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Cliff's permaculture projects  RSS feed

 
Posts: 124
Location: Puget Sound
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I've been fairly busy this week. We finished the wood shed:


Lots of plastic tarps will be saved because of this effort. Now we just have to fill it.

I bought a Patriot 10 HP chipper/shredder and am very impressed with it. I am making wood chips to use as mulch for the garden and paths. This year I am experimenting with three different mulches. I am trying straw, wood chips, and seaweed. So far, both the seaweed mulch and the wood chip mulch seem to be keeping the slugs at bay. Not so much with the straw. I also have to purchase straw while I have an ample supply of free wood and seaweed. That said, I use the straw for my chicken coop before turning it into mulch. I may just use the straw from the coop for around my fruit trees and stick with seaweed and/or wood chips for the annual beds. Here is a pic of one of my beds half way through a seaweed mulching.



Those are peas that were being consumed by slugs. After the mulching, I have seen no more damage.

Yesterday my wife and I inspected the top bar beehives and expanded their hive space. All of the hives appear healthy. I am very pleased with the amount of comb they have built in a short ten days. No stings since the install, and the hives seem to be very well mannered. We have dutifully fired up the smoker every time only to set it down and never have to use it. I'm beginning to wonder if I really needed to buy one.

On another topic, the "pig pond" seems to be holding its water. I walked around the edges to plant some blueberries a while ago and it started to lose water. However, after a few days, it filled back up again. Today a new couple moved into the pond area and appear to want to stay. Fine with me, I have a lot of slugs that need to be eaten.



Finally, the chickens seem to be doing well with my modified paddock system. Although some of them seemed to have found a new pastime:



 
pollinator
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I'm definitely experiencing woodshed envy....

Are those dandelions in the chicken paddock? (Dandelion envy too)
 
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pollinator
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definitely wood shed envy. Beautiful pics - thanks for sharing!
 
Clifford Reinke
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It has been a while since I updated this thread, time to get back into things. I went through a period of depression about the state of the world and where we are heading. James Hansens recent lectures certainly did not help! Anyway, I finally came to terms with myself and accepted that I'm probably not going to be able to wake the world up before really bad things start to happen. But I can keep improving our place and keep incorporating permiculture principles. Hopefully, I will set a nice example and encourage other people in this direction. So I quit feeling sorry for myself and got back to playing around the property.

We have been busy in the gardens this week. Managed to plant out; potatoes, Walla Walla sweet onions, and bush peas. Seeded 616 soil blocks with; onions, pole peas, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, brussels sprouts, lettuce, Kohlrabi, lavender, celery, and assorted flowers. Split up and transplanted lots of comfrey and borrage around the fruit trees.

I reworked my zone one garden plan. I am using the Mother Earth News Garden Planner and they added a publish feature so you can publish your garden plan. Here is mine if you are interested.

Cliffs Zone ! garden

Unfortunately, if you want to publish a plan it has to be smaller than 93' X 93', so I could only include my zone 1 garden. However, you can have more than one plan and if you don't plan on publishing it, the plan can be up to 1,000' x 1,000'.

My zone 1 garden should be awesome this year. I have a line on a LOT of free wood chips for mulch that I hope comes through (should know in a week).

I also built a massive Perone Hive.

Anyway, nice to be back. I'll try and keep this thread updated better in the future.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Looking good, Cliff!

 
master steward
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Wow, all of you folks who are documenting your projects are a true inspiration !

What an awesome place you and your family have there Cliff!

I too get depressed at the state of things but in the end I try to remember that when there are folks like you/us out there learning about and actually doing permiculture, there is hope for a better future!
 
Clifford Reinke
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I have recently started another phase of my quest towards simplicity. On Monday I quit eating any commercially processed food, with the exception of canned Olives, Olive oil, Sunflower Oil, and Sesame oil. I’ve also eliminated processed sugar, grains, Gluten, dairy, starchy vegetables, and reduced my protein intake. Basically, a chemical detox diet. So far, I feel great.

