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Posts: 1126
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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ok so some SAD news

we are regrading near the house and will eventually put a patio in, to do this we had to cut down and pull a live tree (not sure what kind it was) fortunately enough it had some diesase so it may have died anyway, still a sad thing

it went to the hugelbed and small twigs and branches went to the pathways

and a random picture of a worm i found somewhere in the yard... i think in the greenhouse - this was taken on the 12th of Sept 2012
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Devon Olsen
Posts: 1126
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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taken on Sept 12th of 2012, these pics show some area that are near the hugelkultur that collected a small amount of moisture during a small rain, all are along a pathway so they get slightly compacted from walking and all of them result in a very moist hugelkultur due to wicking action, i was proud of my little depressions when i saw they were catching excess moisture:)
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Devon Olsen
Posts: 1126
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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ok a picture of some mullien, first and second year right next to each other, i took this on Sept 6th to show my aunt what both years looked like, feel free to share this image or use it to show others what they look like each year

a picture of a flower on one of my Okra plants, the only one i saw open this year, though we got a few small pods thusfar... probably frozen and dead by now though

also a picture of a stinkhorn mushroom growing next to the hose where it leaks in the lawn, a day after a rain storm when the sun was out, i originally thought that it MIGHT have been a morel but had my suspicions and have since confirmed it was a stinkhorn or Phallus Hadriani to be more specific - smell is like cooked white mushroom but much stronger according to my nose - taken on Aug 14th 2012
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Devon Olsen
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Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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ok here are some pictures of sunflowers

i tokk a few pictures of the sunflowers on the hugelbed after a storm when the sun was shining beneath the clouds, i though this one was the best so im sharing it


all of the sunflowers on the north side of the bed did better than the south and the south side was generally a lot drier, the south side was more steep and on this section had a rock retaining wall, the southside also got much warmer
this twirling sunflower was on the southside, i call it the twirling sunflower because the stalk twisted all funny like for some strange reason


Sunflowers After the Storm was taken on Sept 2nd 2012

the twirling sunflower pictures were taken on Sept 13th 2012 - you may notice bindweed in the picture, i have not found bindweed to be much of a hinderance, i do pull it in some areas, as well as where it is not needed to hold the soil together on the hugelbed but havent seen it causing any REAL problems, in fact it seems to be symbiotic with some of the grasses near the greenhouse, only pulling them down AFTER they have produced seed and begun to quiet down for winter, i am NOT convinced that bindweed is a problem as of yet
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Hi,

Regarding your bamboo question and hugelkultur bed containment... bamboo likes slopes. Depending upon the variety, it may climb the slope quickly or it may be slightly slowed by it. For instance, Moso works well at up to a 15 degree incline and not so well steeper than that.

You might have good luck with a shrubbier variety (growing to 6' tall or less, such as Pleioblastus humilis) to help stabilize the slope of the beds if you find the sometimes-heavy rains are eroding your beds into the low bits. Most of the short bamboos like shade, so they'd be better on your north-facing hugelkultur slopes, if you have any of those.

The easiest (is there really an easy way?) to contain bamboo is dig a one foot deep trench around the bed you want to keep it in. Fill the trench with sand or compost to keep from falling into it. Every June and September, spend a day and use a shovel along the inner side of the trench to cut any escaping rhizomes, when you feel you've hit one, make sure you cut all the way through it and then pry it up out of there. It isn't a lot of work until the grove gets large, hopefully by then you've made friends with some crafty people that will be willing to help you with it in exchange for some culms they can make stuff with.

Thirty percent grove harvest about six years after you put your first division in... annually thereafter. If there is enough water and Cheyenne doesn't freeze you out or blow your stand down (yes, those *are* semis laying on their sides by the road a couple of times a year), it's a fantastic producer.

Pay attention to the minimum temperature of the bamboos you are interested in... it wouldn't do to put some in that can't survive a winter there, wind or no. And bear in mind that while there are some bamboos that are labeled "drought tolerant", when they don't get enough water, the stand grows much more slowly and the culms don't reach for the sky like they would if they were properly hydrated.

I lived in Douglas for ten years, a two hour drive north of Cheyenne. I wish you the very best with your endeavor, but you really will need at least ten foot tall hugelkultur beds to get some protection from the wind there. Paul's comments about twenty foot beds in that windy part of Montana had me thinking of Cheyenne when I read them.

Best of luck!

