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Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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It is time for me to share all my piles of stuff and worse organized ideas with everyone. I hope you all remember me from that bitc*ing hugelkulture thread but lemme give you a refresher. I am currently in Denver Co, eventually drifting to Norwich Vt area. My backyard is around 40x50 feet with a smaller front yard. There is a one car garage and a finished basement, as well as understanding housemates who don't take up much room.

The front yard will need to be seeded with flowers/grains/herbs to keep the city outta my hair. But right now I am letting the Dandelions and other weeds do some soil work and fertilizing while I work on the backyard.




The backyard is currently planted about 1/4 of what I want to do this summer. The planting party went good, and next up is sectioning the dogs off to the grassy South side of the yard so I can get the other half really cranking with edible weeds and other things I can't have doggie poop and paws on.






From there I can see what grows best on the flat area to the left/South of the walkway. Eventually more quinoa and other grains would be fun, with a thick cover of clover and short stuff.


Aside from growing things I have been in the furniture industry for 11 years now. Building/finishing/repairing/and restoring. My favorite material is salvaged pallet wood and hardware from doors and other dumpster/alley scores. I take the Reuse in "ReduceReuseRecycle" very seriously. I find quite a bit of whole furniture to refinish too, keeping only the best for my home of course

Some tables in production






Some finished ones in the house







The best cat tree so far






Salvage wonderment




My wood stash




And for my plans on world domination I have my lair down in the basement.




And the pupper-poops Zen (big) and Nut (little)






That's me in a nutshell. I'll keep everyone posted on what's doing in my Pancakery, churning out permaculture spawned ideas and products. I hope


 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Lots of fun goings-on lately.

The hugels are churning away. Planted in the leftover two flats of veggie seedlings. There was a frenzy of squirrels that dug and ate all my sunflower, squash, and pea seeds from the cover mix. They spent hours mixing and moving the mulch, so I had to go back and re-cover the bare spots every morning and afternoon. Thankfully the beans and small seeds made it through and have begun to do their work for me. Even have a little flying something taking a rest on a seedling.








In an effort to get around the squirrels I have started two trays of smaller Heirloom Sunflowers and a Sprouts bag of raw Sunflower seeds. Both germinated in paper towels first.






The first squash flower has sprung, and five more as far as I can see. On the recovering lawn section, that is now fenced from the dogs, there is White Clover and Redstem Filaree flowers. I went through and pulled all the spent Dandelion stalks, dried them in the sun, chopped em, and used them for mulch as needed. It made half a 5-gallon bucket of dry 2 inch straw, wahoo!












In the front of the house the first of many quinoa patches was planted. I went for small beds in the little part by the kitchen window, wanting to test different combinations of seed. Today's was Sprouts Organic Tri-color Quinoa, White Clover, Mammoth Dill, and Swiss Chard. I buried some 1 inch branches and fresh table scraps under 5 inches of dug topsoil and broadcast the seed mix. Mulched with twigs first and then Dandelion straw. Watered and cluttered the edges to cast some shade for the rest of the day.









I am starting to run out of my seed stash, so I'll have some new varieties to sow soon

 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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It's been a little while since I've updated here. Just got back from a 11 day road trip yesterday and was happy to see the gardens turned into jungles with no attention or water for ten of the hottest days so far. The rest of the yard turned a nice crunchy brown though . I've yet to take fresh pictures of the gardens, however I do have some pictures of some good permie stuff on the trip.

First up is a quick radish snack the morning we left for the trip, the first real harvest besides mulch so far!




Next is a handful of pictures from a friends house in Easton Ct. It's a 300 year old house and yard behind it. In the same family the whole time. Our friend has just moved into it over the spring and is taking the old garden back from raspberries and thistles. He has put in scattered squash mounds and is planting the seedlings at mostly random. He has a grassy patch he is letting go to hay for the garden, and all the rest he is planting bee plants until he has a better idea what he wants to do. I have been recently talking to him about permaculture, but he had already started to do it without having the name to it ! I wish I took more pictures, but we only had an hour to visit.













By complete chance we happened upon a boardwalk in Warren Oh too. It was 12 feet above the water and the grass still went up to our shoulders! Lots of plants to admire and the general mis-mash of it all was inspiring. Most definitely more enjoyable to explore it with a permaculture mindset.







