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Ridgecrest Farm - The Beginning

 
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Hello all,
 Long time reader, not very vocal on here. That is fixin to change ya'll! This country boy is going all out Permie. I just bought 5 acres. I am creating the swale system now. Leveling off an area for a 40'x40' pole barn. I'm diggin' some comfrey hopefully this week to transplant into the swales. Hey ya'll, please give me some suggestions on what else I should plant in my new swales to help condition the soil, and get this baby going! They are a mix of the top soild and clay removed from the pole barn site. So deep tap root plants and generally anything that'll really build soil health fast will be planted! Here are some photos.

















 
gardener
Posts: 6251
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Very nice start there Ray, I can't wait to see more progress. Don't forget the trees that go on the down hill side of the berms, get those in fast so they are growing up while you do the rest of the planting.

I'd plant every other one with trees so you are creating alleys for other crops to grow in, just doing that and letting the post harvest material rot in place will do wonders for your soil.

Soil building is very easy, and can wait till you have the other parts in place since it doesn't take long to get soil going strong.

Redhawk
 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Very nice start there Ray, I can't wait to see more progress. Don't forget the trees that go on the down hill side of the berms, get those in fast so they are growing up while you do the rest of the planting.

I'd plant every other one with trees so you are creating alleys for other crops to grow in, just doing that and letting the post harvest material rot in place will do wonders for your soil.

Soil building is very easy, and can wait till you have the other parts in place since it doesn't take long to get soil going strong.

Redhawk



Thanks Bryant!! I will use this thread to post updates as things progress. We have a high wind issue due to prevailing winds and orientation of the valleys surrounding. I've ordered 400 saplings from the department of natural resources! The prevailing winds are coming from the opposite side of the property (west to east direction of wind). So the west side of the property is getting reforested to help break up the wind. The property is wide enough I may have to put in two rows of trees to avoid any turbulence on the east side of the wind breaks.

I went with what was available from the DNR. Yellow Poplar and Loblolly Pine for canopy, Black Locust (hardest wood in north america and a nitro fixer) as a future legacy income for kids, Pecan obviously for the yummy nuts, Kentuck Coffee Tree (nitro fixer) and Black Walnut more yummy nuts.
 
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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Ray Cecil wrote:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:VWe have a high wind issue due to prevailing winds and orientation of the valleys surrounding. I've ordered 400 saplings from the department of natural resources! The prevailing winds are coming from the opposite side of the property (west to east direction of wind). So the west side of the property is getting reforested to help break up the wind. The property is wide enough I may have to put in two rows of trees to avoid any turbulence on the east side of the wind breaks.



Sounds just like our place....that pic where you've moved the top soil also resonates with us....we're in the middle of a LOT of work depending on the weather. Anyhow the wind....good luck with that, watching with much interest! We're putting hugels up as wind breaks as we're on top of a hill.

Regarding the swales/berms - are you going to plant soil improvers where first and then think about perennials etc later, or are you just going to throw it all in at the same time? Something I'm struggling with, I think my preference is to plant green manures for a few years first and then put in perennials once the soil is better. Interested to get your thoughts on how you're managing that?

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Peter, the way We do it on Buzzard's Roost is to get a swale built, plant the trees then broadcast a blend of cover crops and perennials along with some food crop seeds like squashes, beans and mellons.
This gives a good soil retention series so that when we come in to chop and drop the cover crop, there are still plants growing along.
In the alley we form we might do an alternating row setup so that there is a row of cover, a row of squash a row of cover a row of beans a row of cover a row of cantaloupe or watermelon.

The faster you can get trees established the sooner they start performing for you.
The faster you get stuff growing on the new bare dirt, the better too.
If you also get food then the effort pays double dividends.

Redhawk
 
Ray Cecil
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Peter, the way We do it on Buzzard's Roost is to get a swale built, plant the trees then broadcast a blend of cover crops and perennials along with some food crop seeds like squashes, beans and mellons.
This gives a good soil retention series so that when we come in to chop and drop the cover crop, there are still plants growing along.
In the alley we form we might do an alternating row setup so that there is a row of cover, a row of squash a row of cover a row of beans a row of cover a row of cantaloupe or watermelon.

