Quintin Holmberg

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since Mar 12, 2014
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Recent posts by Quintin Holmberg

Day 2
Day 2 of my first hugelkultur bed is complete!

First we covered the wood with droppings from the chicken coop.

Then we backfill the dirt. I tried to take multiple pictures of the process but my camera ran out of juice and I didn't feel like using my phone.

It's going to rain tonight so, hopefully, it will settle in some.

I'm excited to get this planted over the next month and see how it does!
5 years ago
Hello all ... my name is Quintin. This year we are starting the process of converting our garden into hugelkultur beds. I thought it would be fun to take pictures of my first bed and document the creation process and, as the season progresses, progress of the hugelkultur bed.

So, here goes ...

This will be a dug hugelkultur bed. Originally, I thought I would have it level but I think I've changed my mind and will have whatever mound is created by putting back all the dirt that is removed.

Where I live, East Central Minnesota, the soil is sand. There is virtually no clay. It can be a lot of work to keep things watered. Hopefully, hugelkultur will be the answer to that.

Day 1
This was actually yesterday. The goal was to get the bed dug and filled with wood.

This is the area I'm starting with. My boys have been into digging lately. A couple weeks ago I told them if they were going to dig holes, they may as well do it productively and I got them started on the bed. The pile you see is how much they got done.

This is the bed after I went around and defined my outline plus a little bit of a first pass.

First pass is done.

Here I am with my helpers. I think this is in the middle of the third pass.

Picture time is over ... back to work!

Three passes and I think we're good. It's gonna have to do ... I'm done digg'n!

A few hours have pass while I went to town and then ate dinner. After dinner, we placed our wood.

The bottom layer of wood is poplar that has been sitting for about 3 years. I cut it after our first year here, not knowing any better, thinking it was birtch and would make good firewood (which isn't, necessarily, true anyway). A friend informed me it was "popple". It would not make good firewood so, instead of putting any more energy into it, it sat. It will make for good hugelkultur, though! I'm hoping since it is nice and dry and rotting that my bed see effects this year. There is also some oak that was too big to split scattered about the top layer. It has also been sitting for a couple years.

On day 2 (today) I will add some deep litter bed from the chicken coop and backfill with the dirt.
5 years ago
Ben ... thank you for the tips. I will keep them in mind as I move forward.

Chad ... I thought that would be a great event to attend last year. My wife and I watched for details all spring and part of the summer. Unfortunately, the organizers did not put out specifics of what courses would be offered before the cost of the event ramped up. Costs of the event ramped up fast. So, before there was enough information to make an informed decision, the cost of it became more than we were willing to spend.
5 years ago
Have any of you ever had a site assessment and design done by a certified permaculture professional for your property? If yes, did it help you fast track getting to a permaculturally productive homestead? Also, if you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost you.

My homestead is 5 acres in East Central Minnesota. Two of those are open with my house on it. The other 3 are wooded. I'd like to get it productive, in a permaculture way. I've been reading and learning but, I work for a living and enjoy what I do (I'm an IT Manager. Nothing exciting but, I'm good at it. I really do feel it's a calling even if it is part of the corporate machine). There is not a lot of time left for DIY permaculture design. So, I'm thinking I might short cut that part of it and hire someone who has done the study. I'm more than willing and capable of the laborious implementation part but I want a good design going into it.

The idea really gained traction today when I learned there is a PRI certified professional not to far from me. I know there are others within a reasonable distance but he has going on precisely what I'm looking to do with my property.

Any advice would be welcome.

5 years ago
Yes, there are many beekeepers who have been treatment free for multiple years. All indications are that losses will be incurred while getting there, though. I've done a lot of reading on the topic but, I am a beginner, too. I will be entering my 3rd year this year. Therefore, the only practical advice I can give you is to do a lot of reading so you at least know what to expect.

I found Kirk Webster's writings very pertinent to this end ...

David ... I did not realize that was Heaf's site. I always thought it was Chandler's as it was biobees.com. It does make clear at the bottom of the page that it is Heaf's and the Chandler supplied the space on biobees.
5 years ago
I have not seen those before. They are very interesting. I definitely have to add them to my research list.
5 years ago
I had not heard of a Tanzanian style tbh. Did a quick search and that is an interesting configuration.

What do you mean by "langs on top"?
5 years ago
Oh ... additionally, Warres are TBHs. They are a vertical TBH. It's kinda become a pet peeve of mine but, everybody seems to have the equation that TBH = Kenyan TBH which is of the horizontal type. TBH just indicates that the hives have just the top bar and no frames.

I don't know of anyone who keeps a horizontal TBH in cold weather areas. I've seen references on forums that there are but it sounds like there is a lot of weather proofing involved to get them to over-winter. That's all anecdotal so do your research.

In my unexperienced opinion on the topic, the Warre would seem a much more suitable TBH for Minnesnowta.
5 years ago
You are very far away!

My theory is to start with what you have resources for. By resources I do not mean just equipment. It sounds like you have access to intellectual resources, too, and they are more important that equipment resources. In regards to equipment, it's hard for someone to help you when they do not comprehend what you are working with.

That doesn't mean you have to do everything they do. After you can successfully winter hives in this environment, there are many directions to take your bees.

Now is the time to be lining up your bees. If you can, find someone with nucs of proven local stock. You will save yourself a lot of heartache over packaged bees shipped to you from warm weather states. Virtually all packaged bees come from warm weather states regardless of whether you are buying from a local resource (i.e. Mann Lake, in our case).
5 years ago