I have a small stand of black locust in zone 4/5 and appreciate the n-fixing and yummy blossoms but wouldn't intentionally grow more for firewood. There are things that grow/regrow much faster here (like elm) and don't have thorns on their branches to hassle with. But really, I deal with thorns and spines enough here.
Damn, damn, damn. Terrible news and far too early in life to navigate passing. I donated to the cause and posted to social network. I never met Toby but Gaia's garden has been invaluable over the years. I have two well-loved copies and have probably bought and gifted another half-dozen to people who seem receptive. His work and their lives have done so much to extend the accessibility of permaculture, firmly establish a US presence, and to inspire urban and suburban households to embrace the practices and principles. I'm slowly working through Permaculture City as I work on some urban neighborhood project ideas.
I like it! One issue I have though is that I follow the link, see something cool, want to reply, need to log in, log in, then get shuttled to the main page, and can't find the thread again. Weekly is about right for frequency for my preferences.
Another pair here in the southwest US. We live in a medium sized city in a home circled by small yards areas- it's not a lot of overall land area, but a great find for affordable property in the core urban area. I'm the permie and my wife's the artist. I'm just getting started on the real work here as we enter our third year at this property. We're in 7b zone. Much of the task at hand is soil and water. Our house, while lovely and updated, was foreclosed on then stood vacant for 2-3 years. In our neck of the woods that makes soil into dust. So the surviving trees and plants are hearty but the soil is pretty much hydrophobic. We keep 2-3 hens, bees, and cats. I've been observing (of course!), getting structures like chicken pen and coop built, and the first plant projects were a dwarf/semi-dwarf fruit orchardlette and a plot next to the chook coop where I've put in grapes and berry bushes (with vines twined to eventually shade the coop). Next is pulling up gravel mulch and repurposing it for wicking bed media for annual beds and getting the newly exposed, rock free area amended for perennials (placed to take advantage of roof edge rain flow).
Oh, and in our city, which is really queer-friendly, I know a few other lesbian and bi permies.
Aly -- using them above ground? I thought it was always in the ground? Did you just got for pinhole size then?
I didn't mean using plastic as ollas, just my experience using them for "drip irrigation." I wanted a bit more flexibility/mobility than with buried jugs/bottles. I was surprised at how fast a pinhole drained (it was years ago - but I think I used a corkboard pushpin) - so run some tests and likely better to use different size sewing needles
Shaz Jameson wrote:What about re-using plastic bottles for ollas in places where it freezes?
I know plastic is the demon but it's free and it's re-using... or is the problem with leachate?
I'm just thinking I've got really sandy soil and along with a 'junk pit' some ollas could be quite helpful... I will have a scout around for unglazed clay pots, that's an awesome link
I'm not averse to using plastic even with leaching concerns (e.g wicking beds are pretty magical here). I've used two-litre soda bottles above ground, but getting the hole size just right was something for which I didn't have the patience (little pinhole will drain in a couple hours). Milk jugs degrade and shatter here.
Ruben Jaime wrote: My raised bed garden gets full sun at the moment and I've tried to place things where they wouldn't interrupt each others sun too much. At least by a newbies judgement.
Congratulations on beginning the journey! I live in the high desert with hot summers and low rainfall. From my experience, the type of raised bed you built can be challenging in terms of water needs and plant vigor if you are doing hose/bucket watering. If you don't already have a set-up, consider drip-irrigation, soaked hose, junk pit/olla, or wicking bed. It's often simpler to dig down instead of build up for arid climate gardening as the plants get a bit more shade, some wind protection, and better soil moisture regulating. As for full-sun... in my area "full sun" plants often do best with a bit of shade (shade-cloth, loosely spaced tall plants like sunflower).
