Sadie Smithy

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since Oct 29, 2015
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chicken hugelkultur trees
Zone 5b,   It's rainy here.  My small homestead has great southwestern exposure. 
Soil survey says I have good agricultural soil!
Southern Tier NY
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Recent posts by Sadie Smithy


Can you be more specific about diseases in the corn crop when following solanaceae plantings?  (so that's a problem with corn after Potatoes?  should I expect similar problems with potatoes after corn?)

I am plotting out a 4 year rotation, with winter cover crops and manure fertilization... I thought potatoes would be a good plant to follow the three sisters.
(three sisters), (potato, peas, and early season cabbage), (some grain), (our veg garden).  

I am in a similar situation, (just bought about 3 Acres)... but it's the dead of winter in my hometown, so my projects are all in the paper/planning stages.  My first project was to go through the Yeoman's Site Design Priority list.  I encourage you to do the same; it's a good framework for long-term thinking about your land.  
1 year ago

I am so happy.  I have land!  

My long term goals have always included a healthy farm pond.  I would like to capture the water at the top of my West-south-west sloping site, and I would really prefer to capture the water above the large fenced garden for future irrigation.   If I use a 16:1 ratio, there is enough catchment area 'up hill of the proposed 0.1 acre pond to provide adequate water and the prior landowners have created a diversion ditch/stream along the NE corner of the plot.  

But here is my concern:  the actual pond would end up 30'-45' above the ground level of my home, and if there were a dam failure, the pond would come rushing down into my home & basement.  Anyone else have a 1/10th acre pond (or larger) elevated behind their home?  How did you handle it?  Could I focus my earth-works on making sure that the trails/paths are also drainage ditches in case of an emergency, to guide water down around the house?  

Pond questions continued:  The area I have in mind for the pond is 'wooded' with scrub pine.  Should I have those trees chopped now, then start the slow process of uprooting the stumps and excavating (via wheel barrel & lawn tractor) topsoil away from the area of the future pond  for other uses around my homestead?   Or should I wait and have the whole thing done at once (trees downed, stumps excavated, and pond detention wall created) by experienced machine operators at some point in the future?  

The soil maps say that there is a fragipan layer (water impermeable compressed clay & sand) between 10"-22" down into the soil... and I believe them.  When I walked around the site on a normal moisture day, there were still soft & squishy areas on the slope.  Can use the fragipan layer as a pond bottom?  Could I excavate the fragipan from elsewhere around my land to use as a pond liner?  Permies bonus -- removing/puncturing the fragipan should improve drainage on the site.    
1 year ago
I love the idea of an internal courtyard.  I try to include one in all my day-dream house plans.   Don't forget, you can use 'outbuildings' like a barn, summer kitchen, or greenhouse as some of the buildings enclosing your courtyard.  

The plans you've shown seem like single-story plans, and I think there is a benefit to building a 2nd story area overlooking the courtyard.  There is a lot of potential for directing breezes and drafts with one slightly taller section of house, and there is the potential to reflect sunlight as well!  
1 year ago
Nice work. Securing the strawberry crowns with a wood nail is ingenious. (Squirrels and Jays uproot almost half my strawberry plantings! a wood-nail would have solved that.)
3 years ago
I would recommend land in the far north of Appalachia, perhaps Tioga County NY. The land is cheap (for NY), the rainfall is abundant, the hills and valleys are perfect for permiculture operations, 'small town living at it's best'. There are a few progressive cities in the region; most notably Ithaca, NY and Binghamton is a growing college town/city. Only 3-4 hours from NYC and major urban markets (if that's your thing). Fracking is no-longer an issue, but many rural places are at the beginning-edge of their respective watersheds... so you could eliminate some concerns about contamination.

Many of the impacts of climate changes won't be a problem in this part of the world.

NYS has some beginning farmer tax incentives/grant programs. USDA rural business enterprise grants may be available. PM for more info.
3 years ago
My 2nd hugel (when it was 1-2 years old) attracted the attention of Yellowjackets

It was unpleasant to garden amongst those tiny beasts! My knee was swollen for weeks after the stung. I used the overturned glass bowl method; and they were successfully 'dispatched' without poisoning my garden.

While they were being starved under the bowl, I ordered coconut coir. When it was safe to dig in my hugel again, I mixed a coir slurry in a 40 gallon bucket (coir, fish emulsion, and a hose) and I filled in their void/nesting area.
Now, I cover or wash in coir, compost or dirt for my new hugels and if I see any subsidence during the season.
3 years ago