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Major earthworks starting -- central texas

 
gardener
Posts: 2481
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
407
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Turkeys like crawdads, minnows  and duckweed.  I put a water trough in my turkey area and added duckweed. They are eating it. The pond will end up a food source for them.

Found a split tree. When it goes it will take out my oldest planted pecan tree. I have to deal with this real soon. Its in a sheep paddock. I have been feeding sheep branches from these cedar elms everyday. I am trying to thin it out to get light in for grass. This one tree will open a big area for grass.
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wayne fajkus
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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The pond is shrinking in this heat. Until some time passes, its hard to tell what the normal "full line" will be. Not a big deal except for the plantings i did. Everything planted within a foot of the edge (in the water) is now not in the water.  Lily pads are looking bad, everything else (duck potato, water cress, water weed) seems to be doing ok to great.

I may pull the pads and replant a foot into the new water line.

I am also dabbling with crawdads. I started a new thread on that topic here:

https://permies.com/t/117714/Info-raising-crawdads#958715

I found my first crawdad hole.  I threw rice into the water to see if it will grow. It might be too late for rice seed heads, but in crawdad operations the rice stubble left behind after harvest feeds the crawdads. I used grocery store brown rice.
 
wayne fajkus
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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A lot of dragin flies at the pond. They tend to hover above the water weed
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wayne fajkus
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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I collected seed heads from my annual garden. I spread them on the hugel. Mostly carrots, fennel, and a little lettuce. When i collect cherry tomatos later i will throw plenty of those on there as well. The split ones and the ones that fell on ground(rollie pollies half eat the ones on the ground)

Here is a close up and full view of the hugel.
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wayne fajkus
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No rain in july and high temps. Pond is down. Zach said to expect fluctuations. It will fall faster than a typical sealed pond that loses only through evaporation. We are hydrating caverns underground. In one of Geoff Lawtons recent you tubes he quoted Bill Mollison as saying it takes (7 years? Or 3?, dont remember) to fully hydrate the ground after earthworks. So we have a little wait but i feel we are doing the greater good. Things like watering 1 or 2 year old trees might go away if planted in the correct spots, which is very intensive work outside the reach of a water hose

The crawdads will be viable during this hydration phase. They live in these conditions, burrowing into holes for several months when the water drops.

With the water lower, i can plant more lilly pads in the current waters edge. The ones i planted earlier are hi and dry and probably dead. The edge plants that Ludens sent me are doing good. The duck potatos and iris in particular. Duckweed, i put in 4 5 gallon buckets to keep multiplying. The turkeys are enjoying them.  I probably said this earlier,  but the duck weed is becoming a huge asset as a food source for them. They pick it out of the water trough. I am trying to feed them and multiply at the same time. Dry weight is supposedly 20 to 40% protien. Something young turkeys need.
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wayne fajkus
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You can see the fish habitat that Zach put in. It's a concrete culvert i had on hand. It's 24" diameter. He chained the stumps of the trees he removed to the culvert. One of these stumps is what a scorpion and black widow floated out of while they were in the water positioning it.
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Posts: 91
Location: Southeast Arizona, Latitude 31, Zone 8A, Cold Semi-Arid, USGS Ecoregion 79a
32
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wayne fajkus wrote:The crawdads will be viable during this hydration phase. They live in these conditions, burrowing into holes for several months when the water drops.



Won't crawdads puncture the clay bottom? Ranchers in this area dig a lot of cattle tanks/ponds in high-clay areas (usually no cement or plastic or rubber liner -- no one spends money on anything like that around here), and one year my partner asked some about introducing crawdads to one, for the good eatin'. They very sternly informed him of how fast crawdads would puncture the clay seal of a well-established tank and drain it. (Almost all the tanks in our area go dry by right before the monsoon starts, but a particularly good, well-established, big tank will collect and hold enough that it may have water in late June when none of the others do.)
 
wayne fajkus
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My pond is not a sealed pond.  It is meant to infiltrate water into the ground. Once the groundwater is charged i will have this big green zone of water around and above the pond from the hydration it creates. As it evaporates away, there will be a reserve of this groundwater to replenish it. Where a typical sealed pond loses an inch to evaporation,  I may lose half that. Technically i lost it, but the underground water i capture is there to replace it.

