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Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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I posted a topic up in the Cascadia forum but I did want to add something new here. I recently picked up 12 acres in Eastern WA, USDA Zone 5B & Heat zone 7. 

While out fishing at a lake nearby I saw someone putting up a for sale by owner sign. I got to talking with him and he was selling just over 5 acres. It's mostly flat sage brush covered land, picture is below. The entire piece of land is surrounded by BLM land, over 1K acres, he has one of the last few lots still privately owned. It has a road easement to the property but there is No water on it and its pretty useless land as he called it...



I told him about permaculture and explained how it could be used on his land, he sounded interested but didn't want to do it, said I had lots of energy for it. I said I would love to buy the land but I didn't have much these days... he said shoot me an offer, I offered half of what he was asking...and he said if it's all cash we can do it today... I couldn't believe it...

I went to the bank and withdrew the money and he went and got the deed and we met at a notary and got everything going...Now I got 2 pieces of land but this one needs some serious help...but I think it would be a good test area to try out some things.

Just wanted to share the good news and I will upload video & pictures of my adventures. Getting a list going right now of plants & tree's I should plant and get my plan of action going.

Aerial Photo;

 
Steven Baxter
Posts: 258
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Sounds exciting!! What will be some of your projects you have in mind to begin?
 
Bucks Brandon
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
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wow... very cool story!!! Congrats!

Being in the middle of BLM land before you do anything else I would be sure to post the borders with clear "private property/no tresspassing" signs.

How close is the land to your current home? If you are any distance, I would probably look into some sort of "wild defenses" to keep people out, a good bramble border around the edges with good thorns might be in order.

For the land it's self... a dozer to make some swales and or ponds might be another good first step! While it's there a small [perhaps semi-concealed to deter squatters or vandals] earth berm construction cabin could be nice for you to spend overnights there.

It looks like a really great open canvas you picked up, congrats again!
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
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My thought exactly with the idea of it being a blank canvas. Congratulations .  You will have to let us know what ideas and dreams come to mind as you explore it. 
I find my own land sort  of leads me and lends itself to various ideas as time moves on and my mind opens to new ideas.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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bring a tent or somewhere to sleep out there, and just observe for a long time before you do anything.
 
                    
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i like the idea of starting a hedge row border.
 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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Going out there this weekend for some camping, the land does slope from the south to the north I will be putting in some swales and starting some prickly pear cactus too.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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oooh a cactus living fence, take that veggie hungry animals.
 
Willy Kerlang
Posts: 106
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I'm with Hubert--I recommend that you spend as long a time as possible just hanging out before you do anything permanent.  Maybe even wait a whole year, so you can see how it changes with the seasons.  Many is the time I've fantasized about this very scenario happening to me.  You're lucky!  And I'm very happy someone interested in permaculture got this opportunity. 
 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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I do plan on spending a year observing the area, I want to get the corners marked with flags, got my medal detector ready to go...the corners are marked with rebar about 6" down.

I'm also going to take pictures of the local plants, take descriptions and try to figure out what all i have there already. Also going to put up some no trespassing, shooting range area signs...just for some fun

Other than that maybe a fire pit, even with no wood around I'll probably bring some in and eventually will plant some trees; looking at doing Jujube, black locust & some different pine trees...

 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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Just got some Groasis Waterboxx's I did a video on Youtube, here is the link; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBottfp2wJo

I got these for testing, I want to compare how they do growing the same trees in the Groasis Vs. Swales and Permaculture practices. I will be doing more video when I start planting, I have a variety of seeds in the refrigerator right now Stratifying...

If your not familiar with these;
"The Groasis waterboxx is an 'intelligent water incubator' that produces and captures water from the air through condensation and rain. The condensation is caused by artificial stimulation and the water is captured because of the design of the device, without using energy.

The Groasis waterboxx makes it possible to plant trees or bushes on rocks, on mountains, in gardens, in ashes of recently burned woods, eroded areas or deserts or any other place, without the help of irrigation with a 100% planting result. In moderate climates the Groasis waterboxx causes 15 to 30% faster growth and thus more biomass. The Groasis waterboxx offers the possibility to make more money with trees or bushes through food, fruit, nuts, wood, extracts, medicines, oils and many other economically interesting products."


Can also read more here; http://www.groasis.com/page/uk/index.php
 
Perry Way
Posts: 65
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Hello, very interested in your project. Have you put the Groasis Waterbox to use yet? I would like to know how good they are.  I would just buy a box right now, but I am thinking about gophers.  Nobody's mentioned gophers yet. My site is riddled with gophers. They will do anything to get that water including coming up from below and eating all the roots.  Would like to get a clear idea of what to expect in my situation before spending $285.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
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My own land is so sandy that MOST plants up and DIE on me if I plant them!

One shining exception is some American plum trees that were sold by my state forestry service for stream stabilization purposes. This is a native plum with very small fruit, but the Indians ate them and I expect to also.

I planted some by the creek and some on the dry, sandy hillside and EVERY tree has taken! This year we got about a month of above 100 degree weather, as well as several days that were 109, and I was SURE that the trees were dead but they were not. The trees look just fine!

If your state forestry department recommends any conservation grade trees, TRY THEM!

I got 25 trees, and with shipping and handling and some crystals to help them get established and plastic flags to mark them, it cost me only $50.
 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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Yes I have used the Groasis box's, I planted a variety of trees and even tried some seeds, so I will see what happens. I did make some video but figured I would wait until I went back for the update and then edit them together to get a sense of whats working.

There seems to be allot of holes around this area too, not sure if they are rabbits, gophers or what. It's the hottest time of year up there right now averaging high 90's during the day. So I'm excited to see what the water level will be like in them when I return in Sept/Oct.

