Matt Baker

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since Dec 19, 2011
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Recent posts by Matt Baker

I don't know. Keeping your car clean will keep the paint from cracking which keeps the metal from rusting which means you can potentially keep your vehicle for longer. Then again, most cars probably go to the junkyard before they rust.  I guess it depends on how long you plan to keep your vehicle. According to it takes over 40,000 gallons of water to build a new car. For me, my car is old, there is salt on the roads, and I can't afford a new car so I'm going to wash it.
6 years ago
It depends

- How much is your time worth?
- A tractor could save you time(money) which could be spent doing other, potentially more productive, things.
- How much will this tractor cost you per hour (depreciation, fuel, repairs etc.)?
- How many hours will you use it?
- Would it be cheaper to hire out the work to someone else?
- Will a tractor make you happy (e.g. less stressed, tired)?
- Do you like tractors?
7 years ago
Found this documentary about a guy in Norway who built a traditional Norwegian earth sheltered home. Depicts some photos of construction and his daily life. It's in Norwegian.

7 years ago
Do the goats have dusty areas to wallow in? Dust deters some insects.
8 years ago
Sorry, "overland flow" (hydrology term) happens when the precipitation rate exceeds the infiltration rate, i.e. water is not going into the ground fast enough so it runs over the soil surface taking all the good stuff with it.

If the problem is water erosion the solution is to hold onto that water as long as possible. The best place for water is in the ground - and the best time to stop the water is when it hits the ground. Swales/ponds slow erosion after its happened; It sounds like you already have a swale system in place or planned. I'm wondering how you can reduce the initial erosion from happening by increasing water infiltration.

The two strategies to best accomplish this are to break the soil surface and cover the soil with mulch. Breaking up the soil surface can be done with animals, or machines with a harrow, disc or key-line plow. Mulching can be done with animals if there's already standing vegetation to mash down to the ground, by importing organic stuff like round bales of hay or wood chips, or by planting ground covers.

You mentioned berms too which could be hugelkultur if you have extra woody stuff to get rid of. An added bonus is these is they slow down the wind and stop it from drying out your plants.

Just food for thought. Sorry if it seems pedantic - not sure of your existing knowledge set/experience.

Sounds like a fun project!

8 years ago
Are animals an option? Could you use animals to employ a holistic management style grazing regime? Improve water infiltration; increase soil litter, and increase soil organic matter. If you have overland flow the soil is well below its water infiltration and retention potential.
8 years ago
Remember that as your soil organic matter increases the soil will hold much more water meaning less water will make it to the tile drain system. In time the less and less water will be lost to the drain. Seems like a key line system will prevent some of the water otherwise lost to the tile drain by intercepting and spreading it more over the field.
8 years ago
The pig idea is good if you have them. I think it was in one of Greg Judy's talks he said that his pigs roll in the cow pats drying them out thus reducing fly eggs.
9 years ago
If you've got animals you could do this:

Adding music would make it more fun!
9 years ago
Some crops might be more suited to planting in blocks.

Crops like baby spinach could be a problem to harvest efficiently in a polyculture. You could however plant and sell baby green mixes, e.g. spinach, kale, chard, mustard etc.. This way you could harvest them with a larger harvesting tool instead of a paring knife and reap some polyculture benefits. This may be a hard sell though if you run a CSA. Baby spinach is a popular crop. A few beds devoted to blocks of one crop may be necessary to meet demand for some crops.

Sepp Holzer plants crops like potatoes and rye in blocks on his terraces. But he has a lot of diversity adjacent to these plantings and probably sows diverse ground cover catch crops among them. I guess it's a compromise between efficiency and diversity. He must do some crop rotation in these annual crop monoculturish blocks. I'd really like see how he does it.

9 years ago