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Ryan Absher

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since May 09, 2012
Northeast Alabama, Zone 7a
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Recent posts by Ryan Absher

That's a great idea, I hadn't thought about that. I will definitely look into that.

I remember my mother used to use crabapples to make pectin for other projects.

I was working out of town for most of the summer, and never got enough ground cover put in. Consequently the FF got kind of overgrown. Now that everything has gone dormant I'm going to go in and do some major chop-and-drop. I will post pictures and an update here, hopefully by Sunday.
7 years ago
Hey Drew, thanks for the comments.

For the design I used a program called inkscape ( It works under Linux, Mac, or Windows.
And of course, it is open source and completely free.

To get everything to scale and oriented correctly I started from a fixed reference point, a corner fence post in my case. From there I took distance and
compass heading readings to various points on the perimeter. Inkscape allows you to see the angle that you are drawing a line on, so once I picked my
scale it was pretty easy to generate the basemap.

Of course, it you have aerial photos of a reasonable resolution (bing or google maps), then you can just import a photo into inkscape and just draw over it.
7 years ago
On today's episode of The Survival Podcast (, Jack mentioned something that a recent guest of
his had.

He called it a "Comfrey Tractor", and it was basically a potted comfrey plant with holes drilled in the bottom of the pot. He would place it somewhere for
a few weeks and water it. The roots would grow through the holes and into the ground. He would then twist the pot, breaking off the roots in the ground.
Of course new plants would spring up from the roots left in the ground. Then it's on to the next spot.

I thought this was pretty interesting.
7 years ago
Not that I am aware of. We are growing them for mulch/organic material and because they are delicious with garlic butter.
7 years ago
It's a shame you lost everything else, but I find it very interesting that the hugelkultur bed survived. Thank you for sharing!
7 years ago
Well, we have more progress to report.

This is what we have planted now:

2 Figs, 2 Cherries, 3 Apples, 2 Pears, 2 Peaches, 1 Pecan, 3 Grapes, 4 Blueberries and 3 Hardy Kiwis.
We also have comfrey, artichokes, sunflowers, various beans, and peas planted. There are around 15 wild huckleberry plants that
we left intact. We are working on finding a source of Goumi and Mimosa for more support species.

We just finished one of the swales earlier today, just in time for a short rainstorm. It rained heavily for around 10 - 15 minutes.
In that time the swale filled almost completely. The water was completely soaked in within 20 minutes of the rain stopping. Most
of the water came from run-off on the gravel driveway. By my calculations we were able to soak around 250+ gallons of water into
the food forest. Most of that water, if not collected, would have continued down the driveway causing mopre erosion.

This was my first time seeing a swale work, and I was amazed at how quickly that amount of water was stored into the landscape.
(the water has mostly soaked in by the time of the photos)

7 years ago
At this time we have no plans for that. We have 4 existing blueberries growing around 50 feet away. Those produce very well each year with no amendments.
7 years ago
Ok, time for an update!

We have the land mostly prepared. We still need to dig the swales, but we have them staked out already.

So far we have planted:
  • 2 Figs
  • 2 Cherries
  • 2 Apples
  • 2 Pears
  • 2 Peaches
  • 1 Pecan

  • I also ordered various ground-cover seeds today, those will of course be planted later.
    8 years ago

    Geoff joins us on TSP today to discuss site selection in both the suburbs and rural areas. We also discuss the threat of GMOs and two “almost disasters” related to GMOs most people have never heard of. A huge problem and even bigger opportunity with the Mississippi river. The challenges of desert permaculture and why we should focus on “marginal desert areas” first as we begin to repair man caused desertification.
    8 years ago
    A bit off topic, but since he is sold out I suppose it's ok. Does anyone know how long comfrey root cuttings stay viable without planting?