Jeffrey Dustin

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since Feb 16, 2016
Providence, United States
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Recent posts by Jeffrey Dustin

There are soils, then there are barren ledges of death!

I am blessed with a nice sandy sandbox to play in and abundant rain and snow with few big rocks.  Seems the glaciers did their thing and deposited my town with a bounty of play sand.  Very nice!

In my area I have a bunch of mature pines and mixed other woods.  I would like to pump the
wonderfully clear stream waters into my growing beds through a simple sump pump and hose combo...maybe when I get rid of my snow and ice pack I’ll double dig the sandy beds and do a photojournal for your enjoyment.  The hydram pump was a bust...so I am going hi-tech with an extension cord and an electric pump.  Why stress my well pump, right?

I have heard the critique of Grow Biointensive and I think there have been thoughtful rebuttals by John Jeavons & Co. that satisfy me.  Some soils are bad news with rock, shale, what have you.  I haven’t found GB or the prsctitioners of the same dogmatic or rigid in its prescription.  Jeavons has said if you can’t or don’t want to dig that deep that is up to you...but for maximizing food quickly this can be effective in the smallest of spaces.

Some folks can’t physically dig or would simply rather not do it.  That’s ok, too.  The no-till approaches work well.  I would ask the question: which is more labor: using a garden spade to lever out soil to 12” then a garden fork to loosen another 12”, a little sprinkle of compost, voila! or cartage of tons of mulch, spreading it, repeat.  The double dig is one and done while the mulch degrades and requires lots of additional mulch.  I have tried both and from my perspective the mulch was ok but I had a lot of slugs, mice, and voles that lived under the mulch and ate up all my crops.  Also GB is supposed to be a whole system and no only the double dig.  I really like digging and sweat equity.

Whatever works for you and your lifestyle
is probably best.
10 months ago
Could you build a PSG with an RMH whose exhaust piped underground into a manifold or looping series of pipe like in the Ceres Greenhouse Systems? What would happen if you could use all that extra heat and pump it into the soil?

Could you get a cheap, tropical greenhouse even in the northern reaches?
10 months ago
i’d like to give the hydram to you, Jesse so you can take it apart and bring this appropriate tech to more people.  If you ever up in Maine and can help me load it, i will give it to you for free.
1 year ago
Ok, so I have a ball valve with on/off lever attached to the upright delivery outlet.  It is set to the off position.  So far, so good.  I have gotten an order of 100' of PVC schedule 40 pipe in 10' lengths, connectors, 45 degree connectors, 90 degree elbows, straight pipe-to-pipe fittings, etc.  The steel was way overpriced at $40 - 45 per 10 foot length.  All I could afford was PoisonVC (PVC).  The water in the stream is the highest it has been in a long time with the snowmelt contributing a large and rapid flow.   There is already a 10 foot galvanized steel drive pipe attached.  It is too short to provide the proper water hammer effect as far as I can tell.
1 year ago
Yes, thank you Jesse! I think we are getting much closer to a functional pump.  Good! I am excited to turn this wasted endeavor into a water source for my crops and animals and bee flowers.

I am going to the hardware store to get my driveline up to 100'.  I'm going with steel for 2 reasons.  While much more $, it is better camoflauged to avoid neighbor attention AND the steel I think won't leach into my water supply like PVC.  It is also very sturdy.

I need some kind of on/off to go on the upright delivery tee.  I will measure the OD of my delivery tee outlet with a micrometer or caliper.  Then with all my gear, I will go down to the water and get muddy!

Stay tuned! If I get this running I will post some fun pics.
1 year ago
It will help, I think.  The issue I see is the drive pipe is only 8 feet long.  I don't have a pickup truck, only a Subaru Forester so I have limits to what I can haul from the hardware store.  I suspect that there is a malfunction with the glass ball and gasket is fine, but the waste water valve is stuck...maybe.

I don't know how to prime the bloody thing because the instructions, while excellent, don't have a "this is how you prime the thing" section.

It makes sense you would push down the waste valve over and over and the water hammer effect would build up and spew water out of the waste valve.  I think this thing will be terrific once I get it running reliably.  Probably won't need maintenance the rest of my life.

I appreciate all the help I can get!
1 year ago
Here's my setup in the stream.

No action in the pump.  I have to prime it somehow, but I can't push the plastic ball in the waste valve down, it is frozen in place and I don't want to break it. I tried last summer and it wouldn't budget with both thumbs pushing down until it hurt.  No movement at all.

The expansion tank seems fine, the glass cage with the ball and gasket seem fine.  Where would I push down, on the plastic in the hole in the circular flanged piece that will act as the clack valve?  How hard do you push?  I might need a hammer.

The drive pipe is about 8' of steel 2 inch diameter pipe screwed onto the threaded intake hole.  It is not leaking that I can tell.  The intake is not blocked with debris or sandy mud or leaves.  The stream has a fairly good amount of moving water, but not fast and the drop is probably at least 4-5 feet from the waterfall culvert as it drains from the pond on the other side of the road.  There is no delivery hose attached because I can't start the pump.

1 year ago
I bought one of these ram pumps a while back and have yet to get a drop out of the delivery line.  I've been trying to contact Mr. Landis with no luck.  Very frustrating.  The darn thing is in my stream and just sitting there.  I can't get the ball valve glass ball to do anything.  I need some help.
1 year ago
Hi all,

I have been watching the Grow Biointensive(r) techniques of John Jeavons and have been reading How to Grow More Vegetables, etc..  I would say I am impressed with his 40+ years of experimentation with Ecology Action, a non-profit outfit.  I'm also a Square Foot Gardener, the method of Mel Bartholomew.  SFG is EXPENSIVE to set up to canon.  Very, very expensive.  GB is much cheaper and scalable for farming versus gardening though I have yet to plant GB style.  I have 2.5 acres in New England and most of that is in maturing forest with a small pasture area.  On my mini-farm, there are two SFG beds in a hoop house (high tunnel) under plastic maybe (9) 4 foot by 4 foot beds.  There are some large crops that don't lend well to the SFG method and Mel B. acknowledges this.  I think the GB method would handle raspberries better as well as many other perennials like asparagus.  

A major challenge is how to efficiently generate a huge amount of blended compost with the least amount of hand labor.  I like the chicken tillers but I don't want roos and I don't want to kill or have killed roo chicks.  What about heritage turkeys? They dig in the forest duff, would they till like a chicken? They are mega-hardy, so I hear.  I will probably get some turkeys next spring and find out.  I keep about 14 Ancona ducks and 12 heritage breed meat rabbits for manure and companionship.  Their manure will fuel a lot of compost piles.  

Has anyone tried mixing hugelkultur raised bed with GB? I have a fair bit of rotten standing wood that could fuel a HK bed.  How would that work with double digging? Would the wood form the bottom of the 24 inch trenches? Very interesting stuff! What is enough wood to water the raised bed systems? I will try to remember to report back my results maybe with pics.
1 year ago
I would like to build a stratification chamber around a Sedore 3000 biomass stove.  Reason: the stove throws a tremendous amount of heat into the room and it gets HOT.  I don't want my dogs and cats and spouse touching the scaling metal.  Also I could not find a builder to build a rocket mass heater and can't build one myself.  So, I shelled out some big money for the Sedore 3000 but would like to improve its user friendliness.

Love the stove, but would like a lingering heat in a bell with a top that could swing open to access the top-loading portion.

Has anyone got any experience building a bell around an existing woodstove?

Thanks!
1 year ago