J K Johnson

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since Aug 29, 2015
Husband of one, parent of two, grandfather of seven.
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Recent posts by J K Johnson

I hope they're working with you. This can be tough, unless they're interested and cooperative. I've seen a situation where it took years to win them over, then they just came out as a formality and turned their heads unless they say something clearly concerning (rather than merely regulated).
You can build a very functional grease trap with a couple of 5 gallon barrels - or you can spend a few hundred bucks on something that won't work as well.
3 years ago
Love the area. It's perfect for this sort of thing. We have dear friends just outside of town. I hope it goes well for you.
3 years ago
Swamp coolers work well here in AZ. The newer, more expensive ones, are pretty efficient and use less water. With a regular swamp cooler, what you see is what you get. Spend the extra couple of bucks on the nice cedar pads, if you get one. Use filtered water, if possible.

You might consider a subterranean cooling system as well. You can build it to move air in and out of your home, cooling it in the summer and heating it in the winter. A thermostat can be attached to a fan to regulate the temps. I can't recall how many linear feet you need per cubic foot of space, but you will have to run quite a bit of tubing to make it effective. Perhaps it would be best to isolate some room systems too?

While you can spend a lot on a high-tech version, it's really not necessary. You can do it yourself with PVC. Some applications use french drain tubing, because it'll let the moisture leave the pipe more readily, which can be a problem as the air cools and causes condensation. If you're on a hill, this can also be addressed through a downslope vent using gravity. It'll take a little research to discover your best options.

3 years ago
I don't either. OTH, our canal only runs for a couple of seasons a year. We get two rainy seasons, the monsoons (about July - Oct) and the gentler winter rains (Dec-Apr). Mid-April through mid-July are tough though. If enough water can be harvested in tanks to get from the monsoon through the winter rains to get through the dry season, it would be nice. We don't have such structure in place though. Ideally our structure will hold enough moisture in the soil to get through, but that's a tall order. It's hot, dry and windy that time of year.
Side note - I'm not above closing the gate on the canal to grab what I can when it rains, and would consider that harvesting rather than irrigating/cheating.
3 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:I agree, but as long as people keep promoting hugelkultur as a method to grow a garden without irrigation even in a desert, I will continue to ask for examples of it.

"grow a typical garden without irrigation or fertilization
has been demonstrated to work in deserts as well as backyards"


That's really what we'd like to accomplish. And, as can be seen in my drawing (which is a small part of our property), we're not attempting hugelculture alone. As for irrigation? I'm not sure what'll happen. We wrestle with it often. I'm kinda wondering if jumpstarting everything with irrigation once I have the structure in place would be wise, then weaning it off as it matures. I think we really need to get a cover crop on the mounds for it to work, regardless. Lots of work to do yet...
3 years ago

Denny Isaacs wrote:I'd like to hear some reviews also. Thanks

Me three!
Good to see you on this thread Dan.

You might contact Nicholas Burtner. He has his permaculture business in the Dallas area and has started helping orphans and others overseas. He might have some ideas or insights. His site is http://schoolofpermaculture.com/. I got to spend some time with him in Haiti recently. Great guy.

I'd be game to do something, but it's a tough sell to get started. Everyone has their favorite locations. Folks have ideas about what they want to do. Some can afford huge acreage while others only a postage stamp. I was in discussion with a couple of folks about doing something similar in Chile. People get excited, but then aren't ready to follow through.

It seems like the best track might be to get just a few folks with enough funds to buy a decent piece of land, then offer portions for sale to others who might be interested, but are too timid to pull the trigger before the land is settled.

Love the idea. I'll keep my eyes on it.
3 years ago
We're considering irrigation as an option. I'm on about 1/3 acre, so it's enough to develop into a pretty productive mini-farm. Of course, doing so would give the hugelmounds a nice advantage in this arid climate. The canal along the west side is available to us, for a fee. Right now it's not serviced, so we'd have to pay the entire charge for this particular canal, unless we could find others to share the costs. Still, it would probably be cheaper than municipal water.

Ideologically, I'd like to avoid it and see what I can do. It's cost-prohibitive to try to use municipal water. I think we might use the canal to establish and mature a system that could then be weaned off the canal and rely almost exclusively on the infrastructure and rainwater harvesting. That may be an ideal we simply can't realize in this sort of climate though. And if the property is actually generating some income, then I would consider the canal a worthwhile concession. It would be rewarding to be self-sufficient though. Here's to trying!
3 years ago

Gilbert Fritz wrote:J. K. Johnson, those will really be some dry climate hugels! Looks like you have a "missing" 50 to 80 inches of rain, as opposed to my "missing" 25.

Yep, it's an experiment. We'll see how it goes. Since it's a series of rings, with internal planters and the liberal spreading of woodchips around the outside, I'm hoping the microclimates I establish will prove productive. While I'm hoping to get these four main mounds done this winter, I'm not sure I'll make it.
3 years ago
We have good info available for our area - http://www.azwater.gov/AzDWR/StatewidePlanning/WaterAtlas/SEArizona/Climate/Safford.htm

Depending on which source, it looks like our rate is between 60 and 98 inches. Rainfall in our valley is right around 10 inches, give or take depending on who you ask. Most of this falls in Monsoon season, between July and Oct. We usually get good gentle late winter rains too though.
3 years ago