In six weeks, I will add limited amounts of whole grains and starchy vegetables. I’m hoping to: lose weight, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, avert diabetes (runs in the family), avert Alzheimer’s (Mother), avoid cancer (father), and avoid all medications (I currently take none).

I feel I can easily provide 70-80 percent of my nutritional needs, (thanks to my Ninja Pulse), from the property. I could probably provide 100% if pressed, but some fruits don’t do well here (yet) and I enjoy them (think citrus and bananas). Plus, I still buy meat, although sometimes I can trade my homemade Sauerkraut for salmon, or let someone dig for clams in exchange for venison.

Besides the health benefits, I will also reduce my footprint, sequester carbon, reduce waste, improve the soil, enhance wildlife and lots of other good things.
In addition, I am constantly trying to make the place easier to work based on Permaculture principles.

I’ve learned a lot since my self imposed power down 10 years ago. Fortunately, we have a nice piece of land to work with, the time to play with it, and the income to pay the taxes. My income has reduced by 80% and I don’t regret a minute.

It's been six days since I started and my energy is high, I've lost some weight, and I seem to have lost my night eating craves. We will see how it goes.....
 
Clifford Reinke
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Been busy working in the garden. I can't get all of it into one picture, but this is pretty representative. I'm adding wood chips as fast as possible to the paths. They are on contour so will act as small swales.



As you can see the new wood shed is now functional. The RMH in the greenhouse has worked great for my seed starts this year. The place is finally coming together, this should be a great year!

 
Devon Olsen
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looks beautiful, cant wait to see more pics but it definately looks as if its coming together
 
Clifford Reinke
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OK, sorry if this picture is blurry. I took it at dusk, from my phone. Anyway, I wanted to point out the five beds in the foreground. Originally they were running perpendicular to the way they are now oriented. Unfortunately, they were also running perpendicular to the contour lines so did not hold moisture well, and I was constantly watering them through the summer.



With the help of my live at home son, we tore out the old beds, and laid these new ones on contour. I tested the paths by filling each with water, and then dug out the high spots to make them level. Now, we are in the processes of filling the paths with wood chips. The hope is the chips, (about six inches deep), will keep the moisture in the beds. Of course I will not leave the soil on the beds themselves bare. They will be covered with either Seaweed, wood chips, leaf mulch or some other type of mulch.

I'm falling in love with wood chips. I test a few beds last year with wood chip mulch and with a few tweaks was very pleased with the moisture retention. All the beds I mulched last year with wood chips stayed moist during a record 91 day dry spell with NO watering. In addition, slugs don't seem to like wood chips! Finally, my bees seem to love the sugar from freshly chipped wood.

I'm working on getting a local source of free wood chips brought in. In the meantime I have my own chipper, and am making my own chips. The problem is, I can use 200 yards easily, and that's a lot of chipping.

I used to think I would hoard my last gas for the chainsaw, now I think I would give up the chainsaw for the chipper.

 
Clifford Reinke
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Well, yesterday was a nice day, so I took some pics to show how the place is coming along. Unfortunately, I also organized my pics on photobucket, which broke a lot of the links in my earlier posts on this thread, and I can not edit the posts to fix the links. Oh well.

Here is a nice shot showing part of my Zone 1 Garden:



For orientation you are looking ENE.

We have decided we need to modify the garden to make it more "old folks friendly" as we are rapidly approaching that stage of life.

As you can see I'm laying wood chips as fast as I can chip them up. I'm still trying to acquire chips through local sources, but no luck so far. Last year, I ran a test comparing wood chips vs straw vs seaweed from our beach. Wood chips proved to be the best option for me. It kept the soil moist through a record 81 day drought, proved to be effective in controlling slugs, and lasted much longer than straw or seaweed. I have to say, wood chips significantly reduce the workload in the garden. Weeding is very easy, the soil thrives, and it significantly reduced the tripping hazards on our flat challenged, mole occupied land.

I also shortened my hoops and plan to leave them in permanently for netting and/or shade cloth support. I used to move them as needed and would replace them with my vertical support when needed. Now I just put the vertical support next to the hoop if needed.

Here is one of my strawberry beds.



