Win a copy of The School Garden Curriculum this week in the Kids forum!

Tom Harner

+ Follow
since Dec 11, 2012
Tom likes ...
chicken forest garden homestead hugelkultur pig trees
St. Louis, MO
Apples and Likes
Apples
Total received
6
In last 30 days
0
Total given
0
Likes
Total received
30
Received in last 30 days
0
Total given
67
Given in last 30 days
0
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Tom Harner

I am planning to use earthbag construction to build a series of 3 additions onto an existing stick frame house. These are very early/rough plans as of yet. The existing single-story house is in good shape structurally, 24x32ft with a crawlspace, plus a small back porch on the north side that I plan to remove before phase 3 begins. The preliminary plan is as follows:

Phase 1 - build a 24x24ft addition on the east side. This will follow the current ridgeline of the roof but the earthen floor will be ~8" below the current floor. Essentially this will just be a single large room.

Phase 2 - Build a 24x16ft addition on the west side... then in the exiting house, we will (very carefully) tear down the west wall and the western half of the center load-bearing wall to open up the floor plan.  This will also follow the current ridgeline of the roof. The new floor will need to be level with the old floor.

Phase 3 - Build a 72x16ft addition on the north side... This extension will sit lower in the landscape than the rest of the house by a fair margin so we are planning to the extend the slope of the roof down over this addition (more careful measurement is still required to verify how exactly this will work).

My wife isn't a fan of curvy walls and prefers the walls to be straight. I am concerned about the integrity of that 72ft, laser-straight wall. I assume that we'll need to include buttresses, but how many and how big are unclear to me as yet.  

In addition, I am a uncertain of the best method of attaching the earthbag additions to the existing stick frame. I assume that steel strapping would likely be employed... but I haven't yet found an definitive direction on this topic.      

I would love to hear about any personal experience with either of these two concerns... or if you have any recommendations for reference material that addresses these issues, I would appreciate it!      
2 months ago
Hello all,

I am posting this in the midwest USA regional forum so that it can be easily found by others in the area.

We are going to be raising Chickens and Pigs on pasture this year in an effort to fund the installation of my permaculture design on our farm. If you are interested in purchasing pasture raised Chicken or Pork, take a look at the details on our website:

http://ruggedroot.farm/chicken-csa
http://ruggedroot.farm/pastured-pork

1 year ago

Dillon Nichols wrote:I modified a hugel bed ~3 years after building it....

When I dug all the way back to ground level on one end, before enclosing it, the majority of the wood was gone, transformed into soil much better than what I had started with. What was left was porous, mostly in small chunks, which could be squeezed in one hand to wring out water. It seems to me that after a max of 5 years in my area there would be effectively no intact wood recognizable as such, making this a reasonable time to rebuild. However, the much improved soil in the old hugel didn't really seem to need more help...



I had a much similar experience, except i had no issue with irrigation. After 3 years only the largest chunks of wood remained, but the soil was almost perfect. I happened to get some video of the process... This was too small of a bed to make any conclusions, but I was certainly encouraged to build more beds.

2 years ago
Our small Hugelkultur bed was falling apart so we propagated comfrey in it before taking it apart... When we did, we were amazed to see how spongy the routing wood turned out... I literally was able to wring water out of a chunk of wood. See for yourself.

2 years ago
Btw, whoever updated the title.... I like it.
2 years ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:I did not till, the compaction goes deeper than I could till, and I would have had to buy/borrow a disc harrow.  



Have you looked into getting a subsoiler? There good for decompacting the soil, fairly cheap, and can be used to install water lines and other underground utilities.
2 years ago

I don't know why I didn't think of spreading a cover crop seed mix... I did that at my current home... I'll even have a tractor and disc cultivator that I can use. I really hadn't gotten into the shorter of the plant layers yet in my design, so it looks like that is my next research project...

Unfortunately, due to the afore mentioned time and money restraints, any livestock is not an option in the short term... However, rotational paddocks are a main element in my design and we'll likely work our way through the livestock options by size and restock rates up to cattle.

As for soil quality, the are indications that the soil is excellent... At least 25 years without tillage or bare soil, in fact most of the land had been neglected other than a single yearly hay cutting...  Lots of grass coverage... Very most soil... I plan to do some soil and water years in the spring get a sense of what I'm working with.

