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Permaculture hacks that work

 
pollinator
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I do not have any pictures, but I always pound my fence posts in the Spring of the year. The wetter the ground, and still be able to drive; the better. I use a lining bar to start my sharpened post, but then use the bucket on my tractor to pound them into the ground. To get extra whollop, I fill my bucket with soil first. That extra few hundred pounds is WAY better then swinging a sledge hammer.
 
gardener
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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Eric, back when i was in the city, and worried about a nice lawn, grass clippings went where i wanted a veggie garden the next year. Its as simple as that. It worked great. Lots of earthworms came in.
 
master gardener
Posts: 2205
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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I love using cut grass or leaves for mulch too. It's free, keeps weeds out, and creates awesome soil fertility!
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 6a, ish
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Ben Zumeta wrote:I bet someone here can explain how dehumidifiers work like Dan Ackroyd as Jimmy Carter on SNL, but my understanding is that they can leave chemicals in their water reservoirs. I very well could be wrong, but I assumed this is why every one I've ever had has very clear warnings not to drink it, and that's why I don't use it on edibles



After doing the laziest of Google searches, it seems like the search results are in agreement with what I suspected from experience: the main reason they tell you not to drink the water is the possibility of contamination from microorganisms.  I know the water collection bucket of our dehumidifier gets super slimy; they can harbor all kinds of algae, bacteria, molds, you name it--whatever's floating in the air and lands on the water.  There's also the possibility of leeching of heavy metals from the coils or the solder used on them, which would then bioaccumulate in plant material.  None of the sites I looked at provided any data or indication of lab testing or anything, either, so the heavy metal contamination is more in the realm of speculation, I think.  Honestly, even knowing that isn't going to stop me from using it on my tomatoes or whatever when I have the energy to waddle it out to my plants, since I probably get worse every day from my very hard well water running through 30 year old corroding pipes.
 
pollinator
Posts: 749
Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
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Thanks for doing the research I should have done myself before saying anything. I always noticed an faint odd chemical smell to the water, which was part of my previous assumption. Maybe it’s just the plastic of the tank.

On a more productive note, I have been refilling French drain trenches with woody debris instead of gravel, of course where well away from a massive structure you don’t want to settle upon the decomposed wood eventually. I go with minimally sloped trenches that start at the overflow of my duck pond, and divert the water to catchment basins filled with woody debris and topped with woodchips between hugel beds before it flows off my property. It’s a bit like keylining but can be done with a shovel or small trench digger in small and irregular sites. I can now hold and slowly absorb about 7500gal off rain that’s become duck pond tea. We have yet to have to runoff water yet this wet season, but it’s been relatively dry (17” since oct 1). The soil just builds pretty passively now. I also have to water only in getting plants established during dry periods. If nothing else, I have much less flooding now and the system has held up to a 10” day of rain.
 
Posts: 14
Location: Lancaster Ohio
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I've been gardening in the weeds.

We had our blueberry plants get overrun with weeds one summer to the point we lost a couple. No they didn't die.... We freakin' lost them. Couldn't find them. After hacking down a bunch of Johnson grass and goldenrod and blackberry bushes that didn't produce well, we found them again, and they were healthier than the ones we had exposed earlier. It's as if they were nourished and protected by the weeds.

So last spring I decided I would run with it. I started by laying out the cardboard and straw to keep the weeds at bay a little, then planted in between the cardboard.

As the weeds grew up past the tomatoes and peppers, I only chopped and dropped the weeds that were on the south sides of the plants I was growing for food, just enough to let the sun hit them. I let the ones on the north side grow up tall. They ended up supporting the tomato plants and even some smaller viney squash.

From outside the garden it just looked like a weed patch. The critters thought so too. The only food that was stolen was from the plants on the outer edges of the garden.

Later in the season I noticed the Japanese beetles were ignoring the tomatoes and peppers and only eating the surrounding weeds.

The weeds held in the moisture, protected the plants from too much exposure and I think even helped to feed them. The smell when you bent down into the weeds was rich. I never had to water at all, even in the dry summer.

We had a good harvest. Finding veggies was like a treasure hunt that never ended, and I could never bring enough containers to harvest everything.

