Nate Kavan

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since Jun 21, 2013
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Recent posts by Nate Kavan

Hello all,

Is this a baldfaced hornet and if so should it be removed if it is near an area where you would want to hang out. It's in a tree in Olalla Washington where there is a swing. Any advise would be appreciated.

5 years ago
Hello Juliet,

The road is in a neighborhood, and so there are cars that drive by, however I am not concerned by the pollution. Ideally I would grow food away from the pollution although urban production will inevitably run into this potential concern. We do have back yard chickens and are planting food back there too, so it's just part of the balance I guess. Perhaps I would be more concerned if we lived by a constant flow of traffic. I try to limit my concern for the bad and focus on doing epic ... stuff, you know what I mean. Cheers.
5 years ago
Thank you Susan and David. I am glad I could inspire you. My idea is to keep the trees within reach.

David, I've heard birds and bees are involved...
5 years ago
Hello fellow permies,

I figured that I would post a couple photos of our most recent project in the spirit of the project of the week dealio. We were given one hundred dollars for a tree to be planted after my grandmother passed away and so we did our best to put it to good use. We chose to purchase bare root working to stretch the lovely and wonderful gift idea a bit further. In about two hours we ended up spending thirty nine of our own dollars and putting five fruit trees, four seaberries, three silverberries, several currants, elderberries and gooseberries into our tiny sloped front yard. The newest member to our family helped, mostly by sampling the soil's flavor profile.

I tried out the nurse plant technique presented to me by Mr. Hemenway's Gaia's Garden, who I believe referenced the Bullock bros whom stuck a nitrogen fixing shrub into the same planting hole as their fruit trees with great success. I stuck one silverberry (elaeagnus commutata) into the same large planting hole for our jujubes, pear, apple and fig. I also put a current into one planting hole.

The idea behind the design is to block the view to the street and add some tasty growies and medicinals to the mix. Also since the seaberries are nearest to the sidewalk they act as the first line of 'maybe I don't want to take this guy's fruit' as they are rather thorny. The soil surrounding the new plantings was created by combining collected coffee grounds from local shops with chicken manure from our ladies, plus the rice hulls from their bedding and then that was turned and random yard matter added until it was writhing with red wrigglers and left to chill for a while covered. The plantings were done in a semi net and pan design and I covered the bare soil with clover and fava then topped them with oat straw. They have been in the ground 11 days ago and some things are beginning to bud out. Ideally I will propagate some herbaceous growies into the mix and work on adding layers to the system.

Here's to inspiring others to share and post and to apples!!!

5 years ago
I am pretty impressed with how gung ho my Dad went on this project. I want this project to succeed so when the groups of volunteers come by he can continue to infect brains! I think I need to send him some more seeds as per Paul's recommendations for the successional seeding agenda.

How's it look permies?

6 years ago
Great stuff here Miles for sure! I love how the team here at cultivate only positive posts and delete any negative nonsense. After chatting a bit more with my Dad he has added quite a bit of material once the snow melted and the ground allowed some more skid steer action. In order to get more steep-a-tude he packed dirt into the already formidable mound and added another layer of wood with soil. He then inoculated the fresher cut wood with the mushroom spawn and added soil, then composted manure then lots of hay/manure and pinned that down with branches on three levels of the hugel. He then seeded it with radish, peas and crimson clover. And more photos, since they are what folks are really interested in right?
6 years ago
Wow. Thank you for the awesome info and the apples. To have Paul respond makes my inner permie elated, thanks Paul! I don't know why I hadn't thought of soil on wood in terms of layering that way rather piled up and then soil on that, but now it makes sense. I feel semi-official now and am stoked for the World Domination Gardening video to begin streaming so I can add more knowledge to my permaculture tool chest. I will share all of this great info with my Dad today over the phone.

Mike- He has been soaking the wood thoroughly and plans on watering a bit if need be. He is spreading the word around town with his new found excitement and hugelkultur elevator speech...pretty awesome. Great info on the species selection thanks.

Daniel- I think you're right about the fungi, the old logs already have been colonized and I will suggest that the spawn is only applied to the freshly cut wood. Thanks!

I will definitely pass off to my pops to focus on nitrogen fixers and tap rooted varieties first, and plant what Paul suggested moving on towards the next year with some ribes and berries later on that can take hold on the top of the mound and droop down once their berries are heavy on the vine for easier picking.

Hopefully the lack of soil on the wood won't turn out too bad as my Dad said that his mantra when gathering the wood was "punky". He also used the decaying cottonwood bark as sort of a 'chinking' between the logs to fill up the gaps and eliminate air pockets as best as possible. We talked about Paul's response and he is considering packing soil into the mound and working on the steep-a-tude factor. If he went up from where he is now he would have a huge bed which would be pretty impressive. More info and pics later...
6 years ago
Another question from him is about the crimson clover. How much of that seed should he use?
6 years ago

My Dad has been building up the pile and made good progress. Here's the progress so far. I sent him 5 pounds of blue oyster mushroom spawn and the following seeds from Peaceful Valley Seeds groworganic dot com. I am looking forward to any input anyone might have, so please feel free to chime in.

1 Crimson Clover - Nitrocoated Seed (Lb)
1 Organic Squash, Winter Table Queen Acorn
1 Organic Chard, Five Color Silverbeet
1 Penstemon, Rocky Mountain (pack)
1 Daisy, Shasta (pack)
1 Yarrow, White (pack)
1 Organic Radish, German Giant
1 Organic Pepper, Anaheim

He has some other organic veggie seeds my sister sent him too, organic carrots, lettuce blend, Oregon sugar pod II peas and Brandywine tomatoes. He is soaking the hugel now throughly and we discussed adding the oyster spawn around the base and fresher cut cottonwood bits not the punky ones. He has loads of broken down horse manure and soil available as well as soiled straw from the horse rescue. He asked me how thick each layer should be and I said six inches or there about. Also which order should the layers go. I said composted manure, then soil, then straw 'pinned' down with sticks shaped like "V's" to hold down the straw but not poking out of the pile. He also asked about the crimson clover which I said was there to fix nitrogen and provide living mulch to discourage opportunistic seeds dormant in the soil he's using. He doesn't plan on seeding the bed around Mother's day.


What's the best way to inoculate this hugel?
What order should he layer next?
What thickness should the layers be?
What is the ideal seeding plan?

And now for the photo upload extravaganza...two more posts should take care of the photos.

6 years ago