JP
 
Devon Olsen
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an update ladies and gentleman

i went down to cheyenne to pick up my little sister for christmas vacation (im living in casper now) and though its bone dry up here, there was some snow down there and i snapped a few photos of everything im still analysing stuff myself as unfortunately i didnt have more than 5 mins there to grab stuff i needed (included blue oyster cakes and woodchips so with any luck well have some shroooms comin up in a while) so im observing based off the same pics i share with you

to start my indoor pinapple plants, not much germinated and it looks like pinapple 2 is a little brown, well see if it makes it through the year, plus there are little kids and a dog there now :grr: (dont get me wrong i dont hate dogs but for years i was told my dog couldnt live with us or ever come inside, but this dog is living inside, kinda irritates me a bit)
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Devon Olsen
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ok here ius how the snow drifted around where i plan to place a heat trap after some more earth moving, looks promising to me, you can probably tell that it snowede a day or two before the pics as most is melted except some places, this is also very promising to me as it means not only are the places with snow catching more water from the wind, but they may also be protected from wind and such and more likely to be covered and insulated during cold spells, provided snow falls before the cold
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Devon Olsen
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ok so when i saw these, i was a little surprised, i expected the snow to act differently and drift on the opposite side of the bed, and perhaps it did a bit but melted already, anyway this is a drift on the north side of the bed, meaning its protected from the low-lying winter sun and perhaps it will stay there all winter but i suspect it will simply slow the melting (which of course is a huge improvement and really good, ill have to design some more basins in this area to take advantage of this i think:))
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Devon Olsen
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ok here are two pics before i post the best pics imho these show the pile of woodchips and horse poo that i got earlier in the year and the snow they seem to have captured, now im wondering if this storm came from the southwest because of this drift and perhaps that explains the drifts being where they were elsewhere in the yard but im not certain, if you have an opinion, i'd love to hear it on any of these pictures as im observing and the more eyes to help with observation the better imho
the other is a small hand dug swale i built in the summer, catching more snow than the surrounding ground from the looks of it, and though its not much by itself, im sure it adds up over the course of a year
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Devon Olsen
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to me, this is the most exciting thing of the whole day, made my WEEK to see this:D

this is the pond i started to dig this summer, at the moment its only about 4.5ft deep at the deepest but the awesome thing is that its near completely filled in (minus the shallowest part at the top of the windblown hill) and the best part is that none of this water is going away other than that lost to evaporation (if i had time i'd stack some rocks near it to catch evaporation and condense it but like i said i was in a bit of a hurry)
its also right above the windbreak thats already in place so i suspect this will do a great deal to water that for me through the summer
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Indoor pineapple plants? I am intrigued. Please share more about those.
 
Devon Olsen
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they were originally outside in the greenhouse but they are biennials so they take two years or 18mths or so to fruit, i took the tops off of pineapples from the grocery store earlier in the year, they are bromeliads so they have very small root systems and those pots are actually a lot bigger than necessary, they make great houseplants as theyre attractive, can get 6ft tall by 6ft wide and require relatively little water, mulch them and allow mulch in between the "spines" since they get nutes from this mulch as well as their roots
they are also in hugelpots made with a custom soil blend of used potting soil and silt produced from running the hose in some spots on relaxation days and whats left of a compost pile from food scraps last year, this years went right into place to contribute to mulch

this summer they will go back out onto a hugelkultur bed somewhere for a while
 
Devon Olsen
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Devon Olsen wrote:ok so when i saw these, i was a little surprised, i expected the snow to act differently and drift on the opposite side of the bed, and perhaps it did a bit but melted already, anyway this is a drift on the north side of the bed, meaning its protected from the low-lying winter sun and perhaps it will stay there all winter but i suspect it will simply slow the melting (which of course is a huge improvement and really good, ill have to design some more basins in this area to take advantage of this i think:))



im going to comment on the observations i have made from these pictures via my computer and encourage any other observations or discussion of these pictures

