Bill Waters

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since Apr 09, 2016
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hugelkultur forest garden foraging
Coastal South East US
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Recent posts by Bill Waters

Jack Edmondson wrote:Bill,

It sounds like you have success similar to what I would like.  As stated, it will be silvopasture; but I am striving for a polyculture and hoping the clover will give a 'carpet to cover the ground' under and around other plantings.  I was initially leaning towards a dutch white as it would not shade out everything else; but will have to do more research.  The crimson will give me what I need for this season with no downside risk.  

I plan to no till.  I want to experiment using equipment to lightly scratch the surface no deeper than an inch to plant pasture crops.  For now, I will stick with small seed that can be incorporated on the surface to a half an inch.  In the spring I plan to let the heat terminate the crop.  In the fall, I will likely broadcast and cultipack so the residue helps set the next crop.  

When you planted peas what depth did you plant.  From what I can gather "too deep" seems to be the most common mistake.  Since I am not working the ground, that should not be a problem for me.  However in the spring I plan to try larger seeds, like Sunn Hemp and Cow Pea.  I want to make sure I am not too shallow.  Thoughts or experiences?

Thank you for your input.  Great idea on the polyculture

before I planted peas I just roughed up the surface a little (with a hoe and a cobra head type tool) and just broadcast. My goal was to make divots and shallow furrows. I didn't worry about pushing them into the soil... that might have decrease germination rates but enough came up to make it worth it. I do this for hugelkultur building as well, sometimes I will literally throw the larger seeds at the soil to get them to stay in place.

So Eric was right in thinking white clover. I guess I usually think white clover as well but crimson clover was fresh on my mind for other reasons. I guess for silvo pasture white perennial clover would be appropriate. Does it go dormant where you are? here it usually goes dormant for maybe two months when it gets really hot, just something to consider.

no experience with this- but I would chop the established white clover back, let it start to regrow then sow your warm season crops... the cover of the white clover should be enough to get them to germinate if you coincide with the rain. Cutting it back will give warm crops a chance to rise above quickly before the white clover has a chance to over take the young seedlings.
So some perennial clover seeds into the cover crop mix would be beneficial. You definitely get more biomass off the jump with crimson clover, but it's basically gone by end of May. Possibly don't go as heavy with the crimson clover so it won't shade out the white clover.
4 months ago

Eric Hanson wrote:Jack,

The reason I ask is that if you plan to garden or plant other crops then I would aim for annuals in your seed mix.  I am a bit concerned about the use of clover.  Please don’t misunderstand me, clover can be a great cropping and is wonderful for soil, but once you have it, you have it for good.

As a possible replacement, I was thinking about Austrian Winter Peas.  These are annual legumes and will act much like clover will.  


I got the impression he was talking about annual crimson clover, not perennial clover, that is usually the go-to for cover crop mixes.
But what you plan to do with the land after the cover crop is an important aspect that goes into planning your cover cropping.
This past year I (coastal zone 9) did clover, peas and wheat. (the wheat sprouted up from a light layer of straw mulch). I just broadcast seeded before a rain and did a very light layer of straw mulch. Everything came up wonderfully. I then just cut small holes in the clover where I wanted to plant. A nice string trimmer could make quick work of that. I had great poly culture going on with food plants growing in the cover crop. I just used a hand sickle, or sometimes hedge clippers, to chop a little bit of the cover clover around the food plants. worked great. but that's small scale.
As it warmed up, I used a string trimmer to mow down the clover crop.It has fully died back over a month ago and has been on its way out since may. I didn't have any issues with reseeding as the extension agency warned me, but I am hopeful to get some crimson clover sprouting up as the weather cools off in the fall.
Are your plans to regularly till? do one time till? no till?
if no-till or plant to go to no-till, we have the advantage of using the heat. So you could mow the cool weather cover crops low to the ground and mulch in place, the heat will make sure they don't come back in full force and become a problem
4 months ago
possibly. I have seen soaker hoses that were exposed to the sun degrade rather quickly, so that always leads me to believe they are degrading into the soil. I'm not an expert, but if they are falling apart after a few years use, i would assume that degraded plastic is going into the soil. It may depend on quality of soaker hose and exposure to sun/temperatures as to how fast they degrade. I think personally think overhead irrigation gets a bad wrap but for certain situations i think it's better than drip/soaker. It has it's advantages and draw backs just like every other irrigation system. I'm sure it just depends on the level of toxicity you're willing to accept. Some people are ok with plastic rain barrels, others are not. Same with soaker hoses, however if you get a cheap one, it could lead to more toxicity than you are willing to accept. j
7 months ago
thank you all for your input!
I think instead of a mister i'll go with the jerry rigged type drip system, i don't think a mister would be best for this anyway now that i'v been able to think about this idea for more than an hour. I'll be decrease the height distance between the rain barrel and the worm bin, to slow the drip into the worm bin, i'll go with just poking holes in the poly. And i'll increase the height of the worm bin... although it may be beneficial to have slow output. I'm thinking i could just drop the hose end at the base of a tree while checking on it or doing any other short tasks. I'll just have to work out any kinks or problems as i build my first one.