More of the best permie people I know





Alright tomorrow I'll get to the yards progress.
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Well here it is! Everything is looking happy and healthy. I watered it once since I got back, and it has bumped growth up noticeably already.. The larger hugel is a big tangled mess and the smaller back hugel is slightly more self organized with a nice understory of clover and herbs. The herbs are starting to make it over the big squash leaves now and the squash is almost into the parking area, which I will cordon off to let the squash run free. The tree in between leafed out and has wonderful white flowers all over. The cover crop method has really worked to keep the soil cool and moist, and is full of so many different plants and bugs. There is even a few rodent looking holes of which I snapped a shot of the one with the nicest front door. The radishes are flowering too. I am hoping they will self seed back and get another round going. Sunflowers are just around the corner too.

Anyway, on with some pictures.






Corn popped up while I was gone. The peas will be happier soon.



Can't wait to eat this!





A sunflower trellis for the pea.



The back Hugel.





Future hiking snack, needs to be netted around here.



And the nice real estate.






I also scored five 8ft pallets today with a handful of 6" boards each. Very good table potential indeed!
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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How do you get the pallets apart? The ones I've gotten, the wood would rather break than let me pry it off, and I suspect they've used glue to hold it on, in addition to the nails/staples.

Great photos, by the way!
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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It depends on the pallets for sure. These bigger 8 to 12ft ones, I get helpful bendy leverage after I pop off the first 3x3 beam from the 1x3 strips. With the smaller 3ft x 3 ft pallets I have to use more strength and finesse to get off the boards cleanly.

My demo tools for pallets are an 24" pry bar and a rubber mallet. The rubber mallet can be swapped for a regular claw hammer, but it is much quieter to hammer the pry bar with a rubber mallet, better for me and my neighbors.

If there is only one side of planks with support beams under them, I snug the 90 degree end of the pry bar between the first plank and the beam while lining up the V notch with one of the nails. Tapping lightly I'll get it wedged right up to the nail and work the board loose there and then the other nails around it. Once the nails kinda pop out of their original place you can go to the next and use the new play in the wood. Sort of reverse to how you tighten the lug nuts on a car wheel in a series. From there it's just patience to not bend too much or work too fast. That is always when I split a board or pop the pry bar out wildly from it's place.

If the pallets have boards on both sides of the beams, I remove them all form the side with fewer boards first. It usually breaks more since I am prying on the boards thin side compared to against the broad side and beam. But once the first half is done you can go at it like the nice easy ones above.

If they use glue on the pallets you find. . . . sounds like you'll be really strong soon!



 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Well it's been quite some time since I've been around here. Lots of news, and a sense of "returning normality" being back at Permies again.


My wonderful backyard and home has since passed on to the next tenants. The garden was still pumping out tomatoes and squash when I had to leave. All in all I would say it was a great success in my first large polyculture attempt. I hope it bursts with volunteers this spring for the new people there.

I had to leave, sadly, due to my crappy eyes. My right eye decided to detach its retina and then shoot the pressure from 15 to 65ish. Lots of surgeries and a 4 month recovery (bed-rest 55 of every 60 min), required Marnie and I downsize to a one bedroom apartment. I miss my old backyard and all, but I do enjoy the pleasures of a small home and no roommates .


Within the last month I have been able to reduce my drops and pressure pill to zero. Gotten back to work. AND I've gotten reading glasses for my left eye. I have mono vision from my lens implants and my right eye was the close up one while my left is focused to 10-30ft for driving. Being back to work and reading again has brought me back to life!

I re-read gaia's garden for a pick-me-up first and now am reading up on roof framing, kinda picking up where I left off long ago. The apartment has a little West facing balcony that I am excited to utilize in spring. Marnie bought a tower garden about a year ago and it fits perfectly at the North end of the balcony. I want to try a few pots of greens at the opposite end, being in shade almost all day. Permaculture in Pots is on my read list for sure Seems like I am primarily doing research instead of application for a while again. Oh well, the dirt is not going anywhere..... mostly.

Nothing like a good Permie post to get my day going. Thanks for reading everyone.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3981
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Brian, thanks for checking in with an update. I hope you are recovering well and keep looking towards the future.
 
Annie Howell-Adams
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I was just reading a gardening book, the author kept mentioning how such and such crop would grow in containers. Maybe you could pioneer 5 gallon bucket permaculture.
Sounds like you are healing from the eye ordeal, keep up the good work!
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Annie Howell-Adams wrote:I was just reading a gardening book, the author kept mentioning how such and such crop would grow in containers. Maybe you could pioneer 5 gallon bucket permaculture.
Sounds like you are healing from the eye ordeal, keep up the good work!


