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hello from southcentral kansas  RSS feed

 
Posts: 45
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
15
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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i am new to the site and just wanted to say hello.  i live in southcentral kansas.  got started learning about permaculture from a link to the free online course larry korn? does.  have watched quite a few of the vids but got bored and started exploring the net for more info.  finally found paul, thank goodness, and this sight.  i grew up in rural montana.  love montana mountains.  my husband is from louisiana.  he got to montana via the air force.  we have lived together both places and have found a very happy medium here in kansas.  we don't currently have any land of our own but are looking for some close to where we are now.  i have been learning and experimenting with different gardenning techniques as much as i can living in town with regulations.  unfortunately anything not contained in a defined garden must be kept under 12 inches.  i have a few health issues that keep me from working hard at it everyday but do what i can when i can.  when we got here the only plants in the yard were this terrible grass  that invades everything, a couple of old maples in the front yard, a very old seeming katulpa tree with no worms, and flowers for show.  the ground was very hard packed.  my great accomplishment in the 4 years we have been here is fixing the soil.  i started out not knowing what the heck i was doing, hauling alot out and hauling alot of compost in from the town compost pile.  no more of that.  i know better now.  this year i am starting a small hugelbed, continuing work or maybe finishing a small greenhouse pond idea thingie, and hopefully producing food in the garden.  my goal where i am now is to make the back yard produce such that our roommate can get himself food whenever he wants.  he is 65 and mentally disabled.  he is learning about growing food and giggles like a 5 year old whenever he gets to help and gets a job welldone when he has done good.  he says he wants to stay at least part time, when we move to wherever we finally do, so i want to make it easier for him to be able to eat when we are not here.  it is a crazy situation.  so back to my accomplishment with the soil.  using raised beds and such we went from 2 inches of standing water the first year after the july rains, with completely dry dirt just 4-6 inches down, to no standing water last year and no dryness underground.  it is finally soaking in.  we also went from no worms to worms in every shovelful even if i am digging a new piece up.  i hope to someday make it up to check out wheaton labs and hopefully a chance to meet paul. we try to make it to montana at least once a year to visit family and camp in the mountains. would love to do a pdc there someday.  more immediately i would love to meet anyone closer to us and maybe help them out to get some experience and hands on knowledge closer to my own climate zone.
 
gardener
Posts: 813
Location: Ohio, USA
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dog fish food preservation forest garden fungi solar trees urban woodworking
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Welcome! I'm up in Ohio, so probably too far away. But, that's pretty awesome that you got your soil to reverse from the prices of desertification, as I heard it described by Alan Savory.
 
lisa goodspeed
Posts: 45
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
15
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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thanks.  i didn't know what i was doing or how quickly it would change.  i started with pretty decent dirt, it was just so compacted.  we love to fish and use worms and crawlers mostly so every time we got home from a trip i would dump all the leftovers into a garden bed or compost pile.  i probably did way more work digging and hauling stuff around then i needed to, and felt like i was getting nowhere.  i use my hands to dig alot so i really can see and feel the soil.  this year i finally feel like i am getting somewhere.  the moment i realized how much my ground has changed really made all the mess i think my back yard is very much worth it.
 
Amit Enventres
gardener
Posts: 813
Location: Ohio, USA
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Yeah, we all do a certain amount of heavy hauling until we figure out an easier method. I worked for two years trying to design a complicated compost bin before I realized a stupidly simple design.
 
lisa goodspeed
Posts: 45
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
15
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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i am doing alot more chop and drop.  i will also start putting what i would normally put in a compost pile from the kitchen in the hugle garden once it starts getting established this spring.  last year i felt i was doing alot of work and getting nowhere, but this year i am starting to see some of the results of all my hard work.  it is so awesome
 