in the picture titled: "snow_drift_hugelkultur1_top"
i seem to notice some slight curvature in the top right of the drift and it seems the snow is moving from the north running south to the west running eastward down the hill -everyone else seeing the same thing in the snow?
now just below where you see the snow collecting in the pond site in that picture is where i plan to have the end of an "A" shaped hugelbed, without the third line joing the other parts, this is to be there to create a bit of a heat trap and im assuming that by placing this here, it will further channel the wind and cause it to change direction when near the ground, and it may also build this drift up more, or eliminate a section of it as the wind MAY be too harsh there (of course there is always plants that can help to buffer that)
further down the hill, just to the right of the bare log in the bottom right of "snow_first_view" is the location of our fire pit for family eating and gathering (you can see the ring where the rocks melted the snow), this design may greatly increase moisture there at the bottom (damn near anyway) of the hill as it is and reduce fire danger from having fires, but it may also create quite the windy situation for the plot
so thinking of some solutions to this problem i may be creating, or rather one of the cons of the design, i am thinking of planting some tall, sturdy standing plants, such as perhaps some tall sunchokes bragging 15ft growing height, or some tall heirloom wheat boasting 8ft high and more tiller focused growth(a clump rather than a single stalk or two) and of course, more likely even, possibly a combination of the two and maybe more, the challenge will be to divert or slow the wind to a more pleasureable speed down there without outgrowing the many pathways that intersect the area which is why a million plants that are large will not work and ill be limited in the size of polyculture, perhaps even down to one plant that is walked around continously... anyone know of a good, wind hardy zone 1 (traffic speaking, not USDA zones) type plant for this, wheat and sunchokes are awesome and i think wheat would be wonderful to walk amongst but it doesnt need daily tending, harvesting and traffic at its roots by any means...


i was thinking of installing some 4ft hugelbeds or so about the location of the secondary, smaller drift in the background of "snow_drift_hugelkultur1_bottom" so as to create more edge and make an effecient heat trap to go with the "A" shape (with its orientation it would recieve sunlight throughout the day most of the year as the sun moved east to west (from the bottom of the hill to the top) and the heat moving up the hill would be trapped by the "A" and the cold moving down the hill would be shed away
my concerns with this plan are thus, it appears that the spot taht would house the center of this design would not recieve enough moisture for healthy plants as the "A" would also shed the moisture to some extent, by the time i plant sunchokes atop the current hugelkultur beds, the winter shade may make its way halfway up the current windblock, shading the entire area completely in the winter, and honestly making it damn near useless AS A HEAT TRAP (though im sure there would be many other uses for such an area) and if i put them in i have to use a mini excavator to reach the area, squeezing around the installed apple trees and lilac bushes while moving dirt and logs and it would absolutely have to be done before the "A" so im not sure how things would act with them after installing the "A" bed and i can also imitate its snow catching abilitys and possibly heat trap potential with plants, but i would not get the same benefits of a hugelkultur bed such as water absorbtion, rapid increase in organic matter and increased surface area/edge
does anyone have any ideas to contribute to this?

thats all for now i guess, off to bed for the night
 
Devon Olsen
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Note to Self:
check april 11th post early spring when first green noticed and make note of first green locations and compare
also woodchips were picked up from location 1-2 miles away along with logs - in case you ever need that again
also may 15th post is wrong, not wild morning glory, its field bindweed, still not bad though, just not as good as hoped
 
Devon Olsen
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not sure this is going to be big enough so im gonna try going through imgur to see if that makes it larger
but this is the roughly drawn out plan for the property in cheyenne, only the backyard will be converted and the front will be mostly left as is unless its requested that i change anything out there
it may not look the prettiest because i did it in paint but the idea is roughly covered in the document
some of the stuff on the document is either already in place or alrady being worked on and other stuff is just planned by me so far so its subject to change after going over it with the homeowners in depth, which will happen eventually whenever im in town with them and have the time to talk with them

also this doesnt include planned locations for all trees, will decide those locations after earthworks are in place as ill be more capable of seeing where good placement will be

now lets try this from imgur:


hmmm... small so to see it after zooming in, try this, click on image and then use the magnifying glass to see at full size, you'll have to scroll around to see it better: http://imgur.com/Tx9Hm
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steward
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Hey Devon, I was thinking about your snow drift pictures today and was wondering if you might want to try an experiment for me? It will be based on two observations.

One, My father always talked about how they used to have ice houses at his fathers farm. They would stack ice in a root celler and cover it with straw for insulation. He said it would last well into the summer.

Two, The largerst moving sandunes in the US are called the Killpecker sand dunes. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=killpecker+sand+dunes&qpvt=killpecker+sand+dunes&FORM=IGRE&adlt=strict
They cover a vast area, most of Wyoming. A couple of folks I know, who study these sorts of things, told me that as the sand blows up and over a dune, in the winter, it will swallow up snow drifts. These snow drifts form large "ice drifts" and stay inside the dunes for many years. As the sand keeps moving the ice reappears and begins to melt forming water holes all over the place.