Those are not berries in the picture, they are painted black walnuts. Supposedly birds come and check them out and learn they are not berries so they leave your real berries alone when they ripen. I can say they consistently fool humans.

Here is a shot of the chicken paddock system:



I changed to a Paddock system after reading about it right here at permies.com (Thanks Paul!). The coops footprint is 8' X 8' and has a trap door in the bottom which we close up at night. The coop is on stilts to give a dusting and protection area under the coop. The area under the coop is enclosed with chicken wire, and I open the side that goes into the paddock. Once a week (or so...), I move the portable electric netting (160'), to make a new paddock. The paddock moves around the coop in a clockwise direction and there are four of them. As you can see, the grass is not dead around the coop as happens in a fixed system.

Right now the chickens paddock is also enclosing a compost pile. The compost pile is on a slope, the chickens turn it for me, and I collect the good stuff at the bottom. It works great. The chickens are only on the compost one out of four weeks. This allows the earth worms to come back in force during the three weeks they are not being hunted by the chicks. You can sort of make out the chickens on the compost pile in the picture. I have one rooster and 11 hens. They are all barred rocks.

The next picture was taken from my fledgling forest garden looking across the "pig pond" and shows the zone one garden with my tool/storage container and attached greenhouse.


The next shot is the house looking up from the front.



The three windows on the top is the master bedroom.

This is what I wake up to every morning, a view of my wild asparagus patch.


The big hunk of concrete was a fireplace foundation built around 1870. It is impossible to break up, so we turned it into a wood campfire for cooking. It is a nice height for cooking.

Finally, a shot from the front yard across my fledgling forest garden towards my bees.


It's looking like it will be a good year. Thanks for your time, I hope this wasn't to long.






 
pollinator
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Very inspiring but my weather is bumming me out! Freezing rain today after a few days in the 50s. Next week looks better so maybe I'll take a peek again to get re-inspired.
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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Got your P M Yes I recognize the cove. I missed your place when I was passing out invitations to use http://KeyPeninsulaFarms.com to write about your place for local search. Please fill out the form and add some pictures. I would really like to get this site going as a local forum for the many small farms here on the key Peninsula.

My projects are on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Qberry-Farm/160604427305966?ref=hl I am having camera problems right now so I have not posted my insect control project and rain water collection to water the berry houses. If you have any extra bees to put in the berry house they will be blooming next week.
You are welcome to stop by and see my place.
 
Clifford Reinke
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I just signed on to Lawton's first Online PDC course. I feel it will be money well spent.
 
Cj Sloane
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Me too! See you there.
 
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Clifford Reinke wrote:Those are not berries in the picture, they are painted black walnuts. Supposedly birds come and check them out and learn they are not berries so they leave your real berries alone when they ripen.
Could you let us know if this works?
The birds don't recognise my white alpine strawberries, but my standard strawberries are heading off in all directions, and I'd really like to get some fruit!
I can get horse chestnuts, or maybe some nice round pebbles...
 
Clifford Reinke
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Leila Rich wrote:
Clifford Reinke wrote:Those are not berries in the picture, they are painted black walnuts. Supposedly birds come and check them out and learn they are not berries so they leave your real berries alone when they ripen.
Could you let us know if this works?
The birds don't recognise my white alpine strawberries, but my standard strawberries are heading off in all directions, and I'd really like to get some fruit!
I can get horse chestnuts, or maybe some nice round pebbles...


Well it has been fairly successful for the past 5 years or so. I recently heard you could do the same things with beads in your cherry trees.

I use white strawberries as a ground cover for places with a high degree of shade. So less berries but a nice ground cover.
 
Clifford Reinke
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For all you Pacific Northwest gardeners. I went to a lecture given by Linda Gilkeson today titled "Your Year Round Harvest Starts Right Now." Unbelievable, I think I just doubled my garden production!

I'm pretty confident that this year when most are putting down their beds for the winter, mine will be full of food, safely sitting in my huge outdoor refrigerator (the ground).

She has a book titled "Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest" Describing her techniques with planting charts and specific plant variety recommendations. It was already sold out at the Mother Earth News Fair (where I saw her presentation). But I was able to order one of the last two copies on Amazon.

