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Permaculture hacks that work

Posts: 2167
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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On the idea of hugelkultur beds... here are the results of one of mine that is in it's 3rd year of growth. This hugelkultur bed was built to be a privacy hedgerow, wind block, and native plant habitat area. Ultimately it will also be used to keep deer out though the double fence helps with that right now. I also grow strawberries and vegetables (perennial and annuals along with some native vegetables) along it and I'm planning on adding some evergreen huckleberries to the backside of it (they like shade) and a few other edible plants.

So yes hugelkultur beds can work and can really be abundant and filled with life. The birds and other wildlife love this hedgerow and it's already a great privacy hedgerow and the trees planted along the inside of it are just starting to get above the shrubs that face the neighbors (and the deer!).

Edit: I wanted to add that one of the big changes I made with this hugelkultur bed is I stopped using small material. I only used large logs and rounds and then smaller but still 2-4 inch across branches or logs. I was then very careful to add soil in to all the spaces between the large pieces of wood. The result has been a hugelklutur bed that hasn't settled much at all and also doesn't have any major rodent issues. I feel like the small material just makes it harder to get the spaces filled with soil and don't really add much benefit.
3 years of growth on a hugelkultur hedgerow. All 3 pictures taken in May. Latest in 2020.
3 years of growth on a hugelkultur hedgerow. All 3 pictures taken in May. Latest in 2020.
Posts: 155
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Zone 5a
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Loved this! Thank you for the laughs this morning!

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Un-planting.

Two versions of this:

Method 1

The problem: let's say you want a black walnut in your landscape, but you don't have any seed, nor the time and patience to plant it, guard it from the enemy (i.e. squirrels), etc.  Plus you just moved in in February, and you don't have a time machine.

Solution: un-plant a walnut somewhere in the yard by means of the squirrels, who planted it last fall or even maybe the fall before.  
Advantages include:
--started from seed, not from transplant--keeping hte taproot, healthier tree overall; will probably grow faster and outperform the tree nursery competition in a few years.  I saw a youthbe video fo an apple tree planted from seed fruiting after only 3 years,  I think, a guy in New Jersey who uses a ton of wood chip mulch, I can't remember the name.  But I bleieve the hype.
--it's not going ot be eaten by hte squirrels, because they approved it.
--it's planted in the right spot (according to the squirrels) so it will probably thrive, relative to if it was planted by a person who thinks they're so smaht and plants it somewhere only to find out there's that one thing they didn't think of
--plausible deniability, if the landlord comes and asks why you planted something in the yard
--maybe the squirrels know something we don't--they've coexisted with walnut trees for millions of yeas, and haven't destroyed them all, so somehow maybe they instinctively invest a few in the future.

Method 2:

You can't really get away with having a mulberry tree on your land, but because you are secretly expecting quail (asking for a friend)...you kinda think you're going to need a heck of a lot of mulberries soon.  And you notice that all of the mulberries currently on the land have been hacked down each year.  Plus you happen to see your landlord in the act one day.  So you're pretty sure he isn't going to let you keep it even if it followed you home.

Find a mulberry tree literally 5 blocks away, and unplant it say 10 years ago.  Scoop up as many as you can from the pavement and bring them home for your--er--friend's--quail.  Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Now, some of you willl be saying to me, Joshua, that's just roaging, that's nothing new.  But I want ot point out that I didn't think of it until I happened on that mulberry tree--my thinking was too fragmented or compartmentalized, and our human tendency to overspecialize can blind us to the fact that some tasks are best reassigned over to Foraging.  So, I'm just making the connection.

Hm...what else do I want to unplant?  Well a blight-resistant American chestnut of course, I managed to unplant a few in someone's yard (Chinese crosses) in Western Ma this year, but that's not within walking distance...maybe a cow, some trout ponds, a theatre, hyperlocalization so we have no susceptibility to plagues, supportive community who give spoons frequently and appreciate my awesome sense of humor, a cacao tree that is naturalized to Massachusetts, unplanting some better thinking [instert politics here] a ways back in our country...
For the walnut in our yard, I think I can act as if I planted it there and he'll be cool with that, it is in a proper place for a tree by human standards.  When the pear tree comes down one day, it will be poised to take over its role in the yard, and meanwhile it gets to be under the pear's wing.  THe walnut doesnt' drop mulberries on people's cars, just giant green blobs of hail that don't attract rats...I think they only ink you if you get them angry or crush them, so there's plenty of time to put up some kind of a garage over that area, decades really.  By that time I may have convinced the landlord that it's in his interests.  I think he's amenable, it's just these things take time.

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Posts: 12367
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Our friend, Dr. Redhawk talks a lot about using coffee ground.  I know they work at building soil!

He also talks about using them to get rid of ants.

Today I am working on keeping ants out of my potato bed.  I feel that this solution is going to work for me, too.

Ants decided my potato bed would make a nice home.

I went back to the house and got my bucket of coffee grounds.  I sprinkle the ground where ever I saw an ant.  

Now, I can see they not like coffee ground.  They were running up the garden hose and abruptly turned and ran away.

I put a trail of coffee grounds all around the sides of the bed and all along the garden hose and sprinkler. And on the ground where it looked like they were climbing into the bed.
Posts: 1969
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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Warning, Permaculture sun flashlight app may cause blindness, fire, or locusts.  Probably not locusts, but legal disclaimers have to cover all the bases.  Avoid shining the light directly into your eyes or onto dry grass or tumbleweeds at the edge of a field of dry wood, grain stalks, or dynamite.  
Posts: 462
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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I’m sorry, what is “un-planting”? It sounds really cool, but the way it’s talked about doesn’t give me any clues as to what it actually is.
Yeast devil! Back to the oven that baked you! And take this tiny ad too:
Tiny House Magazine (Issue 121)
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