So Now you have snow drifts in your swales and hugels. I am assuming that some of this will melt and soak into your soil but I think that a good portion of that snow will evaporate/sublimate back into the air and be lost. One of the things we try to do with permaculture is to save as much water in our soils as possible right? So what would happen if you covered a snow drift with bales of hay or straw, dirt, compost, even logs and branches. Would the snow stop evaporating? Would you get more water into your soil over a longer period of time? The draw backs may be a few colder microclimates but I would think the extra water would be worth it.

What do you think?

Miles
 
Devon Olsen
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I like the idea miles, i am planning a deeper swale near the top of the hill... as youll see in the paint-made image i uploaded, i think that would be a perfect spot to try it because it would have some extra shadow, be in a depression and have more melt:evap ratio as is and the orientation is such that the sun doesnt run along the drift but rather passes over it so sun exposure will be minimal - plus Geoff Lawton mentioned slowing snow melt in some places.. especially swales to prolong the excess moisture that is present in the spring, and i was planning on planting this in such a way as to shade it out quite well
now it may be a year or two (i MIGHT decide to see how it performs without adding insulation the first year and let biomass build up so that i actually have enough on farm biomass to get it covered) before i get to try that as i havent even built the swale yet and i would like to use stuff that i grow myself to cover it for cost effectiveness, im thinking sunchokes/wheatstalks and whatever else i can manage to get grown and use for covering it
where the current drifts are now, they get little sunlight during the day for one, two theyre not in the best location for me to want them frozen into the summer as i assume it would insulate the drift as well and the ratio of ground insulated to air exposed is greater, think a normal drift would be like a line with an "A" over it, and the drift in the swale would be like a "U" shaped depression with the snow forming a near even line over it, much easier to keep insulated

thank you for the interesting bit from nature (didnt know about that bit of info) and the suggestion, though i have seen drifts that get scooped fro mthe road or have a lot of sand content, do seem to last a while, i always assumed it was simply the thermal inertia carrying it through... which i guess the rocks/sand could add more thermal inertia, and ive never personally seen sand engulf a drift and keep it insulated for months at a time

i see some great benefits to keeping a snow drift into the summer, one of many being that in an emergency, or if you just felt like it, it could hold frozen foods if you didnt have a freezer and it wouldnt run on electricity but snow from the winter
i also see super moist mulch at the end of the process, making for prime mushroom and plant growth during a short period of time, a good spot to keep covered in quick growing grasses and such

all and all though i do think there is a very high chance - near certain i should say - that ill be using your idea on the farm
i do wonder if you used a seed laden straw to do this above a section of the pond, as the ice began to melt IF it took long enough due to insulation, then it MIGHT result in some of the seeds (if they were extremely cold weather varieties of grasses and such) sprouting on the ice sheat above the pond, later falling through and providing a large spring snack to the fish in the pond...? that sounds much less likely to work but it through an idea out if nothing else
 
Devon Olsen
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mainly posting this so that i can remember how to end the URL for my affiliate links to amazon, but for everyone else - after youve supported paul and the permies site, follow this link to amazon to support this project and help it along:)
http://amazon.com?tag=wwwzazzlecomf-20
 
Devon Olsen
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all the pictures labeled "backyard_mushroom" on page three, the white mushroom that was quite large and near the size of my hand - was identified by a very helpful, nice person at fungaljungle.org as Pholiota Destruens, and after having something to start on, i got on mushroomexpert.com and i think that though the guys at fungal jungle are most likely right - beign the experts and all - that it may also possibly be Pholiota Squarrosa due to the fact that the images i saw online looked more like that

that beign said, its not simply pictures alone that are used for identification purposes but features of the mushroom, so its entirely possible that though the image looks more to me like Squarrosa - it might look more like Destruens to the trained eye

what they said about it is that it is the Bane of oyster mushrooms - NOT poisoness but nasty in flavor...



also i dont know if i have yet posted that all of the Shiitake blocks contaminated with a green spore for the untrained eye you can look at the picture of me innoculating the newspaper on the tote lid - and this picture shows the contamination source, the problem was that i was in a still air environment(not a bad thing imho for my setup and the cultures ive worked with so far and plan to work with in the near future) and innoculated right on the floor, in a position that pretty much guarenteed that i knocked spores all over the place with every movement

so the lesson to learn there is to innoculate further off the ground, particularly if its carpeted as that was
 
master pollinator
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Oh darn, sorry it wasn't an Oyster!
 
