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Pile o' rocks  RSS feed

 
Posts: 39
Location: Ypsilanti, MI (zone 6a)
3
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These rocks are my property's gift that keeps on giving. I've been brainstorming about what to do with them: pile them up along the base of my fence to fill gaps? Use them to edge beds? Maybe put them all into our new mini-swales, to help provide thermal mass and warm up the berms?? (Am I missing a reason not to fill a swale with large rocks? Seems like the water will still run down under them and soak in...?) Other ideas?? I feel like there's probably something really terrific to do with this resource, I just need to figure it out.  Tell me what you did with your rocks!

(If it would help to see pictures of the property so far, I've made a thread in the Projects forum.)

 
master pollinator
Posts: 10439
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
401
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
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I have so many rocks I make long windrows of them along the contours of my yard.  I use them to make rock dams to slow water in the creek.  They form the downhill structure of my terrace kitchen garden.  They're thermal mass around my future lemon tree site.   They surround my little garden pond. I plan to use them as mulch in a no-irrigation garden experiment next year.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I don't have tons of rocks like some people do, so I just make piles of them for snakes to live in.  Try to put darker colored ones on the top and outside.  They will soak up more heat for the snakes to bask on.
 
steward
Posts: 2289
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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You might build an Air Well

Andrew Schreiber quote:

"The rocks works wonderfully to capture the dew, and they do a whole lot else."



https://permies.com/t/23408/homestead/Air-collecting-water-air

Erica Wisner's  primitive air-well

 
Katy Rose
Posts: 39
Location: Ypsilanti, MI (zone 6a)
3
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Thank you all! Tyler, I had not thought about the rock dam idea. We are hoping/planning to get ducks next spring, and part of the plan is to dam a creek to create a small pool for them--so this is a great possibility! I've used logs so far for the downhill side of our terraced gardens, but I think some of the bigger rocks here could also work great for an herb spiral...

Todd, I am actually (for real) a professional biologist who studies amphibians and reptiles... so your reply warms my snake-lovin' heart.  I've left a big brush pile just for my reptilian buddies, and I am always open to making the property more friendly for them! (Also, I must ask... are you the same Todd Parr who writes children's books?? If so, so many thanks for some of my kiddo's much-beloved favorites!

Anne, I had never even heard of an air well!! That is amazing! For sure going to do more reading and thinking about this...
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Katy Rose wrote:(Also, I must ask... are you the same Todd Parr who writes children's books?? If so, so many thanks for some of my kiddo's much-beloved favorites!



Different Todd Parr, sorry
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Katy, beware of trying to dam a creek to make a pond if you ever get floods, as a dam of rocks is likely to blow out and waste your labor - our upstream neighbors dammed the creek with rocks and debris from their old driveway, and it blew out in the first heavy rain.  The rock dams I'm putting in our creek are just to slow the water and collect silt.  https://permies.com/t/53556/earthworks/Creek-repair-rock-dams
 
steward
Posts: 2033
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
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Hi Katy; I hear ya about the rocks. We live on an island of rocks.  A bunch of us put some ideas together in this thread: https://permies.com/t/56831/permaculture-design/Permaculture-rocks-actual-rocks

You might find some interesting things to do with your rocks in there. Good luck!
 
gardener
Posts: 1899
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Use the rocks to fill gabions.  They slow the flow of water, deflect the flow of water.  They also can be a wall by themselves or the bottom half of a wall that is topped by cob or plastered strawbale.  Gabions also bounce sound and headlights (should you happen to live near a busy road, as I do).
 
Katy Rose
Posts: 39
Location: Ypsilanti, MI (zone 6a)
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Tyler, thanks for the good advice! Our creek is tiny and not prone to flooding (there are several ponds upstream that I think modulate it). Still not sure exactly what the plan will be for the duck pond. We actually HAVE a pond on our property, but my husband doesn't want the ducks there, because it is his ice-skating pond, ha!

Tracy, THANKS for the link! That is a great thread! Wow, there are some creative, amazing people hanging around here.  So many good ideas. Also, your property looks just beautiful!

Thekla, I had not heard of gabions! Hmm, now that is really neat. No busy road nearby, but we do have a spot on our property where we get very bad runoff and erosion (very sandy soil)... I bet if we stacked some of these at the bottom, we could start catching the soil and building it back up uphill. Thanks!
 
author
Posts: 34
Location: Pony, Montana
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Katy,

Those are some beautiful rocks for slipform stone masonry work. Here is one project we did with river rock:



Sincerely,

Thomas J. Elpel
http://www.GreenUniversity.com
 
Katy Rose
Posts: 39
Location: Ypsilanti, MI (zone 6a)
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Thomas, thank you so much for sharing that video! I just finally had time to watch the whole thing. Your work is incredibly beautiful!! I can't believe all those rocks came from the excavation... holy cow, now my pile doesn't seem so big.  I wonder if I might accumulate enough to build part of the future greenhouse, though??
 
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I dug a nice big hole and filled it in with stone... gravel on top... next will be a layer of sand.  Goal is to be able to pump water out of the large black pipe (hole in ground) once the condensation fills up my "pseudo-pond"
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Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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great idea, I don't think this would work in my arid conditions.  I wonder what is your climate, humidity, daily and annual precipitation patterns
 
n covington
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:great idea, I don't think this would work in my arid conditions.  I wonder what is your climate, humidity, daily and annual precipitation patterns



As I understand, Paul Wheaton does this in the desert... to provide fresh water for people, and to keep the critters out.  I'm in a rainforest type area, with lots of clay.  In areas without clay, you probably want to line with clay before adding the rocks... he spoke about this idea in his 2.5 hour video on YouTube...

 
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Todd Parr wrote:I don't have tons of rocks like some people do, so I just make piles of them for snakes to live in.  Try to put darker colored ones on the top and outside.  They will soak up more heat for the snakes to bask on.



This is key to deep mulch gardens in our area. Our biggest issue with deep mulch is the rodents and having good snake habitat greatly reduces that pressure. Also it is pretty cool to watch a snake swallow a vole while you are picking peppers!
 
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