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Questions - my plans for next year

 
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Location: PNW Zone 8
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I hope this post is not too frivolous for this forum. As I am getting deeper into permaculture I notice how important local knowledge and experience is.

I ordered a NUC and a Langstroth hive from a local beekeeper. Immediately after I started reading some posts on permies.com and I discovered Leo Sharashkin, his incredble website and the book (Keeping Bees with a smile). I am reading the book right now and I have to say: finally! I read 5 beekeeping books in the last month and it was depressing. Finally a book that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective and matches my limited childhood experience with traditional beekeepers.
So now I have this split personality where I learn the standard industrial way (I take the beekeeping class from the state beekeepers association) while I build my own horizontal hives and prepare for spring.

Are other people in the area doing beekeeping? What do you use? I know James Landreth was talking about log hives I hope he can chime in.

Secondly, I have researched more into greenhouses/hoophouses and I noticed a big split. Most people build a greenhouse above ground and use gas burners to heat it up if needed (throw energy at the problem). A small minority builds gigantic superinsulated underground greenhouses with huge thermal mass and even geothermal heating (throw money at the problem).
Since I have limited experience, I would like to try to build a cheap PVC hoophouse with a small twist - dig 2 feet under soil level and use tall raised beds inside. I think that might provide enough thermal mass for a mild climate like ours. This is based on Mike Oehler ideas but simplified.

Anybody using hoophouses/greenhouses around here? I am not worried about the fall (even though I hope for an extra month). I am just hoping that the thermal mass of the ground combined with the big insolation in Mar/Apr will make a lot of difference.
 
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Triton Nomad wrote:I hope this post is not too frivolous for this forum. As I am getting deeper into permaculture I notice how important local knowledge and experience is.

I ordered a NUC and a Langstroth hive from a local beekeeper. Immediately after I started reading some posts on permies.com and I discovered Leo Sharashkin, his incredble website and the book (Keeping Bees with a smile). I am reading the book right now and I have to say: finally! I read 5 beekeeping books in the last month and it was depressing. Finally a book that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective and matches my limited childhood experience with traditional beekeepers.
So now I have this split personality where I learn the standard industrial way (I take the beekeeping class from the state beekeepers association) while I build my own horizontal hives and prepare for spring.

Are other people in the area doing beekeeping? What do you use? I know James Landreth was talking about log hives I hope he can chime in.

Secondly, I have researched more into greenhouses/hoophouses and I noticed a big split. Most people build a greenhouse above ground and use gas burners to heat it up if needed (throw energy at the problem). A small minority builds gigantic superinsulated underground greenhouses with huge thermal mass and even geothermal heating (throw money at the problem).
Since I have limited experience, I would like to try to build a cheap PVC hoophouse with a small twist - dig 2 feet under soil level and use tall raised beds inside. I think that might provide enough thermal mass for a mild climate like ours. This is based on Mike Oehler ideas but simplified.

Anybody using hoophouses/greenhouses around here? I am not worried about the fall (even though I hope for an extra month). I am just hoping that the thermal mass of the ground combined with the big insolation in Mar/Apr will make a lot of difference.



Please let us know how it goes. I'm in the PNW also and just getting ready to set up my own property. Any interest in getting a local event or two going? It feels like all the real events happen back east.
 
Triton Nomad
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Hi Carmen,
I will try to post more. I tend to read a lot but contribute little so I hope to help somebody with my experience.

About events and meeting up - I saw your previous post on that and replied.
I am not native to this area (or US) so I don't have many contacts locally.
I would like to learn more from other people. I can try to create a meetup and post it here.
Or if you know of any classes or groups, let me know. For example in my area (Lewis County, WA) Raintree Nursery and Burnt Ridge Nursery used to have classes about fruit trees, making cider etc. Nothing this year of course

Alternatively, if anybody needs any help come spring I am ready to help for a day and hopefully learn something too.
 
Carmen Rose
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Triton Nomad wrote:Hi Carmen,
I will try to post more. I tend to read a lot but contribute little so I hope to help somebody with my experience.

About events and meeting up - I saw your previous post on that and replied.
I am not native to this area (or US) so I don't have many contacts locally.
I would like to learn more from other people. I can try to create a meetup and post it here.
Or if you know of any classes or groups, let me know. For example in my area (Lewis County, WA) Raintree Nursery and Burnt Ridge Nursery used to have classes about fruit trees, making cider etc. Nothing this year of course

Alternatively, if anybody needs any help come spring I am ready to help for a day and hopefully learn something too.



For some reason I have a hard time navigating this site, can rarely find my previous posts or see who has responded to them except when I get a notice from permies. Anyway, I do hope to be building next year and would welcome any input or help that's offered. Haven't decided precisely which method to go with. I like earthbags but no one around here seems to be educated in building with them and I'm still new to it too. I thought I might try a small retaining wall of earthbags as an experiment or maybe a root cellar. Thanks for answering. I'd love to hear what you're doing also and how it goes.  Carmen Carrion.
 
Carmen Rose
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Triton Nomad wrote:Hi Carmen,
I will try to post more. I tend to read a lot but contribute little so I hope to help somebody with my experience.