I think my next design will include covering the ground with a thick, lofty layer of sticks so the tomatoes, when they bog down the tomato stakes, will stay off of the ground and stay dry. Some rotted from all the humidity so I may cut the southern weeds down a bit lower in summer also... Just to eliminate the excess humidity.
 
Travis Johnson
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I have heard people say that Hugels do not work, but I have never had any that did not. The only thing I have done differently is use 50/50 wood and sheep manure.

This is not mine, mine is buried under snow right now...but shows how attractive they can be, even in a suburban setting.

 
Posts: 29
Location: Kentucky - Zone6
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One hack that worked for me is capturing the water run-off from our gutters with a banana half circle (the pipes before exited the ground on the downhill part of our property).

In case you don't know what a banana circle is:
https://treeyopermacultureedu.com/chapter-10-the-humid-tropics/banana-circle/

Below the run-off pipes, I dug a round hole, putting the soil in a half circle around the hole (as you would do with a straight swale) to keep more water in the hole. Fill the hole with pieces of wood (which I plan to use when creating new garden beds this year) which absorb the water and slowly release it to the plants/trees I planted on the berm around the hole. If it works out well, I am planning to build a series of half banana circles downhill as the overflow from the top banana half circle flows into the next and so on.

M


 
Posts: 49
Location: Southeastern Louisiana
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:



Oh WOW I've not laughed that hard in a long time. I second this by the way. I'm in Louisiana. I have two of those damned dehumidifier things so I don't smell like mildew all the time. I feel your pain. SO. MUCH.
 
wayne fajkus
gardener
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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I found a simple way to save eggshells. I placed a sprouting lid on a jar. Its probably not neccessary but i wanted them to dry out. but keep bugs out. Luckily it has not attracted bugs. I don't crush the shells till i need the space for new shells. This gives them a chance to dry out. I use the jar to crack the eggs also. Pretty simple and handy. No more cracking eggs then "oh, crap, where do i put the shell".

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wayne fajkus
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Sometimes the answer is to do nothing. This is a brilliant way that nature brought wild blackberries in my homestead. Ive been looking for 7 years. I have found them, under dense shade from birds dropping seeds from the trees. They don't make it. I had one that was dropped on a fenceline that got sun. But the deer must eat them bevause they dont make it.

Pic is about halfway down a steep rocky slope. If i had to guess, i would say that the birds pooped it uphill. Rain carried it down the hill. The yucca caught it and held it. While it has been browsed, the yucca needles have deterred enough that it is flowering and should fruit. Id guess 100 of these are on the slope. 95 of the 100 are coming out of a yucca.
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gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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wayne fajkus wrote:I saw a hugel hack on "deep south homestead" youtube channel.

When planting tomato transplants,  he digs a 16" hole and places 4 or 5 corn cobs(from last season) in the hole. He adds a little dirt and plants tomatos above that. The benefit he touted was its ability to hold water.



So going to try this. We get about 1 m of rain a year but the 'soil'  2 inches down is dry. I fill my planting holes with water and let them drain before planting. No extra work to add some old cobs.
 
pollinator
Posts: 562
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Asparagus must be planted deep and seem to attract lots of weeds. Rather than fight with the weeds, I will inter-plant with strawberries, which are shallow rooted but will eventually make a tight mat through which the asparagus will come up. The 50 asparagus plants have been planted in 4 beds [each 3'X 12']. They are mulched heavily with chicken do-do.
The strawberries are in a 4 year old bed and need rejuvenating. Once that crop is done in a couple of weeks, I will select young strawberry plants from thereto transplant [so I don't have to buy new] and will encourage their vining through the asparagus bed. Mother Nature abhors an empty space, so I choose the "weeds" that will live there happily.
Working *with* Nature pays off.
The old strawberry bed will be replaced by raised beds. Not sure what I will put in there yet. Potatoes that grow well here. Cucumbers? maybe. In the beds, I hesitate to put perennials, although I could always use more comfrey yet. We'll see.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:Asparagus must be planted deep and seem to attract lots of weeds. Rather than fight with the weeds, I will inter-plant with strawberries, which are shallow rooted but will eventually make a tight mat through which the asparagus will come up. The 50 asparagus plants have been planted in 4 beds [each 3'X 12']. They are mulched heavily with chicken do-do.