The faster you can get trees established the sooner they start performing for you.
The faster you get stuff growing on the new bare dirt, the better too.
If you also get food then the effort pays double dividends.

Redhawk



Peter Kalokerinos wrote:

Ray Cecil wrote:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Sounds just like our place....that pic where you've moved the top soil also resonates with us....we're in the middle of a LOT of work depending on the weather. Anyhow the wind....good luck with that, watching with much interest! We're putting hugels up as wind breaks as we're on top of a hill.

Regarding the swales/berms - are you going to plant soil improvers where first and then think about perennials etc later, or are you just going to throw it all in at the same time? Something I'm struggling with, I think my preference is to plant green manures for a few years first and then put in perennials once the soil is better. Interested to get your thoughts on how you're managing that?



Hey ya'll, thanks for the comments.

As far as the soil improvements, yes and no. I just bought ten pounds of red clover seed, and 151 varieties of garden veggies and herbs seed from a local farm. (Mozybeau Farm)

Here is a link to the Bucket of Seeds: http://www.mozybeaufarms.com/category-s/1974.htm

The reason I chose them is that they are literally only a 30-45 minute drive from my farm. All their seed is grown and collected there, so I know whatever they are growing, I can grow. Assuming similar soil and micro-climate scenarios, which I am sure will vary some.

So Peter, to answer your question, I am taking the all of the above approach. I am planting a mix of red clover and garden veggies just as Bryant has suggested. A local guy also named "Ray" who runs a Permaculture group on Meetup is giving me a bunch of Comfrey plants as soon as I can go dig'em up. So those will get thrown in. We compost too, so that'll get spread out there. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will my soil be. I don't think we need to plant nitro fixers and let it sit for years before we try to grow anything. We will plant it all, and let it evolve. Casualties are to be expected, and lessons learned are to be expected. I'm going in with that in mind. I don't have time to research the perfect plan. The enemy of progress is the dream of a perfect plan, IMHO. YMMV.

I also have about a 1/2 acre area designated to wildflowers. https://permies.com/t/62948/wildflower-field-suggestions

Also, you guys haven't seen but maybe 1/8th of the amount of swales I am building. What you see in the pics will be our experiement first year. The rest will stay covered in clover and wildflowers.

The house is a double wide and is temporary, we are building a log home behind that area I am leveling off. That won't be for another 3 or 4 years though. I want to get the pole barn built first so I have a place to store building materials and work out of.

By the way, my neighbor is selling her 5 acres....anyone want to be my neighbor?

 
Ray Cecil
Posts: 113
Location: Taylorsville Kentucky
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Here is a list of the varieties of veggies and herbs from Mozybeau Farm. We won't plant everything this year, but will be experimenting with all these varieties of Heirlooms over time

