s. ayalp

pollinator
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since Mar 18, 2016
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Recent posts by s. ayalp

I think Redhawk gave top notch answers. Chemical fertilizers do not have much place in a permaculture setting. In permeculture value is given the varied uses or long term benefits of an application, not immediate results. It is more about resilience than efficiency. Chems are for 100% efficiency (if you define efficiency as return of invested money- only money). Also it can be answer to 2% of issues of the problems we are facing (alfalfa can solve say 10-15%), and chems have many alternatives. Enough with purple.
Lets assume you want to build a compost pile. You will use leaves, grass clippings, manure, coffee grounds and such, right? Maybe something unusual, like a ton of chicken legs. You will need to check the internet but still you can calculate green/brown ratio and get it cooking. What if you use something processed, such as dog food? It has ash, corn and a lot of preservative stuff, but mainly meat and bone and thing like that. We don't know the NPK values of dog/cat food dog food as fertilizer but you can still predict the outcome. If you use dog food as fertilizer, you will have bigger tomatoes. Okay, that is also fine. Lets assume you will use something way more processed, such as Pringles, candies, coke(maybe?) and such. Do we have a use for coke in a permaculture setting? Can we use it instead of molasses or fertilizer? It gets complicated and thus harder to predict (for chems things like inert materials, compounds for slow release etc). You can draw a similar picture with chemical fertilizers. Similar questions are asked before: one of them is Upcycle: chemical fertilizer I haven't uploaded my findings yet. I used chems on dirt, works wonderful. Frankly I would not be able to harvest even tomato leaves without it. I used it on living soil, it made a difference in the first year, as if I turned on the turbo mode. But I know it is going to kill the soil. Over 10 year of heavy use of chems and -cides is what turned my land into a hard rock clay. For another try, I added it to my compost piles while building it, not much difference at all. It heated up and cooled down as usual. It didn't make a significant increase of harvests either. This year I added chems to compost pile in its final turn, not while building it. That pile is acting weird. It is heating up, cooling down, heating up again,  cooling down to 20C. Then, all of a sudden, heating up 35C. I don't know what the hell is going on in there. The twin compost pile (with no chems) heated up to 30C's after its final turn and cooled down to 14C. Same materials, same environment, same watering but acting very different. This weirdness did not showed up if it was added initially.
So back to your question Nathan, unless you don't have alternatives, do not use it. If you are going to use it, use it in a diluted way as Dr Redhawk said. Try to use simple chem products. I thought slow release chems might be less harmful to soil, but my compost pile is acting suggestively different. It is hard to build healthy soil. If you start with dirt, nothing to kill, you are free. I do not recommend to risk of killing your soil though.
1 week ago
I don't think using hay will be any different than straw on strength-wise. Hay has seeds though. Besides, hay will be green when cut. Green material can jam the machine (maybe?) Differences between hay and straw (str and building-wise) is very well explained in this post: Using hay for cob?
Yeah, Just click on "link" in the first post of mine. Here again: (Specifications of that particular model )
4 weeks ago

Tom Connolly wrote:...maybe even make a kind of quilt, with the "padding" being compost, soil, nutrients, etc....think of it as a way of comforting the earth :)  


That is perfectly possible. They actually do that, in a sense, while they are building prefabricated hay walls. Should not be that hard to modify to include those too. I liked the simplicity and effectiveness though. It adds a lot of value to a very cheep resource. I think a 1.2 m (4ft) width  (maybe less depending on target customer) and 5/7 cm thickness (2-3 inch) would be ideal. If this machines is upgraded as an attachment behind a tractor, that would save a lot of labor costs. Rolls the product or cuts at certain lengths and drops couple of dozen on the field to be picked up later on. The attachment may have a components that sprays some minerals (rock dust or such) and maybe seeds (?- seed balls maybe?) on the straw. It will need to work slower though, I don't think it can work at full speed when organic ropes are used. They are not as strong as netting twine. Specifications of that particular machine was in the link (200m/600 ft per hour) Screenshot is below.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Hay mats here in Arkansas are used by the highway department for seeding the berms of overpasses on freeway construction projects.


I like that idea very much!

I remember a video of Permaculture Orchard's Stefan Sobkowiak (the guy who goes nuts on nuts:)  on why he used plastic sheets in his orchard (@1:26). Maybe this idea can be implemented on that subject if developed.



