Here's my site plan:
The kitchen garden near the back porch door. This is about half finished. I need to dig rocks from the other half and install buried wood beds. Presently growing Arugula, Fava Beans, Parsley, Garlic, Elephant Garlic, Cilantro, Collards, Beets, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes (just went dormant after a freeze), Tiger Lilies, several kinds of small Onions, Apple trees, Lettuce, Chicory, Sunchokes, Mint, Oregano:
The house rain tank and greywater bed. The greywater bed grows a small Bamboo plant (could use more water than the laundry provides) and some Canna. Eventually we hope to plumb the shower to it so the Bamboo will be happier:
The future water garden between the house and the workshop. I hope to have a pond with water plants and maybe some fish, based on what I learn from my aquaponics experiment. This is a very long term plan because there are many rocks in this area. The part of the garden not taken up by the pond will be buried wood beds for edibles:
The little aquaponics experiment. Total system contains about 600 gallons. I've ordered baby Channel Catfish and Bluegill which I should get in the Spring:
The site of the future Well House, which will be made from rocks and bottles and will contain one of the large tanks. We plan to install a photovoltaic well pump system. The Well House is a long-term project. It will also serve as a cool storage area:
Bottle collection we've been working on for a few years:
The old vegetable garden and orchard which was killed by the drought. This area is planned for the future Asparagus Farm experiment on the end nearest the viewer and the far end will be an edible Prairie Garden. Both of these gardens will have buried wood beds. Fortunately there are no rocks in this area! :
Not pictured are the large-scale ongoing rainwater harvesting earthworks project and Wildlife Management plan. The above plan is for the approximately 1 acre "homestead" part of our 20 acres.
We also have some animals; a Border Collie, 3 indoor cats, 2 outdoor cats, 5 sheep, 2 turkeys, and a couple dozen chickens.
I am impressed with what you have going on.
From the last photo it appears that your beds contain wood for moisture retention. A flattish profile would lose less moisture to dry air. Many of the hugelkultur beds I've seen expose to much sidewall to drying winds. I wonder if a membrane could be placed just below the soil level around each bed and sloped toward it? This would suppress all weeds and gather rainfall from a larger area.
It's nice to see the pictures, from what you described in other threads I was anticipating desert like conditions complete with sand dunes and petrified livestock. It looks like there's still hope.
This is the sort of thread that I'd be interested in seeing more of - people sharing their projects/experiments, successes, and failures. I hope you keep adding to this thread.
My husband and I have a total of 20 acres, but the "homestead" part around the house is maybe an acre. I probably won't be able to develop even most of an acre, as I'm a very slow worker! The climate is so erratic here with good years alternating with horrible droughts and catastrophic floods that I've had to completely rethink a lot of my earlier plans, so a lot of work I had done in the past was largely wasted. I've killed so many kinds of plants! But I think I may finally be learning how to grow things here...
H Ludi Tyler wrote:Thank you. This thread was inspired by Dale Hodgins' suggestion that we each start a thread about all our permaculture projects.
My grade 5 teacher always said I was an inspiration. My classmates called me other things.
I thought this type of personal thread would be a great way for us to showcase what we've done without having people constantly pick holes in it, as happens to ideas which are still in process. I pretty much dropped out of the green building section for a while simply to avoid dealing with someone who wanted to constantly point out why I shouldn't do anything the way I definitely intend to do it. Two of these projects are in process but that doesn't matter to someone who firmly believes it should be done differently. ------- So I think the personal thread thing should give us some sort of immunity from judgment, as these things are a done deal.
I'm going to start mine tonight and the first thing I'll do is load up a photograph of myself and some pictures of things I've done.
Since we moved to the new format I've noticed it's more difficult to edit postings. This may have been done in order to prevent people from removing their posts after they were quoted. In the personal thread we should be able to add and subtract stuff at will. I'll talk to the powers that be and maybe they'll listen.
If I was to post even half of the ideas running through my head, I'd be locked up for sure.
H Ludi Tyler wrote:Dale, you are like Super Idea Man. You're definitely an inspiration. And other things!
