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Ralph Kettell

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since Nov 18, 2017
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Recent posts by Ralph Kettell

Hi Daron,

1.  Our Creator designed the environment and he made a garden.  I believe that HE used the same principles in designing both and that all of Creation was in harmony (before the tree of knowledge incident).   As we attempt to return the earth to that harmony, growing in a way that helps cleanse the environment of our filth is a small contribution that each of us can make.

2. The hardest thing for me personally is that my physical mobility limits what I can accomplish in a timely fashion.  I can still do most things, but it takes much longer to do them from a 10% standing & 90% sitting position.  Alrhough it is easier to spot squash bug eggs in a sitting position.

Sincerely,

Ralph
1 week ago
For the two people who liked my prior post and to whoever else is interested, I have now turned all of my wicking barrels into wicking barrel worm bin planters.  The plants seem to be liking the addition of on site worms and composting.

 I have added a 4" pvc French drain type pipe and drilled a few 3/8" holes to complement the 1/2" holes that the pipe comes with.  The pipe is about 1 foot long and the end is scalloped so it fits nicely over the top of one of the drain pipes that makes up the reservoir. I put it over the top of the long drain pipe that does not have the outlet exit pipe in it.  This means that the water running through the worm feeding/composting area cannot short circuit right out the drain.  It must first filter over to the other long pipe which contains the drain.

I usually cut a small, ~ 1" to 1.5" hole in the drain pipe and locate my vertical composting pipe so that the hole in the bottom is roughly in the center of the vertical pipe.  I then wad up some landscape fabric so the compost in the pipe does not drip into the  reservoir cavity, aka bottom pipe.  Then I start out with some shredded paper followed by kitchen scraps and garden trimmings.  I then add 50 to 100 red wigglers and the project is done.  I have access to long shredded paper as opposed to the small piece shredded output which wads up into little wet balls.  The long shredded paper is much preferred.  I take a wad of that and drench it in a bucket and plug the hole. Sometimes I have just thrown some wood chips on top.  If you want to spend the money you can buy a pvc cap for +/- $5.  Frankly I prefer wood chips our shredded paper.

I hope this is of interest.

Sincerely,

Ralph
3 weeks ago

Leslie Russell wrote:I'm a cardboard fan. I too let it get soaked by the rain so the tape and any staples pull off easily. It stays in place better if you soak it with a garden hose - I'm in a windy area so that's important for me or I'm sprinting across the field!
After that I throw on chicken coop litter and leaves and whatever else I can get my hands on and it sits for months before I turn it into a garden bed.
I found this website for free cardboard but alot of it might have ink and other nasty stuff. I don't use colored boxes either, like most everybody else.

https://firstquarterfinance.com/where-to-get-free-cardboard/



I had to read all the posts and found that you beat me to it.  I used to go through the work of cutting out labels and stripping tape. Now I simply get out the house and start setting it down.  In a few minutes the tape peels right off.  It takes a fraction of the time and is 100 % effective.  

I had a garden bed that I half sheet mulched 5 weeks ago.  The non sheet munched side had a 6 to 12 inch growth of weeds, and the sheet munched side had only a few tiny to small weeds.  I was impressed.
1 month ago
Hi Paul,

I have a question.  I am going to upgrade to the $100 level but I was looking at the $150 and $200.  Now here it's the rub. I already own the rocket DVDs (8) and the rocket oven DVD, but I would like to get the PDC and ATC stuff that is offered at the $200 price point.  Would it be possible for me to swap out the pdc/atcat material at the $150 pledge point.  This kind of thing I'd a bit of an issue for those of USD who have a substantial investment already in permies STUFF.

Sincerely,

Ralph
1 month ago
Thanks.

It has an over flow depending on how you plumb it.  If you interconnect several barrels you still eventually have an overflow in the last barrel.

Sincerely,

Ralph
1 month ago

Judith Browning wrote:Is there someone growing them commercially there?  
We get our plants from a local blueberry farm, all known varieties for this area, where besides selling the berries he makes cuttings and sells gallon sized one and two year old plants.
He has just sold his farm this year so was trying to sell out all of the plants also.  They were four dollars each (normally six dollars) so I bought twenty and have been planting like crazy and giving some to our sons. We already had seven in the ground, so I think we'll end up with twenty total...can't have too many



Hi Judith,

Would you mind passing in the name and location of the farm, if he hasn't sold all of his stock yet.  We are local and would like to buy some also.  Thanks.

Sincerely,

Ralph
1 month ago

Marlo Blythe wrote:Good soil for raised beds is too costly for me right now, since this project is a gift.



Hi Marlo,  

Check out my post on wicking barrels in this forum.  They are about 20 inches high so they should keep the dogs out, but if not some cheap decorative fencing around the top of the barrel should certainly do the job.  As far as cost, they only cost about $10 to make and I used sand in the bottom of the barrels so your soil will work.  You will need to add a bit of organic amendments to improve the soil a bit, but that should be no more than $5 per barrel.  I will be posting a thread soon on a vermiconposting version of the barrels which will compost in the barrel with worms to constantly be improving the soil while the plants are growing using your kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, etc.  These barrels have a 5 to 6 gallon water reservoir so they can easily support two full size tomato plants per barrel or three pepper plants or equivalent and usually only need to need water every other day.

Sincerely,

Ralph
1 month ago
Hello All,

One difference between this design and many other wicking bed designs is a slight risk, but with a huge benefit.  

The difference is that I put the drain hole as close to the bottom as is reasonably possible.  The risk this creates is that if you have a leak, the water might drain out.  I have never had this be an issue with the numerous barrels that I have built.

The advantage of this design is that you can look down into the short length of vertical pipe connected to the elbow and see what the water level is in the barrel.  If it is low you can add water, and if not you don't need to worry about it until later.  With the usual design, you have no way of knowing the level.  You have to fill the barrel and only know the level once the water begins to drain out.

You can also connect these tubes from one barrel to another and then you can fill the highest barrel and let the water trickle down to the lowest.  This can greatly simplify watering.  If you use a clear plastic pipe to connect the barrels you can monitor the filling process between the barrels.

I hope this is of interest.

I will also be doing another post soon on a self wicking barrel with built in vermi-composting to provide a healthier growth environment for the plant.  I have a couple off them in proves at the moment and the worms seem to like the barrels and they are eating and fertilizing the plants in real time.

Sincerely,

Ralph
1 month ago

brad weirich wrote:Not sure,,,,,,but here goes.  
Using aircrete in rocket stove bench in place of cob???
Not as heavy



I am guessing that you may have seen some of the videos by Darwin of the honey do carpenter.  He had done some pretty interesting things with air Crete, but he is an intuitive designer and does not have a technical background.

Darwin believes that you can use air Crete in a thermal mass which is not a good material to use principally for the reason Paul indicated.  His belief comes from (I believe) his experiments on the forge he built, because it got so hot and held the heat so long.  This is because it is an insulator.  If you heat an insulator really really hot then it will stay really really hot for a really really long time.  This has NO bearing on its ability to store relatively low temperature heat and gradually release it into a room.  Darwin did not measure the huge amount of heat that went into heating up the forge and then compare it to the relatively small amount of heat released very slowly by his insulating material.

I do not intend this in any way as a dig at Darwin.  He had created some really unique projects and I encourage him to continue.  He will eventually figure out things like this with additional testing.  I think that some of the air Crete mixes that he had created may eventually revolutionize sections of rocket ovens, stoves, and mass heaters.  Time will tell.

Sincerely,

Ralph
2 months ago