Devon Olsen
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I honestly would have been quite surprised if it was, due to the aridity of the area and the low precipitation of the last year, and this year - and a little frustrated at this point because that log it came from is in the ground now at the base of my unfinished hugelkultur bed lol
though i did spread mature fruitbodies and spores EVERYWHERE when the mushrooms were all mature and stuff
 
Devon Olsen
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some Blue Oysters fruiting atm, pics to come, looking ok so far, slow going due to temps in my room but im hopeful
 
Devon Olsen
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ok heres those pics i promised

this run i would say worked out ok, for some reason, i think the size of the substrate being only one jar of coffe grounds/wood chips, the mushrooms never got very big and only formed a couple mushrooms, never full boquets
i got a couple light snacks from harvest, once i sauted a small amount of some tiny mature mushrooms
second time, they had some good sized, fat stems and fairly small caps, on was kinda 'u' shaped more than round and had the fattest stem, the other one looked fairly normal and had a little less fat of a stem but since it looked the most normal i made a semi-sterile spore print from it and turned that spore print into two spore syringes

so heres some pics showing the progression of growth and then the final spore syringes as well as the bits i ate and ill go into a bit more detail on each pic as i post them

here we have the first day that i noticed pins forming, and the first setup i had for this fruiting, i moved it mid-way because the mushrooms need more light


TIP FOR ANYONE WHO NEEDS TO INCREASE HUMIDITY FOR MUSHROOMS OR FOR SLOW DRYING HERBS/PLANTS: WET TOWELS WORK GREAT
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Devon Olsen
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heres a couple more days of fruit formation, the 19th and the 21st and the 27th of FEB 2013
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Devon Olsen
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here is some fruiting from the 24th of FEB that i missed when i was uploading the last posts pics
and a curious thing, some holes that formed in the middle of the substrate during fruiting, perhaps it was the mass of material the mycelium used to form the fruit bodies?
perhaps it was something the mycelium did to allow more oxygen in the center of the substrate?

im not sure but i found it to be curious, perhaps i will email fungi perfecti and wee what they have to say on the matter...
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Devon Olsen
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three pics of the fruits one the 3rd of march, 2013
for some reason these fruits never really got very large and a lot of these pins kinda died back before i got to harvesting that little bit that i eventually did, this first flush was also not very blue, kept a sorta brown color through the whole process, i hypothesize this is due to lack of sufficient sunlight at this point in the mushrooms life

by this time i believe i moved the setup but it appears i neglected to photgraph the new setup so i just lined side of my bedroom window (north facing with some bushes in front of it, facing a mostly partial sun backyard of the neighbors) with the black plastic garbage bag, stapling it in place, tightly hugging the window and the windowsill, i then i stapled one end of the wet towel to the outside of the windowsill, and draped the towel into the window sill so that the jar was essentially surrounded by the corner of the windowsill and then the wet towel, from the top the setup may look like a triangle with the towel being the third leg of the triangle
originally i just did this, during the second flush i enhanced it by using a cd case to prop the towel up a little higher, creating a 2-5in space above the jar that was a bit more humid than surrounding air, rather than just draping it over the jar as i had been doing
i also ripped a small hole, perhaps the size of a 50 cent piece into the plastic near the jar to allow more direct sunlight into the fruitbodies
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Devon Olsen
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a picture of the small harvest i got from the 1st flush on the 11th of March, 2013
butter knife shows how small they were

oh... and

i simply put some butter in the pan, ripped (not cut, the reason being is that according to what ive read from stamets, ripping keeps cells and therefore flavor and nutrition better intact than cutting does) the mushrooms up and threw them in for maybe 2 or 3 mins, then i let them cool, pulled them out and munched, didnt have anything else with them really, just eating them cus they needed to be harvested

next pic is the 17th of march, the bigger stemmed mushroom that had the 'u' shaped cap, i kinda liked that one, a little strange, but cool to watch it grow, especially with the monstrously thick stem compared to the cap

last pic was taken on the 23rd of march, on harvest, the one to the left was the one with the 'u' shaped cap, the one to the right had the fairly normal looking cap, i cut it off and made a spore print with it that night, after pastuerizing the cup, paper, scalpel, tin foil and the container that i used to hold the whole process in