I lucked out this spring; my top-bar colony didn't overwinter but a swarm settled into the hive last weekend. A number of bees had been raiding remaining honey stores so I imagine a few colonies had it in mind before swarming and/or picked up on the honey/wax remaining. (note: I intended to do the prudent thing and pull all bars, discard/process all but two combs of honey, freeze those, then place back in the hive - but didn't get around to it... though I didn't notice any obvious signs of pathogen/mites/foulbrood when inspecting the dead colony, so hopefully a safe destination).
gani et se wrote:Alycat, can you elaborate a little on the junk pit? Is it right beside the plant? Under it? I'm thinking of half rotted wood...
If you look at the mound lowest in the picture you can see the opening. It's in the middle of the mound and has some cardboard scraps peeking out. The seeds are then around it for side growing. I used a post-hole digger to get...maybe 18" or so... down after forming the mound to keep the squash roots from soaking in the berm. I filled with mostly paper products like newspaper and cardboard, maybe some rags/cloth. With our arid climate it acts more akin to sponge or wick than something biologically active (hugel, compost, etc.). If it was getting rarer watering, an olla might make more sense, but it worked great for my needs. The junk pits are good here for trees as well (place one or more at the drip-line of new trees or those needing supplemental water.
I have used the DIY joined pot set-ups. In 2011 I did some experimentation with water methods. The attached picture shows a bed with three squash mounds. One with an olla in the center, one with a "junk pit" (hole with paper, mulch, etc.), and one with no central water storage. I wasn't diligent about taking pictures as time went on (and the bed got messier with more mulch) but the olla and junk pit both outperformed the no-retention mound significantly. The junk pit and olla, however, both did about as well - so, for me, the junk pit is a much cheaper and less fussy option. Far outperforming either of those set-ups was a wicking bed I built in an area that was previously the least hospitable veg bed on the property (Albuquerque, NM, south facing bed against a wall and near another - so wicked hot and dry).
Due to aridness where I live, I have not done a spiral, however an important benefit is the extension of space. An upward spiral yeils more space than a flat spiral; picture running a tape measure up stairs versus running a tape measure from the base of stairs to the horizontal end point of the top stair - but staying on the ground floor. The first is longer due to run plus rise so an extending spiral increases plantable space. Also mentioned previously, it creates microclimages that may not occur in that space otherwise ( like a moist and shady north side).
Schwahalla, you should call Mike at Trees that Please. It's in Tome and he's permie-ish and super-knowledgeable tree guy. They probably sell whatever you need and he can help you plan for establishment.
Hi Schwahalla, I grew up in Los Lunas and live in Albuquerque now
I'm not an expert on windbreak species here - by any means - but I would maybe think about our native species that seem to do OK on their own. Ben Haggard (mentioned in the book Gaia's Garden for his work on a low-water use site in Los Alamos) wrote a paper on Pinon-Juniper guilds: http://www.permaculture.org/nm/images/uploads/Pinyon_Jumiper_Guild_Associations_by_Ben_Haggard.pdf. A PJ guild would be pretty short so not sure how tall you need (there are equations you can look up to determine height based on how far away the windbreak is from your house and other areas).
In general though, don't expect to establish trees on mesa land without help the first couple of years. Some watering, deep mulching, run off contouring, and something like mulch pits (holes dug near new trees and filled with absorbent materials like paper, compost, etc that you fill when watering trees to help give roots a longer lasting sponge to draw from).
That book also details some plants used in a site near Santa Fe. The extension offices may also have some good advice for you.
"The thing that I found odd about the first book was that it was written as if he had invented permaculture which in many cases is the kind of gardening and farming that used be common around people's homes. He gave no credit at all to other sources or even acknowledged them."
I never got that impression, and I read the first edition years ago. It talks about the history in the introduction. I think it doesn't continue to list credit for each particular concept as that would completely drag the readibility and accessibility down - the exact opposite of the book's purpose to be an accessible and easily understandable information source for your average person looking to "manage" their homes better. You mention things being "non-technical" - I think that is largely the point, this isn't meant to be a designer's manual or a biology text. Both books include a pretty decent bibliography and references to look there within text for those wanting to see where to learn more and where his info came from.
