Finally I have a plot that can be farmed with ease. But it is 4 hour dirve from İstanbul. And I don't really own it. Nevermind let me grow something!
I am quite excited about this. Eventhough I am lucky, very lucky, to have some land to grow stuff in Istanbul, it is by far not the best place to garden. Soil is pure clay mixed with urbanite, 40 to 60 degree slope. I have been pushing forward for the last 10 years, building a rain water collecting system, building terraces, building hugelbeds, burried wood beds (to create soil). I built my veg. garden, but with an average pace of 2 square meters per month (20 square feet/month). Not that I didn't try hard enough, it is imposible to beat 2 m2/month. I tried.
So this new plot is in 9b, roughly 200 square meters, sandy clay loam and the plot has not has not been cultivated for over 30 years. It has access to free water, has electricity, is in full sun and protected from wind in all sides! It is in the village center and next to our house. The only issue it had was the fact that was covered with construction waste, blocks of concrete, roof tiiles and some plastic bags. That was the only thing that hold it from being a perfect plot. Not anymore, cuz I cleaned it all (almost), 5 garbege trucks full of waste and 80 bags of trash. I removed some as I visitied the house and so it took over 8 months to get the job done. Now the fun begins!
So this is the plot:
I started to remove wastes last july and as soil got uncovered weeds popped up! I was able to cover only a fraction of the plot with weed fabric. It is very expensive, so it doesn't make sense to cover the whole plot with it.
This is the scene when we arrived:
after some pruning:
removed weed fabric:
This is the soil beneath:
all kinds of garbage (mostly concrete and glass) removed:
this is how it looks from second floor window
put down the layout:
So the plan was to build no till beds (since I don't have rototiller) 75 cm wide with 40 cm wide pathways. I opted to go with wider pathways.
Similar to building lazy beds I cut the sod with shovel and put the soil/sod in pathways over the beds.
And did that for the next 9 beds:
this is the end of the day picture:
We were going to broadfork the whole garden but that night a relative of mine brought a rototiller. So we rotatailed 8 out of 10 beds and left 2 for no-till as an experiment. Added wood ash, some compost, gypsum, spoiled dog food.
put down drip irrigation and leveled the surface
at the end of our second day:
I planted potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke to the first two beds and covered the remaining beds. I will be planting sweet potato, pumpkins and corn. I don't want to deal with weeds this year, who knows whether there will be travel restrictions. Noone needs to build market garden beds to grow sweet potato, pumpkin, potato or corn. I wanted to built them as I had the chance.
So now I have roughly 100 square meter growing space (that we built in two days) in addition to my original veg. garden -roughly 250 sq meter (that took over 10 years to build)
The best part of this garden is that it is soo isolated I can actually grow many special varrities with no worry. Such as Greg's (thanks!), Lofthouse's popcorn, fava and landrace okra.
Well I really like this new one. Aya Farm, she just recently moved to a lovely vilage in İzmir Turkey and making Youtube videoes.
We all look for new recepies and I think these ones really fit a permie lifestyle. I was meaning to start a tread about some, but videoes are always better. Here are some recepies (titles are turkish and english as goes the texts in videoes)
Such as tarhana - a very old time instant soup recepie
Or türlü , which literally means various. A main dish that you can make with various vegatables but just one or two from each. We usually cook this one early in the season when each plant gives only a handfull of produce
grape harvest and making -again traditional- sucuk, walnuts with dried grape syrup, which can keep fresh up to months if not years
Personally I find digging 60 cm - or 90- deep easier than digging 30 cm. Since when digging 30 cm deep -with a pickaxe- you are digging top to bottom. It will be hard on your back. When digging 60 or 60 cm deep, I dig sideways as I stay in depression and pull dirt towards myself - by pivoting pickaxe upwards. I initially dig a 1,2 m wide, 1,5 m long 60 to 90 cm deep depression and put the dirt on the side. That's the hard part. It is 1,5 m long to maneuver. Then I fill the first 75 with wood logs and such (with a thickness of say 30-40 cm), and as I dig forward I put the excavated dirt on top of that. I add manure, smaller branches, leaves and what not as I layer dirt on wood. I continue to dig on contour, or almost on contour as long as possible. When the bed is complete I add amendments to the top layer. Finally I distribute the initial pile on the bed or put it in compost or in the chicken run. If I really need to dig 30 cm deep bed, I won't use a pickaxe. Broadfork or a good garden fork works better.
