Tom Connolly

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since Apr 20, 2013
Nevada
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Recent posts by Tom Connolly

I was wondering how effective it would be to dig a trench - 5 or 6 feet wide and maybe 3 feet deep, 40 feet long or whatever, and fill it with matter that will decompose...maybe either leave it alone for a year or have a tractor with a rototiller chop it up periodically.  After a year can I expect the trench to be full of useful compost?  I would be filling it with stuff like rotting hay, spoiled food, rotten and burnt wood.
3 days ago
My preference....if it it were possible is to have a rocket mass stove and an air exchanger that sends warm air under the floor.  I have been in people's homes that had electric or coolant heaters under the floor and found that the temperature can be 2 or 3 degrees cooler than in a heat from the side or above situation in the winter and still be comfortable.  I would like to have a partial basement in the house - yes, a basement in an underground house - to store things in an even cooler temperature and to have things handy when needed, without having to go outside.  Maybe I can put the rmh there?
2 weeks ago
Is geothermal heating/cooling useful for an underground house?
2 weeks ago
All of the videos I have seen of earthbag structures being built show people filling one bag at a time and then placing it.  Would it be possible to fill many bags at one time and then place them?  Say, fill 50 bags first and then  place them, fill another 50, etc.?
3 weeks ago
Based on the tiny ad prompts, it seems that at least some of you are Monty Python fans...how many might that "some" be?  I have loved MP since I was 16.
3 weeks ago
I have been reading up on greenhouses and have discovered that most people plant veggies and fruits in a green house using mono-cropping thinking.  Do any of you who use greenhouses (4 season) do things like companion planting?  square foot gardening? etc?
3 weeks ago
I found this re: the decomposition rate of straw:

During de-composition the relative proportion of nitrogen in straw increases because of carbon loss. After the nitrogen reaches about 1.75%, some of the nitrogen in the decomposing straw may become available to plants growing in the soil where the straw is decomposing. This process may take  a long time and nitrogen may not become available to plants from straw for 2 years or longer.

https://eprints.nwisrl.ars.usda.gov/1147/1/93.pdf

The source is a little bit old but I think still valid.  I couldn't find anything about straw, but I have always thought that, because of the cellulose content of straw, hay would decompose much faster...but please correct me if I am wrong.

Also see here: https://thegrownetwork.com/straw-vs-hay-which-makes-a-better-mulch/
4 weeks ago

Chris Kott wrote:I missed that one entirely.

Why would one use hay at all? Wouldn't the use of hay as opposed to straw be really wasteful at best, and risk being nibbled at worst?

I say harvest the hay, weave the straw into mats.

If I were designing the process from scratch, it would take the straw, stitch a bottom layer, be sprayed with some sort of binding agent, maybe an oxygenated compost extract, and then dusted with the seed mix.

It would then get a straw mat top layer and exit the machine, to be pegged to the ground. Maybe finished compost would follow the seed mix before the top layer of straw matting, or maybe it would work to spread finished compost out overtop of the mats.

Either way, that might be a great way to kickstart soil life.

-CK

EDIT: legumes would only be able to make up a fraction of the feed, if thr pasture was intended to feed ruminants, I think like a maximum of 20%, but my figures might be high. Too high a percentage of legumes will cause bloat.



Purpose is not yet to feed any animals but to feed the ground, add nitrogen, minerals, etc. but especially to create and retain topsoil..create an environment where worms can begin to live, healthy bacteria can grow...choose plants with root structures that are increasingly longer and longer to help penetrate more and more of the earth.  I was thinking that hay, because it would decompose rather quickly, could become part of the compost for the plants...and since it decomposes easily, the next crop-mat can be put on top of it.  It may be possible to soak the hay in something to make it less tasty for animals or insects? Straw would be more durable but likely to exist a couple of years before decomposing.  I am counting on hay to decompose early to allow further plantings of other beneficial crops to perform other functions. It may be possible to do two crops in a year, which would facilitate the achievement of my objectives.  I have always cringed when people talk about laying plastic down on the ground.....
4 weeks ago

s. ayalp wrote:I don't think using hay will be any different than straw on strength-wise. Hay has seeds though. Besides, hay will be green when cut. Green material can jam the machine (maybe?) Differences between hay and straw (str and building-wise) is very well explained in this post: Using hay for cob?
Yeah, Just click on "link" in the first post of mine. Here again: (Specifications of that particular model )


Good points...I think hay can be dried pretty easily, especially in a desert climate if spread out.  Perhaps, since the purpose of this mat is to allow land to become more fruitful, maybe the seeds in the hay can serve a good purpose by sprouting and rooting.  It would be ideal if a legume produced a plant that could be used as hay since the legume has the ability to add value to the soil.
4 weeks ago
Wow! 200 meters per hour!  I have also seen multi needle quilting machines for $1,100....between the 2 of them the possibilities run wild!  But they talk about using straw...not hay.  i wonder if hay is durable enough to be used?  In a desert environment, hay would disintegrate within a year.   Did you get your specs from Alibaba?  I am sure that the system could be more automated but probably for a lot more $$.  For a landscaper or government land manager with thousands of acres that might be worthwhile.  Me?  I am trying to figure out how to automate the earth bag building process a little.
4 weeks ago