The one thing I'm worried about and I can't find any info on is freezing temps, during the winter this area gets allot of snow and drops in the single digits for weeks on end, I'm worried that the box's will split...

Also plan on building a dew pond and see if that will work out there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dew_pond
 
Perry Way
Posts: 65
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mxitman wrote:
Yes I have used the Groasis box's, I planted a variety of trees and even tried some seeds, so I will see what happens. I did make some video but figured I would wait until I went back for the update and then edit them together to get a sense of whats working.


I sure wish you had already been there to inspect!  I'm inches from buying but I'm very worried about gophers.  The lack of mentioning them completely leaves me with so many questions. We're not supposed to disturb the capillary column but that's what you'd have to do to install a gopher cage.

mxitman wrote:The one thing I'm worried about and I can't find any info on is freezing temps, during the winter this area gets allot of snow and drops in the single digits for weeks on end, I'm worried that the box's will split...


Don't worry. I read on the site in the FAQ it has been designed to freeze and thaw. No problems.

mxitman wrote:Also plan on building a dew pond and see if that will work out there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dew_pond


Cool!  I have two of these on my site made by nature! They fill up with the first rainfall and evaporate in Spring when the humidity diminishes and the heat begins.  Too bad mine are alkaline/brackish
 
Perry Way
Posts: 65
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From the FAQ: (http://groasis.com/page/uk/faq.php)

Will the Groasis waterboxx be damaged while freezing at temperatures below 0 °C (+32 °F) and being full with ice?
No, it will not be damaged. The Groasis waterboxx is designed in such a way that the expanding ice is able to find room to expand. This is done by designing all the vertical sides in 8°. So when the water expands to ice between +4 °C to -1 °C (+39,2 °F to +30.2 °F) , the ice can just go a bit higher and find room for the expansion. It is also important to understand that it doesn't matter whether it is -1 °C (+30,2 °F) of -30 °C (-22 °F) . Once changed from water into ice – which happens between +4 °C and -1 °C (+39,2 °F to +30.2 °F) - the ice doesn't exapand any further.
Here you can see trials with Groasis waterboxx under freezing circumstances and here.

You have to see that page. There's a link on there that is javascript and it opens a window with images showing the ice tests.
 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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For some reason I never saw the reference for freezing conditions, glad to know they will be okay. I would go out there more often but the property is 3 hours away and a tank of gas, and I have become a stay at home dad for our 6 month old daughter so not much free time I'm finding out... But I love it and I will get out there when the funds and time allows.

 
Perry Way
Posts: 65
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In case anyone is lurking on this thread that has a gopher problem, I just got back a reply email from Pieter Hoff, the CEO of Groasis. From what he was saying it sounds like there's no increase of problems due to gophers using the Groasis Waterboxx versus any other method (irrigating).  He pointed me to this page that lists some findings:

http://www.groasis.com/page/uk/animals.php

note that 0.2% of plants grown lost to gophers!

I am ready to give this a try, on the basis of that kind of information.  But also I will do as Pieter suggested and try to eliminate as many gophers as possible first.
 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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Well I finally got out to the property to do a little hunting/camping trip. Didn't get anything but did have 6 Doe/Fawns come by...I only had a Buck tag...so it goes...

I finally got around to uploading some pics of the Groasis water box's that I used for planting a variety of tree's, seedlings and plain old seeds. Looks to be working as advertized, all had plenty of water in them...so far doesn't look like anyone has messed with them...that includes animals and critters on 2 legs. will update next spring as that will probably be the next time I get out there...will be interested to see how they survive the winter. I did get a pretty decent camp area setup, spent a few hours building a good firepit, and clearing for the tent. Also got to hike all around and take notes on the features and plant life. I also tossed over a 1,000 seed balls that I made, will see how they do next spring... It's not much to look at yet...time will tell...










 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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Hey I finally got out to the property to check on my Groasis Waterboxx, here is an update video. Has worked really well and I highly recommend their use.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/Apo1W5zr9Tc

Here are some notes;

  • I didn't have enough water to fill the boxes as recommended but now all but 1 is completely full. This is probably due to me buggering the wicking hole in the bottom, I had a heck of a time getting one of the wicking lines in one of the box's.
  • One of the box's lids got broken, most likely from an animal..probably deer..at first I thought maybe the cattle that ranch through here but it would have surely crushed and destroyed the box had it been a cow.
  • Several of the plantings looked to be missing, again probably from an animal eating them.
  • The rainfall over this period was 4.7", annual rainfall of 8-11". Low was -7F and High was 83F over the 6 Months since planting, subjecting the box's to severe weather and none cracked due to freezing.
  • Looks like one of the seeds have come up and the other 3 their is nothing. Will have to monitor to see what happens this summer.
  • I also planted a few left over seedlings without using the waterboxx's, I still used a 50/50 mix of compost and all the trees died over the winter. Fall is the recommended time to plant here.



  • Things I would recommend to others;

  • When planting be sure to bury the boxes, keeps them more stable and will create a natural swale when removed.
  • I mixed the native soil with 50/50 mix of Compost when I planted
  • Add some sort of fence around or over the top of the box to protect the box and the seedlings.
  • If using seeds be sure to read up on proper seed treatment prior to planting
  • Allow 15-50 minutes to assemble/install each box
  •  
    Cliff Martin
    Posts: 3
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    Thanks for the info about the Groasis waterboxx. Watched some videos on YouTube and they look interesting. Don't have any land yet to try them out, but if I ever do get some, I'm definitely going to keep them in mind.
     
    Rick Brodersen
    Posts: 53
    Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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    Well I was so impressed by the Groasis waterboxx's that I just ordered another 10, need to figure out now what to plant in them.
     
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