this second flush had thick stems and really held the blue of the caps quite well, it looked really beautiful growing the second flush, and really relieved some stress coming home to check it out once or twice

now for cooking, i put these into the fridge until the next morning, when i took about 4 eggs, a tiny bit of unsweetened hemp milk and tiny bit of non-homogenized cow milk and i scrambled up the milks and eggs, while ripping the mushrooms apart and throwing them into the pan
after scrambling i threw them into a couple tortillas with shredded cheese and wrapped them into burritos before throwing them into a ziplock baggy on a paper plate for later, threw them under the back window of the car while me and my cousin drove out a county road and went for a hike for a couple hours up a creek, when i came back, they were nice and warm, even though the passenger window was left open, so i was a happy camper lol
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Devon Olsen
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ok here is some pics of the syringes i made up one pic shows how i labeled them and the other just shows how much i put in them (pretty much completely full) and what size they are (20ml)


for those wanting to know my process of doing this, i live in a very non sterile evironment which is anything but static free so i avoided taking any photos of the process, i however learned how to from this video - which i think is a pretty good tutorial of how to do it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua-bAdvxEhg

i will likely have to use these syringes for going into agar so that i can sector out likely contaminates
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Devon Olsen
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woohoo!
we got a good dump of snow with a spring storm a couple days ago and got almost 2ft of snow up here in Casper, but im not sure how much they got in cheyenne but i can see from the pictures that i caught a little extra, these photos were taken courtesy of my father so he didnt take as many angles i normally do but he does take a higher quality picture and it does the trick to get me excited, the drifts in the foreground are a result of the windbreak/junipers that are already in place on the property, but i can see the new hugelkultur bed has caught a bit of extra moisture, i bet the pond filled up again - or at least i hope so because i dug it out more and it was obviously good conditions for drifts to form and sharp drops filled with snow pretty good up here im sure it was even better down there with all the extra wind there is

anyway heres the pics, enjoy!
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Devon Olsen
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comments on hugelkultur performance last year:


i did water last year as it was the first year that the bed was in place, near the end of the season i only watered about once a week if that, this year i wont even be there to water so it wont be getting watered often, perhaps when i actually am in town

the sunflowers grew tall and produced a lot of seeds, though im not sure if they had time to mature enough to grow again this year (we shall see) they did make good snacks for those who got to eat them and i think they looked really pretty
the borage and EVERY OTHER plant that grew on the hugelkultur bed was AT LEAST 4x as big as the same plant growing away from the hugelkultur bed, so it makes for more biomass when you do have a plant growing
the carrots were absolutely DELICIOUS but i didnt have any come up away from the bed to compare with
near the middle of the bed next to an apple tree there is a great collection point for water and even small rains cause water to pool there, that is not really mulched (though the top 1-2in are horse manure more than soil) and right below and around that collection point, the soil an inch under is ALWAYS WET or DAMP, never seen it dry, this is the most dramatic spot but i find that in a lot of other spots around the bed the soil is the same an inch or so under, moist and with great tilth
the part i had planted was mulched and the soil stayed moist throughout the year (i did water this but it is still WET this spring without any supplemental water throughout the fall and winter, whereas exposed soil is dry on surface and moist underneath, i also saw plenty of one-day mushrooms grow on this part last year, so though it was watered, i know that it retains enough moisture for them to grow
over the winter the beds have caused some snow drifts that didnt previously occur, causing more moisture to collect on the property than what was typical before, i would estimate that some spots have already gotten 4in equivalent of rainwater (in the form of snow) and this early in the year, in a place with an annual average of 11in tops and 1in a month in the spring being a good year, i am VERY pleased with this
if you also consider the future planned pond (which may become a very deep, level hugelkultur bed itself) which is currently about 6ft deep, and has filled with snow at least twice that i know of, that means that hole in the ground has collected 12in of water already, uphill of the windbreak
the hydrology of the ground around the hugelkultur beds has improved tremendously, with water being concentrated in a few spots as opposed to being dry everywhere, and being wicked to the drier spots by the wood

this year i have already bought and planted much more and i make about 1200 every 2 weeks so i can afford more seeds and have already bought a lot as well as some perennial plants from oikos tree crops (unfortunately i only got 2 of the 4 sunchoke varieties that i wanted - sold out - but im excited to grow some sunchokes anyway, some will go on top of the hugelkultur bed and add even more height, windbreaking ability, etc) so this year they will be planted heavily and as i wont be able to water, it will be the test (which im confident ill pass) to see if i can grow tomatoes without water and get a decent yield, IN CHEYENNE, WY

i need to add more pics of the last time i went down there, showing the snow drifts and all that but i havent gotten around to it yet, being lazy as i am, theyre coming sometime soon
 
Devon Olsen
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some summer squash off the hugelkultur beds that havent been artificially watered since planting
if these are the same ones that my grandparents brought up to camp last weekend (that i forgot to bring home hahaha) then they are about 8 or 9 inches long and perhaps 5 inches in diameter, im sure there will be more to come so hopefully well have some more pictures later in the year
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Miles Flansburg
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Still watching your work here Devon. Good stuff!
 
