Howdy, I am new here and thought I would say hello. I have spent my whole life in Colorado and Wyoming. Been gardening since I was old enough to put a seed in the dirt and add water. I spend a lot of time in the woods and have a lodge.
I have ten acres in southern Wyoming where I want to implement sustainable methods of living so I am enjoying the conversations here. I have a lot of reading and catching up to do ! Anyone else here in Colorado or Wyoming?
I'll be putting in the garden beds and paths once the snow goes. I'm thinking now of shallow wood chip filled trenches for paths, with hugelkultur raised beds for planting. I did some "snow thinking" a few days ago, trudging around making paths, and leaving the snow undisturbed where the beds will go.
The soil here supports lots of pioneers, some type of "goat head". A few sparse clumps of prairie grass near the downspouts, and the odd sage brush.
I had thought of sheet mulching, but that's a lot of cardboard and newspaper, neither of which I care to collect. I'm still somewhat undecided whether to dig out the beds a few inches then fill with the wood chip, or to just put the chips down on top and go from there.
This will be used horse bedding (manure laced wood chips), with soil and compost layered on top, and probably straw mulch as needed.
Aside from the dryness here, the winds are the biggest problem. We get wind from all directions in all seasons. Hot winds, cold winds, strong winds, mild winds. Winds (seemingly) all the time.
We used to get quite a bit of wind in SE Idaho where I grew up at. I am not a big lover of wind so don't miss it much. But it sure can be an excellent energy resource. There are some cool little vertical access wind generators on Youtube at Green Power Science.
I used to do a bit of wind surfing in the Columbia Gorge when I lived there. Loved it, lots of fun.
I'm planning on putting together a cattle panel cold house this year similar to your green house.
I always sheet mulched by hauling in localcompost or well aged horse manures. The county usually had large mulch piles of grass clippings and tree trimmings etc. My soil is sandy clays not much organics so I would put down about a foot of compost and rototill it in to get started. Wyoming has a little wind , so I used a lot of quick growing shrubs and trees to form hedges and windbreaks. I have also spent a little time clearing sagebrush.
My family took a trip to Vancouver Island one year. Drove through Idaho,Oregon,Washington. That Columbia River system is awesome. Bet that was a blast surfing on that ,Feral.
we have a few acres where the soil is compact and mostly clay. most "farms" around us consist of horses eating in the field, and little to no food grown for human consumption.... we are trying to change that.
we are working on getting an orchard started, and we would love to find creative ways to use irrigation more effectively.
the temp here can swing a lot here, and the wind in the spring is rough. not nearly like WY, but sometimes i feel like i need to make one of these for my area:
http://www.cloud9farms.com/ - Southern Colorado - Zone 5 (-19*f) - 5300ft elevation - 12in rainfall plus irrigation rights
Dairy cows, "hair" sheep, Kune Kune pigs, chickens, guineas and turkeys
^i wouldn't say free, it costs money to create a wind generator, though it is a one time cost for the most part, its not free, and unfortunately the government subsidizes through tax dollars the construction of hundred of huge wind generators near town, its sickening to me because of where the funds come from, its one thing if each individual has their own generator(better for the land as well) but when everyones tax dollars are taken and used to fund ineffecient designs of huge wind generators for corporations in the area... just wrong.
but yes if you have the money to put a wind generator together, great idea in these parts:)
Devon I am over by Saratoga. Aspen forest with sage brush. Some meadow land and swamp. Lots of water. I have only been there for a couple of years so I have my work cut out for me. Have an old trailer/camper for shelter and have been cutting down dead aspen for fence posts , snowfence, and hugel. Trying to build dams in the creek as the ranchers wiped out the beaver years ago and the erosion is pretty bad. I saw some big mushrooms in the woods the other day I will have to get a picture of them for you. Still finding new plants everytime I walk the property. Lots of rasberry plants.
We live there a week out of every month, as long as the snow doesn't keep me out that is, on my days off from work. Hope to have a real cabin/hogan someday and spend more time there after I retire. For now it is a little at a time.
I wanted to stop by and say hi. Thanks for taking the Diatomaceous Earth off of my hands last week =D. Your place looks great. I love that greenhouse with all of the stacked stone. Looking forward to seeing your progress over the years.