I recommend digging 60 cm deep, since the top 30 cm of soil is very sensitive to humidity, temperature, sun etc. The deeper 30 cm layer is more reliable to hold water. Give it a try, and see how it works.
Try to build long beds on contour or almost on contour. Or not on contour but build underground dams -30-50 cm thick vertical clay layers to hold the flow. It is easier to dig a longer single bed than many smaller depressions.
You can use plastic to divert more water to your beds. I know it is not permie friendly, but there are videos that large areas are covered with a plastic membrane and collected water is diverted to beds, fruit trees and such. You don't have to use plastic, if soil is compacted it will be impermeable too. You can use a sledgehammer to compact soil.
About shade cloth, permie way of shade cloth is palm trees. They are the best. Their roots might be very persistent though. To overcome that you can plant then in larger pots. You can also burry the pots, 30 cm deep and prune the roots as needed with a sharp shovel. You can also use their dead branches (is it called branch? leaves? I don't know) to cover a pergola like structure to create shade. You can plant some plants, flowers etc in to palm-pots too.
I don't like spending much on building beds, but if you have the budget you can add vermiculite to the top 30 cm layer.
Looks cool :)
I think your bed is a bit on the hot side. Probably it has more nitrogen than needed. It might not be a big deal though, sunken beds are more forgiving.
550 mm water is pretty damn good amount of rain. 3 to 4 months might seem changeling, but shade cloth and mulch should take care of much of your problems - in addition to sunken beds. I would prefer buried wood beds ( a type of hugelculture), as wood acting like a sponge to hold water. I would go for 60 cm deep at least. You can find all the details in buried wood bed tread, here is the link: burried wood bed . How long does it take to build, how deep, what to put etc. I would prefer that bwd's for your case.
Nitrogen issue is a common misunderstanding about hugels. It is not 100% true. The amount of nitrogen removed from soil is proportional to the surface area of wood, sawdust etc. So if it is large pieces, it only requires a small amount of nitrogen. While sawdust - a very large surface area- literally sucks up all nitrogen from the soil. In hugels, after a very limited amount of nitrogen steal, wood itself begins to decompose and add more nitrogen to the soil itself (by bacteria, roots, itself and so on). This initial removal is not significant, because you have to cover wood with a thick layer of soil. (by thick I mean 30 cm or so) Plant roots wont reach the wood layers in the first year -or very few of them-, so no robbing.
Wood does not heat up like manure do. Hugels heat up a bit, but not like compost does. Its overall carbon to nitrogen ratio is very high (also a lot of inorganic matter) and compared to compost 2 things: First it is in layers, it is not a uniform-ish mixture like compost. Secondly even though it is covered with a layer of -20 to 30-40 cm thick soil, hugels breath. It will have large gaps, openings etc. It is a good thing - it tills itself. But it does not heat up like a compost pile. The initial heating will be moderate and go away in 2-3 months. After that it wont be much warmer than surroundings. It will passively hold heat during night and cool surroundings during day time - balancing.
Buried wood beds act a bit different than standard hugels in temperature wise. It will also heat up and than cool down initially depending on how much nitrogen you put in. If you put a lot of manure, it will act like a hot bed (not related to the amount of wood you put in). Since it is insulated on all sides except from the top, it will cool down slowly. Months. Does it matter? As long as you do not build your hugels in may, june, july, No! Its completely fine.
In full battle mode I would try to divert as much as surface water to your sunken bed, add wood to act like sponge, mulch heavily and use shade cloth. More water, more storage, less evaporation. Don't forget to mulch heavily for 4 month dry spell.
Also don't forget to fully soak your bed while- or after building it. It will jump start the whole thing.
It has been years that I gave up on grinding biochar. As long as it is not bigger than 2-3 inches, it is all fine. I did not see any ill effects, any problems or such. Some -or most- prefer to grind it down to, well almost, dust.
Here is what Cody did on youtube: an experiment.
Long story short, he made some mistakes while conducting. So the experiment cannot be reliable. Nonetheless he comes to conclusion that particle size is not a major parameter.
You can come up with many reasons against, such as why grass not tomatoes, but I tkink it is still very useful.
