Steve Farmer

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since Apr 01, 2015
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forest garden greening the desert trees
South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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Recent posts by Steve Farmer

Rakibul. I don't advise trying to make your own car head gasket. They are subject to oil, water, coolant, steam, and hydrocarbon fuels, at a variety of temperatures, pressures and viscosities, and have to be the exact right thickness under a reasonable amount of compression from the head bolts. For this reason they are made of a composite of various materials. And they are cheap to buy. If you really can't get hold of the correct gasket then a an emergency repair can be made by using head gasket substitute from a tube but it's a last resort and not a "repair". If you try to make your own gasket, or use gasket substitute long term, you will destroy your engine.
1 week ago
Would trees be ok on a leach field if they were coppiced regularly?
3 weeks ago
I remember a neighbour putting his trees and plants on a huge bonfire, to my horror as someone who is appalled by the lack of green in my area. The next morning, I raked the fire and rescued several yucca trees and aloe veras and agaves that just looked a bit charred. Almost all the yuccas grew again when I replanted them and around half the aloes and agaves. I suspect you could have a forest of yucca in the driest and hottest desert, and they wouldn't burn.
1 month ago
Agree with Ben, good chance it's a delonix regia also known as red flame tree and often wrongly called a jacaranda. A possibly boring fact about the delonix regia is that it is a legume but it doesn't fix nitrogen, I believe the only example of a non nitrogen fixing legume known to mankind. You could dig the roots and if you find N fixing nodules you know it ISNT a D Regia.

This tree is definitely some kind of legume tree in the Pea family. I tend towards D regia due to the leaf shape which is slightly different and more regular than other similar trees such as acacia, palo verde, mesquite and Leucaena Leucocephala.Also the others mentioned will flower when only months old and knee high, whilst the D Regia can take longer to reach flowering age.
1 month ago

Roberto pokachinni wrote:Hauling some carbon in to ...

I agree with all those benefits. My point is that weight for weight, manhours for manhours, $ for $, I will bring in a tonne of water rather than a tonne of mulch, I'll spend an hour hauling water rather than an hour hauling mulch, I'll buy $100 of water rather than $100 of mulch. Both would be great, but the OP is asking either/or, and the answer that has worked for me conclusively is water.
1 month ago
I'm not on the mainland and we have just had a very nice fairly cool  July, only hitting 30C for one day. Hoping for more of the same august, and the 14 day forecast is showing max 30.

We got 44C a couple of years ago and it's really tough. The difference between 42 and 44 is amazing, it's like you have just gone over the body's ability to cool as breeze doesn't help anymore, you just have to stay wet or be a wimp and use aircon. My advice to deal with high temps on a regular basis is to secure your supply of water and get ground/tree cover, with an eye to fire resistant varieties - yucca, prickly pear, agave amongst the more woody and flammable trees.

I don't think spain is seeing temps that are particularly unusual, but the UK has just had a massive heatwave seeing temps in the low 30s C, which is very unusual there.
1 month ago
Corn and peas are a great mix, or corn and beans if the peas are struggling with the heat. They both grow quick and you don't need to let the corn grow to harvest, you can trample it any time you like, the roots are fantastic for submulching the soil and the trampled (but not severed from roots) stems are fantastic above ground mulch. Give me a tonne of water and a handful of corn seeds rather than a tonne of mulch. The tree tobacco that grows wild in the canaries is one of the quickest growing things I have ever seen, I have one that popped up and I transplanted it when it fit in my fist and grew to 2 metres tall within 3 mths. They sprout up from each others root systems and also from seed, need some irrigation to survive the summer in the first year and can be a big problem to keep under control if you're not careful, plus they are poisonous so would need to have a think if there are livestock/children about.
1 month ago
Is the water level where the river enters your property higher than some lower accessible part of your property?

If so then you might not need a pump at all, at least not directly in/pumping from the river. Just a long hose. Put one end in the river as far upstream as you can and the other end low enough for a syphon to work. You will most likely need to part fill the hose with water to get it running at first, but you can do this from the end on dry land. Once you have your water outlet on a convenient piece of land you will probably still want to pump it higher but you won't be messing about with a perilous river bank and having to prime several feet of dry hose.

1 month ago
Interesting thread. By AC coupling do you mean multiple grid tie inverters (not tied to THE grid but just to each other) to make your own AC grid?

Is this to avoid the losses from low voltage DC transmission lines?
1 month ago