Devon Olsen
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thanks miles, ill have to try and make some time and money to get down there and work on something else before winter hits again... been gettin busier and busier lol
and thank you for all those peas last year, they really did a lot to help cover the beds this year, and proved to be of great use, so thank you for the gift
 
Miles Flansburg
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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You are very welcome ! So are you working on two projects now?
 
Devon Olsen
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not yet, still just the one, but it being 2 hrs away things are going a little bit slower now... next time i go down ther then i hope to get some clay around the apple trees (i think thats why the one hasnt fruited yet because its flowered for 2 yearsd now with the flowers drying out and falling off) and get some more pictures, see how everything is going before winter shows up
 
Devon Olsen
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do you remember what kind of peas those are?
theyve been awesome to have around im just trying to decide if they are edible or not
 
Miles Flansburg
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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I think the bag said field peas ? Not really sure. Sorry
 
Devon Olsen
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thats alright miles im sure ill get an edible substitute in there this year or next...

hopefully pics coming soonish, have started wheat and barley indoors and been trying to keep them alive until i make it down there, planning on making the trip next weekend and hopefully ill be making that trip with a lot of new seed

also i may be starting a new thread this year as my grandfathers taken a liking to some of my ideas for his new place near town here, will be an exciting project when we start working on it:)
 
Devon Olsen
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should have taken some pictures yesterday before the snow hit but if it happens to melt a bit before i leave tomorrow morning then ill snag some pics up before i leave
we had kale, spinach, lettuce (even a few red butterhead varieties), cilantro and a couple of what i believe are parsnips that have either surviverd the winter entirely (i know the kale overwintered) through a few -20F storms this winter or have sprouted up real early like
we also have a lot of radishes volunteering from last years crop of black spanish rounds that were neglected and left mostly unharvested to go to seed and form a light brushy mulch of sorts, they were all in the sprout stage as of yesterday but i saw them in quite a few places, so i look forward to having more radishes this year, hopefully some that are harvested and used/sold
i planted some more varieties of kale, blue curled leaf scotch kale, red russian kale and one that im most excited to attempt (if it will survive the colder climate here) is lacinato or dinosaur kale, the kind you see in others gardens further south of here that get MASSIVE for a kale plant, hope to see some of them this year
i planted more dill and cilantro this year, hopefully they do better than last year and we get a few decently sized dill plants instead of all the little 3in tall ones we had last year
i planted two varieties of beets, bulls blood and chioggia
i planted two varieties of mustard (something my grandfather is excited to eat) southern giant and red giant
i also planted some purple top globe white turnips and some leeks, though the leeks are more of an experiment than anything else

i am doing something a little bit different this year since i no longer live in cheyenne and i have concentrated seed in a few spots and labeled a stake where i concentrated that seed so that the plants can be recognized at that stake and then recognized in the polycultures surrounding the stake

