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Ludi's projects 2017

 
gardener
Posts: 3054
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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That's a lot of water.  Is the basin something that's always been there,  or is this the earthworks you just built?
 
pollinator
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That's the first basin we had dug, where the upper creek enters our place.  The new earthworks connect to it, and should help contain about 1/3 of the water in flood.  Unfortunately the other 2/3 enters too far down on the land to be able to make more basins to slow it, because the land there is mostly rock and cedar trees.  My husband keeps posting pretty pictures of the full basin on Facebook, hoping our upstream neighbors will get a clue and dig some basins on their place.
 
wayne fajkus
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I think we are doing similar things. I'm working the hi end of my property, but there's another area on the low end of my property that I haven't figured out what to do. The high end will feed a big area with water, much more beneficial.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Yes, it's most effective to start at the top and work down.  We're trying a little of both - I've made rock dams in the lowest part of the creek and though they don't slow the water much, they are helping to heal the eroding creek channel.  We're also making brush dams in both upper and lower creek areas.

It's possible once you get a handle on the top of your place, the bottom will cease to be a problem.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 11799
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Planted my Gabe Brown-inspired "30 Vegetables" garden. Possibly planting too early, but we'll see...

Broadcast seeds and raked them in.

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master steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Tyler Ludens wrote:The biggest problem are the non-native Axis (Chital) Deer - the spotted ones in that photo.  There is open season, no bag limit on these extremely tasty deer, but folks aren't hunting nearly enough.  These deer are destroying many of the woody plants in the region.



How about inviting permies folks who would like some venison to come over and help you out of your deer problem?  I'm not sure how far from a bigger city you are but there are often people there who want to hunt but don't have a place to do it.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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Permies are welcome to hunt here, just let me know if you're interested.  I post about our deer problem frequently, so I figure regional people know about it.  

 
wayne fajkus
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One of my life goals is only eat the meat I raise, catch or kill (harvest). I'm getting close. Chicken, lamb, cow, deer, fish provides a good balance. I just need to raise more chickens at a time. Like a 6 month supply twice a year.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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That's an excellent goal.  We eat relatively little meat, and it's mostly local venison and our chickens these days.  We cook with purchased meat maybe once a month.  It's actually been difficult for us to get used to eating more meat and our small freezer is still stuffed with venison with more on the way when the hunter brings our share from the last hunt.  

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Some of the 30 Vegetables are already sprouting.  We've had about 1/2 inch rain so far since planting.  

I plan to document every detail, because I am very excited about this experiment!

 
wayne fajkus
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We got .30 inches today.  My creek flow was slowing.  Good timing
 
pollinator
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I would love to hear more about this 30 vegetable  planting!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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"30 Vegetables" is based on an experiment done by North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown, in which he planted a field to several dozen different varieties of annual plants including vegetables and cover crops, in a polyculture and grew them without irrigation.  Other experiments he had done had proven that in his conditions, polycultures grew much better than crops planted individually, and that the more varieties of plants he included, the better they grew.

He discusses these experiments in this video (I think around the 45 minute mark):  


 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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Many seeds are sprouting in the 30 Vegetables patch.  Those I can identify from a distance (I don't want to walk on the baby plants) are Okra, Beans, Radish, and Tomato.  There are also a lot of leafy greens looking baby plants, which all tend to look alike.

 
Maureen Atsali
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That was a great video. My phone agreed to play it, so I watched the whole thing.  Now I have to tax my brain to see how I can apply that here.

How did you "plant" the 30?  Are you using a no till system?  Since you mentioned not stepping on seedlings I assume you scattered rather than rows?

Sorry! Lots of questions!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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1042
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I let the chickens "till" the plot, then I scattered the seeds and raked them in.  My coverage is pretty uneven, most seem to be coming up in clumps, but that might be an advantage in possibly giving me places to walk.  There are also a lot of oats coming up that the chickens didn't eat (guess I'm overfeeding) and some of the grass is returning.  I suspect the grass might be a problem.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Update on this brush dam which has almost complete grass cover growing in upstream.  Very happy about this!

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Tyler Ludens
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We're nearly finished with this 100 foot long brush dam filling the eroded channel:



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Posts: 18
Location: Grimes County, Texas | Zone 8b
3
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Tyler, I've been following your projects with interest and am glad to see your progress on the brush dams - they are looking good!

I'm especially interested in these as my property has some bad erosion in runoff areas and creekbeds - I'm looking to harvest some of my plentiful juniper and willow trees to make some partial brush dams in an effort to reclaim bank materials. Can you tell me how your dams have done in regards to silt reclamation? If you're seeing new deposits, how much have you got over how long a time?

Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing!
 
Maureen Atsali
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Looks great!  It looks like a lot of leaf litter and organic goodness got stopped by the dam too.  Good to see all that green!

Am following your 30 veggie experiment with interest.  Am curious about shading and crowding out issues... And how you get into it to weed and harvest without trampling stuff!  (Your probably not supposed to have to weed it, I suppose.). And watering?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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1042
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Riley Walker wrote:Can you tell me how your dams have done in regards to silt reclamation? If you're seeing new deposits, how much have you got over how long a time?