Last sunday was the end of harvesting summer crops. I devoted most of the top terrace to saving seeds from trials. I was able to harvest more than 100 kgs of eggplants and 80 kgs of peppers (most of it hot peppers) from lower terraces. I was not expecting yields to be high, but we had hotest septermber and october in record. So yeah, I'm glad!.
Before planting fall-winter vegatables, I added gypsum (to help with clay), bad guano and bone meal. I tilled the top shovel depth. I planted garlic, swiss chard and broccoli with winter radishes.
I planted garlic!
Couple of points,
-A handle would have been great. It doesn't need to be metal, wood will be just fine.
-Soil was not ideal, but it worked perfectly.
-It is a 120 cm wide bed (roughly 4 ft), so I needed to roll it 4 times in a weird position- no handle ugh!!. I guess it wont be any better if it had a handle though. I think what will be perfect for beds like this, a half a bed-wide tool. It is in modules, so modifying is no problem at all.
It was very easy to plant garlic. I planted over 500 cloves in less than 20 minutes. I spent most of that time rolling it. Planting itself took less than- say- third of it. It really speeds up the process, for you are not planting- but dropping - ideal holes- perfect depth and perfect diameter!
I don't have much time to buy in bulk, prepare them for freezing/canning or chase prices. I follow mostly what is said before, never buy precooked stuff and so on. What made a huge difference on my budget is to learn new recipes. At first it was completely unintentional, I am trying to get on a better diet. There are many recipes that will fill you up with minimum number of ingredients. You don't need everything in a market to cook. Simple-cooking, as I call it, is cheaper, way faster and -I think- healthier. Search for recipes of the world cuisine that have 5 or less main ingredients. Or try to simplify your recipes.
Couple of examples might be,
Chılbır, boiled eggs (boiled without shell) put on yogurt with garlic
Pumpkin desert, cut pumpkins into pieces pour on some sugar and put it into the owen. If you have ginger, you can add some.
Mushroom casserole. Cut mushrooms into two or three, add some chopped pepper, butter, tomatoes if you have any, salt oil etc and straight to owen.
Flapjack with honey, just recently shared by way out west blow-in blog YouTube channel.
You can make hundred different of meals by salad, egg, rice or pasta being the main ingredient. Fried chicken with salad, menemen and so on.
You can find many simple recipes for carnivorous diet too. Grilled heart (cut in leaves) for example. Heart goes cheap here compared to other parts of the animal.
Freezer always helps if you have time. Fish is seasonal in Istanbul. You can buy wild fish when it is cheap - also meaning it is its season. Cut bonito into two longitudinally -like fillet- but with bones and skin. Put some tomato sauce, oregano and salt, straight to owen.
Sorry for any typos
I tried to connect wooden teeth with steel parts. I knew it would be problemetic as I broke the design rule of "consistency". I finally figured out how to make it work, but I'll need to correct the remaining 15 of them some time later on (after spending 2 days driving to get prices etc I don't feel like it). It wouldn't be a prototype without some drama, eh?
I made couple of trial runs! (screws doesn't work, gets loose etc - other type of connections failed too).
About teeth design. The wooden pieces have a constant cross-section of 2 cm diameter for the first inch (2.5 cm), then decreasing linearly for the last 1.5cm, giving it a conical shape. It worked perfectly in my mind, though not in the soil. I should have guessed it. Sandy soil remains "stable" till it reachs roughly 30 degree slope. Our dark soils - full with life will be a lot stable (45-60 degrees maybe?) and wet clay being perfect. I guess I was way too optimistic with 90 degrees for the first inch where the cross section reamains constant. If I were to design them again I would go for decreasing cross section for that part too. So this 4 cm long piece will have a decreasing cross section from 4cm diamer to 2cm then for the last bit 2cm to zero. I thought teeth will not sink in fully, but they had no problem in the seed bed trial. I think increasing the cross will not cause any prblems at all.
It is heavy enough to get into the soil, light enough to carry around. Moreover I don't want to spend more on the handle while I can come up with new designs for the teeth-parts. Besides it is not massive. It is easy to use it on sides of the terrace. Handles might get in the way.
I think it is time to call a full-stop for nuturing of this design. I have spent more then what I thought initally. Now I can pass to the third phase - trying to kill it. Let's see where it work, where it doesn't, cons, pros, fails etc. First fail is quite evident. 2cm constant cross section teeth design will not work in sandy and/or drier soils. It seems it is a good thing that I have clay soil. Way more then I want though! :)
So I had time to play with what I have atm. Couple of design notes for future consideration.
