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Covering big heaps-o-stuff outside vs. the WIND  RSS feed

 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 125
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
22
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Edit: SHORT VERSION for impatient people: Covered big manure heap with big tarp and big rocks. Then big wind. Tarp bye-bye. How to do better?

LONG VERSION:

Didn't seem to be a really "right" place to post this so I'm posting here. But I bet everyone has had some version of this problem.

We have stuff outside that needs to be covered. In this case, a huge smelly pile of extremely fresh manure from a sheep farm up the hill. So one of our community garden members found us an absolutely humungous piece of plastic sheeting.

Anyway, we're newbies but we're not stupid, so we gathered up all the numerous big rocks from all our gardens that haven't been thrown down the ravine, and we carefully weighted down the whole perimeter of said humongous plastic sheet and put a few down the middle for good measure. It's not really that easy to get to the middle, either, to place them, as the dungpile is so soft, tender and fresh. You sink quickly standing on the plastic. There ain't no more big rocks around except for the really charming ones in our makeshift zen garden -- we've used them all up.

Enter stage left the latest windstorm, which we have maybe half a dozen of every year. What direction does the wind come from, you ask? And I say, yes. I.e., every direction. Or whichever direction you've left unprotected. Big, big gusts, gale force or so, and then nothing. And then another gust from another direction. And then a circular style one just to keep you on your toes.

OK, so you all know what happened. The plastic tarp ended up in the ravine, it was pouring rain on top of our gargantuan heap of fresh, fresh fertilizer, I'm sure much to the delight of the neighbors, gazing out on our mound of fertile pride from their kitchen windows only about 25 yards away (nice new apartment building), and all of our fertility was washing down the paved walkways between our gardens in gloriously rich microbial streams.

One of the women from our gardens who lives nearby, complete with bad shoulder, goes out in the middle of the rainstorm and sees what's happening and tries to fix it. Can't alone, but enlists the help of a neighbor/passerby. Who actually helps! And they both climb down into the ravine, pull the mongo-enormous plastic sheet, which is really really well fertilized on the underside, out of the ravine, up the hill, across the walkway, and, in the middle of all the rain and wind, manage to get it over the pile again. They find all the rocks and put them around the outside and dot them around the middle. Way above and beyond -- this is an urban community garden, not a homestead! Imagine you're not a permie, you're a yuppie, and you're walking home from your office job to your swank new flat, and some lady comes up to you and asks you to help her go down a muddy, rocky riverbank in the rain and retrieve a tennis-court sized tarp covered in sheep dung and help her fight against the wind as you try to pull it over the offending pile of dung and weigh it down so the wind doesn't blow it away again... Really...

Later that day, the same thing (ish) happens again. And we replace everything and set ourselves all back up for failure again.

We don't want to push our luck with our extreeemely nice, tolerant and helpful neighbors.

And we have seen as much of the ravine, and rampant streams and streaks of fertilizer in places they shouldn't be, as we want, and then some. We're finished now. All we'd like is a good idea.

Surely all of you have had to cover things outside. Maybe even a big heap-o-fertilizer.

And some of you must certainly live where you get gusty winds once in a while that challenge the "let's just throw a plastic tarp over it" paradigm.

So what do all you smart people do? What do you put around the outside? What do you put in the middle? Human intelligence must be able to come up with something better than we have so far.

PS - We're out of heavy rocks for now.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Heavy logs, or rebar bent into tent peg shapes and pounded into the ground through the tarp grommets. If the tarp/plastic doesn't have grommets, rope can be tied around the corners or a wad of plastic and tied to the rebar.

 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Usually the problem is that the wind yanks the plastic out from under the rocks. If you put the rocks near the corner and pull the plastic up around the rocks and tie a cord around the plastic so the rock is trapped in the plastic, it will keep the plastic from just pulling out under. This will normally secure it much better than just setting a rock on the plastic. If you use Tyler's idea, which will work even better, you can secure the rock into the plastic the way I described, and then tie the rock bundle to the pounded in rebar and the plastic can't be pulled from the cord. If you tie it this way, you don't even need it to be a rock. It can be a ball, a chunk of wood, some old carpet, anything that you can wrap the plastic around before tying so the bundle can't pull out of the cord.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Very good description of the best method Todd.
 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 125
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
22
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OK, thanks both you guys... It seems like we're working on a solution.

I can see that long-term, a real tarp with grommets and some tent stakes will be a good investment. In the meantime, we have our ungrommeted plastic sheet and another big storm heading our way this weekend, so they say.

Side to side our plastic sheet just barely covers the mound so we don't have much leeway there to wad up or roll over anything, but we'll give it a go. At the corners and and on the short ends, it will be easier to get something going.

Todd, I'm having a bit of a hard time visualizing your solution -- you don't have a photo to shoot over, do you? So I roll up the plastic over a rock -- maybe 2x? -- and tie a rope really tight around the resulting wadball, and then tie it to a tent stake. Right? But your carpet suggestion really threw me... The carpet won't make a wadball but a roll, so I suppose I would have to tie the rope around the middle of the roll and make a hole in the plastic sheet to pass the rope through so I can tie it up tight and then secure it to the stake. Is that right? I'm a little hesitant to make a hole in the nice huge plastic sheet, that's why I'm asking.

Another reason I ask is that we have access to a pretty good number of maybe 3cm/1" metal bars for free, maybe a bundle of them could work like the carpet, but again I'm not sure if what I'm visualizing is what you're talking about. We also have a local sawmill where we could certainly get a bunch of log remains (long outside scraps of pine logs with the bark still on) for really cheap also, and I suppose that could work the same way. They are maybe not as heavy but at least have one flat side so maybe less tendency to roll than the round bars.