Another great tip. Do you have any pictures yet please? And you can never have too much comfrey. Or rhubarb.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:Asparagus must be planted deep and seem to attract lots of weeds. Rather than fight with the weeds, I will inter-plant with strawberries, which are shallow rooted but will eventually make a tight mat through which the asparagus will come up. The 50 asparagus plants have been planted in 4 beds [each 3'X 12']. They are mulched heavily with chicken do-do.



Another great tip. Do you have any pictures yet please? And you can never have too much comfrey. Or rhubarb.



My picture uploading skills are not up to par. Right now, the asparagus are out of the ground and doing well and I'm still picking strawberries. Once that is done, they will get transplanted. Then, maybe I will try again to put out some picks. Same thing with rhubarb: They will get split and transplanted this fall and placed around some trees. Next spring, that should be worth a pic. Comfrey will have to stay inside the garden as the deer are voracious!
 
pollinator
Posts: 167
Location: Wichita, Kansas, United States
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Ben Zumeta wrote:I bet someone here can explain how dehumidifiers work like Dan Ackroyd as Jimmy Carter on SNL, but my understanding is that they can leave chemicals in their water reservoirs. I very well could be wrong, but I assumed this is why every one I've ever had has very clear warnings not to drink it, and that's why I don't use it on edibles:



Think of the sweat that builds up on the outside of a cold drink.  When enough builds up it runs off your glass/bottle/can and leaves a ring on the table.

A dehumidifier uses the same technology as an air conditioner to do the same thing.  Only instead of making a ring on the table it drips into the container until you dump it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 390
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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Eric Hanson wrote:I think my best permaculture hack is also one of the simplest.  I like to build a compost pile in the garden.  Even if the compost is not high quality, the nutrients flow down the pile and into the soil.  Moreover, the microbes in the pile work their way into the soil along with the nutrients.  Even if the eventual compost is only of so-so quality, the spot upon which it sits is magically fertile.

Eric



I'm bad about buying stupid things from Amazon in the middle of the night. I'm also a very lazy composter, who tends to just dump whatever kitchen scraps out on the ground somewhere...none of this "ideal mix" stuff and all. So I ordered this crazy thing one night, and spent too much for it (but less than it costs now), and put it in my garden, steadied by a metal fence post up through the middle. It looks a little like a triple flying saucer has landed in the garden...it's big. I just dumped stuff inside of it and put the lid back on. It soon filled up with maggots chewing everything down inside, and the tomato I'd planted nearby doubled in size and started putting out tomatoes like crazy. I'm thinking of trying to put some red wrigglers inside and see if they might survive through the winter. The bottom is open to the ground, so the worst that can happen is they'll die and go into the soil.

https://amzn.to/2xjOaI5




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The plum tree will grow up over this, shading it some.
The plum tree will grow up over this, shading it some.
20190609_100339-copy.jpg
2 cu ft wasn't enough to fill the whole planter up. To keep the flies inside, I had to top this off. As long as the holes are covered, the flies can't get out.
2 cu ft wasn't enough to fill the whole planter up. To keep the flies inside, I had to top this off. As long as the holes are covered, the flies can't get out.
20190609_100332.jpg
Threw in a ton of fresh compost materials and it didn't even begin to fill it up.
Threw in a ton of fresh compost materials and it didn't even begin to fill it up.
 
Posts: 139
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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I am experimenting with planting cool season crops in late fall when the soil gets too cool for them to germinate. They sit there all winter and germinate in the spring when weather warms. Works for parsnip, carrot, turnip and rutabaga so far.
I turn my compost. this year I have set the bins at the beginning of the 30 foot stretch. I will turn them going down that row and follow with planting crops. When I get to the end, I will start back at the beginning. 30 feet gives 6 turns times 3 bins (18 in all), that will give me plenty time to grow where I previously had each bin sitting.
 
Travis Johnson
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I hate plumbing, but yesterday I was installing a new bathroom faucet and having trouble adding all the plumbing connections on a pedestal sink.

