s. ayalp

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since Mar 18, 2016
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hugelkultur dog books urban greening the desert
istanbul - turkey
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Recent posts by s. ayalp

I guess I am not going to sleep next time :)) wow congrats!
1 week ago
Finally I have a plot that can be farmed with ease. But it is 4 hour dirve from İstanbul. And I don't really own it. Nevermind let me grow something!

I am quite excited about this. Eventhough I am lucky, very lucky, to have some land to grow stuff in Istanbul, it is by far not the best place to garden. Soil is pure clay mixed with urbanite, 40 to 60 degree slope. I have been pushing forward for the last 10 years, building a rain water collecting system, building terraces, building hugelbeds, burried wood beds (to create soil). I built my veg. garden, but with an average pace of 2 square meters per month (20 square feet/month). Not that I didn't try hard enough, it is imposible to beat 2 m2/month. I tried.

So this new plot is in 9b, roughly 200 square meters, sandy clay loam and the plot has not has not been cultivated for over 30 years. It has access to free water, has electricity, is in full sun and protected from wind in all sides! It is in the village center and next to our house. The only issue it had was the fact that was covered with construction waste, blocks of concrete, roof tiiles and some plastic bags. That was the only thing that hold it from being a perfect plot. Not anymore, cuz I cleaned it all (almost), 5 garbege trucks full of waste and 80 bags of trash. I removed some as I visitied the house and so it took over 8 months to get the job done. Now the fun begins!

So this is the plot:

I started to remove wastes last july and as soil got uncovered weeds popped up! I was able to cover only a fraction of the plot with weed fabric. It is very expensive, so it doesn't make sense to cover the whole plot with it.
This is the scene when we arrived:

after some pruning:

removed weed fabric:

This is the soil beneath:

not bad.

all kinds of garbage (mostly concrete and glass) removed:

this is how it looks from second floor window

put down the layout:

So the plan was to build no till beds (since I don't have rototiller) 75 cm wide with 40 cm wide pathways. I opted to go with wider pathways.

Similar to building lazy beds I cut the sod with shovel and put the soil/sod in pathways over the beds.

And did that for the next 9 beds:

this is the end of the day picture:

We were going to broadfork the whole garden but that night a relative of mine brought a rototiller. So we rotatailed 8 out of 10 beds and left 2 for no-till as an experiment. Added wood ash, some compost, gypsum, spoiled dog food.

put down drip irrigation and leveled the surface

at the end of our second day:



I planted potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke to the first two beds and covered the remaining beds. I will be planting sweet potato, pumpkins and corn. I don't want to deal with weeds this year, who knows whether there will be travel restrictions. Noone needs to build market garden beds to grow sweet potato, pumpkin, potato or corn. I wanted to built them as I had the chance.

So now I have roughly 100 square meter growing space (that we built in two days) in addition to my original veg. garden -roughly 250 sq meter (that took over 10 years to build)

The best part of this garden is that it is soo isolated I can actually grow many special varrities with no worry. Such as Greg's (thanks!), Lofthouse's popcorn, fava and landrace okra.

Sorry for typos!
2 weeks ago
I will dance
On my own
To a music that no one else hears..
It has bean a pretty rough year
2 months ago
Well I really like this new one. Aya Farm, she just recently moved to a lovely vilage in İzmir Turkey and making Youtube videoes.
We all look for new recepies and I think these ones really fit a permie lifestyle. I was meaning to start a tread about some, but videoes are always better. Here are some recepies  (titles are turkish and english as goes the texts in videoes)
Such as tarhana - a very old time instant soup recepie

Or türlü , which literally means various. A main dish that you can make with various vegatables but just one or two from each.  We usually cook this one early in the season when each plant gives only a handfull of produce

grape harvest and making -again traditional- sucuk, walnuts with dried grape syrup, which can keep fresh up to months if not years

DIY farmer keith

this guy deserves more recognition. Some of them are very very useful, but has only 40 views or so.

DIY tilther
DIY vacuum seeder
greenhouse construction
low tunnels
microgreen video
DIY flame weeder and so on

DIY Farmer Keith
Chickens + composting as everyone stated.

And hugelculture. All wood, branches, too much green matter, almost everthing organic goes to the pile.
3 months ago
Personally I find digging 60 cm - or 90-  deep easier than digging 30 cm. Since when digging 30 cm deep -with a pickaxe- you are digging top to bottom. It will be hard on your back. When digging 60 or 60 cm deep, I dig sideways as I stay in depression and pull dirt towards myself - by pivoting pickaxe upwards. I initially dig a 1,2 m wide, 1,5 m long 60 to 90 cm deep depression and put the dirt on the side. That's the hard part. It is 1,5 m long to maneuver. Then I fill the first 75 with wood logs and such (with a thickness of say 30-40 cm), and as I dig forward I put the excavated dirt on top of that. I add manure, smaller branches, leaves and what not as I layer dirt on wood. I continue to dig on contour, or almost on contour as long as possible. When the bed is complete I add amendments to the top layer. Finally I distribute the initial pile on the bed or put it in compost or in the chicken run. If I really need to dig 30 cm deep bed, I won't use a pickaxe. Broadfork or a good garden fork works better.