I remember a couple months ago when I first learned the word hugelkultur and read about it. An hour later I had several reinventions of the practice running through my mind including incorporation with fish ponds, using beavers to chop up the wood, burrying the material in swales in dry climates, using them as windbreaks, putting rock piles beside each one so that snakes can live there and gobble up the rats and mice which are bound to burrow into the beds, and most importantly getting paid thousands of dollars to take other peoples wood waste. It took me two weeks of head scratching and writing to record everything that came to me in that first hour of hugelkultur. Then I went and piled 150 m³ of the material on my property using an excavator to move it all. It wasn't a rash decision. I mulled it over for at least 45 min. before committing.
At this point many of my projects are just talk, but that happened before when I just talked about tearing down a giant hotel by hand and about getting a free house simply by removing it from the site of a new bridge. Those things happened and many of my proposals will happen over time. There's nothing I enjoy more than turning my idle coffeehouse chatter into real tangible accomplishments. The idea I'm most in love with right now is detailed in the thread about "farming urban wastelands." Which I posted in the Homestead section.
Are there fish in your aquaponics system yet? What kind?
peace and bless
Only Gambusia, one goldfish and several frogs in the aquaponics right now. I think the fish hatchery will be delivering in the spring.
Do you process your wool yourself?
Thanks for sharing!
I like the idea of posting our projects here with hopes that others will have ideas for connecting elements. This is where I am sorely lacking. I love the concept of permaculture, and learning about it has helped me move from "I only want edible plants on my property" to wanting to incorporate wildlife, but in practice, I am still closer to practicing organic gardening than I am to practicing permaculture!
I've only done minimal wool processing, just washing prior to sending off to a friend to spin and then to another friend to knit. I wanted to learn how to make felt but realize I'll probably never get around to it.
C, I've been working on this land over the span of about 12 years but not every year, and many years of work were wasted because I was not preparing for this severe drought. Most of my previous ideas have been scrapped.
The plan for the bottles is to use them in constructing the well house.
I have a lot of other smaller projects in mind such as a composting toilet system, a solar cooker (we've tried building a couple with not that great results), a solar dehydrator (my husband built one but we determined it needed to be redesigned so it was retired), and various passive cooling strategies for the house.
The inside of some of the structures was quite surreal with all of the different colors and the way light refracts through the bottles.
Good roof overhang, plenty of lime= durable bottle building. Consult a mason on the best mortar mix. Lime is quite caustic so you'll need good gloves. A dust mask is also advisable. -- Happy mucking.
Re: wool, I know a sheep farmer who loves using the dirty/poopy edges of her fleeces for mulch. They hold water in the soil well, and take a long time to break down, might help in your dry conditions. Felt is so simple to make, you really should spend 20 minutes with soap and warm water. To make larger pieces you can just use water and feet on a tarp. There are no tech ways to prepare it for optimum felting but a wool picker should be pretty cheap to buy or make. I'm not sure how you feel about it, but urine was supposedly the first felting agent in mongolia.
Re: bottle building. Is there clay in your soil? Could you use cob instead of cement? Cement and lime are gross, I have friends with some serious lime burn scars.
I've used some of the wool as mulch.
There's a lot of clay in the subsoil, but I don't know if I can excavate enough to build a structure with. All work is with hand tools.
Zinc is a trace element that is essential for human health. When people absorb too little zinc they can experience a loss of appetite, decreased sense of taste and smell, slow wound healing and skin sores. Zinc-shortages can even cause birth defects.
Although humans can handle proportionally large concentrations of zinc, too much zinc can still cause eminent health problems, such as stomach cramps, skin irritations, vomiting, nausea and anaemia. Very high levels of zinc can damage the pancreas and disturb the protein metabolism, and cause arteriosclerosis. Extensive exposure to zinc chloride can cause respiratory disorders.
Most people have a first-flush diverter, which is recommended for rainwater collection over here. That might rinse off some of the oxidised zinc.
I'm planning to try growing some other plants along with the asparagus, especially those which have proven themselves to be relatively drought tolerant. I think I'll try tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, basil, and maybe a few other things. I'll be growing several varieties of asparagus, the ones I have presently which I plan to relocate to the asparagus farm are (I think) Mary Washington and Purple Passion. I'll probably be using a combination of a few varieties from crowns and others from seed.
What are you plans re mulch? Are you growing some, or can you use the trees? I live in a similar looking dry landscape, but different flora and no drought currently. Looking at your pictures, and the land here, I want to cover everything with mulch (whatever I can get my hands on). We get a very drying wind here, you look more sheltered.
No prison can hold Chairface Chippendale. And on a totally different topic ... my stuff:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture showhttp://permaculture-design-course.com/