I can make the pond longer or wider with no concerns about a clay layer seal. The only concern would be the depth. There is a natural dry clay layer under the water seam below grade. I don't want to punch through that.
 
wayne fajkus
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I had a bad realization today. The large green plants on my hugel, which i thought were sunflowers, are cocklebur plants. That's a dissappointment. A lot of sunflower seeds were scattered on it.

Poisonous to horses, cows, etc. Although they won't eat it so no real harm. So i am out cutting them down. It will be largely bare when i am done. Fall seeding should start in early september. I am looking forward to that.

Oh, they are huge. Some are as big as 2" diameter or more at the base. I started with a foken hoe which is too much for it. A skinny bladed machete would do good but can't find it. My thick bladed machete is just bouncing off. Came in to cool down and grab my cordless chainsaw.  Crossing fingers....
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wayne fajkus
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Before and after. Ugggh. So sad looking now:
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wayne fajkus
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Here is a pic with a single plant i pulled, using chainsaw for size reference.  I would guess 6ft diameter and 3ft tall. Lets just say if there was a category for best cockle bur plant at the county fair,  you are looking and the grand champion!
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pollinator
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Location: Piedmont 7a
63
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You are the cockle burr King, Wayne, no dispute there!  On the bright side, there are a lot of roots under ground supporting plants of that size, which will add fertility to your soil when you cut the stems at the base.
 
Beth Wilder
Posts: 91
Location: Southeast Arizona, Latitude 31, Zone 8A, Cold Semi-Arid, USGS Ecoregion 79a
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I'm so sorry! Something similar happened to me when I (twice) seeded a big field at my mom's place with clover to cover the ground and keep weeds from taking over. I didn't have and didn't want to use overhead irrigation, so I laid down drip tape throughout the field and installed an irrigation timer on that spigot. Occasionally there were little flushes of clover, but by the end of the summer the entire field was cockleburs, tumbleweeds, and a number of other prickly plants that we had no desire to encourage (except for the lowest corner, where I'd tried some waffle beds and three sisters, and that all did great). I wrestled all that drip tape out of the humongous prickles and we all (but mostly my poor mother -- I had moved six hours away by this point and could only come back to help so often) took turns with various manual means of weed-pulling until eventually my mom had to rent a brush hog and clear the whole darned field. So disappointing, depressing, and a lot of hot sweaty work! I am really feeling for you. I hope it goes better now!
 
wayne fajkus
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Yes. Plenty of chop and drop.  I have to admit, they did a lot of shading on the hugel. Something needed this time of year. But, wow, that would have been 1,000's of seeds. As it is, i saw plenty of the burrs dried and sitting on the ground. This will not be my only battle with them.

I need to research the why. If the seed is that big cocklebur then no way i planted them. If that big cocklebur opens and is full of seeds, it is possible they were mixed into a seed mix. They were so evenly spaced that i think they were in a seed mix.

I have done plenty of dirt moving. I know what weeds come up from the disturbance. I have never seen this in this kind of qty before.
 
Beth Wilder
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I think those burs burst and release a LOT of seed. My mom tried burning a bunch because she wanted to make sure to get rid of them, and they popped in the fire and sent little tiny seeds everywhere (around the firepit in the backyard, where they hadn't grown before). So don't burn them! I might try black contractor bags and letting them bake in the sun long enough so everything is totally dead, including those seeds. But anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if just the seeds from one or two burs would be enough to cover your hugel. I'm mentally swearing at them in full color right now.

ETA: Try covering those mounds in squash seeds and see if they can fill the same niche, shading the surface with their big leaves? One store-bought winter squash might yield enough seed.
 
My pie came with a little toothpic holding up this tiny ad:
Solar Dehydrator Plans - Combo Package download
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