Chris Duke

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since Dec 28, 2013
Torrance, Ca
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Recent posts by Chris Duke

Hey all.

I've been wondering if there is a best of the best recommended small seed planter for planting cereal crops in pasture? I'm not finding any recommendations on Google. All my searching on here has recommended broadcasting. I've heard that Colin Seis has come up with a great tool for the job, but it's not available in the USA yet. My goal will to grow wheat, oats, Rye, Barley, Alfalfa, and other cold hardy grains during the dormant time for the pasture grasses. I would also be using it to sow summer heat tolerant grasses and legumes. Some of these grains will be harvested, and some will be left for forage.

I would like to use a couple cattle to pull it eventually. After all, that is what the Wagyu were originally line bread to do during the days of Buddhist official no meat eating state law in Japan. Eventually I'll have a bunch of the critters trained to do working tasks.


* It must not destroy the pasture grasses. No till or grain drill. I don't like the idea of using disks, but as long as it don't tear the heck out of the pasture, I'll consider one with disks. The first cheap ones I see come up on a Google search look like they would destroy a pasture like the one from Cabella's. The idea is to improve the pasture, and add to it's production.
* Must be able to plant 12" spacing. I don't want to crowd out the pasture grass.
* Would be nice if I could choose seed spacing for different plants. For example, If I wanted to put in a row of corn, I would want that spaced more than a row of barley or wheat.

The crops would be planted between swales in pasture.
Long rows of different crop plants to minimize mono crop disadvantages
and improve diversification. Only one row of paddock acreage between
swales planted per year. Perhaps 1/3 of 200 acres total per year, with 1/2
of that going to late winter and early spring forage.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Upper swale [/]
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Corn [x]
yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Rye [y]
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Oat [z]
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Lower swale [/]

5 years ago
Does anybody have them, and how do you set it up with permaculture?

I've been researching, and this is what I've found out.

There are two basic models for a permaculture vineyard that I've been able to find.

1. Rows of vines with grass growing in between the rows.

a) Allows for a healthy micro environment in the grass same as on a good pasture or no till crop system.
b) Animals can be grazed on the grass strips. Chickens can be used threw out the year. Other animals can be used during the vines dormant period.
c) Can be cut down low before winter frosts to reduce chance of frost on grapes. All the experts seem to agree that low grass or bare ground is best for preventing frost damage to grapes on the vines. The grass can be grazed down low, or clipped with a mower with the clippings going under the vines as a mulch, or even harvested as hey/straw.
d) While technically a mono crop of grapes, the grass can be planted with many species of grass, clover, and nitrogen fixing legumes. This would reduce the risks of mono crop agriculture and benefit the land.

a) Clipping the grass down low to prevent frost damage may inhibit micro habitat. Not an issue if you're in an area that does not get frosts until after October grape harvests.

2. Rows of vines with edible plants growing between the rows.

a) You can grow food in otherwise unused space. Great if you have a limited space.
b) Would be less of a mono crop. Multi species of plants would reduce the chance of disease, pests, etc.
c) You could grow nitrogen fixing plants such as beans, peanuts, other legumes, or even dycon radish to help break up the soil for increased water permeability.

a) You wouldn't be able to graze animals between the rows. You could run chicken wire, and graze chickens between the vines, and vegetables, but that would be a real pain in the arse.
b) Food garden wouldn't get much sunlight after grape vines start filling out and growing leaves.

Other considerations. The land you have to work with.
1. I was looking at a property yesterday that I wouldn't want to make an acre worth of vines in one spot. I would want to keep the oak bunches intact as areas to graze my heritage breed pigs, and the pastures open to graze cows. It has rocky graggy hilly areas here and there threw out the property on south facing grade. I would use those areas. Grapes seem to do well on rocky junk soil that is not good for other crops or pasture. Bad soil quality forces them to grow the roots deep into the soil. From what I've read, that's what make some of the best Pinot noir. There is no such thing as a good Pinot noir. It's either great or terrible. If you can grow a great Pinot noir, you can grow a great any wine variety. I would fence these areas off and after the grapes begin to ripen, I would cover them with bird netting. They would be small patches scattered all over the place. This would probably also decrease any problems associated with mono cropping.

2. Last week, I was looking at a couple properties that were pretty wide open pasture. So open, that I would have to plant oak trees for my pigs to get acorns. This would be too easy to just make an acre vineyard. Rectangular, square, triangle, whatever shape the land would allow figuring for contour, water run off, areas where I would want to create swales for orchards, ponds, etc. One of them has some steep rocky terrain, but it may be too steep, and the other looks like it gets a lot of rain runoff, and may be too soggy for part of the year. Both properties have been open range grazing land. No permaculture in sight. They both have visible signs of erosion. This can be repaired with some intensive grazing, and letting the land come back, then more intensive grazing, creating small damns with rocks in seasonal streams, swales, etc.

I never thought about starting a vineyard till recently. At first, I was only thinking about growing a few vines to make my own wine, and some table grapes to sell at the roadside stand. The more I researched, the more it seemed like a good idea. There is some good money in it, if you can do it well, and I think I would be a fool not to try. Especially since I'm planning on getting land in the Cali central valley Sierra foothills around or under 1200'. It comes down to diversification. Not having all your apples in one basket. Better to have many baskets, and oranges, and grapes, and pecans, and blueberries, and raspberries, and, and, and, etc too!!!

