Walter Ouzel

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since Jan 25, 2013
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Southern California
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Recent posts by Walter Ouzel

I retrofitted my conventional looking orchard with trees on flat ground, after reading Art's book when installing a laundry-landscape system. I dug in paths (1.5 feet deep) around my trees and used the dirt to create a berm around the tree. This effectively raised the tree for better draining, and provide a basin to collect water. The trees were young (2 years old). I also did it on a ten year old tree orange. I also just worked at the edge of the drip line. Trees have done really well. We've been in a historic drought in California, and I've kept my small orchard about 8-9 mulched basins doing pretty good with mostly just laundry water and what little rainwater I could capture. Mulch saves a ton of water. I attached a diagram of my idealized urban orchard retrofit, based on Art's graywater info and Pauls paddock and hugel culture stuff. My little berms are 30" wide and I cultivate the tops with annuals within the orchard, mostly greens that can thrive in the shade and feed the chickens.
7 years ago
Hi Art,
I've been a fan for a while. I'm in California and I have a laundry to landscape system based on your design. I also catch all my dishwater in plastic bins and dump on plants. I use your biocompatible soap for the laundry and dishes. My boys and I pee outside where we apply the laundry and dish water (urine and your soap is the perfect NPK ratio). The last piece to my simple grey water infrastructure puzzle is an outdoor shower.

I'd like to direct the shower water to a drain and be able to run it through a hose and direct on different fruit trees that are slightly downslope. I'd rather to just be able to move my hose to the right tree the right time of year than to have a constant branched drain system. My plan is to create a raised up a pile of dirt about 1 foot high to get better drainage and compact it into a sloped shower pan, line that with plastic and connect a shower drain through the plastic to a hose (maybe 1 inch hdpe pipe). Put a wood box around it and fill with gravel on top of plastic and cover that with a wood slat floor.

I can connect a hose to my water heater about 15 feet away to have hot showers.

I understand to do a fully code outdoor shower in CA, you would have to be able to connect the drain to the sewer. With a simple design, I could knock it down in a couple hours if I ever sell my house.

Have you seen a system like that or have any advice on it? I see the hard part as getting the shower liner, drain, hose all plumb and flowing properly. Thanks!!! It would be awesome if there was a simple shower design approved like the laundry to landscape.



7 years ago
I drill about 8 "1/4 holes spaced out in the bottom as well as leave a little crack between the boards for drainage Also, I measured the dimensions. I use 15" on the short side and 28.5" on the long side for 6" wide boards. This means no wasted wood. For 8 foot board, keep the short side 15"(width of 3 boards across, less 2 boards thickness), but you could increase the length to 40.5" for a bigger box. I started with shredded newspaper as bedding, but don't like that too much, gets water logged and probably adds some toxic stuff. Then I did peat moss which is not very eco, but is super forgiving on draining excess water and as well as staying moist. Now I use coconut coir, which is probably not much more eco than peatmoss. I'm shifting to sifted compost that I make myself and will see if that will work. Good bedding (water holding and shedding excess) for me means I can neglect them and they are still happy.
8 years ago
I started in plastic but then moved to wood. In plastic keeping the moisture right can be hard, and mine got too wet and the lots of worms died, even with drain holes, not to mention the plastic ick. In my experience wood breathes better and is more forgiving. But I live in a climate where it doesn't freeze and keep them outdoors. Indoors plastic may make more sense. I am a big fan of worms. I've made about ten of these wood boxes and give them as gifts. I use 6'x6"x1" cedar fence boards, which are about $2 to $3. I use 5 boards a box with a redwood 6' 2x2. I make two cuts on each fence board (measure it so each board provides two long sides and one short side) and use the redwood 2x2 to secure the sides and put one piece to brace the bottom. It takes about 30 minutes to knock one out and comes to about $15-20 in wood. My oldest has lasted about 7 years and is still in good shape. You have to raise it up on bricks so it doesn't touch the soil. I imagine you could use dowels, but would take much more time. I use wood screws, and pre-drill all the holes because cedar will split.

8 years ago
I think the drawback might be more work, but I do it too. After I sift my compost, I put it in a wood frame in my run, so the chickens don't kick all over. My chickens love all the sow bugs, pincer bugs, worms in a finished compost pile and I agree that it cleans up the bugs from the pile. I also float my compost piles in wire rings around the drip line of my fruit trees. My theory is the compost pile is a nutrient bomb to my fruit trees. Each time I make a pile, I put it in a new spot. When I shift my paddocks to forage my chickens, I try to have fresh remains of the compost pile in the new paddock. Then the chickens get all the fresh greens and lots of bugs left in the remains of an old pile. Floating the compost piles is more work too, but benefits the trees and chickens.
10 years ago