7 months ago
...and after rereading what i wrote, i found out my wife typed in a little something extra in the description when i was cooking... sneaky sneaky
7 months ago
So, the idea behind this is I have different gardens around town i manage their organic food gardens. I have been using water that i pour through my worm bin, then haul around to the gardens i'm doing maintenance visits for in 5 gallon buckets. I do this about once a month. -i just pour 4-5 gallons through the worm bin, then mix it all together and use it all that day. I dilute it a little bit at the different properties. It's easier than harvesting worm castings, better than leachate, and easier than bubbling worm tea.
But it's time consuming and laborious, So I'm trying to stream line that at a few gardens. As well as give clients a place to put their food scraps. I need others to point out things i'm not thinking about or any blaring problems with this idea. It may not be original, but i have not seen it before. My first tests site will be at a gym, so we're hoping to have members coming in bringing their kitchen scraps, and feeding a few 15-gal size worm bins. but the garden is small scale- about 250 square feet, so i won't need a ton of worm tea.

The idea:
60 gal rain barrel, elevated to about 5'. That is connected, via spigot to 1/2" poly that runs to a greenhouse mister type fitting over the worm bin- worm bin is elevated about 3'-4'... i've thought i might just use a garden hose fixed to a nursery nozzle... the point is to spread the water over the surface of the worm bin... Then when i turn on that water, every few weeks, it sprinkles gently through the worm bin. The water filters through the worm castings in the worm bin, collecting all of the worm poo goodness, then goes through another bin that has a screen to catch any worms or debris that falls through. Then the water goes into a 3rd container (they're all stacked like a typical homemade worm bin), that will fill up 6-7 gallons. Attached to the 3rd collection bin will be my hose that i can just use to water the garden. The point is to keep pressure by having that reservoir, and as long as the amount of input water is roughly the same as output water, the pressure will remain roughly constant. I love my wife.

My main concerns- will 5 gallons elevated at 3', though a garden hose, be enough pressure to reach roughly 75'? I guess it doesn't have to be very high pressure though... how would i go about figuring that out? Do y'all think this will work? How much pressure will i need going into the worm bin to get good coverage though one of those overhead misters? It is a lot of plastic, but i'm trying to provide a place for food scraps as well as use worm water for the garden. Any better ideas?

If anything is confusing or incomplete i can go into more detail.
7 months ago

S Bengi wrote:I think that it is good that it is public and so people are nicer.
I can see how some folks on the more "prepper" who like their privacy wouldn't want to talk about their plans and project to the public. Or those who engage in civil disobedience by installing a greywater system or composting toilet might not want everything out in the open.

Similar to how we have biweekly themes/book give away here on permies, it might be nice to have 24 or 12 themes per year. And semililar amount of in person workshop. Do charge for the workshop but offer sliding rate scholarship aka full scholarship. Make your facebook post picture/infograph heavy

thats a perfect examples, some members live in small conservative communities and have already gotten trouble from (as paul says it) "the department of making you sad" for simple things like small structures and the sort, we don't need to blast out online what plans we have, or are thinking about. Even if people don't ultimately put those plans into action, it's still nice being able to talk about them without nosey Nelly down the street seeing it on her Facebook homepage. We do have preppers in the larger group but for the most part they stay off Facebook entirely...

For this workshop i'm only charging people their labor to help me get a few projects done, i'm also working on my teaching skills because i'm pretty terrible at it but would like to do more in the future...  and today i started a picture thread in the group, lets hope that gets some responses and friendly interactions going!
8 months ago

S Bengi wrote:I would encourage you to send out daily posts. Each with a little tidbit of permaculture gold.

If you become the "expert" you will be able to better facilitate these discussions. Post picture of project that you are doing or that you see on the web.