- The circular part seems fine. A probable problem is, when it rolls over the handle part, plate might cut through the horizontal pipe (that the dipper rotates). Adding bearings will be an over design.
- The horizontal bent metal pieces that are 4 cm wide seems quite right. What bugs me is that I need to have 4 different types of them. I can drill more on the ears (the end- bent parts) so that I can move it closer or further away from the center. 4cm wide section will not let it though, so the ears will need to be 2 cm wide.
- I have no clue how to design "tooth"'s, the dipper parts that will sink into earth. They need to be made in turning lathe and whether they are made from wood or metal they are expensive. I chose to have them made of wood, 4 cm long, section getting smaller in the last 1.5 cm's. It is wood so I can rasp If needed.
Here is where I am atm. Now I need to figure out how to connect wooden teeth with metal parts.
I had a similsr problem with one of my raised beds. Too much organic material (such as decomposed woodchips) in a bed makes it gain an epic hydrophobic character when it dries out completely. What I did for my beds;
Always had a thick layer of mulch during the season.
Installed drip irrigation and let it drip for days.
When the summer season was over, I added some dirt over the beds and mixed it throughly. I have clay soil, so I added a layer of clay into the mixture. I guess vermiculite would also work for that case.
Kc Simmons wrote:
One thing I noticed was the runners came up quickly and started producing in early spring, while the long beans were slow to get going but, when it got hot and the runners slowed down, that was the same time the long beans started going strong so, between the two, I have had a steady supply of green beans during the growing season.
This is a very pleasant discovery for me too I missed the spring season, because I was building the beds, But I am looking forward for the fall season.
Michelle Heath wrote:
Off-topic, but my great-grandfather was born in Turkey, moved to Germany, and immigrated to the US when he was ten. I've always been curious about the area.
I bought most of the seeds from Baker creek.
It is hard to describe this country. So many cultures, people, traditions mixed together. So many climates - zones too. Hope you will have a chance in the future to visit.
Terraces are performing as they were intented. No drainage problems, no excessive settlements. No fertility issues. No landslides,
Here is the one that I built 2 years ago, covered withbeans and tomatoes.
And this is the mid july picture of the terrace that was built this year during covid-19 lockdown. As of 9th of august, Corn is taller then me with some 2-3 ears, peppers and eggplants are covered with fruits, snake beans are performing very well, scarlet runner beans are suffering from heat. Pupmkins and squash are doing good also, considering that this is the first time that I am growing these varrities.
A little update:
So 8 months ago I ordered seeds, some lost on the way. These are what I was able to receive, and their mid season performances
Candy Roaster - North Georgia Squash = most vigorous squash among others, easier to grow. I have 5 squashes by 2 plants, 3 of which are 10+ pounds. I did not taste it yet. Apparently you need to keep them stored for taste improvement. But I am going to cook smallest one just to see how it tastes. It got covered with powdery mildew, but somehow made it through. I am going to plant it next year too.
Honey Boat Delicate Squash = nice plant but got decimated by powdery mildew in mid season. I was able to get one squash out of 4 plants. Not very encouraging. Made a taste test, it was the most bland squash I have ever tasted. Something to do with my conditions. Will try to grow it again next year, just to give it a second chance. Seeds are saved.
Gete Okosomin Squash = nice plant. Got decimated by powdery mildew. No fruits, no nothing
Buen Gusto de Horno Squash = best resistance against powdery mildew. I have one small fruit and one medium size on the way. I saw the pictures and its appearance is the reason that made me go "why not". It sure looks weird.
Table Queen Acorn Squash = I thought this would be the best performer. Got decimated by powdery mildew, no fruits. Nothing. Very disappointing.
Cherokee Long Ear Popcorn = Plants as high as I am. Got stressed in the beginning but made it through. Each plant has 2 ears. No damage by insects, diseases etc. Great performance. Might try it next year. Seeds will be saved.
Strawberry Popcorn = Plants 1m+ (3ft). Each plant has 1 or 2 ears. Probably I planted them in a wrong spot, but performed very well.
Scarlet Runner Bean = Well it definitely has nice flowers. But that was it for me. Plants do not put on green beans after flowering. I have never had this problem before. I think it has to do something with temperature or (unlikely but) pollination. Each Plant is covered with 50-100 flowers for the last month or so but I had one bean only. I still have some hope, it might perform differently in the fall. Will see
Chinese Red Noodle Bean = plants didn't germinate. Pff.
