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Permaculture rocks - no, I mean actual rocks  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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I have always loved rocks, I used to have rock gardens that looked much like your water color.  Some places they take hog wire or field fence, make a circle out of it about two feet wide then fill the wire with rocks.  These pillars are sometimes placed on either side of a driveway or maybe a corner post for a fence.

These links give you that basic idea for building walls, not exactly what I am talking about but the general idea.

Gabion Wall

Rock Box/Cage

 
Posts: 93
Location: Lancaster, UK
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oh my goodness Anne I can feel another project coming on....
 
pollinator
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Pretty spiffy!

 
steward
Posts: 1679
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Ooooooo, I like those! What a great idea. Yes, definitely another project for the future . . .
 
Posts: 404
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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Karen Layne wrote:Don't mean to hijack but there are "rock hounds" among us.
I found this rock in the gravel road in front of the house. The gravel source, I believe, is in Blue Ridge, VA.
I took a couple of pics. It's an inch by inch and a half, baby blue, vitreous, translucent, obsidian like. Any ideas?


Looks like a piece of glass slag. I have several large chunks (like 6" to 10" diameter) of amethyst-colored slag intermixed with the rocks edging all my paths and trails. (We have a lot of rocks, so that is how I use some of them.) The glass catches the light and makes the paths more interesting!
 
pollinator
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Thanks Deb. Someone else said glass slag too. Do you think that could have gotten in road gravel? And I've heard it could be fluorite too. Hey, that amethyst sure sounds pretty.
 
Posts: 229
Location: Quebec, Canada
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I built 8 small gabion check dams in the ditch that divides the neighbour's property and ours.  I wanted to slow down the water before it hits the main ditch.  This is because with the spring melting snow the water was eroding the corner of our property.   I will have access to water or very moist soil along the ditch for water loving plants of my choice. (Right now it is just weeds)

Where we have the gabion check dams, the rocks are place in a curve higher on both sides than the flowing waters instead of a flat dam.  This will reduce the risk of erosion when there is high flow. 

We have not finished the process as we want to line the ditch with more rocks.  First we have to find and dig out the rocks from other locations on our property.  For normal rainfalls & spring melt water we should not have any real erosion.  This will give me time to find more rocks since we have stopped the erosion for now.

This video inspired me to build curved gabion dams plus a geoff lawton video about gabions (I could not find it again to link to)

Reversing Desertification With Sticks, Rocks, and Ancient Wisdom

Although my ditch is small, the same principals apply on a much larger scale for those who have erosion issues along a creek or run off.
 
Michelle Bisson
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In this same ditch, I layed some flat rocks so that I could use the ditch as a pathway and not get my shoes wet when there is a bit of moisture.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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I love the look of your check dams Michelle. Excellent use for big ol' rocks, and it's attractive, too.
 
gardener
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Did using rocks to fill gabions get added to this list yet?

Gabions are rocks in a wire cage, they can be used to stop erosion in gullies, divert or slow water flow, bounce sound and or light, make the lower half, or all of a wall (the top half plastered strawbale or cob, above the water flow portion of the wall)

Gabions are even used as fence posts and decorative plinths in my region...
 
Mother Tree
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I'm going to just unload a bunch of photos here and let them speak for themselves.  I might gather them all together to make a Portugal Rocks thread some day, but I'm a bit rushed off my feet atm.

Enjoy!





































 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
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Burra,
Those pictures are just incredible! Thanks for sharing.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1679
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Stunning, Burra! I love these photos.
 
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I have plenty of rocks on my property.

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Jon Snow
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Another use for rocks is you can pee behind them so no one sees you.
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Michelle Bisson
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Our latest rock project was this solid staircase to the bottom of our ditch in front of property. The staircase is about 6 feet down.

I emptied the ditch (which stores about 20 to 30 gallons) using 5 gallon pails in order to water our plants.


See my thread: Go Permaculture Food Forest - our suburban permaculture journey

 
pollinator
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Location: Western Kenya
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We also have a lot of rocks, mostly roundish, which I don't know what to do with.  This thread and all the beautiful photos have been really inspiring... BUT...
We trim our grass with a slasher (Long, sharp metal swing blade.)  Can't figure out how we would trim around all the rocks and keep things looking neat and tidy.  Another but... it gets really hot here during the dry season... am afraid if I use the rocks to ring garden beds or trees, or as mulch, I might be creating a little oven.  Maybe there is something I am not understanding about the thermo dynamics of rock-mulching... ?
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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Maureen Atsali wrote:... BUT...
We trim our grass with a slasher (Long, sharp metal swing blade.)  Can't figure out how we would trim around all the rocks and keep things looking neat and tidy.
 
One solution I found was to make a path of fist size stones along the bottom and tamp them down into the dirt to make a cobblestone edge. Weeds in that can be pulled or doused with vinegar and you can then cut up to the path with your slasher. 

Maureen Atsali wrote:  Another but... it gets really hot here during the dry season... am afraid if I use the rocks to ring garden beds or trees, or as mulch, I might be creating a little oven.  Maybe there is something I am not understanding about the thermodynamics of rock-mulching... ?