But anyway, using some long thing, like a piece of carpet or boards or bars, would require making a hole in the plastic, right?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Here ya go with your rock/thingy fake grommet corner tie:
 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 125
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
22
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Tyler, you're the best! So glad you're an "idle dreamer" -- thanks!!

Problem solved, but still curious about the roll-o-carpet solution.
 
Todd Parr
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Dave Forrest wrote:Tyler, you're the best! So glad you're an "idle dreamer" -- thanks!!

Problem solved, but still curious about the roll-o-carpet solution.


Sorry for the confusion Dave. You use the piece of carpet just like the rock or whatever else. You can just cut a small piece, say 2 inches wide and 6 inch long, roll it up, and use it instead of a rock. Even a small square of carpet works. Tyler's video is exactly the method I meant.
 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 125
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
22
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Great, then problem even solveder!

Just heard that some local farmers like to dig a trench around their mound and bury all the edges of the tarp so no air gets under. No air = no lift. This method sounds a whole lot easier, and I kind of don't like the idea of no air at all getting to the, em, fertilizer for 6 months. But the local method does sound effective at least. They don't like to leave anything to chance around here.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Location: Volant, PA
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Im Here because of the title! That's great!

I too am a trench and burry edges guy, it is the fastest cheapest and most effective method as there is no under for the wind to enter. The only time it will blow off is in a crazy wind due to high and low air pressure, and we are talking 75 mph plus winds.
 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 125
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
22
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OK, so there are some trench and bury types over Stateside too! We'll see what we end up doing. I think it's not quite wide enough for us to bury the long sides and one of my fellow gardenites, who I'll be working with, I think will be pushing for trench and bury. I really like the low-tech elegance of the rope-around-the-plastic-around-the-rock method!

Dave Forrest wrote:
some local farmers like to dig a trench around their mound and bury all the edges of the tarp so no air gets under. No air = no lift. This method sounds a whole lot easier...


Just realized this is not well written. "This" is not trench-and-bury but the wad-tie-and-stake method in Tyler's video. I get bored digging trenches.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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The Rock and rope method reminds me of thatched cottage roofs in the windy west of Ireland.....there might be some older wisdom in that....
 
Todd Parr
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Both methods should work well, but I can put a rock in the four corners of a tarp in about 5 minutes
 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 125
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
22
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Chadwick Holmes wrote:The Rock and rope method reminds me of thatched cottage roofs in the windy west of Ireland.....there might be some older wisdom in that....


Putting a rock in the corner of your thatched roof and tying a rope to it Somehow I'm not visualizing it... Can you elaborate? Sounds fascinating!

We started on the rock & rope method today but ran out of rope so will continue tomorrow. Our tent stakes are kinda wimpy, but our plastic tarp and our wind definitely aren't, so we're putting lots along the middle as well as in the corners. The corners are definitely much easier than the middle bits... Tenks gott for the Klutz book of knots! I'm realizing my rural skills and my traditional seaman's skills have a long way to go! But I guess that's part of what makes being a permie fun, you never stop learning, do you?

Edit: I used two half-hitches as per the video to tie the cord around the rock, and a clove hitch to tie the cord to the tent stake.

Anyway, I'm noticing that the ideal rock is a pretty small one actually, and it works best to pretty much make it into a little sack and twist the top, and tie the cord around the twisty bit. Just thinking out loud for the sake of any other newbies like me that may read this thread from now to eternity.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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The islands on the south west of Ireland get a good sea wind....

So the thatching was laid then a rope with two rocks would hand across the whole roof in a grid system, I've seen rocks on top and rocks hanging down a foot or two from the facia. So the other side of the roof has the same thing so that the whole system is balanced...
image.jpeg
[Thumbnail for image.jpeg]
 
neil mock
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old tires.
 
tomas viajero
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Chadwick-
Interesting foto,
woman with sickle in hand..
young person with one leg...
hmmm
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Location: Volant, PA
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Spare the sickle spoil the child!!
 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 125
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
22
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It's eons later now, but thanks Chadwick for posting the photo, and for the related humor, what an education!

And many thanks to Todd and Tyler for the "twist, tie and tether" method!! It (so far, knock on wood) seems to be way more effective than anything else I've ever seen or heard of. I don't doubt that the trench and bury method is just as effective, but as Todd pointed out, this is a pretty quick fix.

We found that tent stakes came out of the soil too easily as it is very soft in spots, so we followed Tyler's suggestion of rebar. Went down to the local construction supply on a slow morning and the guy in the warehouse decided to be nice and cut a few 4m-long concrete reinforecement bars (conveniently single bars like for reinforcing a column) into 50cm segments for us. All for a song. Those things are great, perfect thickness and the ribbing makes then stick in the ground better than our smooth-surfaced tent stakes. We hammered the bars into L shapes and then pounded them into the ground at a 45-degree angle, angled in towards the center of the pile, to better resist wind pull from behind. It survived a decent windstorm the day after we installed it (using 24 bars -- we're not taking any chances!) and didn't move a millimeter. Never seen anything like it!

Thanks again, I'll try to remember to update this after a really challenging windstorm to say how it's held -- so far, great!
 
Chadwick Holmes
pollinator
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Location: Volant, PA
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Great!
 
220 hours of permaculture video, freaky cheap! http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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