Mary Washington Asparagus
KY Wonder Pole Bean
Tendergreen Bush Bean
Detroit Dark Red Beet
Waltham Broccoli
Long Island Brussel Sprout
Golden & Red Acre Cabbage
Edisto
Planters Jumbo
Minnesota Midget
Hales's Best
Hearts of Gold & Honey Dew Green Cantaloupe
Chantenay Red Cored & Danvers Carrot
Snowball Cauliflower
Champion Collard
Hickory King Yellow Corn
Black-eyed Pea
Homemade, National, & Boston Pickling Cucumber
Blue Scotch Curled Kale
White Vienna Kohlrabi
Buttercrunch Gourmet Salad Blend, & Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Southern Giant Mustard
Emerald Green & Clemson Spineless Okra
White & Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion
Harris Early Model Parsnip
Early Alaska Pea
Cal Wonder Sweet Bell Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
Sugar Pie Pumpkin
Cherry Belle Radish
American Purple Top Rutabaga
Dale Sorghum
Viroflay Spinach
Golden Crookneck Squash
Black Beauty Zucchini
Vegetable Spaghetti Squash
Fordhook Swiss Chard
Beefsteak, Roma, Large Red Cherry, & Rutgers Tomatoes
Purple Top Turnip
Sugar Baby Watermelon
Celery
White Icicle Radish
Mung Bean
Bibb Lettuce
Little Fingers Carrot
Eggplant
Leek
Romaine Lettuce
Hot Banana Pepper
Goldenball Turnip
Red Swiss Chard
China White Radish
Seven Top Turnip
Brown Flax
Early Jersey Cabbage
Long Green Cucumber
Michihili Cabbage
Black & Round Zucchini
Scarlet Globe Radish
Tatsoi Mustard
Shogoin Turnip
Straightneck Squash
Copenhagen Cabbage
Green Curled Endive
White Wonder Cucumber
Iceberg Lettuce
Golden Casaba Melon
Tokyo White Onion
Poppy
Tomatillo
Sweet Banana Pepper
Chicory
PAK CHOI
SCARLET NANTES CARROT
PEPPERGRASS CRESS
LONG PURPLE EGGPLANT
BATAVIAN ENDIVE
GRAND RAPIDS LETTUCE
TOM THUMB LETTUCE
BARTENDER RADISH
HAILSTONE RADISH
GREY ZUCCHINI
CINNAMON BASIL
CALABRESE BROCOLLI
BRUNSWICK CABBAGE
LONG STANDING CILANTRO
STRAIGHT 8 CUCUMBER
GREAT LAKES HEAD LETTUCE
OAKLEAF LETTUCE
FRENCH BREAKFAST RADISH
GIANT NOBEL SPINACH
TABLE QUEEN ACORN SQUASH
LATE FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE
MARKETMORE CUCUMBER
HANSON CRISPHEAD LETTUCE
BLACK DIAMOND WATERMELON
CONGO WATERMELON
25 Varieties Of Heirloom Tomatos

HERBS:
Genovese Basil
Long Island Mammoth Dill
Cilantro
Catnip
Dark Green Italian Parsley
Oregano
Sage
Marjoram
German Winter Thyme
Lavender
Arugula
Anise
Fennel
Hyssop
Chives
Summer Savory
 
Ray Cecil
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So, this is what 10 pounds of Red Clover seed looks like in case yall didn't know. They had two varieties at the store. Don't ask me which varieties. Maybe the pink seeds are coated in something? Anyone know what that is? I'm learning...



 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The Pink seed is coated to keep problems of damping off at bay.
Nothing wrong with the seed, just has been treated to have the best chance of sprouting.


Redhawk
 
Ray Cecil
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:The Pink seed is coated to keep problems of damping off at bay.
Nothing wrong with the seed, just has been treated to have the best chance of sprouting.


Redhawk



Thanks Bryant, I figured it was something like that....I'm a noob....if you couldn't tell. This farm project is actually the product of several years of planning and struggling to get here. We've finally got here, so now comes the REAL learning part. I've read books, and looked at species lists, and watch all the Geoff Lawton videos, been lurking on Permies....time to get dirty and actually gain the experience and hands on knowledge!

Thanks all for any input and maybe some handy links to other threads that might cover some of my questions.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Ray, I came to permies to be as much help as possible.
We have lots of folks here with lots of experience and knowledge for all to draw upon and we love to be of help.
Do take advantage of what this site has to offer, and if you need to you can purple moosage me.

Redhawk

 
Ray Cecil
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Ray, I came to permies to be as much help as possible.
We have lots of folks here with lots of experience and knowledge for all to draw upon and we love to be of help.
Do take advantage of what this site has to offer, and if you need to you can purple moosage me.

Redhawk



What does Hau mean? Ive seen you use that a few times.

OH....."Redhawk"....."hau".....ok I think I get it. Native American?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau is our (I'm Nakota) way of saying hello.