What was really hard was working upside down because everything is backwards compared to when I put it into place. The hack that I found worked was, setting the sink down into a narrow, deep cardboard box. This let the tail pipe fit down into something, yet hold the sink upright. Then I took a utility knife and cut away the cardboard on the back of the box so I could get to the plumbing connections. This was especially helpful in adjusting the  and pop--up stopper.

It made the task quick and easy, and I realized this life hack could be used in tons of other situations where things should be set on a bench, but have a protrusion.  
 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
Posts: 390
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
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Jotham Bessey wrote:I am experimenting with planting cool season crops in late fall when the soil gets too cool for them to germinate. They sit there all winter and germinate in the spring when weather warms. Works for parsnip, carrot, turnip and rutabaga so far.



I'd think this would work with anything you can winter sow: https://getbusygardening.com/winter-sowing-seeds/

I've had good luck using open-bottomed containers (like two-liter bottles with the bottom cut off) that can be just lifted off once the seedlings are going strong.



 
Posts: 24
Location: Southern Oregon
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Pee Bucket hack:  I don't know if this is original, but because I keep barrels of biochar for the garden and add urine to it to "activate" it - and noticed there is no smell - it occurred to me that I could use charcoal in my pee collecting buckets. I have two 5 gallon buckets with snap on Lugable Loo toilets seats on them - one in my big walk-in closet in my bedroom/office and one in my potting shed in the garden. The smell would get pretty rank after a couple days. So I decided to try using charcoal in the buckets. I shoveled about 10-12 inches into each of them and Voila! - no more smell! When the urine reaches the top of the charcoal, I take a big mesh sieve and put it on a small bucket and slowly empty the pee bucket into it, catching any charcoal and putting it back in the "toilet" for a couple more rounds. Fine charcoal powder goes with the urine into the small bucket. I then use it in the garden and on potted plants by putting a quart or two into a 3 gal. watering can and filling with water to fertilize whatever needs it at the moment (houseplants love it, too!).  After a few rounds of that I empty the charcoal onto a compost pile or somewhere that needs it and add fresh charcoal to the "toilets".  The system keeps me from using a toilet for urine and wasting water, and collects a valuable resource simply and easily. The toilet paper is all saved for a compost pile.
 
wayne fajkus
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Barb, simple and brilliant. Good stuff
 
Travis Johnson
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Nitrogen Fixation works...

I was bushogging around a few fields yesterday and it was clear as day that Nitrogen Fixation works...

One field where I sowed down 50% Timothy, and 50% Clover is a thick deep green, the other field beyond was sown down into Timothy, Reed Canary, Clover, Orchard Grass, and Alfalfa...and it is all yellow. In the first field (8 acres) the clover is pulling nitrogen from the air and feeding the roots, while on the second field (15 acres) there is not enough clover to make enough of a nitrogen difference. Soil tests show (as if the yellowing was not an indicator enough) that it needs 3 tons of fertilizer.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:Asparagus must be planted deep and seem to attract lots of weeds. Rather than fight with the weeds, I will inter-plant with strawberries, which are shallow rooted but will eventually make a tight mat through which the asparagus will come up. The 50 asparagus plants have been planted in 4 beds [each 3'X 12']. They are mulched heavily with chicken do-do.



Another great tip. Do you have any pictures yet please? And you can never have too much comfrey. Or rhubarb.



Everything is under the snow right now, and I'm planning to plant the strawberries this spring [I ended up buying new plants: The old bed was... really old and not too productive. I wanted to change cultivars as well, so...
I'm not very 'techy' as far as posting, but I'll try to learn. About that rhubarb. My hubby made the mistake to tell me he loves rhubarb. That is how I got 36 plants. i thought I'd get them all out of the garden [deer won't eat them. Well, I removed a couple. They had very deep roots... I saw that my removal was somewhat ...incomplete. Now, I have 3 more.
I'm also planning to move at least half of my comfrey closer to the chickens who will be able to eat it [under supervision!!!];I don't like naming chickens destined to the table, but if I were to name them, they would be Attila 1, Attila 2, Attila 3...
 
gardener
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Location: southern Illinois.
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I managed to score some food grade 55 gal drums.  I packed them with wasted hay, straw, leaves, etc.   It has rained heavily all winter here. The drums were foll of water.    I skimmed off the water for tea for the garden.   I then topped off the raised beds with the remaining black compost.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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John F Dean wrote:I managed to score some food grade 55 gal drums.  I packed them with wasted hay, straw, leaves, etc.   It has rained heavily all winter here. The drums were foll of water.    I skimmed off the water for tea for the garden.   I then topped off the raised beds with the remaining black compost.