I recommend digging 60 cm deep, since the top 30 cm of soil is very sensitive to humidity, temperature, sun etc. The deeper 30 cm layer is more reliable to hold water. Give it a try, and see how it works.

Try to build long beds on contour or almost on contour. Or not on contour but build underground dams -30-50 cm thick vertical clay layers to hold the flow. It is easier to dig a longer single bed than many smaller depressions.

You can use plastic to divert more water to your beds. I know it is not permie friendly, but there are videos that large areas are covered with a plastic membrane and collected water is diverted to beds, fruit trees and such. You don't have to use plastic, if soil is compacted it will be impermeable too. You can use a sledgehammer to compact soil.

About shade cloth, permie way of shade cloth is palm trees. They are the best. Their roots might be very persistent though. To overcome that you can plant then in larger pots. You can also burry the pots, 30 cm deep and prune the roots as needed with a sharp shovel. You can also use their dead branches (is it called branch? leaves? I don't know) to cover a pergola like structure to create shade. You can plant some plants, flowers etc in to palm-pots too.

I don't like spending much on building beds, but if you have the budget you can add vermiculite to the top 30 cm layer.

Hope it helps.
3 months ago
Looks cool :)
I think your bed is a bit on the hot side. Probably it has more nitrogen than needed. It might not be a big deal though, sunken beds are more forgiving.
550 mm water is pretty damn good amount of rain. 3 to 4 months might seem changeling, but shade cloth and mulch should take care of much of your problems - in addition to sunken beds. I would prefer buried wood beds ( a type of hugelculture), as wood acting like a sponge to hold water. I would go for 60 cm deep at least. You can find all the details in buried wood bed tread, here is the link: burried wood bed . How long does it take to build, how deep, what to put etc. I would prefer that bwd's for your case.
Nitrogen issue is a common misunderstanding about hugels. It is not 100% true. The amount of nitrogen removed from soil is proportional to the surface area of wood, sawdust etc. So if it is large pieces, it only requires a small amount of nitrogen. While sawdust - a very large surface area- literally sucks up all nitrogen from the soil. In hugels, after a very limited amount of nitrogen steal, wood itself begins to decompose and add more nitrogen to the soil itself (by bacteria, roots, itself and so on). This initial removal is not significant, because you have to cover wood with a thick layer of soil. (by thick I mean 30 cm or so) Plant roots wont reach the wood layers in the first year -or very few of them-, so no robbing.
Wood does not heat up like manure do. Hugels heat up a bit, but not like compost does. Its overall carbon to nitrogen ratio is very high (also a lot of inorganic matter) and compared to compost 2 things: First it is in layers, it is not a uniform-ish mixture like compost. Secondly even though  it is covered with a layer of -20 to 30-40 cm thick soil, hugels breath. It will have large gaps, openings etc. It is a good thing - it tills itself. But it does not heat up like a compost pile. The initial heating will be moderate and go away in 2-3 months. After that it wont be much warmer than surroundings. It will passively hold heat during night and cool surroundings during day time - balancing.
Buried wood beds act a bit different than standard hugels in temperature wise. It will also heat up and than cool down initially depending on how much nitrogen you put in. If you put a lot of manure, it will act like a hot bed (not related to the amount of wood you put in). Since it is insulated on all sides except from the top, it will cool down slowly. Months. Does it matter? As long as you do not build your hugels in may, june, july, No! Its completely fine.

In full battle mode I would try to divert as much as surface water to your sunken bed, add wood to act like sponge, mulch heavily and use shade cloth. More water, more storage, less evaporation. Don't forget to mulch heavily for 4 month dry spell.

Also don't forget to fully soak your bed while- or after building it. It will jump start the whole thing.

Hope it helps. Sorry for typos.
3 months ago
It has been years that I gave up on grinding biochar. As long as it is not bigger than 2-3 inches, it is all fine. I did not see any ill effects, any problems or such. Some -or most- prefer to grind it down to, well almost, dust.
Here is what Cody did on youtube: an experiment.

Long story short, he made some mistakes while conducting. So the experiment cannot be reliable. Nonetheless he comes to conclusion that particle size is not a major parameter.

You can come up with many reasons against, such as why grass not tomatoes, but I tkink it is still very useful.

Thanks Cody!

4 months ago
Last sunday was the end of harvesting summer crops. I devoted most of the top terrace to saving seeds from trials. I was able to harvest more than 100 kgs of eggplants and 80 kgs of peppers (most of it hot peppers) from lower terraces. I was not expecting yields to be high, but we had hotest septermber and october in record. So yeah, I'm glad!.

Before planting fall-winter vegatables, I added gypsum (to help with clay), bad guano and bone meal. I tilled the top shovel depth. I planted garlic, swiss chard and broccoli with winter radishes.

Chard with radish:

Planting garlic and lime+gypsum+bone meal

5 months ago