lisa goodspeed
Posts: 45
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
15
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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i have found my current passion and am very excited.  I am trying to do my part to assist paul in world domination, and from that i have found a calling to occupy me for a while.  I am a member of our local vfw auxiliary and am fairly active there.  we have a great group of people.  maybe one of them had ever even heard of permaculture a year ago.  i was given the job of chairman of our fairly inactive one man youth activities committee.  when i got the job there was nothing really happening there.  i got a folder and a good luck.  our post was also suppose to have a committee chairman for their youth activities, but did not.  so i sought a member out, found one that is already involved with youth in the community.  i am not, so that was important.  got my husband to nominate that member for the job, and then we joined the two committees into one joint committee with the 2 of us as co chairs. 
we are currently holding 2 meetings for members of both the post and auxiliary to form a real committee and identify volunteers for future projects.  i am hoping at least 2 things will come from this.  we have alot of members that never come to the post because of either the bar or hard feelings over something that happened at least 10 years ago.  so we are having a meeting at the local library so that members not comfortable coming to the post can still feel comfortable getting involve and maybe come together to help resolve some of those issues as a side effect.  the second thing is that we have alot of inactive members.  i feel that alot of them may become more actively involved if we had actual projects and interactions going on.  we currently have the same things going on with the same people doing the work everytime.
our first project and the main thing getting me excited about this will be a community garden on the open land around our post building and parking lot.  short term plans will be to put in a few raised bed garden beds in different microclimates that already exist on the land to start raising fresh produce for our community and to start building biomass while hopefully fixing the ground underneath. growing in these microclimates will provide some educational tools while we spend a year or so learning and doing site analysis. we will be working with children of all ages so they will be learning this stuff young. we will start working with boy scouts, as my co chair is heavily involved with them.  my own personal short tune goal will be to find another auxiliary member to take over my chair position of an established committee so that i can focus on the garden project. i will feel that i successfully did my duty to get a committee going while not feeling guilty about leaving someone in the same position i was stuck in when the folder was handed to me.
long term goals of this project are proper site analysis and other permaculture principles to turn it into a food forest.  this is how i feel anyway, but could change depending on committee decisions.
part of the garden project will be at least one rocket mass heater and finding a way to use it to expand our growing season, while at the same time demonstrating its safety and efficiency. my ulterior motive here is getting people to see one of these in action, learning how they work and desiring to help us getting them coded here.  to my advantage we have a retired fire chief who teaches fire safety classes at several places around the state.  our current commander is also retired from the fire department.  convincing them could very much be used to our advantage.  i have been talking about these with anyone that will listen.  people are starting to watch videos about them.  i refer them to permies and to youtube. 
also long term is to bring in other youth groups and involving anyone in the community that wants to get involved.  there is also a plot of land about a half block away that was donated to the city for a community garden that isn't currently being cultivated due to lack of interest or maybe lack people knowing about it.  i would like to propose to the city that our garden committee aid or take over the management of it.
it will be a learning experience for everyone.  i have watched alot of videos and have been experimenting in my own back yard but have no real hands on permaculture experience, and neither does anyone i know around here.  i didn't really realize until last night what a vast permaculture project this is, with all its elements, which just got me even more excited.  without paul and this community there is no way i would be taking on this project so thank you all and wish us luck.  i will try to keep you updated on our progress.  any advice on any of this is welcome.  if there is anyone in the area that wants to help with this project or just come share some of their knowledge would be welcome also.  i am hoping that through inspiring interest we will also be able to raise funds to either send individuals to pdc's and bring back the knowledge and experience, or find someone within whatever budget we can come up with to come teach us here.   i hope to have permaculture and rmhs to be a common topic around town. 
 
Posts: 59
Location: NW KS/NE CO State Line
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Presuming I remember next time we go down, I'll try and bypass Wichita via 160 next time. We pop down to visit my folks south of Ark City at least a couple times per year.
 
lisa goodspeed
Posts: 45
Location: southcentral kansas, south of wichita. zone 6b-ish. more like oklahoma.
15
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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that would be awesome chris.  we were thinking about looking into land out your way.  is there much to be had?  we drive up that way on our way to montana every year.
 
Chris Palmberg
Posts: 59
Location: NW KS/NE CO State Line
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Generally what becomes available out this way is either standalone cropland (there's currently a half dozen circles for sale just in Sherman County) or excised farmsteads with anywhere from a handful to a couple dozen acres.  The issue with the latter is that they tend to be surrounded by irrigated commodity cropland. 

 
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