Hey Chris, good to here from you. Please keep in touch and let us know how your internship goes. Maybe a thread on your adventure so we all could learn too ?I shared the peas and diatomaceous with Devon when I stopped by his place last week. So I have met two fellow permies this month !
well being the reciever in the end, thank both of you:)
i'll be using the peas next year as i focus on getting some poultry going and the DE will come in handy in food storage and anywhere else i can find a place for it:)
Newbie hear, I'm in Cody. Just how much luck have you had growing a garden hear in WY? I don't currently have a place to garden, but my last attempts have been somewhat lacking and have required almost daily irrigation to produce much of anything.
Howdy Paul, Love that museum you all have up there ! I spent 27 years in Rock Springs and Green River. Pretty harsh there. I grew all sorts of things and the key was lots of organics. That was before I knew about permies though. I found out I have so much more to do and learn ! You should be able to find manures, wood, and leaves somewhere close to you . Get as much as you can, I used to pile up about a foot all over the garden and then rototill it in. You could also contact the master gardener near you ,here, http://www.parkcounty.us/extension/MGprogram.html , Sometimes they are not as organic as they should be but they would know how to help you get started in Cody and might even know if there is a community garden you could join in on.
cody is a nice place, from memory i think its a little bit cooler than lovell area is but its still in the basin microclimate, so though its still wyoming, i think it may be easier around cody than it is in a lot of other places in wyoming
i think a lot of the key around a lot of wyoming is just getting a place going without so much wind... lol
you may check the forest up around buffalo bill reservoir for inspiration on how to get things going, pretty place around there:)
Hi, all. Thanks for sharing. I am in the northwest part of CO. Hot summer days, cool nights, cold winters, wind, snow, semi-arid, just under 6000 ft el. I still haven't learned how to do the picture stuff, but enjoyed seeing yours. I've been living in a small house on a small lot in a small town for about 6 years, and have a small food forest started there--in 2012 got my first harvest of Nanking cherries, some currants, and rhubarb., plus buckets of greens to feed my chickens and us.
Two years ago I was able to buy a 2-acre parcel two blocks away, where I am starting a market garden. Because the wind carries off any organic matter, mulch, etc I lay down, and the dry air sucks all the moisture out of raised beds, I have been digging out my beds (with help from my sons), 1 to 2 feet deep, and filling them with organic matter, using wood waste in the bottom half, topped with hay, straw, manure, leaves, etc--whatever I can find within a few miles of here. Someday I hope to reach a point where I don't have to import all these things, but the only thing growing on my place (besides what I have planted) is cheat grass, tumbleweed and tumble mustard, prickly pear, baby's breath, crested wheat grass, and rabbitbrush.
The sunken beds seem to be working--last year, even with the drought, I 'only' had to water my beds every other day, and got quite a good crop for brand new garden beds. (I use soaker hoses on a timer, or small sprinklers in the individual beds, also with timers, and only water in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower.)
Wyomiles, that is beautiful country up where you are, and a neat greenhouse. How is it holding out for you in the wind? What did you use for glazing? What kind of fast-growing trees and shrubs did you find to use for windbreaks? We started a windbreak of Goji berries and oaks last year (a gift from some friends) but are still looking for ideas and sources of things that might survive here long enough to make a difference.
Tipafo, I like your hoop house. It looks like a good spot for it, next to the house. How is the plastic holding up in the wind?
I tried making a hoop house over my tomatoes in the fall. It did give me a bit longer to finish ripening more of them. It even survived part of the winter, so I started to set up cold frames inside. But the latest snowstorm split the plastic down the middle, so now I have an exposed top with snow packed along the sides, keeping the wind from blowing the broken bits into the next county. I think we will try some of that fencing or something to give a little more support so the snow doesn't weigh it down so much.
I do like using newspaper and cardboard in the bottoms of my dug out beds, to maybe slow down the water from disappearing so quickly into the pure sand which makes up my land (I think this area used to be part of a lake bed, and filled up with wind-blown sand etc.)
I am really enjoying reading the various posts and getting acquainted with some of you at Permies, and learning some new ideas to try as I work on developing a more self-reliant life.
