought. I don't know of a good source of hay around here and the straw is good, not chemically killed. I live on a small plot, so I have to do some outsourcing of amendments. At least for the meantime until I get a better system set up. I plan on planting some grains and such. The spent plants in my veggie garden get cut down and left to lie where they fall. Much of what I do is limited due to neighborhood codes, and only 1/4 acre with a house on it..
The soil was poor to begin with, so the buckwheat did fine. I just didn't get to harvest as much as I wanted to because it was rather tedious due to the interplanting. I plan on doing separate plantings in the future.
I can't say that I've actually done it yet, but I am setting aside a few hundred square feet for planting a cereal this year. No till, grass sod that will be mowed down and left as mulch and possibly some straw on top of that.
I haven't decided whether to seed ball yet. I did an experiment with cowpeas and buckwheat last year on 500 sqft. 1/2 was seed ball, 1/2 was plain seed. Both halves seemed to do equally well.
What about just burying the tree trimmings for hugelkultur? You can make easy raised beds by piling wood then dumping soil on top. Or you can dig a pit, dump in the trimmings and then put the soil back. Or you can pile leaves on top of a pile of logs... or compost or start a new compost pile on it or whatever.
I bought a tiller and a chipper last year thinking I'd use them to make mulch and incorporate OM into my soil. I don't even use the tiller to break ground anymore. I've had good enough success just planting into sod and mulching with straw for far less work. For incorporating woody stuff, I dig a hole and bury it whole.
I agree with soil on renting gear. If I absolutely needed to chip up a bunch of wood, I'd look into renting a machine. Even though I'm a bit of a gear head, I plan on selling off some of my equipment due to lack of use.
I tried this last year. I wish I had a scythe, but I used my rotary mower to create a similar effect. I interplanted buckwheat and cowpeas in the same patch. The cowpeas were a fairly good success, but the buckwheat was kind of a wash. I plan on trying this again this year without interplanting. I think the interplanting would be okay if my goal was purely soil improvement without crop expectations. I have some winter rye that I plan on working into rotation this fall.
The rotary mower cuts the straw into finer bits, which I just left lay where they were. When I planted, I hand tossed the seeds and raked them down below the mowed grass. Both the cowpeas and buckwheat liked crowding from like plants. I will try planting them denser this year. I plan on buying a few small square bales of straw to supplement last year's residue. I also have a good pile of leaves that I gathered last fall that will go into the mix.
I didn't take pics last year, but I plan on posting some from this year's crop.
I never used a saladmaster, but I've used a crank slicer in several restaurants that I've worked in. I can't seem to fine one online, but they were similar in concept to the saladmaster. There were one or two blades radially mounted on a round plate, kind of like the mandolin blade of a food processor. The depth of cut was adjustable with a screw. You placed the food to be sliced in a V-shaped table and pushed it into the blades with sliding block. You could probably find one on Ebay for a reasonable price. Or check restaurant auctions.
I'm with Joel on knife work, but I tend to use my knuckles or side of my hand. This is also safer than it sounds. I think it provides much better tactile feedback. The side of the knife rides against your skin thus your nerves can better sense the position of the knife. Just be sure to tuck your fingers back away from the blade.
Its ironic that the very devices we (mankind) create to reduce our labor on the land turn and make us slave to them and the land. Then we deny that fact. Perhaps a new generation of farmers will be from the cities, rather than the countryside. Perhaps an empty mind is a good thing. I like tossing seeds by hand and then mulching over them. It may not feed an army, but it is plenty for my own increase. I tried it last year with pinkeye purple-hull peas and buckwheat. I more than doubled the amount of peas I started with. The buckwheat was more or less a wash. I noticed that the cowpeas liked to be crowded, and much of my planting was a bit too sparse for them. This year I'm going to plant them denser in a smaller plot and see how they take. I'll also try a few other varieties this year.
Marina, I think the solar collector above is designed to create an up draft inside of it as the air is warmed, then the air enters the top of the dehydrator and falls through to the bottom of that as it cools slightly. Then the exhaust stack is solar heated (painted black) to create an up draft in it to draw the air out the bottom of the dehydrator.
Has anyone tried using a simple dehydrator box painted black (collects solar heat from all sides) with a vertical stack off the top (like a rocket stove)? The intake would be a simple opening at the bottom or installing a low angle solar collector at the bottom like marina's could be an option. Would this make the conditions too hot, more like a slow cooker?
Scott is right on about the different ecosystems bearing different organisms. And I'd just toss the inoculated rice around on the ground that I wanted to inoculate. Perhaps toss some sort of mulch on top of that to keep it shaded and moist. Straw, compost or grass clippings would work.
I am growing Laurus nobilis in a pot. I got the plant last spring. It had four or five leaves on it. It now has 10 leaves and is a few inches taller. It is a rather slow growing shrub, so you'll probably want to purchase a larger specimen if you can't wait for a good supply of leaves.
Paul, that is a really neat contraption in the video. I really liked the idea for automating the rotation of the dryer. I think instead of water, that sand could be used, as water is precious and susceptible to evaporation. Use two buckets with a calibrated hole drilled in the bottom of each, put a plug in one and use it to catch the sand from the first which would be the counterbalance against the bungee. Just swap the buckets and the plug to reset the system. Or pour the catch bucket back into the weight bucket.