I've read through or skimmed a number of the tomes of permaculture and in thinking about what to, for instance, give someone when I'd like to open their mind up about permaculture, Gaia's Garden is it. What about others' opinions on introductory pieces? So far I haven't come across better for a first blush with concepts?
Good video. Thanks for posting. It does a good job of pointing out the difference between low-input and sustainable. On a number of occasions I have heard the 3-4 hours of "work" per day in hunter-gatherer and cultivator societies - nice to see that expounded upon.
That depends on what type of enterprise you're thinking of (selling knowledge, produce, perm products, livestock, etc.) and what type of buyer (individuals, businesses, etc.) and what geographic sales area you have in mind (and channels for sales - e.g. web, storefront, markets).
From there you can figure out segmentation either broadly (e.g. local restaurants seeking herbs) or with more insight and understanding (e.g. individuals engaged with permaculture could be understood in buyer clusters like green thumbs, independence minded homesteaders, moral- or political-based low-impacters, etc.).
I just picked up a book that seems to be just what you're looking for. It's titles Fresh Foods from Small Spaces by R.J. Ruppenthal. It definitely comes from a sustainibility/permie mindset. Here's a link on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Food-Small-Spaces-Square-Inch/dp/160358028X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270491094&sr=8-1. He really maximizes space in ways that haven't occurred to me. Main topics are strategy, vegetable cultivation, using vertical space and reflected light, growing fruit and berries in small spaces, growing sprouts, making fermented foods (kefir, yogurt, ginger beer), cultivating mushrooms, raising chickens and bees, composting and vermiculture, survival during resource shortages, and building a sustainable future. I haven't gotten very far in but so far it's pretty good.
Ernie wrote: drying conditions differences between NM and TN are rather profound.
LOL - Quite true and my experience is definitely NM based. Though to me, having less biological material in the mix seems like an advantage in a humid area when it comes to flooding. One would definitely need to consider timing for initial block curing but that would probably be the case for cob and SB.
Here in Albuquerque our adobe homes have outlasted floods. It's been a while since a big one (1940's) but the valley and old town have withstood flooding and many of the buildings are several hundred years old and no worse for wear. Curves are easy with adobe and the smaller row height makes windows and door placement flexible. They aren't prone to swelling or cracking. The material has good R-value and less square footage used for walls compared to alternatives. If you don't have a supplier, making adobes is relatively easy (and if you have materials for cob, you have it for adobe).
One more thought as I've had the same thought of bread and pizza. Pueblo bread is cooked in the hot oven after removing embers for a lower heat, however for pizza you generally want a high live fire heat. The beehive shape of hornos is great for bread in terms of even heating but not much room for embers plus a pizza or two. So my thought has been to elongate the shape so the footprint would be an oval rather than a circle.
For materials, cob would probably have a slight advantage for pizza cooking (heat up quicker) and adobe would have a slight edge for bread (hold and disperse heat longer, since less woody/straw material).
Sunstone Herb (permie farm and herb product producer in Albuquerque South Valley) is doing an earth oven workshop June 19th: http://www.sunstoneherbs.com/workshops.html. Not sure on cost or time. I went to one a few weeks ago that was $12.
I live in New Mexico, USA where summer heat is above 30C (max of about 39C). It's very dry here, however we get late summer monsoonal moisture. There are a number of tomato varieties bred for heat tolerance. Look for ones like "Heatwave" and "Early Girl." There are also adapted heirloom/heritage varieties but those are are the cherry type (I'm trying out two strains this year, Texas wild tomato and Chiapas wild tomato).
It sounds like your temperatures are getting too hot for pollen. From what I've read, the pollen of most tomato plants becomes sterile at 32° C and tomato production often ceases. Heatwave strains remain fertile up at higher temps and Early Girl fruits here early enough to get a good crop before the heat really cranks up.
I second the mention of shade (and mulch). I have definitely seen a difference in when using row cover here. Our UV and heat are high enough here (we're about a mile above sea level) that I just leave row cover on all day during the hotter months. the tomatoes do well and fruit nearly the whole summer. Without it they stay stunted and barely fruit.