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Ludi's projects 2017

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
155
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We began 2017 on the right foot by finishing the first brush dam for this season.  We plan to make several more during the cool weather.

Here's my list of goals for this year; some are left over from last year as ongoing projects:

1. Brush dams in the creek
2. Exclusion fencing around as many trees as I can manage
3. Continue composting system with chickens
4. Work on food forest
5. Grow more staple foods and learn to eat them
6.  Set up paddock shift system for chickens
7. Zai Holes experiment
8. 30 Vegetables experiment
9. Set up Spiral Breeding scheme for chickens

I'm most excited about my plans for the old garden in the front yard, which used to be the vegetable garden and orchard but it died in the severe drought we had a few years ago.  In this space I am creating a paddock shift system for chickens which will also incorporate various non-irrigated vegetable growing experiments such as Zai Holes and Gabe Brown's 30 Vegetables polyculture.  I'm letting the chickens clear each plot in which I will grow vegetables without irrigation, and then once the vegs have been harvested, the chickens will be let in to eat the remains and clear the plot again.  I only have two paddocks figured out for this year's experiments, but I will end up with 4 - 5 paddocks total by the time I get them all fenced.  This might take a couple years. Eventually I hope to grow non-irrigated staple crops in these paddocks during the warm season, and mixed leaf and root vegetables during the cool season. 

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
155
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Working on another food forest "bubble" which will be fenced to discourage deer.  We need to remove a couple dead oak trees, which we started this morning.  I still haven't entirely settled on what fruits I will plant here.  They need to be able to take a moderate amount of shade.

Here's the space just uphill from the dog house and the frog pond:



 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 973
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
64
forest garden urban
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I've got those pistachio seeds on the way to me. If I get some trees started, would you be interested?  Since they're a desert tree that prefers dry conditions and summer temperatures in the 100's I think they'd be easier than most to establish here. It looks like for commercial production they like 1000 chill hours, but I'm gambling on getting production enough for home use with less than ideal chilling. Worst case scenario (if they survive) is a small shade tree with dramatic fall color.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Wow, thanks!  Unfortunately, I'm so good at killing things not right near the house, I don't think I can use them.  I've tried remote plantings of pecans, almonds, and olives and all died from lack of attention.  I need to realize my own limitations!  If you have extra seeds, I might try planting those in protected spots and if they sprout they are more likely to survive than transplants.  The biggest problem with pistachios is that they are gendered trees with males of course not bearing nuts.

So only if you have extra seeds.

 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 973
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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I'm moving this to a PM for discussion. I will say for the sake of public discussion that I expect them to need less pampering than any of the fruit trees you listed. As a true desert tree I think they'll be more comparable to a mesquite in what they require.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I truly appreciate the offer but I think you're better off using them in case germination is low.  I'm trying direct seeding of trees and shrubs and so far germination is low enough I think I need to start with ten times the seed for the plants I ultimately hope to survive.

 
James Everett
Posts: 76
Location: Gaines County, Texas South of Seminole, Tx zone 7b
3
dog greening the desert trees
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I have been thinking about getting me some pistachio to grow up here where I live.

Any Looking to see how you improve you land this year as for my I am almost set where I can spend more on my land rather then paying a bank interest apon interest.
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 973
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
64
forest garden urban
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You'd probably be even better situated for them to succeed. Everywhere that sold them had prices way outside my budget, but it sounds like they come fairly true to seed.  I've got 25 seeds coming by the end of Jan/beginning of Feb, and I'm gong to try growing the plants in pots for a couple of years first. If I have extra surviving trees I'll definite be looking for people that want them. I'm bad with potted plants so I'm going to plant every seed I have and hope enough survive for my own needs.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Made a berm on the uphill side of the kitchen garden to keep run off from flooding it.
P1060602.jpg
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Tyler Ludens
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Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Many things were killed in the hard freeze (approx 15 F) - Broad Windsor Fava Bean seems dead as a doornail.  Daikon radishes froze down to ground level but the ends of the roots are salvageable if pulled soon before they rot.  Red Russian Kale has frozen down to the crown but might grow back.  Sweet Lorane Fava Beans look pretty good so apparently much more freeze tolerant than the other variety.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Here's a comparison between the two varieties of Fava today.  Sweet Lorane seems much more freeze-tolerant.  The drawback is this variety has much smaller beans than Broad Windsor, which will make it more tedious to prepare.  But little beans are better than no beans!  I don't think the Broad Windsor will even be able to grow back from the crowns, but I'm leaving them be until I know for sure.
broadwindsor.jpg
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sweetlorane.jpg
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Tracy Wandling
gardener
Posts: 733
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
91
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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That's pretty cool to know! Sweet Lorane would do well here, too. Maybe before you thresh the beans, look for a plant or plants that have larger beans and save those for seed. Maybe you could select for larger bean size and create a better bean for you.

I'll definitely be trying Sweet Lorane next winter. Thanks for showing the comparison.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Here's an example of the power of intensive grazing.  I put the chickens on this patch of land to, I planned, clear it completely of native grasses so that I could plant a cool season cover crop of Oats and Daikon which would die back in time for me to plant my no-irrigation crop of squash at the beginning of the warm season.  I had the chickens on this plot during the hottest time of the year and I though for sure they had killed the grass dead.  Nope, they apparently only did good for the grass because it has come back with a vengeance.  The Oats and Daikon germinated poorly and the Daikon got killed out completely by our hard freeze, which damaged the few Oats.  This situation of the grass doing so well after hard grazing by the chickens bodes well for a paddock shift system on grass, but bodes poorly for growing anything besides grass in the paddocks.
P1060607.jpg
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Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9240
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We got flooding rains last night, and this morning we were able to see how the new earthworks worked.  They sort of did, but some instructions had been ignored by the Bobcat operator, so a large berm is in the wrong position, allowing water leaving the top basin to move far too quickly, a rushing torrent.  We need to get him back out to fix it, which means more $$.  So, I'm not too thrilled.  It's not a horrendous error, but it should be fixed sooner than later.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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