Homerculture? Like in the orange Home Depot buckets. You've seen into the future already I think. Found a few good pots/tupperwares at the Goodwill Outlet too. Looking at seeds this week for some ordering. Only 45ish days till Spring!

Like I said before I wanna grow the usual veggies and greens. But I've got this idea to grow apple tree Guild flats to sell. I wanted to grow comfrey just anyway, but imagine for a moment. . . a flat of starts with comfrey, yarrow, dill, fennel, beans peas, garlic, etc, and a seed mix of the same and more to throw under the mulch. There are already tons of people around Denver with fruit trees in their yards. This would be a plug and play style of guild build, instant succession at its best.


My eye's feeling good. Maybe a little funny but not any cornea than usual.
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Just ordered Permaculture in Pots. I should have it read just in time to start the seeds indoors for the end of April outside.

Got a little collection of plastic tubs and other planters so far. Next weekend I'll be bicycling around Denver alley-scoring to shore up my container collection. Plus what ever else someone decided to throw away, fingers crossed for 2 X 4s.

So as a pre-Permie in Pots plan, I want to try using a aerated tea soil inoculation. I have not grown in pots organically before, just salty fertilizers. So I want to really dive into living (potting)soil.

What I've found so far to be the biggest and best inoculate tea is Rainbow Mix by Earth Juice. It has a large species count and friends of mine who use Earth Juice's stuff really like it. Here is a compiled list of what's in the final mix:

Mycorrhizal Fungi: Pisolithus tinctorius, Scleroderma citrinum, Scleroderma cepa, Rhizopogon luteolus, Rhizopogon fulvigleba, Rhizopogon villosulus, Rhizopogon amylopogon, Rhizobium japonicum, Glomus intradices, Glomus etunicatum, Glomus aggregatum, Glomus mosseae, Glomus clarum, Glomus monosporum, Paraglomus brasilianum, Glasgaspora margarita, Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma viride.

Beneficial Microbes: Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus megaterium, Azotobacter vinelandii, Rhizobium japonicum, Bacillus coagulans,Azotobacter chroococcum, Azospirillum lipoferum, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus laterosprorus, Azospirillum brasilense, Bacillus pumilis, Bacillus licheniforms, Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Also a "Proprietary blend of mycorrhizae fungi"

And a healthy glob of EWC, with all of its microbes

Paired with a good potting soil to grow all these guys in, I think I can make a productive patio garden. Hopefully




Now the long wait for the mail to come.
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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BUMP for staying on track and finishing Permaculture in Pots by Juliet Kemp. I have most of my containers cleaned and ready, seeds in starting trays, balcony partially clean

I have had a lot of trouble figuring out my method of actually growing in pots still. I started a new thread in the permaculture forum just on that.

I still like my choice of Earth Juice liquid ferts and am leaning toward a separate preparations of my fungal and bacterial inoculants. Fungus can be overtaken by the faster reproducing bacteria in the initial growth stages. The endo fungus spores will need to be applied at the first transplant, as they do not survive well in soil without roots.

The balcony should be cleaned totally this weekend and some pictures would be in order. Spring is sooooo close.
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Well, as usual the time got away from me and I am starting my 2016 garden stuff before sharing what happened in 2014 and 15. Well 2015 I moved back to Connecticut mid summer, so no plants then. BUT 2014 did indeed make a great garden year. I have some of the better shots below . . . . . .

EDIT: I forgot to elaborate on my potting mix. The big tub is a water reservoir on the bottom 6", with a EWC/vermiculite/peat moss medium on top. Amended with dry kelp and bone meal. I gave different brews of aerated teas using the Earth Juice liquid blends. The hydro tower is synthetic nutrients . But I have big dreams of linking it into a fish tank for a aquaponic system. Probably not this year (2016) since I have the in-ground plots to work on. Still, fresh synthetic veggies is better than week old. Anyway thanks for reading this far already!










 
Brian Jeffrey
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And things grew more and mroe . . . .








Even had free photoshoot models


 
Brian Jeffrey
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And today I potted up some kale and broccoli sprouts. Along with rockwool cubes of tomato, zucchini, pepper, and basil. I also planted an herb pot in a 3 year old not-till 10 gallon fabric pot. Cilantro, thyme, dill, basil (again), radishes, peas, and peppers. Threw my leftover peas into the ground for good measure too! I am in a woody area and direct sun is fleeting, 4 or 5 hours in the summer. So I am excited to see what I can accomplish with this restriction. I am thinking lots of greens and herbs. More to follow!