Chinese Light Green Long Bean = great performance! I have beans that are almost 1 m long. I am trying to save all the seeds that I can get. I'll try to grow it as a major crop next year.
Just recently I received another delivery and it includes:
Glass Gem Corn, Principle Borghese Tomato, Musquee De Provence Pumpkin, Early Scarlet Horn Carrot, Blue Berries Tomato, Blue Beauty Tomato, Russian Red or Ragged Jack Kale, Golden Bantam 12-Row Corn, Fisher's Earliest Sweet Corn, Takane Ruby Buckwheat, Parisienne Carrot, Painted Mountain Corn, Corbaci Pepper, Scarlet Kale, Corbaci Pepper ( yeah I know it is weird me ordering a Turkish variety from the US to Turkey, but hey mistakes you know), Buena Mulata Hot Pepper, Filius Blue Pepper,
Peppermint - Magenta chard
I need to come up with a new design for planting. I can't use regular seeders or such because (for my story: terrace garden)
1- All my veggie plots are hand built on steep slope as terraces. They are 110-120 cm wide. There is not much walking paths.
2- I don't have a ton of growing space, so I have to use one of intensive growing approaches. Meaning I can't use regular row planting.
3- I don't have much time. Drip irrigation, timers, good soil all helps, but I need a tool that will help save a tone of time on things like planting.
Of all the methods, I think square foot gardening should work very well for direct seeding= radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, garlic and similar considering my situation. This summer drip irrigation proved to be best for planting seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and even corn). I might come up with another tool to optimize planting for drip irrigation- friendly veggies.
But square foot gardening is also a ton of work. If only seeds knew themselves where to be planted. If only there were a tool that will make square foot gardening efficient.
There is one. A plastic plate with colored holes drilled, so you can spot where to plant, how many of them to be planted and such. It is a nice template. But it is one dimensional. It is not for planting in lines. You have to press the template for each square foot. Yeah you will not need it in the future but why as we can come up with something better.
Here is the template:
Assuming terrace beds are 120 cm wide (4 ft), I think it will be wiser to think a ft of it will be lost my row covers in winter, and one side getting baked by sun in summer time. So I have 3 ft wide beds that are 30-60 ft long.
While I was watching some youtube videos I came across to this enthusiastic couple who designed their own dipper drums for planting garlic. Their design might seem awkward at first sight/or to an untrained eye. Nevertheless, as any other original idea/variation, the design hosts many ingenious solutions. Some of witch I loved. To be fair it only looks awkward because it is a prototype. Thanks Tim!
Here are their videos, help them if you can. They do come up with amazing videos, many good new designs.
So I wanted to come up with a basic tool that will but holes on the ground as square foot design dictates. Then I can drop seeds without thinking a thing. Of course it is not perfect, and beds will be the same crop (or same space group of crops in one direction). But it is still way better than pressing the template for each square foot.
I goal was to come up with one single drum diameter for all different spacing requirements. That way I might come up with a modular design, have a modular 3ft rotating template with 3 different, exchangeable templates. (please see the second picture)
After some basic calculations, a total diameter (drum + dippers) of 40 cms came up to be almost perfect. 25 cm diameter drum will perfectly fit.
So here are my hand drawings and a basic autocad screenshots. I don't know when I might have time build it myself. Maybe this year maybe next. But I wanted to put it out here for any ideas, and in case someone wants to build and test it himself/herself. Since it is inspired by Tim's original design, I call it, WOW'S DIPPER DRUM (or in long form: way out west blow in blog (inspired) dipper drum). Any ideas are appreciated. Very much so before cutting any steel.
Your work is greatly appreciated Sandra and Tim. Thank you!
We had lockdowns, so I kept on chasing my endeavour. IFor any meaningful harverst, 15th of june is the last day to plant summer crops in Istanbul. so I chose that date as a deadline.
I was able to add an additional 20 square meter of growing space, but I was only able to plant half of it. It is funny that I was able to do all that hard work for weeks and then had no time to plant the rest. Whatever, I am going to plant some flowers in the remainder section.
