new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

What can I do with this dirt?  RSS feed

 
John Pollard
Posts: 125
Location: Ozarks
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wish we could post in the parent (building) for general questions. I ran the websoilsurvey at usda dot gov for 8 acres we just bought and am wondering what I can do with the dirt as far as building goes. It's about 50/50. A top half which is level and a bottom half which has slight grade. Two slightly different soil make ups. I'm leaning towards earthship but anything goes and whatever I do it would most likely have earthen floor so I'm starting here. Here's what Ive got from 4" down to 80".

Top end
Clay = 46.4%
Sand = 10.5%
Silt = 43.1%

Bottom end
Clay = 64.3%
Sand = 09.0%
Silt = 26.6%

 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That should just work for stabilized rammed earth, but I would add more sand if you can get it reasonably. You will be amazed how fast that big pile of fill disappears when you start pounding it into tires or forms. More than likely you will need more than you have anyway.
 
Kirk Mobert
Posts: 145
Location: Point Arena, Ca
13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks doable for cob. Tests are in order.
You'll probably need to add sand for good cob as well.
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 804
Location: Toronto, Ontario
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My workaround to making sure I have enough material for my rammed earth/Compressed Earth Block project is making sure I'm digging into the side of at least one hill, along with a certain open-mindedness to large, deep ponds.

I have heard the rationalisations or extra measures taken by those who are aware of the potential for long-term off-gassing by tires. I know that they can be completely isolated from the inside space, and that you can take the same over-pressurisation of the building envelope approach taken with certain older houses that are known, by reason of innappropriate materials used, to off-gas formaldehyde, but I'm still uneasy about building my house and property features with toxic ingredients. People feel comfortable with varying levels of toxicity, I suppose, but given the choice, I'd rather not bother with it.

So yeah, rammed earth, or check out Compressed Earth block, if you aren't familiar with it. I think there are advantages to both methods; like all of permaculture, it is situational.

Also, your mention of what amounts to a rammed earth floor made me realise that most people, when thinking about this stuff, usually skip over the fact that, as has been done traditionally, you can use more than one building method for a house, as in a farmhouse with a foundation of mortared fieldstone that goes half-way up the first floor, and then a more traditional post-and-beam, say, or even log construction above that.

But some advantages I could see of making blocks is that you can standardise the density, and stockpile until you've worked through the available material, so you can better judge just how much you actually have to work with.

OpenSourceEcology has, as one of its 50 machines for a civilisation-building kit, a block press.

Sorry, I tend to ramble. hope some was useful.

-CK
 
Tom Jonas
Posts: 20
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think your dirt would be great for earthbags. We have a similar soil type where we are and the earthbags we made did great. Also, I would bet that your dirt would also make a good clay oven, especially in the Quebec style. Straw would be needed, but I think you could do well.
 
We've gotta get close enough to that helmet to pull the choke on it's engine and flood his mind! Or, we could just read this tiny ad:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!