Redhawk
 
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Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Ray Cecil wrote:I'm a noob....if you couldn't tell. This farm project is actually the product of several years of planning and struggling to get here. We've finally got here, so now comes the REAL learning part. I've read books, and looked at species lists, and watch all the Geoff Lawton videos, been lurking on Permies....time to get dirty and actually gain the experience and hands on knowledge!



Congratulations on making it to this point!  You may call yourself a noob but you've got land and are working on it, which is several steps ahead of many of us.  So don't sell yourself short! And I hope you'll keep posting about your experiences and efforts going forward, and maybe provide some background as to how you got to this point and what you're hoping to do.  This kind of first person account is really valuable to other beginners.
 
Ray Cecil
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau is our (I'm Nakota) way of saying hello.

Redhawk



I should have put two and two together on that one. My wife was born in Witchita KS, I own a 2nd home near Osage Nation in Oklahoma, and my wife's best friend's growing up were full Cherokee twins. I've learned a thing or two about Native American culture.....I love listening to the old dance songs....My wife's friend has a full outfit and does rain dances for educational days in schools. I am fascinated at the ancient ways natives were so close to the land....makes me a little sad its so hard to be like that now.

 
Ray Cecil
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Steven Kovacs wrote:

Ray Cecil wrote:I'm a noob....if you couldn't tell. This farm project is actually the product of several years of planning and struggling to get here. We've finally got here, so now comes the REAL learning part. I've read books, and looked at species lists, and watch all the Geoff Lawton videos, been lurking on Permies....time to get dirty and actually gain the experience and hands on knowledge!



Congratulations on making it to this point!  You may call yourself a noob but you've got land and are working on it, which is several steps ahead of many of us.  So don't sell yourself short! And I hope you'll keep posting about your experiences and efforts going forward, and maybe provide some background as to how you got to this point and what you're hoping to do.  This kind of first person account is really valuable to other beginners.



Steven,
 Thanks for the encouragement. I will provide an abbreviated story in a couple of hours. I hope it does inspire some to get going.

Ray


 
Bryant RedHawk
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Some of the elders have given up on trying to teach the old ways to the youth. Others are working hard to get the youth to know their roots, what it means to be one of the people and why it is so important.
The US, in the late 1800's and early 1900's, worked very hard to disassemble the people and take everything (culture, language, self esteem and so on) from us.

Those actions have made it harder but we are coming back, just as our prophecies said we would, it is just a little harder now is all.
Many gave up, that was our fault, this mind set still exists in some but today there is a recovery going on. (it is also meeting with resistance by the US, which is to be expected)
One day, the four colors of man will sit down at the council fire and speak with respect to each other, hear all people's words and then the human race can evolve ahead as we are supposed to.

I look forward to reading your personal story, the journey of others is always of great interest to me.

Redhawk
 
Ray Cecil
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Alright, I have been encouraged to share my story, as it pertains to getting to where I am today.
I will keep this as brief as possible.
I would like to touch on some major key points:
1. Motivation
2. Knowledge
3. Strategy/Prioritization