That is great. Those barrels are a back saver and a crop saver. Do you have your hay, straw etc inside a painter's filter bag or even a burlap bag? I made the mistake to put some comfrey directly in the barrel: It clogged the barrel and I had to empty it with a pail. I'm not doing that again!
In the garden, try to install a valve at the bottom of the barrel. Now you could add a hose so you could water your beds. Make sure the valve will accept a garden hose and you are set. The burlap bag won't last long but a painter's filter sack would.
I have 6 such contraptions and it is wonderful to be able to water several beds at once. I can just put the end of the hose in the middle of the bed and let her rip! [It is very sandy here]. My cukes don't get chilled with the ice water from the well and they get fertilized every time I water. I still have to pump the water from the well to the barrel but that is not too bad. I have big yellow floaters [fishing supplies store]. I'll be weeding and keeping an eye on the barrel I'm filling. when I see the floater, I know I can go turn off the water.
The ideal would be to collect rainwater from the roof, and I have a number of barrels to do that. At this time, they are all occupied with other things that are planted, like blueberries, gooseberries..
 
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william said
When they grownup in a veg bed, I will yank them, break the roots off and feed them to rabbits.

Dried stalks are great kindling and bunny hay.

Compared to say,mint they are easy to control in a bed.

For mint, a bunny tractor on a bed once a week should finsh off the mint.
 
Diane Kistner
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Will bunnies eat water lettuce that's reproducing wildly, along with mint? I have an area that is getting overrun beside my pond. Maybe I need to borrow somebody's bunnies....

 
Joe Grand
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Dale Ziemianski wrote:I've been gardening in the weeds.

We had our blueberry plants get overrun with weeds one summer to the point we lost a couple. No they didn't die.... We freakin' lost them. Couldn't find them. After hacking down a bunch of Johnson grass and goldenrod and blackberry bushes that didn't produce well, we found them again, and they were healthier than the ones we had exposed earlier. It's as if they were nourished and protected by the weeds.


We had a good harvest. Finding veggies was like a treasure hunt that never ended, and I could never bring enough containers to harvest everything.

I think my next design will include covering the ground with a thick, lofty layer of sticks so the tomatoes, when they bog down the tomato stakes, will stay off of the ground and stay dry. Some rotted from all the humidity so I may cut the southern weeds down a bit lower in summer also... Just to eliminate the excess humidity.


I found this hard to believe, I believe you are telling the truth, but it is still hard to believe. So the answer must be that you have really rich soil, Everyone says lots of weeds are a sign of poor soil, but I have found that weeds will grow in poor soil, but they grow higher & better in rich soil. As Dr. david  Johnson & his wife Dr, Su have proved with their  no turn composting Bioreactor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuW42tFC4Ss

The vegetables & Johnson grass is the thing I have the most trouble with, that stuff is only good for hay & grazing. It cuts like stainless steel too.
My blue berries are full of weeds & fireants. I only have about 70 plants, but the weed killed the mint I planted in two short year, I did not believe it, but no mint the third Spring.
Glad you made it work for you, the Johnson grass in hard to remove with out pigs & I learned something new, THANKS.
 
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My own yogurt-making hack, when the weather is sunny and warm enough, is to put the jug of fermenting milk in my truck with the windows rolled up.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:for yogurt-making(not raw--i'm not in charge)--you take the water from the two big mason jars that are for the thermal battery* and use those to cool the milk (put them in a large pot, put the heated milk  pot into the larger pot and wait).  Then take that same water, now hot, from the larger pot, put it back in the big mason jars, and voila, you have hot water to be the thermal battery for the yogurting process.

