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Ryan Sanders

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since Sep 25, 2014
Southern Colorado
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Recent posts by Ryan Sanders

I am also on the long patient journey to more shade and wind protection in a dry climate. I would definitely second the nursery idea. It has been really easy and allows me to cheaply grow more locally adapted perennials.  I just make a point of collecting seeds in the fall.
I have adopted a couple strategies:
   -Plant the riparian zones: shade begets shade, so move the edge out slowly.  I can mostly neglect these plantings.
   -Drip irrigation for perennial establishment in full sun.  I run one poly pipe with drippers that can be connected to a garden hose a few times a year when the trees are stressed.  Even plant spacing means you can reuse for a new row once established.
   -Individual larger plants: These get babied often watered by hand with 6"+ of mulch. I only plant a couple per year, so they can get the necessary attention.

From a pioneer species perspective, locusts and siberian pea shrub have been the top performers outside the riparian zone.
2 years ago
I am also on an east facing slope but out in semi arid Colorado.  I have thought of North-South tree planting lines as a positive, giving some shade to the shrubs and grasses on either side depending on the time of day.  Our sun is so strong at 6300' though that even full sun plants tend to like some shade.

If your run fences, livestock and equipment contrary to the keylines, I am afraid you can't help but incur inefficient water distribution through these activities.  That is kinda the whole point of keyline, lay things out such that through normal operations good water distribution is promoted.
3 years ago
Totally feasible, I was just looking for an easier option. I may end up just doing more concrete.
4 years ago
The mortar primarily is there to protect the rigid foam insulation from UV but also makes it look better.

Soil is sandy loam for the first 18", then sand and rocks below. It drains well.

The building is actually a small old farmhouse with an unfinished basement foundation (purple) set back about 2' from an old perimeter foundation with no footer (green).  Right now I have wood 4x4s (yellow) supporting the floor joists from the top of the inset foundation.
The perimeter foundation is cracked and dislocated on the left side of the house where it was previously back graded.  I only need to really address this one side. I could just seal the floor joists like you did, but I do have plumbing in that section.  My fear would be that the plumbing would be more likely to freeze and I would loose the easy access I have now.

4 years ago
Hmm, you guys are definitely talking me out of it.  What other lower effort options are there over doing the whole concrete footer masonry wall approach?  Maybe I just need to bite the bullet...
4 years ago
I feel that if it is well glued it will all move as one if it moves.  Tamping it in will hopefully help.  I got the idea of mortar over foam as that is what the local builders are doing on some new construction.  The difference being their foam is backed by foundation.
4 years ago
I want to insulate and protect under my house with something that will hold up for quite some time.  My current thinking:

1) Dig a trench directly under the exterior wall and compact 3-4" of gravel at the bottom
2) Hang Hardiebacker board off the floor joists down to the gravel in the trench.  Use strips to overlap and join ends on interior side
3) Glue and screw 2" rigid foam to the hardiebacker with offset seams
4) Trowel mortar over the foam
5) Add a bit more gravel and regrade to drain water away

I have never done something like this before, any suggestions would be appreciated.

4 years ago
I agree with what Dave has said thus far. One thing I would add is that in my experience in my Colorado non-clay soils, I have yet to see significant water holding in my swales. This is important in that it opens up the ability to plant trees and such on both sides of the berm, without fear of waterlogging.
5 years ago

I had the backhoe dig ~2'x2' ditches on contour. We then dropped 70% cottonwood, 30% old pine logs into the bottom and followed aged pine and cottonwood slash back to the original grade. The backhoe then compacted the wood and pushed the dirt back over the top. The swales have stayed moist since built last april, the plants love it and so do the moles. We are at ~6300ft in a valley frost pocket. I will say that we are very lucky to have incredible black dirt (old creek confluence I think). My experience so far in Beulah and also at our house in Colorado Springs is that burying organic matter with dirt on contour no matter how small has helped with moisture and long term fertility. I do usually try to include some manure/compost in the mix, but didn't bother in Beulah.

5 years ago
I am looking for recommendations to help with a initial prune on 22 fruit trees that were planted bareroot spring of 2014. The property is 25 minutes south west of Pueblo Colorado. I have pruned other fruit trees in the past, but I definitely created some challenges by not cleaning up some of the pre-shipping cuts the nursery made. There are also 3 old unkempt fruit trees that need rehab. It could also serve as a bigger learning opportunity if more folks want to attend.


6 years ago