I searched this sight for permaculture vineyard. I didn't find much. If anyone has some links, suggestions, stuff to add to the above, etc, I would appreciate it.

5 years ago
Thanks for the info. I would of never considered that it takes them longer to pass a chemical.
5 years ago
I figure I could get enough use out of a quarantine area to make it worth building. It could be used for cattle, pigs, and even poultry brought onto the ranch/farm. Don't want to let any nasties into the private eco system I'll be establishing.

It should get plenty of use while establishing herds, and later on, could be re purposed for other uses. Maybe as a platform for running a mobile slaughterhouse setup, or an area to hold animals while they are waiting for pickup/delivery.
5 years ago
Hello, I'm wondering about how long it takes for a deworming solution to pass threw cattle?

I'm assuming that any cow I buy, will have been dewormed, and I don't want that poison on any of my pastures. It kills the life in the soil, so I would build a quarantine area where all of the waste would be sent to a containment area where it would not get on my pastures. I'm thinking a separate septic system [only used for the quarantine area] from the main house so as to not disturb the anaerobic action going on in that system.

So, if a new cow was dewormed just before auction, how long would I need to keep it in a quarantine area for all of the poison to have passed threw her? All I've been able to find with Google is shelf life of the poison before giving it to the animal. I would assume that within 72 hours it should all be gone?
5 years ago
Thanks Bill.

Researching "hydrothermal mass walls" should keep me busy for a while.
5 years ago
Idea #1 was originally thought up for an outbuilding outhouse.
5 years ago
Hello everyone.

I've had an idea in the back of my head for some time now, and figured I may as well share it here and see if anyone else has come up with the same concept.

I'm thinking about how to build house walls that act like a swamp cooler. I wish I knew how to do CAD drawing to come up with some pix of the ideas.

Idea #1
Regular wall made out of whatever building material you wish to use, but thin to allow wall cooling effect inside structure. Outside that, corrugated metal running up/down with an opening at the bottom and top to allow cool air in the corrugated areas. On top of that, cedar slats spaced about 1/2" apart to shade the corrugated steel, but allow air movement between the slats. An improvement may be to seal up the top of the corrugated walls into a A frame roof with a large enough air space, and a solar powered exhaust fan to help pull up the cool air from down by the ground threw the corrugated metal sheets.

This should work to keep things cooler on all 4 sides of a box structure.

Then I started thinking about Idea #2.
Same as above, but with water running down the insides of the corrugated channels on some sort of grate to maximize surface area instead of just cool air up. The cedar slats would be replaced with insulation and a finish exterior of some kind with good insulation value. The inside wall would be thin to allow transpiration of the evaporation cooling effect, and lined with a vapor barrier to keep water out. Water could be pumped using a solar pump, and recirculated, or used to top off fish pond, etc.

Has anybody done something like this, and did it work?
5 years ago
I want to plant Willow to make chips for fuel [biomass heater] and compost/mulch for the crops.

I also want to grow small [1-2 acres] organic sugar cane. On the above [link] video, they recommend a sugar cane harvester [from Brazil] to save on cost to harvest willow.

What I want to find, is a cane harvester that is PTO operated, that can be run off of my Backhoe/tractor.

I don't know how far this Willow harvesting will go? At the moment, I'm only thinking about being able to harvest the equivalent to 2 cords of wood for personal winter heating use, and to mulch planted crops, so I can avoid any weed killing Monsanto stuff [I would never use that crap anyway]. Actually, I would like to keep "weeds" [barley, rye, clover, etc] between the rows on all my crops/orchards. The animals can mow them down as needed, and it could be a beneficial winter grazing for them in my no till setup. I imagine that the willow chips could become a business in itself one day. Both as a mulch and as a biomass fuel source. Think rocket stoves in greenhouses keeping aquaponics at a liveable temperature for the fish.

I did some Google searching, but didn't come up with anything useable [sometimes it gets frustrating]. I'm still in the planning stages. I still have a bunch of stuff to work out. Some help on this subject would be greatly appreciated! I still have three years before I can afford to buy any land to build a garden of Eden on.
5 years ago
I agree. Nothing worse than store bought pork. The other white meat is worthless in flavor.

I found the article while looking up stuff I could easily grow to supplement their pasture diet. I also plan on planting walnut trees in pasture. I may separate pastures for multiple breeds by what I plan on finishing them with. Peanuts are also good I hear. During their life up to 250lb, I want to give them the best and a well rounded diet. I also figure that 1/3 of what I grow aquaponically in my greenhouses will be dedicated to stock feed. maybe as much as 3/4 depending on what land I can get, water availability for irrigation of pasture, etc. I also plan on using a good amount of fodder.

I figure I have about 3 years before I get my property, to learn about how to do it right. I learned so much about pigs just today, it has my head spinning. I thought I already knew a lot. Haha, the moment ya think that, you need to research and learn what ya thought ya already knew. I had been basing all my ideas on old time traditions of butchering in December to provide one years curing time for the following years Christmas hams. As it turns out, I'll probably have way more hams than I will want when just starting up over the first couple years. And that's before I even plan on getting my hands on a couple breeds I want to produce with 100% genetic purity.
6 years ago