This could also be the be nice policy of the group, after too many heated conversation the defacto solution was to just talk about fluff stuff. I like  hosting workshops with my own local group.

thank you for input- i like the idea of semi daily posts, i've been thinking of ways i can post semi daily about a "permaculturalize your thinking!" with a little tidbit i've learned from permaculture and see if people want to expand and discuss them... for example "Permaculture thought for the day- 'The problem is the solution!' tell me about instances where you've experienced this"
I'm hosting a workshop soon and we'll see how the turn out will be... i'm hopeful we can get the ball rolling again.
8 months ago

T Melville wrote:I no longer use facebook, but I have a thought (or two) that might be helpful. Is the facebook group open to be joined by anyone? Or at least any local? If so, maybe post a link here. Maybe you'll get more members who are used to how we do things here.

Also, maybe post permies links there? Maybe that exposes some folks to how we do things here. Maybe if you can't have the discussion you want on facebook, you can move it here. Maybe some facebookers learn to "be nice". Maybe if I try hard enough, I can squeeze in one more "maybe"...

Anyone can request to join, though someone in the group of moderators has to approve them. Usually we just try to make sure they live in the area, and it's not a troll, we're pretty lax when it comes to that but we want to keep this group local. juuusttt maybe.... it's hard because for the most part every one is nice, only one instance a while ago, before the rules, some one ended a pretty engaged conversation quickly with a comment that really sounded like "if you don't do permaculture my way then you're wrong!"
One problem is we've had a lack of engagement from members because this group is public. You have to request to join in the conversation, but anyone can see the conversation. Sometimes threads will appear on someone's homepage that is not in the group themselves, but has a friend in the group. Multiple people want to make the group private, and said that's the thing holding them back from engaging. bbbuuutt roughly the same amount of people want to keep the group public. They've given the "we need to spread the permaculture knowledge to as many people as possible" excuse to keep it public. I fully agree with that idea, i just don't think this is going about that in the right way.  And while they themselves aren't very active in spreading permaculture knowledge through their own Facebook page, they want other people to do it. I want to go about this process democratically, but lots of people voted without giving it any real thought or discussion. Some got the wrong impression that making it private will make it completely closed off to the public, this is not true. We tried to explain this but i think people don't get on Facebook enough to keep up with the discussion (but still felt they should vote). You only have to be approved (very easy) to read the discussion and participate. The group will also come up when Facebook makes suggestions to people about what groups they should check out, so it still will have public exposure. Just some drama, and in the end it will be resolved, it's just hard to discuss with people who have made up their minds and i'm semi-venting my frustrations while also looking for help. :-D
thank you for the response!
8 months ago
 Hello! Recently I'v fallen into a "leadership" role with my local permaculture group. We have a decent sized Facebook group catered to our specific area, i think the vast majority or members live in our county, or surrounding counties. Past leaders and current leaders have tried for years to get people to gather in person, but there's a lack of commitment and every one is "just so busy." I've all but given up on trying for regular meet ups. So i've turned my focus to trying to facilitate more discussion on the FB page. There's a lot of semi-negative thoughts I have about the group and while I don't want to focus on them, I think recognizing them first is the only way to fix them.
 The FB discussion has been so stagnate, basically nothing is being discussed that wouldn't fit into just an organic gardening group. No discussion that goes beyond organic gardening, and no new ideas being dissected or discussed. Theres one-on-one discussion when people hang out with fellow permie friends, and a few of us work on projects around the area together, but i think that leaves a lot of room to improve, and a lot of opinions and views are being left out by almost a clique like mentality.  
 Soooo, I'm trying to learn how to facilitate more in depth discussion within our FB group. I've already put forth my intentions for facilitating more online discussion and debating in the group. I have gotten lots of support from the usual active people and new people. I've even come up with discussion rules a little bit like permies, and i'm constantly asking for input. I want more people to feel like a part of the group. I'm trying to encourage those with lots of knowledge to interact more with those who are newer, both could benefit. I just want some more input from outside of my own brain as to how to get more discussions going and i have seen there a lot of good "thinkers" in these forums...  
 Also, I'm really not sure how to word this, i think i've written and deleted a paragraph about 4 times, but how do you talk to people who believe their point of view is "morally right" and plug their ears to any other POVs. Very frustrating, i can see the perks of the way this forum is set up, but i don't think myself and a few others can highjack the FB group and make it how we want to get more discussion going. Please share if you have any thoughts about that subject if you want, i'm always looking for outside ideas and help... I may go into more detail about this specific problem but for now i dont think i can without being too specific, and it's hard to explain all of the ins and outs in a monologue.
 Anyway, i'm trying to be more active on here, at first its a little intimidating with the whole apples and pies aspect, but i'll worry about that later. I also like to discuss more with people in my specific area, as a lot of my wonderings are about that.
8 months ago