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s. ayalp

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since Mar 18, 2016
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Recent posts by s. ayalp

I give this youtube channel 9 out of 10 acorns.
I enjoy each video uploaded, always new applications to learn and very informative. It is very nice to see smaller and practical applications of permaculture principles. I already knew about Karl Hammer and his composting operation, but I didn't think that I can scale it down and make it work at the same time. I knew about continuously fed compost systems, like you build up a new pile while the previous pile is moved the next step and so on. But I have never seen such a smooth operation with chickens and without heavy machinery. It is like "chicken-fall composting" or "compostfall" (from waterfall). I did came across to many documents, videos and etc about propagating plants, but it was one of his videos I said to myself "well it seems quite doable, sure I can do that".
This is a very inspiring youtube channel.
The only reason it is not 10/10 but 9/10 is lack of video editing. Also an intro could have made a huge difference.

Thanks a lot Sean!
2 days ago
Tim, You must be living in heaven!
I think olive has allopathic properties. Wherever I mulched with olive-wood chips, growth was suppressed for a year or two. Woodchips is quite different from olive-stones or seedlings. I don't except seedlings to pose a big problem. A small sized trial will certainly give you an answer.
I do something similar with bay tree. I don't intentionally plant them, but they pop up everywhere. I chop or pull them when they reach 20 cm's. I can't say it makes any visible impact, nonetheless any roots and other organic material is very much appreciated. Chopping does not kill them and this is the only issue with bay seeds.
Olive stones take a very long time to decompose. Maybe you can use them as mulch? They are basically wood balls.

Hope it helps.
3 days ago
You have to be really cautious when listening to Paul Gautchi. He is sharing how he did it, but as we try to memorize to we erase the most important part, details. His way of telling is so pastoral and spiritual, it was very hard for me to understand his thinking.

A basic example can be seen is Justin Rhodes video that put online today. Here is the link:Vlog: "Blood in the Milk" His problem is that he did put 8 inches of woodchips around his fruit trees and he thinks this should have stopped weeds from emerging. It should have stopped and killed all grass underneath. He seems puzzled. I am just going to go ahead and presume he learned the 8-inch trick from Paul Gautchi during his family's Great American Farm Tour, or maybe he already knew it but seeing it works made him implement it in his farm. The detail is "8 inches of wood chips in the fall". From what I understood from videos available Paul puts all new material in the fall (same as God does as he puts it). The grass is dormant, waiting for the winter to pass. Winter drains its stored energy and so it wont be able to push through in the spring. Some might, but most will perish. Justin, on the other hand, put woodchips just recently. Weeds being benefited with limited winter sun were already ready to go with full energy. Another important detail is that, you have to mow the grass very low before you put woodchips over it.

In his tour he summarizes his method as "put wood chips over grass". His method is actually simple, nevertheless this sentence is "simpler". It lacks details. If your soil is hungry (as Paul puts it), it will take years for it to work as good as Paul's. He actually says it numerous times. Here is an anecdote from Justins's visits:

Justin: Last year we planted into it. The stuff came up slow and yellow. What we end up having to do, based on local gardener suggestion, put bone meal around it and what else did we put Rebecca?
Rebecca: Lime and bone meal
Paul Gautchi: Soil was weak. You see prior to you coming had been depleted. So it had to be fed. At starting at it was hungry and so it is very common. But you will find next year (the results by) adding bone meal and the thing. To me, it is so simple. The ground was Hungry. It was deprived. When I planted these trees it took seven years before I had fruit because the ground was so deficient." Then he shows two year old fruit tree that is covered with fruits  "It happened (so quickly) because the ground is no longer hungry"

So from what I understand, you need to bring in much needed nutrients initially, unless you accept to wait for almost a decade. Make a soil test, see what are depleted. Feed your plants with those for the first 4-5 years as they show deficiencies. As your soil gets healthier you won't need to supplements. You are already bringing in a massive amount of woodchips. Bringing in matials is equal to bringing in nutrients and covering soil is essential for a healthy soil.

