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Permaculture Food System Experiments in Wyoming  RSS feed

 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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So I need to keep track of all of our experiments and results. So here are what we have planned this year

Corn- how to grow it best: planted in a sunken hugel bed and planted in the bottom of mini crater gardens.

Potatoes- how to grow it best: Planted in a raised bed and planted in tire planters.

Can you grow ginseng here? Planted in between various rows of the tree line to see if they do well in any of them (they have various forms of leaf mulch and sunlight/shade ratios)

Russian Pomegranate- one will be planted outside in a made micro climate and the other will be kept in the greenhouse.

Fruit trees- an extended experiment: We've decided to buy our tree varieties in 3's. They will be planted in different ways and different locals. This way we can determine if a tree really doesn't do well here or if it was how it was treated that caused it's growth/death.

Best Earth Work for our environment: Swales with planted berms, swales without berms, infiltration basins and mini crater gardens. What grows plants best?

Sainfoin on dry lands for hay- 2-3 acre test area.

Will add more as we come up with them.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Forgot out bio char experimentation. Husband has been working on that. We'll add that. Also, experimenting with growing trees from seed.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Good stuff elle, looking forward to seeing the results!
 
Su Ba
pollinator
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Great experiments, Elle! I love to experiment all the time. I've actually discovered some pretty successful growing techniques this way. So go for it and have a good time. Just please keep us updated on the progress. I'm looking forward to it.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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So I get to add another experiment. Planting trees with auger drilled holes and non-auger drilled. Hubby thinks the auger will help the trees establish better and grow faster. Time will tell.

I'm also getting to share a few pics of last years earth works filled to overflowing and this years unfinished earthworks doing the same. If it would stop raining for a minute we might get things dug down to appropriate size and depth and stop losing all this wonderful rain.


Pictures attached here are earthworks specifically to keep our driveway water free. They're completely full. Obviously need to expand them.
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elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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These pictures are of last years swales. They are not on contour. Yet again, the design kept driveway water in mind. The one is overflowing!
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elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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We are doing mini kraters this year. The initial digging is being done with the bucket of our tractor. Deepening and refining is to be done by our brand new excavator. We haven't even completed initial digging yet. The first pictures is a shot of my marking out where I want them to go. Then a few shots of the holes. We have been surprised by what we've found digging. In one spot it's rock and sand, in another it's unadultered clay.
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elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Here are some of the predug kraters. Son thinks they are his personal swimming holes. His boots are still wet.
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elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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So this one is interesting. It seems to have this black clay stuff and it filled all the way to the top (they're roughly 20x20x2) and it hasn't drained at all. Total pond happening.
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elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I've completed the corn hugel, now to wait for warmth. I've also decided to give lazy potatoe beds a try. I like lazy.
 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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i see you got some of the rain that was also dumping on us

keep posting pics, i enjoy them

Also, a overhead shot of the property would help people (me) orient some of the pictures.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Kelly Smith wrote:i see you got some of the rain that was also dumping on us

keep posting pics, i enjoy them

Also, a overhead shot of the property would help people (me) orient some of the pictures.


Google hasn't updated for ages so none of our earthworks are on them. But I did this ages ago. All the earth works have been kept to the front of the house, 5 acres.
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elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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So I've decided to remove the unintentional pond, as much as I like having a pond of any sort.

Tonight we are planting the sainfoin. It's going to be super duper technical. Hubby is going to use the box scraper to disturb the land and I'll be using a shoulder seed spreader to spread seed behind him. Then it'll snow tonight and hopefully all will be well. Rain is predicted nearly every day for the next 10 days. Going to have 3 acres worth of Sainfoin, hopefully.

I do think I'll reserve a few pounds of sainfoin to mix with my general cover crop seed mix. Spread the wealth.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Worked on terracing and deepening the Kraters this weekend. Planted the Sainfoin. Planted the potatoes in 2 different ways. 1 more way to go. Got some trees planted and some lettuce and peas.

Still to go, planting hundreds of trees and bushes. Cover cropping all the earth works. 1 more Krater to dig. Pond to dig. Man. We've got about 10 more acres of seed to plant. Killer!
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elle sagenev
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So exciting. We were outside and there was a gorgeous flower growing at the bottom of one of the berms and I DID NOT PLANT IT. Things are starting to happen on their own!
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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A few photos. It's been raining so much I havent wanted to take my expensive camera outside for new photos. Bit of a bummer. But I have a few:
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Sunken hugel filled with wood.
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Adding biochar and chicken bedding.
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Completed sunken hugel
 
elle sagenev
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The tires around my sunken hugel are going to contain tomatoes on one side and potatoes on the other. I filled them with biochar and compost.
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elle sagenev
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Sainfoin was planted last weekend and is sprouting. Saw little roots growing out. Thanks to all of this rain we've had good seed success rates.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm not sure if you can tell from this pic but it's a terraced mini Krater. I managed to terrace, re-topsoil and cover crop 4. 2 more to go. Unintentional pond still full of water. /sigh

Planted a few more acres of seed, a few trees and some of the medicinals. Largest order of trees arriving this weekend. Best finish those min kraters!