 
Kevin Carson
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Sounds entirely plausible. In the places where I've spread composted humanure, I've had an incredible variety of cherry and grape tomatoes come up volunteer.

wayne fajkus wrote: Horse manure is scooped, added to a manure spreader, and spread on my pastures. A lightbulb lit. Why not add seed into it and get a 2 for 1.

 
pioneer
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This is such a cool thread! I see permaculture itself as a giant lifehack system anyway, so that would make this thread a permaculture think tank!
 
pollinator
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i'm a permaculture hack that works and my experience so far has been ok
 
Myron Platte
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Dale Ziemianski wrote:I've been gardening in the weeds.

We had our blueberry plants get overrun with weeds one summer to the point we lost a couple. No they didn't die.... We freakin' lost them. Couldn't find them. After hacking down a bunch of Johnson grass and goldenrod and blackberry bushes that didn't produce well, we found them again, and they were healthier than the ones we had exposed earlier. It's as if they were nourished and protected by the weeds.

So last spring I decided I would run with it. I started by laying out the cardboard and straw to keep the weeds at bay a little, then planted in between the cardboard.

As the weeds grew up past the tomatoes and peppers, I only chopped and dropped the weeds that were on the south sides of the plants I was growing for food, just enough to let the sun hit them. I let the ones on the north side grow up tall. They ended up supporting the tomato plants and even some smaller viney squash.

From outside the garden it just looked like a weed patch. The critters thought so too. The only food that was stolen was from the plants on the outer edges of the garden.

Later in the season I noticed the Japanese beetles were ignoring the tomatoes and peppers and only eating the surrounding weeds.

The weeds held in the moisture, protected the plants from too much exposure and I think even helped to feed them. The smell when you bent down into the weeds was rich. I never had to water at all, even in the dry summer.

We had a good harvest. Finding veggies was like a treasure hunt that never ended, and I could never bring enough containers to harvest everything.

I think my next design will include covering the ground with a thick, lofty layer of sticks so the tomatoes, when they bog down the tomato stakes, will stay off of the ground and stay dry. Some rotted from all the humidity so I may cut the southern weeds down a bit lower in summer also... Just to eliminate the excess humidity.


    I'm trying something similar this year. I call it "food meadow gardening" I find a bunch of different plants that happen to be companions for each other, and basically broadcast them into the seedbed. The idea is that the plants will be thinned all year by harvest, and whatever is left in the fall will be seeds for next year.
    I also want to say that we have had a similar experience with nutrient dense farming. we amended the soil, and we the had japanese beetles eating the weeds and ignoring the crops.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Cecil

I did use a liner, and I had no problems.
 
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I really like this thread, and hope to see it continue with many more hacks.
I don't really have anything to share, since most of the new things I'm trying are based on the things I've read in these forums, but I will try to share anything original I come up with.
 
pollinator
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Suburban hack: When you trim your yew branches (and yes, you have yew branches if you're in the suburbs--if you don't think you have them, look around in your neighbors' yard waste bags) drop the branches anywhere that's bare that you want to mulch.  Drop them green, and then you can easily move your mulch out of the way again later if you want to put down another mulch.  

No worries about the needles being too acidic since they're still attached to the branches.  You get shade, so cooling of the soil, some block to evaporation, some cover for critters to start rebuilding bare soil.  

You can leave them there for a while and the needles will fall off and make a nice even mulch.  This may be a little acidifying, but I don't think it's nearly as much of a problem as people tend to say--at any rate, I've read on here that pine needles aren't acidic enough to really help blueberry bushes, so there's that.  

Another great thing about them is the coloration--so bright orange, it makes suburban planting really easy to mark naturally.  That is, if you mulch around an onion or brassica you've just planted in the ground, you can find it easily. The orange stands out against the green of the grass almost as well as your tools.  

What also stands out easily is weeds--so they're easy to pluck if that's your aim, or if you want them then you can just start watering them with your "No. 1 Fertilizer with Rainwater" solution.

The garlic mustard in the area I mulched has HUGE leaves and I've only irrigated a little bit there.  The daikon radishes are happier there than if they had completely bare soil, it really does seem to help.

When there's lots of bare soil this is a nice quick way to get some coverage.  It may not be as great as leaf mulch or straw but it's way better than nothing and, again, easy and quick.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Kevin Carson wrote:My own yogurt-making hack, when the weather is sunny and warm enough, is to put the jug of fermenting milk in my truck with the windows rolled up.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:for yogurt-making(not raw--i'm not in charge)--you take the water from the two big mason jars that are for the thermal battery* and use those to cool the milk (put them in a large pot, put the heated milk  pot into the larger pot and wait).  Then take that same water, now hot, from the larger pot, put it back in the big mason jars, and voila, you have hot water to be the thermal battery for the yogurting process.