1. MOTIVATION
Why did I choose to build a permaculture farm? This goes far beyond the obvious reasons, such as food security, no pesticides etc. It’s a moral decision.  I grew up as a conservative Christian. Now as an A-religious person who is a mismatch of political viewpoints, I see the good and bad arguments of both sides. I won’t be specific because this isn’t the place for that. However, if we are to be honest, we really need to put partisan politics aside and figure out what is beneficial, and what is detrimental. That basically sums up who I am, someone who thinks for himself, and doesn’t take anything anyone says as the truth until I investigate it myself and draw a conclusion. So, my motivation for permaculture largely is an extract of that way of thinking. Permaculture makes sense. It is practical. It’s good for the environment. It’s good for my body. It’s good for my family. It can be spiritual. It can be beautiful. It sets up a slower less busy lifestyle. I really don’t need too much more motivation than that.
2. KNOWLEDGE
You must start somewhere. Once I decided this is what I wanted to do. I just started reading. I started watching permaculture videos. I found this website, Geoff Lawton, Hemenway (RIP), and the others’ works, studies and experiments. The last few years have been spent simply getting familiar with everything. It’s been way less hands on, and more intellectual, book knowledge, grasping concepts, building species lists etc.
3. STRATEGY/PRIORITIZATION
I got married at 23, moved from KY to OK, bought a house, had a kid, started a mechanical design career and started paying on student loans ALL IN ONE YEAR. To say the least, I was stressed out and over burdened, well…at least I was new to all that responsibility. My wife wasn’t working because we wanted her to raise our children, not strangers at a day care. We had another son a couple years after the first. To make matters worse. I was broke. I bought our house with ZERO down, and was dumb enough to buy too much house. The first few years of our marriage we were working with less than $100 after we paid bills and took care of everything else. No savings. No 401k. $40,000 in school loan debt. $135,000 house. I was barely making $30k a year the first three years. I was a mechanical designer by the day and a janitor/lawn maintenance man at night. Then I broke my back. Herniated L1S5 disc 10mm protrusion directly into my sciatic nerve. I was immobile unless I was taking 1500-2000 mgs of ibuprofen every day. My health was failing, hair started thinning, and as a young man with no freedom….I started growing angry with life. I ended up with three hernias also. I was working like a dog.
The whole time I was watching these Geoff Lawton videos, reading about Fukuoka and Sepp Holzer and others….thinking….that is what I want.
So….I made a plan. I needed my back and hernias to feel better, and I needed money. First, I had to get out of debt, make more money or reduce spending. The answer was all the above. We moved out of that house, and all the way back to KY. Moved in with my parents. Yes, this was hard to do, but you sacrifice one thing to get another sometimes. I rented out my house in Oklahoma. I got extremely lucky and found a good renter. I did have to put a roof on the house and rebuild the HVAC while rented out. That was a huge expense.
Speaking of huge expenses, my back still was killing me, and I had in the meantime just before moving back to KY had the hernias repaired. That was two separate surgeries, because I had one hernia, had it fixed, then got two more. So…..$$$$$$. Then came the back surgery. More $$$. I had pretty good success with my back surgery. I still have daily pain but its manageable, and I no longer take meds for it.
My big break was the job I landed back here in Kentucky. Now, I know a lot of you might have mixed emotions about the firearm industry. Some are for it, and some are against. However, it was an opportunity to set myself up. I landed a CAD job with Remington Arms in their Research and Development Center in Elizabethtown KY, building 3D model of firearms and drawing manufacturing prints. Sweetest job ever. And I got to shoot all the time.  
Unfortunately for me….8 months after starting work there, they relocated R&D to Huntsville AL. I didn’t go, because we wanted to be here near my family. I switched jobs and started designing Automation Assembly Line Equipment for a company that contracted with John Deere, Caterpillar, etc etc. All the big name folks. Made good $$ doing that, still not a degreed engineers pay, but for a draftsman, I have reached the top tier at this point. This whole time while living with my folks we paid those school loans down and started a savings account.  
After 3 years living with my folks we have paid off nearly all $40,000 in school loans. My property in Oklahoma is still rented out, and I have some real equity in it.
So, all that took 4 years from deciding to move back and chase this dream, to actually making a purchase on the property.
So that is pretty much it in a nutshell. There are a lot more struggles and challenges I haven’t shared. Nothing I have gone through to get to this point is uncommon. I am well aware people have overcome MUCH more than I have. But my story with being young and in debt I know will resonate with a lot of other young people struggling to get free from it. It is possible!! You have to sacrifice! You have to work hard!! NOTHING WORTH HAVING EVER COMES FREELY!!!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 6251
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau, kola Ray, I want to say, good for you! You found yourself a dream, and are making it happen, no matter what it takes.
You kola (friend) are a warrior.

Walk your path, for it will lead to great things.

Redhawk
 
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Try to buy ot a little time to study the engineering of your body and how it works. Switching back and fourth between sitting work and strenuous physical work without knowing how to do eather properly results in a weak lumbar pelvic alignment that is disposed to tears. At 55 I had to make a career change because of it.  I chose massage therapist thinking it would help me deal with the problems and it has kept me going to 77.
 