Put some of the black water holding mud in the very bottom of the rocky soil kraters. Has slowed absorption of water slightly.
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elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Corn is planted in the sunken hugel. Potatoes are planted everywhere. Sweet potatoes have been planted. Trees and bushes are planted. Corn still needs to be planted in bottom of mini kraters but that will come.

Also, first successful bone sauce has been made. Going to be applying and seeing if it deters the nibblers.

Planted 9 hazels in hand dug holes and 21 in auger dug holes. We will see what difference it makes

Sainfoin is really sprouting!
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Finally did a blog post on the mini kraters. http://peacockorchard.com/2015/06/04/mini-krater-construction-and-planting/

It's hard to tell the slope and such in the photos but they are around 3' deep. The cover crop seeds are starting to come up so I'm sure in a few weeks it'll look a lot nicer than it does now.
 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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elle sagenev wrote:Sainfoin was planted last weekend and is sprouting. Saw little roots growing out. Thanks to all of this rain we've had good seed success rates.


that is good to hear!

we have noticed a few of our sainfoin flowering after all these rains. its a pretty pink flower. the bees seem to like it more than the cows, strangely enough.
 
Kelly Smith
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im also interested to see progress with the krater gardens.

not many people doing things in cool arid climates (and posting them online at least). keep up the great work!
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Kelly Smith wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:Sainfoin was planted last weekend and is sprouting. Saw little roots growing out. Thanks to all of this rain we've had good seed success rates.


that is good to hear!

we have noticed a few of our sainfoin flowering after all these rains. its a pretty pink flower. the bees seem to like it more than the cows, strangely enough.


That is strange since it's said to be highly palatable to cows. Hmm. We shall see. It's leafed out above ground now, though still too small to be much noticed. I am excited to get all those pretty flowers!
 
elle sagenev
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Kelly Smith wrote:im also interested to see progress with the krater gardens.

not many people doing things in cool arid climates (and posting them online at least). keep up the great work!


I think they will be glorious. We have about 6 trees for each krater as well as 2 bushes. Most of the kraters have bottoms flat enough that I've told husband that we need to put benches in them. I think once they are established and the trees are shading it it will be a thing to marvel at! Plus we've collected a TON of water this year. That has to be good.
 
Devon Olsen
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Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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You are in southeastern Wyoming correct?

I've done a few hand dug swales in the cheyenne area and though I haven't been there this week to see how they do with flood rains in the past years I have yet to see them actually fill with water... but judging by your puddles and ponds I'd guess your property has more clay than I'm used to seeing in that area of the state, hugelkulturs still amaze me, even though my big beds do not receive cultivation, the weeds near and on them are quite impressive and I expect you will find them quite satisfying to grow on
 
elle sagenev
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Devon Olsen wrote:You are in southeastern Wyoming correct?

I've done a few hand dug swales in the cheyenne area and though I haven't been there this week to see how they do with flood rains in the past years I have yet to see them actually fill with water... but judging by your puddles and ponds I'd guess your property has more clay than I'm used to seeing in that area of the state, hugelkulturs still amaze me, even though my big beds do not receive cultivation, the weeds near and on them are quite impressive and I expect you will find them quite satisfying to grow on


I'm just east of Cheyenne. We've only had swales for 2 years now but they've always harvested plenty of rain.


P.S. if you are able to come up we are doing a farm tour June 28th for our permie group. You should come join!
 
Devon Olsen
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unfortunately i think ill have to be back up to casper and working a 9 to 5 by then, plus i have to limit my time out of town to about a week at a time due to chickens
but i will be down there through most of next week earning a bit of cash doing some work around my grandmas place, if you are interested in meeting up or maybe checking out my older beds for your own observation purposes then im sure we could find a time that will work out, just pm me or respond to this post
 
elle sagenev
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Here is an update on our Kraters. They have surprised me with their ability to capture so much water. Even after a minor rain event there is water left in the kraters. It's pretty exciting actually! Here are some pics:
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elle sagenev
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The unintentional pond has filled back up with a bit of water. We have been pumping it out into the kraters which I must say makes me sort of inclined to keep it.
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elle sagenev
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If you wondered what we did with all the dirt we dug out of the Kraters it all went to dam construction. Loads left to do on this but it is started.
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elle sagenev
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The sainfoin is coming up nicely but it is a slower grower than I had anticipated. It is a rather dainty plant though.
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elle sagenev
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Small updates:

The black walnut trees I thought had died did not. They survived true neglect and rabbits. These are some major survivors.