 
Josh Huorn
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Location: Eastern Mass, western Montana
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Brian Jeffrey wrote: Like I said before I wanna grow the usual veggies and greens. But I've got this idea to grow Apple Tree Guild flats to sell. I wanted to grow comfrey just anyway, but imagine for a moment. . . a flat of starts with comfrey, yarrow, dill, fennel, beans peas, garlic, etc, and a seed mix of the same and more to throw under the mulch. There are already tons of people around Denver with fruit trees in their yards. This would be a plug and play style of guild build, instant succession at its best.


Hey Brian this sounds like an awesome idea! This type guild flat would make it EASY for anyone to get a polyculture going, I'm curious if you've been able to develop this.
Thanks for all the updates
 
Brian Jeffrey
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Location: Connecticut
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Josh Huorn wrote:
Brian Jeffrey wrote: Like I said before I wanna grow the usual veggies and greens. But I've got this idea to grow Apple Tree Guild flats to sell. I wanted to grow comfrey just anyway, but imagine for a moment. . . a flat of starts with comfrey, yarrow, dill, fennel, beans peas, garlic, etc, and a seed mix of the same and more to throw under the mulch. There are already tons of people around Denver with fruit trees in their yards. This would be a plug and play style of guild build, instant succession at its best.


Hey Brian this sounds like an awesome idea! This type guild flat would make it EASY for anyone to get a polyculture going, I'm curious if you've been able to develop this.
Thanks for all the updates


I have not, yet, made a guild kit. But I am grateful that you mentioned it, I had not thought about this project in too long!.

I previously flushed out a plant list and wrote explanations of the permie principles to plant and run the tree guild. But money to implement was not around. Here is the plant list and the functions each performs on a pic. Too much to type ATM









The permaculture directions took on a life of their own as well. Ended up with several pages of "good stuff", or raving madness. Either way this has revitalized my interest in this. Thanks again for the reminder.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 707
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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I've so enjoyed your Pancakery Plot towards world domination. It's been quite a journey. I do have a few questions about your most resent post. Why did you scratch nasturtium from the list of mulch and not at least add it back under insectary? Are fennel and garlic nutrient accumulaters? I would have not considered them because of their shorter roots.
 
Brian Jeffrey
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Karen Layne wrote:I've so enjoyed your Pancakery Plot towards World Domination. It's been quite a journey. I do have a few questions about your most resent post. Why did you scratch nasturtium from the list of mulch and not at least add it back under insectary? Are fennel and garlic nutrient accumulaters? I would have not considered them because of their shorter roots.



Thanks for the kind words I am not sure why I nixed nasturtiums altogether. Looking back through my brainstorm notes I don't see anything written to that end. I would suppose it had more to do with the local Colorado climate I was making the list for, or maybe they did not play well with others in the garden. . . ? . . . I cannot say with certainty.


The fennel and garlic are noted as nutrient accumulators in "Gaia's Garden" by toby hemenway, First edition, page 202ish, in the Herbaceous table.



EDIT: In my own plant notes Garlic is noted for accumulating Sulfur and Manganese. Fennel for Nitrogen and Phosphorous.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 707
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
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I love nasturtium and i try to get all the seeds from the ones I've planted. They are beautiful, tasty and i hope they're doing their job of keeping the bugs away.
Since the rain/sleet has sent me inside early today, i think I will read in my copy of "Gaia's Garden". That, to me, is much better than watching the basketball game that's on.
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Squirrels or a possum went on a deep mining mission in the 10gal pot. I guess this is a semi-till pot now In an effort to prevent repeat digging, I have crammed a bunch of old dead bramble canes throughout the pot. So far its been two nights and no further incident. Otherwise the cloudy days have kept the seedling flat from growing too much.


 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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Greetings! Spring has been a good mix of sun and rain over here. The 10gal pot is brimming with seedlings, as well as the tray. In the rockwool cubes tomatoes, zucchini, and the herbs are getting nice and big. Saved over $40 in starts by growing my own, you pay to be lazy













And I have also been working over at my parents garden. Built a greenhouse with two cattle fence panels to protect their fig tree and other plants. Recently I put in 4x4 posts to fence around a 35'(ish) square garden. I have a few patches all to my own in there, the straw covered key-line patch and end-caps on the strawberry patch. Planted in a greens/herbs//legumes cover crop mix so far. Lots of seedlings coming in.





 
Claudia Smith
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Location: So Cal Hell
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Can someone recommend a source for mycorrhizae fungi?
 
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