As those of us who live in the PNW know, most "North American" garden books are not very applicable to our unique climate. It was nice to find a book written by a PNW natural gardener, with over 40 years of experience. To those of you unfortunate enough not to live in the PNW, this book will probably be of little use to you.
 
Cj Sloane
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Hey Cliff, how about an update?

I'm particularly interested in how your bees fared?
 
Clifford Reinke
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Wow, it has been awhile since I posted. In my defense I've been busy and it is hard to keep up with this board anymore. It has taken off and that is a great thing. Anyway here is a shot of my zone 1 garden taken today.



I'm still harvesting carrots, beets, garden sorrel, and my ubiquitous Kale.

I may have one of four hives that survived this winter. Moisture leading to mold was the problem. I am going to experiment with a Peron hive this year, take away two of my top bar hives, plus build an open cover over all the hives this year (sort of like the Japanese do).

Also, since my last posting: I got my PDC from Lawton's first online course, Joined the local fruit club (what a great value), hosted some Eco Campers for a day demonstrating permaculture techniques, and volunteered at the local Elementary School helping with fifth graders, and.................. turned 60.

I plan on making a video soon showing off the place. When I do. I'll post the link here.

So much to do, so little time.

 
Miles Flansburg
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Good to see you back Clifford!
 
Cj Sloane
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Clifford Reinke wrote:
I may have one of four hives that survived this winter. Moisture leading to mold was the problem. I am going to experiment with a Peron hive this year, take away two of my top bar hives, plus build an open cover over all the hives this year (sort of like the Japanese do).


I'm trying a perone hive too! How did the moisture get into the hive?
 
Hans Quistorff
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Good to see you today and stimulate your online presence. You should have mentioned that the picture was taken in Puget Sound winter sunshine in other words the drizzle was not heavy enough to get you wet.
 
Clifford Reinke
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I built a Perone Hive last year hoping to catch a swarm for it.


Unfortunately it was not a good year for me. No swarms and at least three of my four hives died off this winter. The last one may or may not make it. Obviously I need a new plan. So I am taking down two of my four top bar hives, and I will move this Perone Hive in their place. I also ordered a Nuc to populate my Perone Hive. I've read using a package does not always take with a Perone. A Nuc has more bees and is better established.

Unfortunately a Nuc uses standard Langstrum Frames that are not compatable with my perone. So I modified the perone to take the NUC. Here is the piece I needed to modify:



And here is the Mod I made so I can hang the Nuc frames in my Perone Hive. The small peices of bar are not secured, once the Nuc frames are installed I will place the small pieces appropriately and the bees will glue it in place. The space below will be left to the bees and not disturbed by me.



Then comes my space. The bees will build comb and fill with honey, but the queen will not put brood there because the space is to small.



Then a place for the bees to attach comb.



and another set for my honey.



and one more with the bars incorporated into the lid.



Finished



I'm hoping with the larger colony size, I will have better success. The idea is to let the bees have the lower space for brood, and one night a year we harvest the honey from the three top boxes (Hopefully a 120 lbs or more). We will see. When I get the Nuc, we will document the install.

 
Clifford Reinke
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Well it was a nice day outside so I thought I would take some pics of my Zone 1, garden on the last day of winter 2014.

First, I finally finished planting out my asparagus, all 170 of them on my experimental swale.



In addition to asparagus, there is also Sea Berry, LOTS of Kale, Figs, Gooseberry, bunching onions, Peach, mint, and daffodils. I'll probably spread a bunch of Pea seeds around soon.

Here are this years Onions:


I also have another bed I planted last fall. Total, I have around 600 in the ground. Hopefully We will be near self sufficient for onions this year.

Anyone need some Kale? So crisp and much sweeter than you get in the Supermarket.

Last year I had Lots of beans and cabage going on in there. Then the deer came...So I fenced it in. This year I am going to fence all of zone one in so this fence will go.

I've got some cabbage out and under cover:

The bed to the right of the covered bed are beets we planted last fall. Ready for harvest, but I'll wait till I'm ready to plant.