The sunken hugel is growing but there are problems. The corn seeds had a poor germination rate. I bought 2 varieties and one germinated while the other just didn't. I'm majorly disappointed because painted corn was the one I wanted and it was the variety that isn't growing. Owell. I've also had a massive lams quarter problem. The manure we used is obviously chock full of them. Anywhere it is is carpeted with lambs quarter. Weeding is now a pain. I will mulch as soon as I find the time to do so. I just finally weeded to see what grew.

Potatoes planted in the tires have gone bonkers. Way more grown than the other 2 methods. Now to stack....

One of our apple trees is flowering in it's Krater. We just planted it in May. Super exciting. A kratered goji bush is also doing well and flowering. So wonderful! The cover crop seeds are doing well and the kraters look amazing!

Bone sauce is working so far as none of my trees have been eaten since saucing them.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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We have received TOO MUCH rain. Things are starting to rot. I wasn't quite prepared for this.
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This cherry is not liking all this rain
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Mushrooms are popping up all over. All different kinds.
 
elle sagenev
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I think the corn is getting too much water in the sunken hugel. Opinions? It's growing well but it's starting to look a little yellow.
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elle sagenev
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So much rain that all along the vine of one of my pumpkins/gourds (not sure which this is) is getting roots.
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elle sagenev
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Sainfoin, My view:

So we planted sainfoin this year on 4 acres. It came up within a week and we were very hopeful. It has been a VERY wet year for us. There are no earthworks on this 4 acres. It is relatively flat. We broadcast sewed the seed before harrowing over it.

It hasn't been growing well. It is a few inches tall and looks relatively the same as it has looked for a few months. A bit discouraging. We were ready to declare it a failure. However, I think I have discovered something about it.

Sainfoin is said to be very drought tolerant and I believe that is perhaps the problem. It has been a VERY wet year. I noticed the low spots on this 4 acres, where the ground is obviously saturated, the sainfoin is not doing well at all. In fact it's turning rather yellow. On the higher areas, however, the sainfoin is much larger than the low spot sainfoin. So, I think it is actually getting TOO MUCH water. All conjecture right now, of course. We shall see in the future if this is true.
 
elle sagenev
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So I harvested most of the peas from the garden. I just pulled the plants up. They did not do well this year. I'm not quite sure why but perhaps weed competition? I did weed the corn hugel garden out, so it's better now, but it was really full of lambs quarters before. Kids ate every single pea right from the shell.

Potatoes are doing well in the raised bed EXCEPT animals are getting to them in there. Ground animals more specifically. The tire potato tower seems fine though.

We did a seed swap for our permie group and I got a TON of tomatoes, on top of the ton I already had. So we have tomatoes everywhere and they are doing so shockingly well that I think I'm going to be able to can everything. Our peppers are doing really well too.
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Shelling****
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Kelly Smith
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elle sagenev wrote:Sainfoin, My view:

So we planted sainfoin this year on 4 acres. It came up within a week and we were very hopeful. It has been a VERY wet year for us. There are no earthworks on this 4 acres. It is relatively flat. We broadcast sewed the seed before harrowing over it.

It hasn't been growing well. It is a few inches tall and looks relatively the same as it has looked for a few months. A bit discouraging. We were ready to declare it a failure. However, I think I have discovered something about it.

Sainfoin is said to be very drought tolerant and I believe that is perhaps the problem. It has been a VERY wet year. I noticed the low spots on this 4 acres, where the ground is obviously saturated, the sainfoin is not doing well at all. In fact it's turning rather yellow. On the higher areas, however, the sainfoin is much larger than the low spot sainfoin. So, I think it is actually getting TOO MUCH water. All conjecture right now, of course. We shall see in the future if this is true.


for what its worth - the sainfoin we planted did better in the areas where were arent able to irrigate than in the places we could.

just wait til you see the pink flower, its so pretty!
 
elle sagenev
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Kelly Smith wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:Sainfoin, My view:

So we planted sainfoin this year on 4 acres. It came up within a week and we were very hopeful. It has been a VERY wet year for us. There are no earthworks on this 4 acres. It is relatively flat. We broadcast sewed the seed before harrowing over it.

It hasn't been growing well. It is a few inches tall and looks relatively the same as it has looked for a few months. A bit discouraging. We were ready to declare it a failure. However, I think I have discovered something about it.

Sainfoin is said to be very drought tolerant and I believe that is perhaps the problem. It has been a VERY wet year. I noticed the low spots on this 4 acres, where the ground is obviously saturated, the sainfoin is not doing well at all. In fact it's turning rather yellow. On the higher areas, however, the sainfoin is much larger than the low spot sainfoin. So, I think it is actually getting TOO MUCH water. All conjecture right now, of course. We shall see in the future if this is true.


for what its worth - the sainfoin we planted did better in the areas where were arent able to irrigate than in the places we could.

just wait til you see the pink flower, its so pretty!


I am excited to see acres of sainfoin. I'm hoping it survives the winter and comes back strong in the spring. It's just been so wildly wet here I don't know what to do about it.
 
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