Some of my concerns is that there are honey locust trees in all the margins of the property... And some of the areas that I'm wanting to stop mowing were only taken back from the honey locusts 5 or so years ago as a fair amount of expense. Those bastards are evil with 6" thorns. I can't afford too many tractor tire replacements before I go broke...  That's the major tree weed. We also have the "cedar" that is common around here, maple, and a smattering of others along the borders.

I think my design, constraints, and resources are all lining up to point at stunting the grass and then seeding a mix of soil builders... Now I just need to figure out which species will work best for my site.

2 years ago
My wife and I are in the process of purchasing an old 19 Acre homestead from my in-laws. It's been in her family for 25 years or so as a vacation/holiday getaway... It was a little homestead for a family before they bought it. But Of course we want to turn it into a Permaculture paradise... (Shameless link to blog post: http://ourhomesteadingjourney.com/index.php/2016/12/25/buying-the-farm/ )



As you can see it's almost entirely pasture... What you might not be able to see is that there is approximately 3 acres of lawn... Currently cut weekly like it's a personal golf course only 75 miles away from home (we are not in possession yet). I have an overall design plan that is about 90% complete. One thing I'm struggling with is the first couple years. I have no intention of continuing to mow 3 acres weekly, but we won't be ready to implement the major features during the first few years. My concern is that by ceasing the regular mowing regiment, I'll introduce 'weedy' trees and make it more difficult on myself to implement my plan, especially if it takes longer than planned to get into the zone 2/3 border. There are some fencing/structures that need to be removed and some earthworks that need to be put into place in this area. The remaining 16 acres of the property are currently being used by a neighboring farmer for hay production. I plan to continue that arrangement as long as I can, shrinking the hay field year after year with swales and food forestry, until the farmer says it's not worth his time.

I'm looking for your thoughts on this. Right now all I'm seeing is black and white... Cut or don't cut. What alternatives am I missing? Keep in mind that money, time, and resources are especially limited in the first few years.
2 years ago

Bryan de Valdivia wrote:

Tom Harner wrote:Here is a list of Missouri counties that are allowed to have building codes based on state law:

FIPSCountyEnergy Building CodeResidential CodeCommercial Code
19Boone County-2009 IRC2009 IBC
31Cape Girardeau County2009 IECC-2009 IBC
37Cass County-2006 IRC2006 IBC
43Christian County2006 IECC2006 IRC2006 IBC
51Cole County-2000 IRC2000 IBC
95Jackson County2009 IECC2009 IRC2009 IBC
99Jefferson County2003 IECC2003 IRC2003 IBC
165Platte County2012 IECC2012 IRC2012 IBC
510St. Louis City2009 IECC2009 IRC2009 IBC
183St. Charles County-2009 IRC2009 IBC
189St. Louis County2009 IECC2009 IRC2009 IBC
77Greene County-2012 IRC2012 IBC
47Clay County2012 IECC2012 IRC2012 IBC


Source: https://data.mo.gov/Economic-Development/County-Building-Codes-for-Missouri/iq7s-izvt



Tom, what are the implications of your table? don't know how it fits.

We've got a spread in Missouri, would like to know what would be possible.

Thanks!



If your county is not on this list, there are no local/county/state level building codes or permits. (this is not legal advice... blah blah)

I understand that there is a waste management permit required... I haven't been able to figure that out yet for MO...
2 years ago
Here is a list of Missouri counties that are allowed to have building codes based on state law:
FIPSCountyEnergy Building CodeResidential CodeCommercial Code
19Boone County-2009 IRC2009 IBC
31Cape Girardeau County2009 IECC-2009 IBC
37Cass County-2006 IRC2006 IBC
43Christian County2006 IECC2006 IRC2006 IBC
51Cole County-2000 IRC2000 IBC
95Jackson County2009 IECC2009 IRC2009 IBC
99Jefferson County2003 IECC2003 IRC2003 IBC
165Platte County2012 IECC2012 IRC2012 IBC
510St. Louis City2009 IECC2009 IRC2009 IBC
183St. Charles County-2009 IRC2009 IBC
189St. Louis County2009 IECC2009 IRC2009 IBC
77Greene County-2012 IRC2012 IBC
47Clay County2012 IECC2012 IRC2012 IBC


Source: https://data.mo.gov/Economic-Development/County-Building-Codes-for-Missouri/iq7s-izvt
2 years ago