All the seedlings suffered initially. It took some time for their roots to reach the layers of compost. As each one reached that layer, boom!, peppers, eggplants, corn and pumpkins are putting out leaves and growing like crazy. It was a quite late for planting this year. So I dont expect harvest per plant to be high, but in total, unless a mishap happens, I will get a lot more than last year.
So digging and piling what ever left to burry:,
Board and covering with dirt (this one had only a single layer of wood)
I am trying to come up with new ideas to keep kids busy during these weekend lockdowns. After seeing all different shapes and colors of mushrooms (mostly Mycorrhizae) popping up in my veggie patch, the idea is to grow mushrooms in pots. They do grow actually, but unintentionally. Can we come up with a soil mix that we will be able to plant a pepper or such in to the pot. The real purpose is not to get peppers, but have small mushrooms popping out. Kids can wait weeks for grass heads to grow, I bet this can turn into an activity (planting fungi and a companion pepper plant, waiting and waiting). Any ideas?
For the record, if you google key words including these two: mushroom and pot; you end up with the uber delicious recipes of mushroom pot pie. Very much recommended indeed.
and when you search for fungi-pot, you end up recommendations how to stop mushrooms popping up. Not very helpful
It will be 3 terraces, each roughly 1.2 meters wide (4ft) with 30 to 40 cm (roughly 1 ft) pathways in between. Beds will be hugels as I like to do in this climate. I guess I can call them as burried wood beds, but I dont want to complicate definitions. Lets call this kind of hugels, one side burried and the other covered with sheet of wood as terrace-hugels.
Yes, I know, it is not wise to build hugels on terraces. Especially perpendicular to the slope. BUT I am a structural engineer and, yes, I made some calculations. It will hold with a safety margin triple of my third attempt. So, it is fine. If one does not know how to calculate slope stability and basic foundation engineering stuff, please don't attempt to build hugels on slopes.
My third attempt cost almost nothing. On the other hand, it didn't take advantage of the whole area and it was very labours to build stone wall and dig under the terrace level. This time, I used 1.5 meters long half inch iron pipes and 4 mm thick sheet of wood. I know, wood is going to rot probably less then 2 years. Frankly I dont care. It is so cheep and easy to build that I can change them each season in the next 20 years, and it will be less labours than my third attempt. Pipe-piles are roughly spaced 50 cms to limit deformation of wood sheets. Beds are 55 cm high, which I found to be ideal to reach ahead. I used the rule of thump to hammer the pile in twice the length that is above soil level (50 cm above soil, 1m below). It roughly costed 1500 turkish liras to build 40 square meter of growing space, so 6.25 dolars per square meter, or 0.6$/ft2. It took roughly 3-3.5 hours to transform the slope into 1 square meter (roughly 10 sq ft) of growing space by manual labour.
It is in four layers. First layer is the larger sized logs covered with green stuff. It is covered with a bit of soil and then another layer of branches and soil. The third layer is compost over soil times 2 to 3 times, which is covered with the forth layer of store bought topsoil (cheapest that I can find). The foruth layer is there just to give a nice finishing and easy planting. It is only 1 inch thick. As they tend to dry out, logs and branches should not touch sheet of wood so I left a 10-20 cm thick layer of clay soil in between.
I didn't go below the pathway level and gave a gentle slope towards it just to shed extra water to the bed below and it was easier to dig this way.
So we started digging the slope for the second terrace (so we can pile soil on to the fist ones place)
I am continuing my endeavor to terrace our property. This year has been very strange for all of us, but it has been very tough on me. I don't want to flood this thread with personal stuff, so I am not going to go into details. Let's call it destiny, it is just things over things, financial, health, loss, kind of a break up, let downs etc. It was roughly 3 weeks ago, I wanted to cry, but I couldn't because I wanted to yell. I couldn't yell, because I wanted to punch something.
I had to do something.
So I started digging. Again!
I completed the first phase of my fourth attempt to tame this land. Digging didn't help a bit frankly. It was really hard to sleep when your whole body is hurting, and it is really hard to feel optimistic when you don't sleep. I planted some beans and some corn with neighbors and their kids two days ago. Joy on their faces made me feel better. Best part of it, kids won't fake it. So that is nice. There are problems ahead, actually none of them are resolved. BUT, If I still have the strength to brighten a day of mine and others during probably the darkest part of my life, I think I can manage. Instead of breaking things or punching, I forcfully transformed negative stuff into something positive.