For sun dried tomatoes, there is a variety cultivated just for this purpose in Italy and available here in several seed catalogues. Principe Borghese, is a small, low water type tomato that has a flavor that is apparently improved by sun drying. It is a determinate plant, so the crop yields in a short window. They also hold very well on the vine, as long as it is still attached to the root system. When most of the fruit has ripened, simply cut the entire plant at the base of the vine and hang in the sun. The plant acts as a moisture extractor. Since it is no longer in contact with ground water via the roots, the water stored in the fruits reverses flow and exits back through the stems and leaves of the still attached plant. Pick the fruits once dry. I grew this variety last year, but only learned of the drying technique too late in the season. I did save the seed, but I'm not 100% sure of the purity of the strain as I didn't bag flowers and grew several other varieties nearby. I bought my seed from Territorial Seed Co., but other vendors sell it as well. I imagine this drying technique would work with other fruits as well.
Paul, what if the sliding chimney-like-thing was attached to another barrel top, only slightly smaller than the inside of the barrel. This way the chimney-like-thing doesn't slide into the burning heap prematurely like a hot knife through butter. The inner lid would ride on top of the entire heap, instead of very small surface area pipe which would want to punch right through to the bottom at the first chance it got.
Live and learn. With one comes the other. I'm glad you shared this, as I have a few raspberry whips taking up space in my garden that I'd rather them not be there. Now I have a good reason to help substantiate my want to move them.
samiam: I have heard of using rice as a growing medium for mushrooms before. The conditions were fairly sterilized for keeping a strain pure. The rice was cooked and compressed into jars and sterilized in a pressure canner and then inoculated with mushroom spores. The medium was just regular brown rice. Apparently white rice doesn't work very well. This more of a laboratory type setting, so I imagine just burying cooked brown rice would do the trick. Don't know for how long. Probably a few days to a week would do the trick. Perhaps try doing this throughout the course of a year as different organisms have different life cycles, thus being active at different times during the year.
I think what Paul originally stated had to do with people arguing needlessly over "what to do now." I tend toward the live and let live mentality. I'm not perfect at it, as I've had some moments of do it my way or else. That's the thing: nobody is perfect. The sooner more people become comfortable with that (both that other people aren't perfect and that they aren't perfect themselves,) I think the better. And there are those who'd say mind my own business to my saying that.
I've seen this one twice, once in 2d. My wife and I liked it so much that we went back and saw it in 3d IMAX. I'm with jacqueg. The storyline was blasé. But coupled with the outstanding imagery, this movie rocked our world. I'm also with Paul. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen. 2D is great, but alot of the forest scenes were just downright spectacular in 3d.
There were some elements of the storyline that I really liked. Like how the Na'vi are so in tune with the planet and the other life that they are not only connected with it spiritually, but physically with "the bond." The planet has a its own synaptic network connecting all life and matter as one. At the same time every being is very unique and individual.
I'm pretty familiar with conventional building. They're not as sealed as you might assume. If you leave the mice a reason (crumbs, accessible food, etc.) they will find a way into even the most sealed of houses. If you consider how much volume of a conventional house is "wasted space", attic, inside framed walls, crawl spaces, you will see that Simon Dale's house actually has very little "wasted space" for mice to live. The biggest factor in housing mice, as mentioned by strangeloop, is the food supply. I believe it was also mentioned that walls and foundations were coated in a lime render which pests apparently don't like to burrow through.
Asparagus and horseradish would both be perennials, as would rhubarb. Swiss chard would be a perennial in more southern states that don't experience a freeze. I'm with Travis on keeping this list geared toward annuals and biennials.
Larry, sorry, I was kind of vague with that question. Besides teacher(sensei) and disciple(deshi), what were the relations between senior student(senpai) and junior student(kōhai). Did sensei rely any on the leadership of senior students? Was the farm population stable enough for that, or was it more come and go? Were there any interesting people that you met besides sensei?
I learned about doing this with onions when I was a boy. Has anyone tried taking the stub that you'd replant and cut it radially into pieces like a pizza? I have sneaking suspicion that it'd propagate this way. Make sure you have some rootlets on each piece.
Shamanmonkey, good point. I noticed in one of the threads, that the idea seemed kind of monocultured. That doesn't quite strike me as Fukuoka-esque. However, not having met Sensei, I'd reckon that he'd simply be glad that people are experimenting with sustainable agriculture. I think those labels merely pay homage to the inspiration for the ideas so labelled.
I have a lodge 12" that I scavenged from someone leaving it behind in an apartment owned by a landlord I used to work for. It was pretty rusty when I found it. A little tlc and bacon grease brought it back to new status. I also have an 8" and a 10" that my grandmother used to cook on. The 10" had its long time seasoning ruined by my brother when he helped wash dishes. Apparently he used a stainless scrubber and thought the seasoning was dirt. He had it to a near mirror finish by the time my dad found him scouring away. I've a decent season on all of them now. The 8" is definitely in best condition, as it has kept its season for decades.