Ray Cecil
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Sorry, been a little busy. I took the day off yesterday to get some more work done on my pole barn site and swales. I appreciate all the responses guys.

I have been doing a little more research on the swales, while my swales aren't perfectly on contour, they do run slightly downhill to spill over to the next lower swale. I layed out my swales on contour initially, and they wondered so far apart from one end to the next. I wanted more than two swales near the house. So I put four in, and graded the to help the overflow run where I need it to.

Now as far as what to plant......I think I have the right basic understanding of how to 'pioneer" the swales.

Things TO DO on a swale. Please correct me if I am wrong. Please add to it things I have forgotten.

Plant trees on downhill side
Mix of Legume, fruit and nut trees
Comfrey as soil builder and other cover crops such as clovers
add biomass as available

Can anyone think of any species of garden veggies in the list I posted earlier that SHOULD not be planted in a swale?

This is going to be a trial by fire. Any guidance before I plant will help some. I fully expect to be making some mistakes. But like I always say, the enemy of progress is the hope of a perfect plan.

Ray



 
Ray Cecil
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FYI ALL. This website has been my go to on Temperate Climate Permaculture for my zone (6b).

http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2014/06/15/permaculture-plants-red-clover/

Its a wonderful resource
 
Bryant RedHawk
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When planting "swales" the only thing to remember is that you have 4 areas to plant and each of these are a little different in moisture content. That is one of the beautiful things about swales, microclimates arise.

Above the actual swale you have an alley, this will be not as moist as the actual swale (ditch part).
The swale proper will be a little lower in elevation than the upper alley and it will be wetter, since the purpose is to gather water and spread it out.
The berm, formed by the soil removed to make the swale is the "high ground" a perfect spot for vining plants such as melons.
Behind the berm is the tree space then the next alley. I like a two to three row tree space but that is because I have a steep hill face to deal with so I have terraces where swales don't really work.

To get the most from the system you are putting in, catch ponds (at the end of a swale) help in high runoff times as well as allowing better sheeting action.
If you walk the finished swales, your feet will show you where the best spots for these small catch ponds will be, some might even be away from the ends.
These are actually an important part of the swale system for water management.

When you are planting, look at the conditions those seeds need to do their best, then find that spot in your new swale system and plant them there.

Redhawk
 
Ray Cecil
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:When planting "swales" the only thing to remember is that you have 4 areas to plant and each of these are a little different in moisture content. That is one of the beautiful things about swales, microclimates arise.

Above the actual swale you have an alley, this will be not as moist as the actual swale (ditch part).
The swale proper will be a little lower in elevation than the upper alley and it will be wetter, since the purpose is to gather water and spread it out.
The berm, formed by the soil removed to make the swale is the "high ground" a perfect spot for vining plants such as melons.
Behind the berm is the tree space then the next alley. I like a two to three row tree space but that is because I have a steep hill face to deal with so I have terraces where swales don't really work.

To get the most from the system you are putting in, catch ponds (at the end of a swale) help in high runoff times as well as allowing better sheeting action.
If you walk the finished swales, your feet will show you where the best spots for these small catch ponds will be, some might even be away from the ends.
These are actually an important part of the swale system for water management.

When you are planting, look at the conditions those seeds need to do their best, then find that spot in your new swale system and plant them there.

Redhawk



Redhawk,
 Thanks for breaking that down for me. That is going to help a lot. I was aware of the downhill side being for the trees, yet I hadn't read or thought about the other zones/microclimates. I have plenty of seed to plant. I hope the soil isn't too much clay to get anything going this year. I might have to get the trees in, and sow the legume/nitro fixers this year. I don't know, I guess I will just give it a shot. Heck, $75 for 151 varieties of heirloom veggies....I can't hardly see why I shouldn't just experiment with it.....I will mix some red clover and a few wildflowers into the cover crop to get good soil cover going.

Thank you.....
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Clay soil works for most plants, the great thing about soil is that the more we use it to grow things, the better it gets (when we do it like nature does that is).