That feels good.
Enough with mumbling, details ahead.
Originally, I gave myself 4 to 6 months to finish this work. So we started slowly and tried to enjoy with tea breaks etc. Then, as I said, I overtook to whole work. Lockdowns helped a lot. It is roughly 40 square meter of growing area added to my vegetable plots. Here is the figure:
Swiss chard. It grows like weeds. Not the worst problem ever, but if we have another meal from it I might puke. I am not going to let it self seed ever.
Mint is another one.
Bermuda grass (dont judge me please, it was my first year into permaculture)
As rule of thumb, a worker can dig one cubic meter (or yard) of dirt per day. He/she can easily dig more than that, but won't be working on weekends, holidays or such. It might not seem to much but 7 cubic meters of dirst can be dug in a week and it is roughy 10.5 tons. It is heavy.
If it is not your paid work, you won't be pushing yourself so much and you won't be digging so efortlessly (since you probably don't know tecniques and how to use pickaxe, shovel and crowbar properly). I can easily hit roughly one third of that on average.
If you are going to dig clay, aim for half a cubic meter, if it is silty soil aim for twice.
If you are going to dig weathered rock pieces, don't put yourself under stress by goals. It really depends on the rock type and sizes. So have a cold beer nearby and try to enjoy digging.
I am the only one around here who never touches his/her face. I gained this super power by growing super-uber-extremely hot peppers (such as carolina reaper ). Nope, not gonna happen. (best antidote is milk- or oils)
After that problem resolved, you can use any hand cream you like :)
If not, yeah sure you can use it. I asked a similar question like a year ago, here is the thread: dog food as fertilizer . I probably should have posted pictures of how it ended, but long story short, yeah it works very well. Don't overkill though.
There are problems with channels though. Not such problems that you might not overcome, but problems that can be easily evaded by doing something else.
For example, sealing the pond. That is probably the very first thing to consider if you are going to build a pond. Every pond leaks at one point of its lifetime. If you build a pond with a circular or elliptical surface area, you will get the least water-soil interface. Rectangular shapes have corners, which might create problems while building it or in the future. A channel has the largest water-soil interface area. You might even double or triple the interface area to the total volume ratio. It significantly increases the possibility of leakage.
At a certain time in the future, you will need to clean the pond. Channels in a pond system have the largest edge compared to their volume, so more debris falls into them and thus they are usually the first to get clogged or mostly clogged. That might be a good thing if you are considering to build a chinampa. You want debris as fertilizer in that case. In other cases, you need to design a pond to stay cleaner. It is harder to clean channels.
Unless you are going to build your channels deep (like 2 meters), temperature difference won't be strong enough to move water. And you need two reservoirs with different shapes. It is certainly true that one length of the channel might be warmer than the other, but water does not know that. It will always do what requires the least energy. Warm water will not be at the top of the water column, warmER water will be at the top. You need a greater temperature difference (actually density difference) to turn the vertical movement into lateral. So you will have two layers, warmer at the top and colder at the bottom. The flow need not halt also, so so you will need a deeper, shaded pond and another shallow pond (a bowl shape) with larger surface area and a channel connecting them. As the shallow pond gets warmer, water at its bottom (its cold water reservoir) will heat up and rise. Meanwhile, deep pond won't be able to heat up as quickly. So you have a cold surface connected with a warm surface by a channel. Warm water from the shallow pond will flow into the deep pond as colder surface water of the deeper pond will sink and later on flow into shallow ponds cold water reservoir to compensate for the volume change. The channel will have two layers of water going in opposite directions. The warmer water layer will get deeper as sun rises in the sky. At a certain point, it will choke up the whole channel and cut the flow. As night time comes, shallow pond with greater surface area will lose more heat due to evaporation. So the movement will get reversed somewhat. The problem is this movement will not make sense if it is slower than certain velocity. If it is too slow, dust will settle at the bottom of the channel, slowly clogging it. It wont be adding oxgen into the system also.
If you really want to create a stream effect, you pump the water to a greater hight and let it flow downstream to the pond. It will oxygenate the water, fish and frogs will love it. Requires minimum excavation work and such. It is also trouble free. If it leaks, just cut it off. The pond will continue to hold water. You can pump water with a bubbler. 1 ft-30 cm rise of water is more than enough for most cases. Search for davidpaganbutler in youtube, for how bubblers rise water.