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Ellen Schwindt

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since Jul 16, 2018
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hugelkultur foraging homestead
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Recent posts by Ellen Schwindt

Beautiful permaculture pictures! I especially love the stair steps, the ancient path (wait those are really permanent features, aren't they?). I'm not moving to spain because I have a beloved 20 acres in New Hampshire and also a husband, but I like your vision. I also loved your no-dig potato bed. How did that work out?
2 weeks ago
I loved the post about your own landrace of pumpkins. I practice something similar on my zone 3 (maybe some pockets of 4)  wanna-be-a-farm in Northern New Hampshire. I save seeds from the pumpkins I like and let nature take her course in terms of breeding. I've had great results and not-so-great results. It's always an adventure! Here's a picture of the one that I liked called "the banana squash" from a few summers back.
3 months ago
Nice to dream about using tools like these next spring. Thanks for posting. I particularly like the thoughtfully crafted Hori Hori knife.
5 months ago
Welcome to Permies, Jasmine. I will look forward to the threads your presence produces as I am converting my small farm from a Ruth Stout kind of approach to a more perennial agriculture kind of approach and trying to do something more like design as I do that. I have more or less just wandered out to the garden and decided on the spot what to do that day, rather than follow a "design" and that has worked well for me over many years of organic gardening. But trying to follow permaculture principals has made me feel like a complete beginner again. I'll look forward to ideas about how to tackle the design phase of making something more perennial here in New Hampshire.
7 months ago
I experience peace when I relocate slugs from my garden plants instead of smashing them. I experience peace when I allow others to think whatever they think, but bring my whole self to the table to enjoy their company. I recognize, more and more, the structures built into our dominate society that disallow peace amongst us. As I take myself further away from the mainstream of society, I am working gently toward finding ways to nurture peace-structures within this wider world of all humans, just on my little hill here in New Hampshire, and just bit by bit, a little bit like the way the slugs in my garden work over the lowest leaves of my kale plants first, giving me time to find them new homes and still eat the top leaves to my heart's content.

That's perhaps not so cogent, but it sums up the feeling, and work, of peace I experience today.
8 months ago
This thread is so salient to me right now. I'm redesigning my three garden plots using low hugel mounds. I'm somewhere between a zone 4b and 3b, depending on how you look at the map and think about elevation and North facing slopes. Last summer we experienced a drought and I had my household hauling water, taking bucket baths, and only doing laundry in town. This summer it's July 23 and our spring is still running over! I'm only sitting here writing now because of the beautiful rain that's falling on my new hugel beds.

I found the same trouble that A Flan mentions about trying to germinate seeds on my new hugel beds. The beds dried out much faster than I am used to on the un-mounded ground. Three solutions I found so far are:

1. planting a nurse crop. I used Buckwheat to nurse along some Laurentian Rutabaga seeds. We ate the Buckwheat sprouts as the Rutabagas came up and now we're eating the last thinnings of the Rutabagas. That might turn out to be successful. The Rutabaga crop looks healthy, anyway. I have been adding "transplant mix:" a mix of leaf mold, horse manure, garden soil, sand and ash around the base of the most promising plants.

2. mulch--both cut grass/hay and chop and drop mulching. Gradually, I'm seeing some improvement.

3. I also used something like what somebody mentioned Goeff Lawton does--little wells of compost into which I transplanted starts and seeds.

Of course, I don't really know yet how any of this will turn out, but it's a great deal of fun.

My plan is to build the soil in this manner this season and gradually build it up over the rotting wood/brush/leaves that makes up the mounds. At any rate, it's clear that I'm capturing the darn lot of water that's falling out of the sky and I don't need any sort of hauling to happen this season.

I just ran across a seedball comment on another forum. I wonder if anybody has comments about using seedballs in hugels that are already planted with some kind of cover crop. For instance, I want to grow a lot of beets as a fall crop, but I'm not quite sure how to get them germinated in place without the hugel ground drying out...

thanks for the great conversation!
10 months ago
Welcome to Eric and kudos on choosing an interesting topic. I want to quote Marco Banks:
[I'm curious about your thoughts regarding comfrey tea -- comfrey being the only ingredient. ]
The only compost teas I've made are lazy versions of comfrey tea--just chop it down, put it in a bucket, then pour the water on my plants after a week or so. I sometimes also through in squash leaves that I've picked to eliminate the squash bug eggs on them. I'm never sure (that is I haven't done any rigorous studies on) whether it helps, but my intuition says it's good for brassica crops. I'll look forward to people's comments on comfrey tea specifically and in general. I never thought of using a bubbler for aeration, but then I'm kind of a newbie here....
10 months ago
This thread (and I only read down about half-way on the right-hand screen bar margin thing) was thoroughly engaging. I'm now in the process of trying out which grains and which dairy products I can put back into my diet after a time of eliminating a lot of them. But I'm from Kansas and I love wheat. What I don't love (and if you've driven through Western Kansas, you'll know what I mean) is seeing huge piles of wheat stacked up on coop yards because there isn't even enough silo space for them. I have been experimenting with growing grains on a small scale for several years and I want to go down that path some more--especially now when it's clear that I really don't want to eat grain too much--but the occasional taste of home-grown cracked wheat, perhaps even soaked overnight, is well within my grasp. I am currently waiting for the next dry spell here in Northern New Hampshire to harvest the world's smallest patches of wheat and rye. Thanks for all the good conversation.
10 months ago
I think the straw badge should include Scything.

Or saving the straw from harvesting Wheat or Oats or Rye.

Of course I think that because I do it....
10 months ago
I'd like to follow Cindy's advice and build a two-wheeled cart. Thank you for the post on that and for pointing me in the direction of the plans. I've always used a wheelbarrow, but after a back injury, I'm afraid to do that this summer and I need a way to move around materials without hurting myself. Perhaps this is it.
11 months ago