i also brought down 11 80lb bales of oat hay for mulching, have not done this in the past because ive been trying to avoid importing too much material besides the logs for the hugelkultur bed and ive been very scared of residual chemicals on any hay or straw especially but this year i really, really want to make sure the beds are not just barren piles of dirt waiting to be taken over by the native less useful plants of the area(though one or two are always welcome mixed in the polyculture) and so ive caved and got some hay, as well as free access to more wet/bottom bale rotting hay then i could possibly use this year the hay still has some of the grain in it so we may get some oat volunteers this year(we had a few oats here and there last year from seed)
i got most of the mulch down yesterday after planting i would spread a bale then water it down to keep the hay from blowing away so quickly and give my allergies a resting session so as not to be miserable all day, i also used some twig "stakes" to hold the mulch one side of one bed where the steep south facing soil has pretty much been baking and eroding for the past couple of years, i am really hoping to get something growin there this year and hopefully the imported hay will give me enough of an edge to make that happen, i made the center of the areas i mulched where i had concentrated seed and staked the area so as to make sure that as much of the seed i planted as possible was mulched over
i still have 5 bales that need to be spread and after spreading one out mid blizzard this morning i decided they will have to wait until later because its simply too cold for me to be interested in spreading hay all day out there
i have much more seed for planting later and plan to sprout some and transplant it at a later date (another thing ive avoided the last few years but some things just werent sprouting on the hugel beds and id like to see how they do after having been planted there
i also have an order due from oikostreecrops, hopefully it will get here sooner rather than later but we'll just ahve to see as ive told them to hold off until they can ship all the live plants at once
so this summer later on i will be planting at least 5 lbs of beans, perhaps ten, some sunchokes from oikos, some asparagus, lots of winter squash(i currently have a 1000 seeds waiting for that but plan to order some more)
some tomatoes and peppers, and some oregano, thyme and cumin which will probably be sprouted beforehand
some more sunflowers since theyve done well in the past and i am hoping to order lots of sweet corn seeds so hopefully some of them

i am also testing out an old set of GI half tents put together in a pup tent configuration, and it did ok last night i suppose, leaked a little at the seam on the top where it buttons together with a small stream breaking through every minute or so before the rain turned to snow, luckily i sleep on the side and the dog didnt whine about it all too much so it must not have been too bad, it is currently still standing mid blizzard and it was approx 10 degrees warmer inside this morning when i went back out to grab my glasses, but the sides caved in a little bit making getting my hoodie on in the morning a bit more tasking then it was to get it off last night... maybe i need practice pitching it tighter, or maybe thats just the haps of having heavy wet snow on it... still i think ill make a little alcohol stove to burn in there tonight... keep it a bit warmer, if i can find a good spot for it so my dog doesnt knock it over...

anyway pics later, ill at least go out today and take some pics of the snow thats falling dow... erm blowing in lol and hopefully some greenery and mulch-y goodness tomorrow:)

ohh yes... and miles, a few of those field peas also came up this spring, i saw a couple here and there yesterday, the gift that keeps on giving nitrogen and nutrients, thanks again buddy:)
 
Devon Olsen
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this trip down i finished mulching the hugelkultur beds and planted some:
Scarlet Wonder Carrots
Giant Catagonia Parsley
Cippolino Borettano Red Striped Onions (probably wont get many because they didnt pass the germ test from the company that gave them to me with my order)
Di Cicco Broccoli
some Manroot (ipomoea leptophylla) for soil build purposes mainly
some Tiger Almond/Chufa (25 tubers so hopefully one or two actually matures enough to make tubers this year)
and drumroll please......
3 varieties of sunchokes
Supernova
White Fuseau
and Pink Crispy

the pink crispy's are supposedly pretty good raw and get 10ft tall or so
the white fuseau's supposedly spreads pretty well so i put them on the top leeward side of the corner of the big bed that gets hit with wind the most, hoping that they will fill the area in and provide some additional windblock
the supernova seemed the shortest of the bunch so i planted them down near the greenhouse where i had doubledug a couple years ago for a three sisters plot

i also have some red rover sunchokes that get approx 12ft that i planted in casper in my personal garden and ive got a few more things coming from that same order that ill share as i get them going

here are a couple of pics that i took while there, harvested lots and lots of spinach sunday afternoon (5.4.14) for a salad and whilst doing that found a few HUGE spinach leaves (bigger than ive ever seen anyway) thanks to the hugelkultur bed, i took a picture of the most sprawled out one and it was about as big as my hand
also a pic of a random ladybug on one of the little patches of spinach that was growing there
and... my little cousin decided she wanted to get some chickens this year and i Ok'd it so long as she designed the coop the way i wanted and moved them about the yard as i wanted, ill be helping her via advice for the most part in the raising of these chickens and will post some updates as the small flock (planning 6 max) gets going and producing, should be fun, i was feeding it some worms and bugs and greens this weekend and it loved the worms and the greens but didnt seem too fond of the pill bugs or ants, of course it is only a chick so perhaps it will develop a taste for them as it gets to moving outside.... and yes that is chick starter in its bowl, like i said im really only advising thus far and she is raising the chick based solely on her experience helping more conventional people raise chickens so she hasnt quite got the grasp on the permie way... yet. lol

ok... just pics of the bird for now, the other pics are being very slow to send from my phone...
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I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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