The worst thing for soil is to not grow anything. When we plant, grow, harvest and then let the rest of those plants rot, we are actually building the soil.

Mother Nature loves diversity, she grows lots of things in the same space, these plants either work together or those that don't end up dying and rotting, which they then help the soil grow the remaining plants better.

Redhawk
 
Ray Cecil
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Ive got a question guys. I know that Black Walnut is not good to plant near food producing areas, it puts off some molecule that inhibits the growth of other species. Now, what about Loblolly Pine? Or any species of Pine? I have 50 Loblolly saplings coming from the DNR, and I was planning on using them as privacy screen and windbreak. Does this species harm competitors nearby?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Loblolly pine will acidify the soil which looks allopathic but actually isn't the same chemical mechanism as true allopathy.

When you plant those loblolly pines think about that area as being a great place for blueberries and other acid loving shrubs.
it would also be a good place for pollinator attracting bulbs.

Redhawk
 
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Howdy neighbor. I also live in Kentucky (up in the northern-most regions, several miles south of Cincinnati). And, like you, I also have been working on a swale project (see pictures below). Moreover, I also keep a backhoe around for my earthwork, though my weapon of choice is the Case 580K. I'm sure my machine and your machine could be friends though.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and encourage you to keep on truckin' along with your fun homesteading projects. It's a blast.

17201169_10154290574276641_5015763398848053467_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 17201169_10154290574276641_5015763398848053467_n.jpg]
The view from the cab, looking down my swale-in-progress
17156095_10154290574626641_6448270318970054222_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 17156095_10154290574626641_6448270318970054222_n.jpg]
That's a 250 foot long swale, with hugel bed on the left side
 
Ray Cecil
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My favorite photo from the weekend...swales above and below. Swales mimick natural shapes.

 
Ray Cecil
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Adam Rust wrote:Howdy neighbor. I also live in Kentucky (up in the northern-most regions, several miles south of Cincinnati). And, like you, I also have been working on a swale project (see pictures below). Moreover, I also keep a backhoe around for my earthwork, though my weapon of choice is the Case 580K. I'm sure my machine and your machine could be friends though.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and encourage you to keep on truckin' along with your fun homesteading projects. It's a blast.



Hey partner. The back hoe isn't mine, I borrowed it from a family friend of my father. I wish I had the $$ to purchase one! Anyway, I am in the collecting phase right now, I am gathering seeds, bulbs, root cuttings, etc etc. Today I am digging some Bocking 4 and 14, as well as a wild variety from a guy in St. Matthews (his name is Ray also.)

I have another permie friend who is bringing me Fig, Jerusalem Artichoke, Hardi Kiwi, Passion fruit and some others.

I'm so excited to finally be getting this show on the road after years of trying to get to this point. If you need anything, and are in the Louisville area, let me know. I'll give you whatever cuttings and roots/bulbs etc I can spare at the moment.

 
Adam Rust
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That's mighty kind of you. I'll keep it in mind. If I'm ever in the Louisville area again, I'll look you up. It sounds like you are collecting a lot of things I'd like to have too. We've only been at our place for 1 year, and haven't collected much yet. So, having a few items from your collection would definitely add a lot of flavor to ours.

Thanks,
Adam
 
Ray Cecil
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Adam Rust wrote:That's mighty kind of you. I'll keep it in mind. If I'm ever in the Louisville area again, I'll look you up. It sounds like you are collecting a lot of things I'd like to have too. We've only been at our place for 1 year, and haven't collected much yet. So, having a few items from your collection would definitely add a lot of flavor to ours.

Thanks,
Adam



Adam, I am slowly getting there. So far its not much. But Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will Ridgecrest Farm. We've only been at our place since early November. So lot's to do this spring. I've taken advantage of the good weather this winter to get stuff prepared. Hopefully this is the last cold snap with freezing temps before April.
 
Ray Cecil
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Yesterday I picked up a Goji plant, and two varieties of Cherry tree. They require pairs to pollinate. According to the tags on the trees, the two varieties I bought are compatible. Some had non-compatible varieties. I learn something everyday.

