I live north west of Libby, MT in an earth sheltered home that I built 2008 and ongoing, with assistance from Davis Caves of Armington, Il. Although we tried to disturb the natural environment as little as possible I do have a large pile of slash, about 6 feet high, maybe 4 feet across, that I would like to cover with good dirt for purposes of hugelkultur. Is this a practical idea, especially given that I have deer and ground squirrels to contend with? Also, I will traveling to points south mid March and would like to visit the laboratory. Do you welcome visitors. I have many questions. Thanks. Bobbi McC
Yes use your slash to build hugelkultur. That is a perfect use of slash. So many waste slash burning it, but the best thing is to bury it in a hugel mound.
Yes wheaton labs accepts visitors. Though you might want to check the events scheduled, It might be possible they could be having something happening there at that time. A PDC or Homestead course or something might be scheduled, and make it a little more hectic.
*edit, I might have been mistaken about visiting, see my later post and the linked thread for more info.
I have a south facing hill that gets absolutely baked by the summer sun. Five years ago, I began to pile branches and other bio-mass on the downhill side of my trees (Asian pears, avocados, figs, peaches, apricots) where the sun would normally cook the soil. Since the tree's shadow was on the uphill side, those piles of biomass kept the soil cool and most on the downhill side.
Over the years, those piles have slowly decomposed and the soil beneath is absolutely beautiful. They serve as a bit of a terrace on the downhill side, making it easier to stand on and pick fruit. Further, they've become a bit of an incubator for lizards who are my garden friends. The lizards eat snail eggs and little slugs (as well as other garden pests). So the piles serve multiple functions (soil building, sun shading, water retention, wildlife habitat) and keep all that carbon on site rather than going up in a puff of smoke.
Best of luck with your ventures.
roberta mccanse wrote:Many thanks. Now, my question is, how do I find the lab if I am not signing up for a course or an overnight stay? Do I need to buy pie, provide a background check, send a picture with references... ? I do certainly understand the need for safe haven but I am not sure how to assure the folks that live at the lab that I am not usually very disruptive. I am traveling with dogs however and they can be confined.
Hmm, I might have been mistaken about the visiting.
See this thread https://permies.com/t/58899/visiting-wheaton-labs
Seems they don't have a good set up yet for handling visitors and giving tours. From what the thread said, it seems they are only set up for the programs where you come to work and assist at the lab. Though things might have changed since then as it sounds like they want to offer something, it just wasn't there yet when the thread was made 5 mths ago.
We sit, underground, at the top of a ridge above Pipe Creek and have large south facing windows. Plenty of trees and growth downhill but I am planting trees on the property that I hope will provide fruit and nuts over time. The latest planting, last fall, was a cherry tree that I put in a 3 foot hole that I had been filling all summer with compostable stuff, per David the Good. I am also planting Bur Oak that are drought resistant and should provide future shade as our climate becomes drier and our pines, etc. become fewer. Two apple trees are doing well, the Mac had apples last summer. Given our 90 day growing season things progress slowly. No avocados here!
I would hate to take the slash pile apart, good habitat for some my favorite critters, and some of my least favs, e.g. the ground squirrels that are the bane of my garden's existence. We have several piles of smaller slash left from thinning that we did several years ago when most of our trees were saplings. I would love to chip them up and spread them around. I garden on the roof and ground is very uneven up there. (Should I worry about the carbon/nitrogen thing?) Maybe I can get to that this summer. In the meantime we have about 5 feet of snow, large roofs in town collapsing, so we should have good ground water this summer.
In the meantime, people seem to show up, one at a time, and expect a person to drop their projects for the day in order to give them a free tour. But everybody that can lead a tour has stuff that they want to do instead. So the solution has been "the gapper program costs $100" and you get a tour because we pay somebody to give you the tour. We will also answer questions before you arrive, arrange to have somebody meet you, and about a dozen other bits and bobs as different people have different things they may or may not want to do while they are here. They might be here for a few hours or days or more. Sometimes they need to park, or need to park an RV or they have animals or .....
It would be great if we were set up in a way to give a free tour. We just aren't there yet. All part of being "under construction" I guess.
So, yes, we can give you a tour. We'll just have to pay someone to do it. So, we'll charge you first. Post any other questions you have in that other thread, as this one is seemingly about slash piles and huglekulture.