Hey Dj, I actually split my time between our suburban home south of Denver and the place up near Saratoga. I hope to spend a lot more time up in Wyoming after retirement. The greenhouse was built at a home we had in South Western Wyoming. I hated to leave it . (Went over to Rifle for a job for a few years.) The glazing was just that coragated clear fiberglass stuff that you can get at lowes or home depot. It held up real well for several years, when we lived there. It was built into the side of a hill so wasn't sticking out of the ground to much. I think I will try old patio doors on my next one. I grew a lot of chinese elms, aspen, caragana, and boxelder. Wanted to try white poplar and russian olive. That was back before I knew about all of this permaculture stuff so I did a lot of irrigation. If I could go back ,there would have been a lot more hugal beds!!
Are you near any towns that might have people getting rid of pallets or their old ceder fences. You could use them for wind breaks.
I have collected some pallets, and even tried to use them as compost bins, but the bins were too small and dried out so much from the arid air that the meadow hay and weeds and leaves etc never did break down in a year--I finally took the bins apart and made the OM into a 10x10 +/- pile, which finally did compost.
Anyway, the piece of desert I am trying to heal/regenerate is zoned commercial, so I have to walk a fine line between what I would do if unrestricted, and what the townfolk think looks acceptable. In other words, it can't look junky. So I am seeking for things I can do that 1-don't cost too much, and 2-will grow quickly without too much input, and 3- look nice in the meantime, and4-create a marketable product so I can honestly say it is a business.
Last year, my second growing season, I kept records of my harvests, and estimate I got over $1000 worth of veggies. I even made a few sales to interested neighbors. It will take time to actually get to a "profit" level that pays my expenses in property tax, water, seeds, and soil improvement, etc, but it is a start. I hope to eventually grow a food forest and/or savanna type garden, so as I get older I won't have to work so hard to maintain my system, and maybe even be able to teach/share some of these ideas with others, and be a resource in my area.
My town is overrun with those elms, and some Russian olives and Cottonwoods are on nearby properties, so we have lots of seeds blow in, with baby elms popping up in the garden beds like weeds.
so sounds like pallets allow too much aeration for your climate, i suspect i'd get something similar on the cheyenne project im working on, but i still (without legit experience on site, just observation of surrounding, similar objects) think it would work great to help slow the wind, also, if youre somewhere where you get snowfall, you can use these as "snow-fences" and collect lots of extra, concentrated areas of moisture for establishing some upper canopy plants to reduce evaporation
ive read that the biggest thing in a desert or hyper arid environment is to reduce evaporation, and being that the two principle causes of evaporation are 1) wind, being the biggest culprit and 2) over exposure of soil to sunlight i think that a snow fence does a good job of buffering against these two forces
Thanks Devon. I have considered ideas for snow fences, etc --but I haven't figured out a way to anchor them so the wind doesn't carry them off. My sons and I set up a 6 ft field fence around the property, but we are not sure if it would be strong enough to stay in place if we had snow fencing on it. And wooden pallets or board fence would also take some very strong posts and bracing.
The wind has flipped over chicken tractors, tipped over a small moveable former chicken coop we use as a place to store garden tools, ripped off the metal roof of that little shed, and ripped and broken a portable aluminum "shadehouse" structure, as well as carrying away tarps, cardboard and other assorted materials we had not weighted down well enough. So we are still working to find solutions to this challenge. or to learn how to work with the wind. But the wind usually comes in very strong gusts, not a steady breeze which could be used for a windmill or similar use. We might go days with not much wind, so we get a bit complacent, and then a sudden gust swoops across the desert and wreaks havoc.
i understand how wind can be quite destructive, it gets really rough around cheyenne sometimes, but i think that setting the pallets up like htey are in this video will do quite a lot to help prevent the fence from blowing away, possibly even stop it from blowing away entirely, though if it ever did blow a portion out, then i think it would would at least reduce how many post youd need because it would do a lot to support itself, if you really wanted to get fancy with it you could dig a small trench out on either side and make a 2ft or so mound to build the fence on bnecause it would cause a bit more drifting, a bit mroe wind protection right on the ground and the ditchs would give a good place for large quantities of snow and water and make the overall height around 5ft
higher is generally better when capturing snow and slowing wind but i really think just a single height of pallets would do the trick for the most part
Anyway, Devon, thanks for your reply. Your idea about a mound etc is interesting, but not likely here. When we bought the property, we had to get a quick fence up to keep the fourwheelers out (especially the ones from the county spreading poison grain on anything that looked like a possible prairie dog hole), so we put up a 6 ft field fence barely inside the property line. I have a feeling the town would not be happy if we started messing with "their" side of the line, which they keep mowed to a dustbowl (as a "wild-fire prevention" measure). So it will be a couple of years before I could claim to be all organic now, though I really want to be beyond "organic," as it seems the big agribiz has jumped on that word now.