I also got a 55 gallon drum to build a yard roller with. I plan to fill it with water or dirt and attach an axle through the center to pull it with my little john deer rider mower.

I also took a cutting from a Weeping Willow. There is a damp spot in the yard 30-40 feet down slope of the septic laterals. I think a willow tree would be nice right there to help firm up that area and provide a shady spot for viewing the 1/2 acre wild flower field. So the cutting is rooting in a pot in the window sill....I wonder how big it will get in 1 season.

Picture to come
 
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Ray Cecil wrote:
I also took a cutting from a Weeping Willow. There is a damp spot in the yard 30-40 feet down slope of the septic laterals. I think a willow tree would be nice right there to help firm up that area and provide a shady spot for viewing the 1/2 acre wild flower field. So the cutting is rooting in a pot in the window sill....I wonder how big it will get in 1 season.

Picture to come



Your experience may go different than mine, but 30-40 feet from lateral lines is about a mile too close for a weeping willow..... LOL!

The roots on those things are like a moth to a flame when it comes to clogging septic/sewer lines.....

They do serve the purpose you are wanting though.

 
Ray Cecil
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Roger Rhodes wrote:

Ray Cecil wrote:
I also took a cutting from a Weeping Willow. There is a damp spot in the yard 30-40 feet down slope of the septic laterals. I think a willow tree would be nice right there to help firm up that area and provide a shady spot for viewing the 1/2 acre wild flower field. So the cutting is rooting in a pot in the window sill....I wonder how big it will get in 1 season.

Picture to come



Your experience may go different than mine, but 30-40 feet from lateral lines is about a mile too close for a weeping willow..... LOL!

The roots on those things are like a moth to a flame when it comes to clogging septic/sewer lines.....

They do serve the purpose you are wanting though.



Roger, thanks for the advise. I may think about moving the planting site a little further than that. The laterals may be further away than what I stated, I am unsure. I know the general area they are in. The thing is, with the way the grade slopes, the moisture starts to roll back toward the house a little, then starts running away from it down a different slope. The slope goes down into the wild flower field. I was going to put the willow right on the edge of that field, but maybe with your advise in mind, I will move a little further away.

With that said, I got outside a few weeks ago and dug a little irrigation trench near that wet spot to see how much water would flow. While digging the ditch I found a live and healthy cedar tree root. The closest cedar tree is 150' away at least. I think maybe there was once a tree there in that area that got chopped down, but the root in hanging in there, waiting to send a new tree up as soon as the field is neglected. Is was for sure cedar, I had to chop it in half to dig the ditch and what do you know? Pink in the middle. It was a shallow root, maybe 1/2" of soil on top.
 
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Ray,

I don't want to be too critical and maybe it is just the camera angle but are you going to be running run-off water into your storage shed?  The pictures look like that may be the case.

Mike
 
Ray Cecil
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Mike Schroer wrote:Ray,

I don't want to be too critical and maybe it is just the camera angle but are you going to be running run-off water into your storage shed?  The pictures look like that may be the case.

Mike



Mike, thanks for the comment. No, that is not the case. In fact I didn't place them exactly on contour, but they are running away from the shed. About a 6" drop from the shed side to the other end. I have a pond that struggles a little to stay full. The area the swales are on did not run water to the pond. I am trying to get the water in this area to run towards the pond, which I have accomplished. This area the swales on on isn't too large, its at the top of a 10 acre area. I don't expect much run-off to fill the swales anyway. A large downpour over a couple days might start filling the swales...maybe. I put the swales basically where I wanted them for aesthetics and to function as a diversion for water to the pond instead of down the hill and into the street.  

later...I will be putting in more swales, on contour, below the current swales. The septic laterals are not too far from these swales, so I am trying to divert as much as possible as to not saturate the leech field and have septic issues. Thanks
 
Mike Schroer
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Ray,

That sounds good.  Good Luck.

Mike
 
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