About events and meeting up - I saw your previous post on that and replied.
I am not native to this area (or US) so I don't have many contacts locally.
I would like to learn more from other people. I can try to create a meetup and post it here.
Or if you know of any classes or groups, let me know. For example in my area (Lewis County, WA) Raintree Nursery and Burnt Ridge Nursery used to have classes about fruit trees, making cider etc. Nothing this year of course

Alternatively, if anybody needs any help come spring I am ready to help for a day and hopefully learn something too.



Can I ask where you're from and how that place compares to the PNW?
 
Triton Nomad
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About building: I built a small cabin and a couple of sheds by myself. I researched earthbags, cob, log and wattle and daub. In the end I went with the classic wood design because in US there is very little support and materials for alternative building style.
Maybe you can still do it but I have a full time job and I traded time for money (even though standard wood construction is not much more expensive)

I only have just one piece of advice - don't use fiberglass insulation. I used rockwool (available at Lowe's) is 10% more expensive but it has 20% more insulation, it does not produce lung destroying fibers and it works when wet.


About your second question: I am from Eastern Europe, from a place that only started "modernizing" after the fall of communism. As such I was lucky enough to see a lot of traditional practices.
For example houses were still built using wattle and daub or adobe, every home in the village was practicing permaculture and even people in the cities kept chickens, pigs and even cows (grazing on the side of the road).

I don't have a good link online - the people that practiced all these traditional methods have passed away or are too poor to have internet. There is a "back to the land" movement but weirdly but not surprisingly they prefer to copy the western models instead of asking their grandparents.

In terms of climate, it was continental so comparable to Eastern Washington. In terms of society, it was very different since most people cooked and other than bread they got the animals/vegetables from the backyard or directly from a farmer.
The weird thing is they are copying the west now (including all the problems like obesity and diabetes and stress) while here some of us are trying to move the opposite direction. So my hope is that PNW will become closer to what I have seen growing up
 
Carmen Rose
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Triton Nomad wrote:About building: I built a small cabin and a couple of sheds by myself. I researched earthbags, cob, log and wattle and daub. In the end I went with the classic wood design because in US there is very little support and materials for alternative building style.
Maybe you can still do it but I have a full time job and I traded time for money (even though standard wood construction is not much more expensive)

I only have just one piece of advice - don't use fiberglass insulation. I used rockwool (available at Lowe's) is 10% more expensive but it has 20% more insulation, it does not produce lung destroying fibers and it works when wet.


About your second question: I am from Eastern Europe, from a place that only started "modernizing" after the fall of communism. As such I was lucky enough to see a lot of traditional practices.
For example houses were still built using wattle and daub or adobe, every home in the village was practicing permaculture and even people in the cities kept chickens, pigs and even cows (grazing on the side of the road).

I don't have a good link online - the people that practiced all these traditional methods have passed away or are too poor to have internet. There is a "back to the land" movement but weirdly but not surprisingly they prefer to copy the western models instead of asking their grandparents.

In terms of climate, it was continental so comparable to Eastern Washington. In terms of society, it was very different since most people cooked and other than bread they got the animals/vegetables from the backyard or directly from a farmer.
The weird thing is they are copying the west now (including all the problems like obesity and diabetes and stress) while here some of us are trying to move the opposite direction. So my hope is that PNW will become closer to what I have seen growing up



Odd how people often think other peoples' ways are better than theirs even when they definitely are not. Maybe it's a lack of confidence. I would love to meet you once I get moved. For now, whenever I'm 'down south' I'm pulling weeds. When I'm not 'down south' I'm working. Let's keep in touch?
 
pollinator
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Hi Triton,
I'm also in zone 8 and have been redoing a hoop house style greenhouse that was here on the property when we bought it. When we bought the property it had no ventilation, and contained just three raised beds. I removed them, adding a couple of automatic vents, added some thermal mass. I'm growing in large containers at this point. We have very bad ground squirrel problems here, so I lined the floor with hardware cloth so as to keep them out. The ventilation was still not enough for our hot summers so I added secondary doors covered in hardware cloth. Even still, the only things that I can grow in the greenhouse during the summer is sweet potatoes and okra.

The summers here continue into the fall, so the greenhouse doesn't really help much in the fall. I do grow lettuce all winter long, fennel and beets do well also. And it's great for a spring crop. I can plant seedling in March in the greenhouse for early crops of zucchini, peas, cucumbers and probably a few other things that I'm forgetting.

I live off-grid, so the greenhouse has no electricity. I don't actively heat or cool it. And I have no intention to do so. I really find it useful in this climate.
 
pollinator
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Carmen, as to site navigation and following responses: you may want to go to your profile and select what topics you want to "watch"; either by specific word or category. Also, when notified of a response to a post you made or a "watched" topic, if you do not click and view the new post, you will not be notified of subsequent posts in that thread.

Hope this helps, as I have nothing to offer on greenhouse construction!
 
Triton Nomad
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Carmen, I clicked on your name and followed you. I hope that will help us to stay in touch - I can see your posts sooner.

Stacy, thanks for the info! I just finished the hoophouse and I am preparing the beds. We might have issues with voles  but not with ventilation - I have 2 big doors and my hoophouse is not big.
Thanks
 
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