Silt accumulation varies from one dam to another, but I would say on average we've accumulated an inch or more at each of the dams.  Some have accumulated several inches of organic material over the course of a year.

Thanks for your interest in this project!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Maureen Atsali wrote:

Am following your 30 veggie experiment with interest.  Am curious about shading and crowding out issues... And how you get into it to weed and harvest without trampling stuff!  (Your probably not supposed to have to weed it, I suppose.). And watering?



These are all concerns I have as well.  I probably should have seeded in bands instead of just seeding the whole area, but I'm hoping I can tiptoe through the plants to harvest - if indeed there will be a harvest, which I'm not counting on.  I don't plan to do any weeding, because yes, I think the idea is one does not need to weed this sort of plot.  But I can imagine the grass taking over.  I also don't plan to irrigate at all.  Gabe Brown's experiments showed him that the more polycultural his plantings were, the more drought resistant they were.  But this was under his unique conditions.  Though his region gets less average rainfall than mine - 18 inches versus our 28 inches - it rarely gets as hot there as it does here and evaporation is much lower because it is much farther north.  I actually don't expect many of the vegetables to survive and produce under our conditions, but I wanted to try it anyway.  
 
Tyler Ludens
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Warm temperatures (80F+) and high winds are probably laying waste to my 30 Vegetables garden....Last time I checked I saw several seedlings had keeled over.

 
pollinator
Posts: 128
Location: Gaines County, Texas South of Seminole, Tx zone 7b/8a
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tell me about the wind was going to seed a good portion of my land but wind threw 50+ mph wind with gust up to 65 or more at times.  So I stay in out of the sandblaster.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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1042
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Even hotter today - near 90, and more wind.  Baby plants are looking sad.  We have rain in the forecast in a couple of days.  I wonder if the plants will make it.  Some things in the kitchen garden are bolting due to high temps - Arugula, Lettuce, Daikon.  
 
master steward
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Maureen Atsali
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Well that stinks.  Do you have some extra seeds to replant after the heatwave passes?  Our rains are not cooperating either, so I have the same story, a lot of my sprouts came up and withered away.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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1042
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It's an interesting experiment.  I don't plan to replant, even if everything dies, because after a certain point it gets too hot and dry for seeds to germinate, so they would just be wasted.  I don't expect everything to die, I'm just not sure what might survive.  I planted a tremendous variety of things, but many, even most may not be adapted to these conditions.  I'm hoping to learn a lot from this, even if the harvest will likely be disappointing.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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Planted the Zai Holes no-irrigation garden with three varieties of squash from Native Seed/SEARCH:

Cucurbita moschata Middle Rio Conchos "Collected from a market in Saucillo, Chihuahua.  Mixed shapes, including elongated club-shaped fruit with smooth skin, and both flat and round ribbed fruit."

Cucurbita argyrosperma Middle Rio Conchos Calabaza  "From the Sierra Madre. Fruit mostly dark green, tear-drop-shaped w/corky stems and occasional ribs, some striped."

Cucurbita moschata  Magdalena Big Cheese "Among the oldest types of cultivated squash.  Fine producer of large, ribbed fruits with a flattened pumpkin shape."
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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We got about 1/2 inch of rain in the storm, which may enable the new seeds in the Zai Holes to germinate and keep some of the 30 Vegetables from dying.  I notice Buckwheat was in a cover crops mix I included - it's about 6 inches tall and already blooming, so I don't expect it to get much taller.  
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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Actual potential food is growing back in the food forest; Canada Onion, Chile Piquin, Jerusalem Artichoke.  

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Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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Also very happy to see a support plant, Esperanza, is growing back.

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Maureen Atsali
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I finally got around to watching some of the YouTube videos of yacouba sawadogo's zai hole stuff.  His holes don't much resemble what we do here... They seem very small and shallow.  Are yours similar?  

We dig serious holes, usually a couple feet deep.  And then we put in bucket loads of compost.  One of the reasons we don't use it more is because its a helluva lot of work, and we just don't generate enough compost!

However, I think my system of digging shallow trenches to plant for the dry season applies basically the same water harvesting science as the shallower zai hole system.

I would love to see photos of your zai garden!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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My Zai Holes garden has been completely taken over by grass.  I initially dug the holes about a foot deep and put in some old chicken bedding, weeds, and wood chips and let that decompose over the winter.  The holes mostly disappeared, so I dug them out again a little and planted the seeds.

I think your idea of trenches might make more sense because of being able to collect water over a larger area.  Run off could still potentially run around my holes, though I offset them and piled the dug out soil on the down hill side.
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Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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The 30 Vegetables garden is looking patchy and sad, and is also being invaded by grass.  

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Tyler Ludens
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Most of the squash has sprouted in the Zai Holes and the seedlings are looking robust.  We're supposed to get some rain in the next few days.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Some updates.  Here is one of the young squash plants trying to hold its own in the Zai Holes garden:

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Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
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There's actually some harvestable food in the 30 Vegetables garden, so I will try to pick and prepare it next week.  Radishes and arugula!

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Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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The most productive food plant right now are Spineless Prickly Pear.
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