4 weeks ago
There are models similar to the one in the video on alibaba, straw mat machine. Apperantly it uses "Monofilament thread or netting twine" (link but I don't see any reason why it can't be modified. I think there are ropes made out of hemp or wool that might be used for this task.
4 weeks ago
Quartz sand is commonly used as medium for water filtration. Maybe it was bought for that purpose?
For its chemical composition: https://www.evers.de/en/products/everzitr-filter-materials/filtration/quartz-sand-and-quartz-gravel/
I don't see any reason not to use it in the garden (instead of perlite). After 2-3 years of heavy use as filter medium for our pool, we replace quartz sand. The used material (it is exactly the same thing, but a lot of organic material and dirt in between) is then spread over lawn. That is how I use it. I don't think it will have any ill effect on health of veggies and us, since it is not readily reactive. I don't see any reasons for not to add to a compost pile, or use as a mulch layer.
1 month ago
You can make a big pile of altering layers of high-calorie wood (such as oak) and bones, and fire it up! It will get well over 400 Celsius. Just to be on the safe side add some additional wood. In the end you will have quite a bit off wood-bone ash and some bits of clean bones. By experience, producing pure bone black (bone char) requires a bit of investment to make it properly. I found out that it is quite smelly even for small quantities. It is definitely not an urban-friendly process.
Another thought is; you can get a rigid steel mesh-cube welded, drop the bones in, and let the nature clean those for you. Mesh size will need to be small, for dogs and such not to pull bones out; and something strong to be bear-proof. It is possible to spread some diseases by non-heat treated bones though, so do not include skulls or spine.
I never had luck with composting them. If it counts as composting, each of my dogs do process half a kilo of bones a week though. It does not end up in the vegetable garden but the remaining property gets the benefits by means of dog poo.
Edited: By bones I mean sheep or cattle bones not chiken's
1 month ago

Sandy Smithsson wrote:Thank you so much for this post!  I also have slope and clay,  although not as extreme as yours, and have been struggling with how to deal with it, as my topsoil each year runs down the yard.  I built a couple low retaining walls, to try and stop, but I LOVE the idea of incorporating the hugel beds!   W fortunatly have access to free loads of compost from our town, and I have been using that to level out the layers (but moving 10 pickup loads of compost with a wheelbarrow is hard work.  Like you, I have found picking a small goal and feeling the accomplishment is a great way to get a big project done!

What is your gardening zone and elevation, may I ask? And, is your soil alkaline?



Zone 9b, Mediterranean climate, elevation 82 to 100 meters (terrace is located at 95-96 meters I believe). The property is located in a deep valley, we have very strong micro climates. Currently these terraces do not receive sunlight more than 5 hours. It is slightly alkaline, around 7.5. Thanks!

Thanks a lot Julia, Mike, John, Brian and Marco (:
2 months ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Be careful the hugelkultur doesn't act as a swale, because misery may result:  https://permaculturenews.org/2015/11/06/dont-try-building-hugel-swales-this-is-a-very-and-i-mean-very-bad-idea/
Be sure terraces can drain, rather than trapping water.


Brian Rodgers wrote:
I hope this is helpful and not lecturing.
Brian



Thanks for raising concern. We are on the same page on this actually. I gave exactly the same link Tyler shared, in the 4th post (link is: bad idea):

s. ayalp wrote:This project is not “hugel culture on contour”.  I am not going to go into why I think it is a bad idea.



That being said, I guess I need to clarify my situation.
Firstly; this is not a finished project. It is the very first trial run. I am planning to repeat the process changing and upgrading design based on observations. My observation for this land is that, I can put a packed earth partition behind the dry sacked wall without raising water table (my second attempt: table top hugel). Water can not pass through the bottom clay layer (reminds me rice terraces link) in the figure: layer 8 is an impermeable layer. Besides even if it does, there are cracks in the bedrock and water will drain very well. I might have added a drain pipe to drain excess water or put a layer of plastic under the bed; but I wanted to observe how it performs before opting for more complex solutions.
It is not a swale if it is only 4-5 meters long. That's the reason why I used the utility line as an opportunity to divide the underground parts.
It is hand dug. Definitely not something similar what Sepp does with excavators. Hand dug and built rice terraces are better to compare. They do hold water and some organic matter.
Finally, I did do some calculations! It meets required factor of safety values for global stability, bearing capacity and such. I had to assume many parameters though. Heavy wet logs do not differ min FoS significantly (applied as surcharge load). On the other hand, it is not possible to achieve global stability and bearing with high water table.

Lets see how these perform. I'll update :)
2 months ago
Frankly, I personally do not understand the motive/need of this attempt but here are my two cents:
Instead of planting trees directly on the body, why not plant next to it? There will be settlements, hugels sink a lot actually. You can plant smaller bushes on the grave like a year or two later (such as rose).
Instead of daffodils, you can plant many other aggressive ground covers.
Hugels are built for many purposes, but primarily it is a tool for building soil.
Putting some lime under and over the body will keep wildlife away. No need for wire-mesh. I don't know whether it is used in cemetery, but it is a common practice in farms and rural areas over here.
Why fruit trees? I gives me a very (VERY) unpleasant feeling to imagine eating a fruit from such a tree. It is literally the same atoms. Don't get me wrong, but makes me think it is a very twisted way of reincarnation. It might offend some people.
I don't think there is a problem of available land in Washington, but here in some areas of Europe there is not enough space to dedicate a piece of land to someone for eternity. Usually in 40-50 years (max), someone else will be buried in the same location. You can't do that when you have a wire mesh (might corrode?) and a tree on.
2 months ago
No need to worry :) I cover mine with a layer of fall leaves. They do just fine.
2 months ago