Volunteer potatoes:

I've decided to keep growing potatoes in the same two patches as an experiment. I also plan to graft a few tomato plants onto my potato plants.

My blueberry's seem to be happier with the addition of wood chips.

I use wood chips a lot in my Zone 1 Garden. It keeps the garden workable when its wet, and significantly reduces watering during our draughty summers.

Here is the future site of our Natural plunge pool.

Lots of stuff to do.

Finally, because this post is too long, looking due North.

My green house attached to my tool/storage shed at the top.
 
Clifford Reinke
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Bought half a pig from a friend yesterday.

24 pounds of sausage, five slabs of bacon, 12 large pork chops, five pork roasts, two ham hox, and a side of ribs (which are cooking now), and we are done for the day. I found this great pig butchering video on You Tube, made it pretty easy.

How to butcher a pig.

I don't have a band saw, so I used my cordless saws-all instead.

I'm always amazed at how much you can learn from You Tube. What a great resource. It's open source education.
 
Cj Sloane
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Clifford Reinke wrote:When I get the Nuc, we will document the install.


Cliff, when are your bees coming? I'm building a Peronne hive to fit a nuc so I'm really looking forward to seeing your install pics. I'm sure mine will arrive after yours. Probably the 1st week in May. I'm a total bee newb! I'm also building a Warre hive with movable frames but I may just leave it as a bait hive.
 
Clifford Reinke
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Cj Verde wrote:
Clifford Reinke wrote:When I get the Nuc, we will document the install.


Cliff, when are your bees coming? I'm building a Peronne hive to fit a nuc so I'm really looking forward to seeing your install pics. I'm sure mine will arrive after yours. Probably the 1st week in May. I'm a total bee newb! I'm also building a Warre hive with movable frames but I may just leave it as a bait hive.


I'm expecting them soon. But I still have not been given a date. I will post when I install.

In the mean time, my practice swale (I made it when taking Geoff's PDC) that I lined with wood chips gave me an unexpected bonus:



morel mushrooms! They have bloomed along the entire swale. I'll be eating well.
 
Cj Sloane
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Are the woodchips plain old pine or hard wood?
 
Clifford Reinke
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Cj Verde wrote:Are the woodchips plain old pine or hard wood?


No pine around here. Mostly Doug Fir, Broad Leaf Maple, Alder and Cedar. The chips come from a tree service and could be anything, but pine would be way down on the list. Butchered another pig pig today with my son. I now have 150 pounds of pig in the freezer.



Minus a few chops.

 
Clifford Reinke
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Well, I got a call at 4:00 PM saying the bees would be there at 5:00 pm and I had to come in and pick them up. Of course it is an hour drive to the place. I get there at 5:30 PM and the bees had still not arrived. Finally pick them up at 6:00 and rush home to get them installed because it is raining tomorrow.

My wife got some pictures, but I sent her off for a smoker (Which I never used), and a knife (which I also did not use). The good news is my son took video with his new Go Pro.

It was not the prettiest install by a long shot! Hmmmm, seems the youtube upload is blurry.

Here are a few pics:

The bee space, never to be messed with by humans:


The NUC package. I expected 5 frames, but it was only four frames, so I needed to do some ad hoc adjustments.


My honey space:


And Finally the top.


In retrospect I should have had my hive tool handy plus the smoker going (I hate to use the smoker). I was losing sun and heat so I had to go more quickly than I had planned.

Now I just have to wait and see if it works.


 
Hans Quistorff
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Miserable day for the bees today but the next few days should have some sun. with all the apples and cherries in bloom they should get a start. I think the maples are still putting out polen.

I think I have a source for the mock bamboo for fall nectar flow. It is a planting on one of the original homesteads in Longbranch.
 
Cj Sloane
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Cliff how did your Perone do? Mine did not make it but I'm trying again with Langstroths so I can do splits. I'd like to try managing a Langsroth like a Perone. I harvested a 1.5 gallons of honey off the Perone and the new bees have found it and are cleaning up the extra honey.
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