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double mandala garden with charcoal  RSS feed

 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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I started building a double mandala garden today in the only good clearing that gets enough light in summer.  Currently the sun is low and obscuring much of the light, and some trees will also be removed near by the are blocking some of the light.  I let the area be fallow for a year.  I then marked off the circle with rope.  I then proceeded to spread well composted but still rotting horse manure mixed with straw.  (roughly 1/2 a ton)  I know other things would be better but this is what I could afford. ((I.E. Free))  I also spread a years worth of charcoal from the ol' woodstove without the ashes.  This all got tilled in a few hours ago and it already has gone from deep rich rusty colored clay to well, the picture speaks.




Next I am going outside to start a big fire for more charcoal that will be smothered with more hot manure.  Photos of that to come soon.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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The fire went well.  The fire was made with a mix of fir, Port Orford Cedar, & Alder.  After it got to a coal period I added horse manure.  It was interesting to watch the fire burn out of holes through the horse manure mixture (A local ranch supplied me with horse manure that was composted and mixed with straw, but was still fairly green and hot), reminded me of lava holes in Hawaii. 

1/2 way through the one hour of smoldering the fire started getting big again under the manure I had put, so I completely covered it in horse manure mixture again.  At the end of the hour, the fire was doused with a water innoculant I cooked up.

1st 5gal. container of water had:

2 TBSP of Unsulphered Molasses
5 TBSP of Bat guano
5 TBSP earthworm castings

2nd 5gal. container of water had:

5 TBSP of Bat guano
5 TBSP earthworm castings

2nd 5gal. container of water had:

5 TBSP of Bat guano
5 TBSP earthworm castings
& an 8' chopped Bull Whip Kelp ( Nereocystis) that was chopped, rinsed after 24 hours for 3 days, then soaked for 1 month & mixed up daily.

After the fire was doused with the above mixture, and spread out / raked out wards in a circle ((except for one wild area of the circle)).  I then proceeded to till the soil to mix the char with the soil and get it in well everywhere.

I am really happy how this turned out, and I will attempt to add more photos tonight.  Right now I need a shower
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Was in town today so I didn't get to do much but pound some stakes into the ground & look at how rich the soil really got yesterday. Here are some more photos. 



Here I have the first 3 stakes laid out.  They are 6'2" apart.  The green area to the upper right is an intentional 'wild area' I am leaving in the circle.  The current plant you see growing there is Galanthus nivalis  Far background also shows my blackberry fedge between my neighbor and I. 


One of the land owners is checking the stake work...  ..sadly she thought I said steak.


I am unsure how much I will get done tomorrow with making the rows and such.  I am gonna try and help out at Cob Cottage tomorrow.






 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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I am enjoying your ongoing history of your mandala garden...i love the site as well.

I am doing edible forest gardening and I LOVE the circular plans..as that is what seems to work well for me..although I don't use the exact same plans as the mandala I do have circular gardens on my property.

when you walk out my back door there was a 4' raised drainfield that went out about 60 x 80 feet and then gently slopes down to the normal grade..the backfill was very fertile soil taken from an area of our yard that was used for a pond, so it was great planting soil.

I put a circular lawn on top of the main part of the drainfield and then planned a toilet seat shaped garden around the circle with paths going down one on the west and two on the east one back and one front with mixed dwarf apples, shrubs of honeysuckle, lilac, cotinus, barberry, etc..and the rest is planted with vines and perennials

this forms an axis from my kitchen window to the back woods, and between there was an old unfertile strip of wasteland garden from the 1940's and 50's..which I am re claiming as a food forest garden.

I have made a circular lawn in that area in direct access with the one closer to the house and there is an ornamental canadian red leaf cherry in the center. Surrounding that circular lawn are 4 beds with paths going n s e and we off of them and there are dwarf pear trees in three of those beds and dwarf paw paw and mtn ash in the 4th..the 4th bed also has asparagus and rhuybarb..two of the paths have grapevines and cl roses growing over arbors on the n and s and metal arches on the e and w that have annual vines going over them..south of this is a bed on each side of the axis path with dwarf cherry trees and then to the west of this grouping are 3 circular beds with dwarf apple trees..around the entire thing on the south are blueberry, serviceberry beds, west chineses chestnuts, buffalo berry, large fruited hawthorne and raspberry and blackberry beds..north are wild plum hedge and hazelnut hegdge with 3 mulberry tree babies..there are perennial and anual beds in this area with some hugel beds, and lots more kinds of plants..north of it all is a walnut grove and a mid succession forest..to the east is an open area that i hope to put in 3 more circular beds with peach tree guilds and then east of that is a large pond.
 
Chris Fitt
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
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Just started learning about biochar.  That is a cool project you have started, please keep up with the updates.

I have a few questions:
What type of climate is this/where are you?
You said you started prepping this area a year ago, how long from this point until you can plant?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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I'll be updating my blog in the spring when I can get outside, much more, not much going on under all the snow.

we are in zone 4/5 in the north central part of the lower penninsula of Michigan. Have a few feet of snow on the ground now and it probably will last till sometime in March or April..then we'll have a go at the outside updates again..hopfully the pond will be full this spring..can't wait to see it after all of the redigging last year..
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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I had an internet outage, again. 

I am in a very foggy zone 9. Dry summers, foggy, windy rainy monsoon like winter, spring and fall.  Someone told me it is classified as temperate rainforest.  Protected from salt winds, but only 15 miles to Pacific Ocean and amazing surfing with large fish and larger waves.

I started watching the area when I first moved onto the property noticing an abundance of grasses.  I chopped & dropped them, added wood chips from a landslide on my neighbors property & let the area be fallow till I started this post.

That was the 4th, today is the 9th.. so moving on! 

The 5th I worked on making mounds literally till the sun had set and made a beautiful sunset which is rare at this time of the year.  While making mounds I couldn't believe how light the soil felt.  It was a real pleasure to work with. 



So the next morning I added more straw.  It looked good.  Even added a worm composter near the where the gate was going in.  Pounded in stakes for chicken wire as well. 



On the 7th my friend Norm came over and we agreed something was missing, and that was deer protection.  It's not the best in the world, but I like it.  This is the viewing towards the NW and where the sun rises to this area before arcing around to the south.  Those trees are apple, cherry & pear trees I inherited a year ago w/ the property.  They were in very poor condition & are much improved. 



I started planting things I had to move right away like a really poorly pot bound yarrow, a honeysuckle & a few garlic.  I have tomato, Snow pea and some other things already started to start being moved in around end of April.  Weather is weird again this year.  I even see it in the sea life when surfing, clamming or collecting seaweed.

I'll post more pictures later this year when it is planted.  I need to see if I can get a legumes cover crop that would work this late in the season, right now I am betting on a crimson clover that was planted in a recently cut terrace.    Might not of been my brightest of ideas but they seem to be sprouting gently last I looked.


 
I will suppress my every urge. But not this shameless plug:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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