Makes sense.  I just ferment at room temperature these days, it takes longer but it comes out a little sweeter and tastier.  I don't bother heating the milk since now I have raw milk, or if it's winter I just heat the thermal battery and put the whole deal in the hotbox (a cooler with wool sweaters wrapped around the yogurt and thermal battery).  

I think a truck with windows shut is probably is too hot for ideal yogurt making in the summer, that's why you have to crack the windows if you leave a dog in the car.

Another hack that works along the same lines--and which I wish didn't, because I didn't mean to--is you can kill a patch of grass in a day with a fish tank.  Just leave the fish tank on top of the patch of grass you want to kill for a day.  Sorry, grass, didn't realize it was going to get THAT hot under there!

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Un-planting.

Two versions of this:

Method 1

The problem: let's say you want a black walnut in your landscape, but you don't have any seed, nor the time and patience to plant it, guard it from the enemy (i.e. squirrels), etc.  Plus you just moved in in February, and you don't have a time machine.

Solution: un-plant a walnut somewhere in the yard by means of the squirrels, who planted it last fall or even maybe the fall before.  
Advantages include:
--started from seed, not from transplant--keeping hte taproot, healthier tree overall; will probably grow faster and outperform the tree nursery competition in a few years.  I saw a youthbe video fo an apple tree planted from seed fruiting after only 3 years,  I think, a guy in New Jersey who uses a ton of wood chip mulch, I can't remember the name.  But I bleieve the hype.
--it's not going ot be eaten by hte squirrels, because they approved it.
--it's planted in the right spot (according to the squirrels) so it will probably thrive, relative to if it was planted by a person who thinks they're so smaht and plants it somewhere only to find out there's that one thing they didn't think of
--plausible deniability, if the landlord comes and asks why you planted something in the yard
--maybe the squirrels know something we don't--they've coexisted with walnut trees for millions of yeas, and haven't destroyed them all, so somehow maybe they instinctively invest a few in the future.

Method 2:

You can't really get away with having a mulberry tree on your land, but because you are secretly expecting quail (asking for a friend)...you kinda think you're going to need a heck of a lot of mulberries soon.  And you notice that all of the mulberries currently on the land have been hacked down each year.  Plus you happen to see your landlord in the act one day.  So you're pretty sure he isn't going to let you keep it even if it followed you home.

Solution:
Find a mulberry tree literally 5 blocks away, and unplant it say 10 years ago.  Scoop up as many as you can from the pavement and bring them home for your--er--friend's--quail.  Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Now, some of you willl be saying to me, Joshua, that's just roaging, that's nothing new.  But I want ot point out that I didn't think of it until I happened on that mulberry tree--my thinking was too fragmented or compartmentalized, and our human tendency to overspecialize can blind us to the fact that some tasks are best reassigned over to Foraging.  So, I'm just making the connection.

Hm...what else do I want to unplant?  Well a blight-resistant American chestnut of course, I managed to unplant a few in someone's yard (Chinese crosses) in Western Ma this year, but that's not within walking distance...maybe a cow, some trout ponds, a theatre, hyperlocalization so we have no susceptibility to plagues, supportive community who give spoons frequently and appreciate my awesome sense of humor, a cacao tree that is naturalized to Massachusetts, unplanting some better thinking [instert politics here] a ways back in our country...
---
For the walnut in our yard, I think I can act as if I planted it there and he'll be cool with that, it is in a proper place for a tree by human standards.  When the pear tree comes down one day, it will be poised to take over its role in the yard, and meanwhile it gets to be under the pear's wing.  THe walnut doesnt' drop mulberries on people's cars, just giant green blobs of hail that don't attract rats...I think they only ink you if you get them angry or crush them, so there's plenty of time to put up some kind of a garage over that area, decades really.  By that time I may have convinced the landlord that it's in his interests.  I think he's amenable, it's just these things take time.





 
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