It might be worth trying something on the fence, but would probably require more posts to support it. We planted a row of goji berries along the west side last year. I hope they will grow up to provide somewhat of a windbreak, especially as we acquire additional trees and shrubs to add to it. We might also plant a line of sunchokes--the ones in my yard made a nice privacy hedge last summer.
Very interesting fence. If I were out in the country, with lots of space, I might try it. However, I don't think the neighbors or the town council would be very happy with me if I did something like that.
Definitely food for thought, though. Hmmm...Set it up inside my field fence? paint it green so it blends in with the goji hedge? Of course, it would be a bit difficult to weed and pick the goji's, but maybe with enough mulch, there wouldn't be so many tumbleweeds and other prickles sprouting in the hedge, and the pallets might help keep the mulch from blowing away.... Hmmmm....
Hey, what's your name...what was the question again? Yah, my old thinker has a hard time remembering things too, that I'm almost sure I knew a few minutes ago.
Thanks for sharing these neat ideas. I'm kind of on burnout this winter from all the info I've been reading, videos, etc; there's way too much to absorb in a short time, and I will probably forget all of it by the time I can actually get out and start working on things.
I have been thinking about doing a pallet fence and then filling the space between the boards with soil. That would help keep it from blowing away and I might even get some things to grow in them. Sort of a verticle hugal.
ive thought of that too, especially where you have very limited space, such as a mobile home lot, use the pallets as fencing for some form of small space livestock and grow things in it, youse rainwater catchment from the roof to feed a dripper system that you can turn on and off which is setup on top of the pallets to drip down through the center of them...
i think the idea has some potential but i dont think it would be a no maintenance setup unless you were in a really awesome climate
but as a windbreak you would get a lot of turbulence downwind of the pallets and more pressure on the boards so potentially more likely for them to blow over...
perhaps filling them with gravel would work good for condensation purposes and a quick built rock wall for temperature buffering...
Hello windy friends. Calling from outside of Lander, Wyoming. We am looking forward to sharing ideas and actions with all of you. We are just getting started on 40 acres of loamy soil. First step: Excavate for an Earthship we are going to try to build out-of-pocket. Next, excavate swales and plant cover crops and perhaps a few locust trees, if the seeds we have in pots will sprout. All the while trying to build a sustainable community. Hope all is well on your fronts. We will keep you posted on successes and failures!
Our water situation consists of a perennial drainage with only four acres of water rights, which we have been approved by the State Engineer's Office for digging what they call "laterals" off of the ditch. We will likely dig "laterals" in the form of small swales. We have been trying to perfect our A-frame level with the addition of the spirit level, but seem to be inept in geometry. This has been more difficult than anticipated. People who have done it sure make it look easy in their videos. We have to go back to school. We have had ridiculous experiences with the A-frame with the plum bob on account of wind. We will need this tool to be a long term tool, and not shut us down every time the wind blows.
What else about water? We have a nice shed/lean-to with a metal roof that we plan to catch precip off of. Looking ahead, and absolutely our priority, is to build an Earthship. As soon as the snow and mud clear, we will be excavating, and beginning our build. We have the necessary plans to get this done, but it will take a while, as we are paying out of pocket. This will catch water from the roof, melt snow with a solarhot water system, and use the water caught 4 times.
We will try to start a thread in projects, and keep everyone posted. We have enjoyed learning from all of your projects, and hope that we can contribute to them. There will be many challenges along the way, and we are excited to continue to learn from them. This is, after all, greening a desert (low-precip, sagebrush).
3 of us from wyoming now eh?
WERE TAKING OVER!
lol welcome aboard erin, looking forward to seeing your projects unfold, hopefully i also get the oppurtunity to dig in the dirt a little bit this summer, certainly is a lot of fun:)