Yes the plan of your rock placement needs to take into consideration whether in your climate you want to store heat or coolth. For example the rock retaining wall I posted above faces slightly south of east so that it gets sun only in the early part of the day but not the scorching evening sun during July and August.
A wall that faces south west might be used to create a sitting area for after dark where the radiant heat would make it comfortable.
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
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Thanks Hans,
I like the cobblestone idea, I think its workable.  We would be able to swing the blade close enough to the rocks to keep things looking nice, without hitting the rocks with the blade.  I love the look of rock borders, I think it will beautify the property.

As for mulching with rocks... I don't think that's going to work here.  The sun is just too intense.

I have been studying the picture above of the rock staircase.  I have a...I don't know what to call it, the technical landscaping term... ravine? gully?  I just call it the "toilet bowl", where-by a smallish spring (its small now, maybe in generations past it was huge?) sits in the bottom of a large, eroded out L shaped "bowl".  The sides are steep, the drop is about 20 feet, and I have a very hard time getting in and out of it.  During the wet season I often end up slipping in the clay muck and sliding down on my rear!  I have often thought of building a staircase... but building stuff isn't my forte.  Trying to figure out if my round rocks can be used to make a stair like the one which was pictured above?  Although there are some huge boulders, most of my rocks seem to be about the size of a soccer ball or smaller.  And the rocky part of the farm is on the opposite end of our long rectangular shaped farm from the toilet bowl... and I have to move everything by hand. 
 
pollinator
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I love rocks too and this being Maine, we have our share.

I am not sure how many rockwalls I have built, many of them and some I have even built, needed to add something and moved them. I probably have done a 1/2 mile or so of rock walls; that being about 3ft by 3 ft by 3 feet tall.

My farm has an abundance of slate so when I did our foyer, I laid it with slate, and even used gravel from our gravel pit to make the concrete around the slate. With radiant heat underneath, it not only feels good on bare feet, it helps dry gloves laid directly on the rock, and is the preferred spot for the family cat. This is not a good picture of it because it just shows a bit of the foyer, but you can see that it is a natural stone and fits our timber frame home well. (I think, you can be the judge).



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garden master
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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Oh my goodness, Travis. You're kitchen is AMAZING.

Another use for rocks that I didn't see mentioned here is putting them around the base of trees to protect the roots from getting scratched up by chickens. I read about it on Erica Strauss's blog http://www.nwedible.com/stop-chickens-from-scratching-trees-shrubs/. Since then, I've been putting them around my fruit trees, and especially my strawberries to protect them from our chicken. (Chicken LOVES to scratch in the mulch under my trees, which is great for removing pests and weed seeds, but not so great for my strawberries!)

I don't currently have any pictures of my trees, but here's one of Erica's



I'm also planning on planting a fig tree where the previous owner apparently dumped some gravel. I read that fig trees have some pretty long-reaching horizontal roots (which I don't want invading my driveway or my wellhouse), and that the figs fruit better with their roots confined. So, I'm going to dig a BIG hole and encircle the place where the fig will go with two rings of big ol' slabs of "urbanite", which will be buried leaving only 1-2 inches about the soil. I'm hoping this will both confine the roots, as well as hold heat to help the fig ripen sooner and be protected better in the winter.
 
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Location: Alaska
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Rocks rock!!  Love all the pictures!  I've been a big fan of rocks all my life and it seems a few have always managed to find their way into my pockets, bags, pick-up truck, RV, etc. no matter where I've traveled. 

We have lots of rocks on our little homestead here in AK and if we ever run out, the property next door is an abandoned gravel pit.  I also routinely get my "Cowboy" to pull over and rescue any stray rocks that are crying out for a new home as we pass by. 

After perusing this post, I had to jump in and share last summer's "Rock Wall" project with all of you.  We were putting in a new wood stove and I had this "flash of brilliance" to add lots of rocks to act as a kind of heat sync.  With Spring trying to put in an appearance (it's still between 20 and 40 degrees here in mid-April, but the snow's slowly melting), I can happily say the new woodstove with the rock surround worked great.  We still need to resolve some insulation problems, but we stayed warm and our woodpile will get us through to the end of this month (though I must confess we slipped away during the worst month of winter weather from mid-Feb to mid-Mar where it hit -40 a few times we were told. 

Anyway here's the link to my building video: 
 

Enjoy!
 
pollinator
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Hans asked me to post one of the pictures from my farm blog, so here it goes........

I dig up lots of rocks while making garden spots, widening a driveway, or other things. To date, I've used all those rocks and eagerly would like more. Yeah, I'm a bit crazy. 😀 Right now I'm extending a low wall that outlined my Secret Garden area, making a wall going along side the main driveway to the house.
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master steward
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I know this is perhaps a bit OT, and this kind of paint isn't the most eco thing, but I thought these mandala stones were quite beautiful.



I like the white on gray stones. This was posted on a webpage, http://www.goodshomedesign.com/mandala-stone-tutorial/, that had VERY colorful mandala stone examples, that were a bit, well, garish to me. I prefer a more natural look.

Speaking of, I wonder if etching the stone would be more eco. I think and etched stone(s) would be lovely to have in the garden. Especially if the etching was deep enough for a good texture on the rock.



 
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