About chicken composting system, I don't think he sees it as a composting process as I understand what is composting. I believe he sees them as shredders and top soil producers. Not compost. The nutrient impact of chickens is low compared to the browns entering the chicken-run. Here is how he puts his chicken run system:

Vegetable scraps and etc go into chicken run. Those broccoli plants, for me to have to chop that all up and break it up to compost that, there is a lot of work. What is awesome about chickens, you take everything there, they shred up to pieces homogonize into the soil and make amazing top soil for me. ..... I take it out to my garden. Soil inside the coop why it doesn't smell? The ratio is probably one part manure to 10000 parts organic material.

Obviously not all organic material is brown, but yeah.

He also tells that there is over 2 ft of top soil in the chicken run. He has so much that he is giving it for free. From that I understand is; this is not a deep bedding system. In deep bedding you clean it every year, there is no accumulation. The end material is usually a pre-/quasi compost. His chicken run is full with couple of year's material. It is more of a storage place for almost- top soil. Chickens keep it healthy and shred new materials. The nitrogen to turn wood chips into compost, and top soil mainly comes from decomposed woodchips not from chickens, because of the limited number of chickens compared to input. You can certainly use chickens as primary, but from what I see they are secondary components. He calls his chicken run as "soil manufacture plant". It is not a primarily composting process but an active reserve for soil that will be needed in the future.

He is certainly one of many that imports huge amounts of materilas for healthy, fertile soil. Charles Dowling does similar with compost (you can check his composting process) and Ruth Stout with hay.

He perfected it clearly and thanks Justin for bringing us to the journey.

These might be helpful:

6 days ago
Weight? It will be heavier for sure and so will require way more fuel to transport.

On the side note, I think clean water should be free and available for anyone.
6 days ago
I can see two practical solutions other than composting.

Burry them under fruit trees, similar to putting fish under corn.
Justin Rhodes made a video couple of years back. Maggot dispenser. It turns them into maggots for chickens to eat. On the downside it is very smelly. Nasty.
Here is the link,

Hope it helps!

edited to embed video
1 week ago
Last night I checked and was not live yet. Went to bed early.
This morning; double funded! Dude, are you serious? :)) On this part of the planet we are just waking up :)
2 weeks ago
I saw this on Veronica Flores's facebook page :D (@veronicagrows). It makes me giggle everytime
2 weeks ago
Erosion control. It slows down the impact of rain or surface water. Pile holds some water in/on itself, while letting soil to have more time.
Solid filter. Similar to erosion control, if you have piles paralel and near a stream, water will be cleaner after a rain event.
Creates a humid safe-zone during hot noon hours for some critters, depending on how humid: hedgehog  toads and such. If you have a brush pile covered with ivy or honeysuckle it is another plus for the wildlife (plant species are mentioned for europe). Some species prefer darker areas. Covered bigger piles can host temporally owl, fox, weasel and such.
2 weeks ago
Well, I suppose almost everybody is familiar with Kinder Surprise? Almost, because it is not available (actually illegal) in the US. So this idea is mostly for the folks in Europe.
I don't plant 1000's of peppers or eggplants. This year will be the most I plant, which is 100 eggplants, 200 peppers, 50 tomatoes and so on. I like variety. So I have many seed packages to store. I found out that yellow eggs inside Kinder Surprise is very convenient to store seeds. I write names of varieties on the eggs with a CD pen, put a small paper note inside. It is airtight and very compact. Kinder surprise comes with two sizes. If you have bigger seeds or need to store more seeds buy 100gr; but 20 gr is enough for me. You can store eggs in different boxes, like this box has seeds from 2017. I love chocolate so I buy chocolate anyways.
Here are some pictures,

Here is a funny video:

and why:

2 weeks ago
I am building new beds and decided to add some dog food as a layer. Expiration date on dog food packages were 2017. These beds are 1ft below grade and 1 ft above. From bottom to up, first two layers are basically hugels. Logs (first layer- app 1ft) and branches (second layer 8 inches) covered with soil and coffee grounds. Then a layer of unfinished compost. A layer of dog food and coffee grounds (to confuse critters).

Dog food layer is covered with a thin layer of carbon rich unfinished-compost (fall leaves mixed with coffee grounds) and a thick layer of compost-soil mixture.

After all work was complete, I let the my dogs free and they were not interested. Crows, on the other hand, suspecting I have hidden some goodies (I forgot to throw the empty package :), scattered the compost-soil layer. Seems like they didn't get through fall leaves and gave up.

Lets see how these beds will perform!
3 weeks ago