Ian Bishop

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since Aug 11, 2018
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Recent posts by Ian Bishop

This is great.  The link is a place with exactly Our challenge.  They are just leaving the wheelie bins in the sun for a year though,  which would mean we would need to buy many wheelie bins.  Can't I empty a full wheelie bin into a humanure hacienda, clean and reuse straight away? Would need some kind of pulley system to lift the heavy bin and flip it,  but that might be a fun project.  
1 year ago
Hi all.
Still developing our our offgrid ecolodge in northern Indonesia,  and experimenting with different designs for composting toilets.
We are following the principles and designs from Jenkins' humanure handbook,  and following solid advice we've received on this forum.  We've built a humanure hacienda,  and it's all working really well.
The problem is that we're a resort not a family home,  so there will be many composting toilets which fill buckets quickly.  Even with the handful of volunteers we have over here, emptying the toilets is becoming more regular and harder work.  Since we stopped separating urine,  buckets have become much heavier.  
Then recently I've seen people using wheelie bins. This is very appealing to us.  Are there any good reasons why using a wheelie bin in conjunction with a large 'hacienda' style compost bin would not be effective? Perhaps the longer duration of time the guests' deposits stay in the wheelie bin rather than the hot composting area has an effect on the process,  or the length of time the compost needs before it can be used in soil?
Hopefully not,  and we can start building our prototype right away!
1 year ago

Greg Martin wrote:Do you have a list of additional plants you'd like to add and are there some foods that you want to maximize production of, or would like suggestions?

Again, apologies for the delay in responding. Please see my reply above.
2 years ago

Greg Martin wrote:Hey Ian, sounds fantastic.  Do you have a site map you can share along with some pictures?

sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We are in the area hit by the earthquake and Tsunami. We're all fine and safe, as is the project. But the villages near us were hit hard.

The area set aside for growing food is around 60m x 50m, although we'll also grow plenty of things around the rest of the site.
Its a wooded area in kind of a bowl shape.
It looks like this:


the video shows the terrain and the tree cover
The photos are our half-finished farming hub, which will have many functions, and is located at the edge of the garden
The other photo is our early attempts to build soil with mulch beds on contour, and our grand old mango tree in the background. It's a huge tree, the canopy of which shades around a third of the plot.

Here's my amateurish first ideas for layout of the plot, using zones and following contours:

Some of the small trees will be pruned back / coppiced to allow more light in. We have lots of moringa and tamarind - both nitrogen fixers i beleive, as well as 3 big mango trees. Soil is clay-heavy. There's always leaf-litter covering the soil, but the soil is rock hard unless it has rained, and has lots of bits of coral (the bedrock is a fossilised reef) and runoff of new soil and nutrients down the slope is going to be something we have to address through swales / terracing.

Current plan is to create mulch/compost beds on contour, and initially just grow ground cover legumes for chop-and-drop until we have a good layer of great soil.

So thats a little more info about our site. Are we approaching this from the right direction, and does anyone have any advice? Particularly advice surrounding soil building/preparation, crops to include, and overall layout/design
We want to fulfil the food needs, as much as possible, of our guests in the future. We will need to plant annuals/veggies somewhere, although i'm thinking that zone 1, then, should be around the kitchen, which will be around 60 meters away from this farming area. This farming area then should be home to our main energy crops (cassava, spuds etc) as well as a multi-layer low maintenance food forest of fruits and edible perennials.

Thank you!

2 years ago
Hi all,
We're building an off-grid beach resort for budget travellers in Central Sulawesi, northern Indonesia. And yes, it's right where the Earthquake and Tsunami were, but we're fine and the project continues.
Each of our bungalows will feature a composting toilet. As we're still in the build stage we need to make sure we get the design for the toilets right, and the process for using the organic matter correct, from the beginning.
Currently we have a simple 'bucket-in-a-box with a seat on top' system set up as a trial. We have a urine diverted installed, and use mostly sawdust for to cover each deposit. We figure that paying guests would prefer this kind of system to one where you poo into a large container which takes months to fill and takes up more space.
How are we doing so far?

Then, to recycle the contents of the buckets, we plan to leave them in the hot equatorial sun to dry out for a couple of months. Then, we have built 1.5m3 composting boxes. We will layer up with plenty of browns and greens and bacterial activators, leaving a 'nest' in the middle for a few buckets of the dried toilet material. We'll then Close it all up, ensure that thermophillic composting is taking place and that the inside of the pile is nice and hot for a while, then start turning.

Are we going down the right path here? Realistically for how long should the humanure be left in the compost pile before turning/ using the compost to ensure all of the pathogens are dead?

Right now we're only producing a couple of buckets of poo each month as it's just the owners, craftsmen and volunteers on site. But when guests start arriving we will have much more, so we need to get these systems correct from the beginning.

Any advice very much appreciated!

2 years ago
Many thanks both of you for taking the time to reply. I'll certainly follow your advice and give the seagrass a try, and leave it in an area at the back of the beach where it will get cleaned by the rain, but the salt will run back to the beach.

Our area designated for our farming/food forest is quite far above sea level, set back from the beach. It is already home to many wild fruit trees, and the soil is clay and covered in leaf mulch. We're not going to dig into the soil, we're focused on creating new soil on top. Mulching, chop-and-drop (especially of nitrogen-fixing ground cover) and composting our human-generated organic matter seems to be the recipe for this. Hopefully our plentiful sea-grass supply will add loads of new nutrients too.

Thank again!
2 years ago
Hi All,
My plot is next to a beach. We're on the equator and have a bountiful supply of tropical seagrass washing up on our beach every high tide.
Is this good mulch, does it need washing first (our fresh water supply is very limited), and if it's used in compost does this constitute a high nitrogen or carbon component?

Many thanks for any help!
2 years ago
Hi everyone. We're building an off-grid resort for budget travellers next to a beach in Northern Indonesia (central Sulawesi, more precisely). Our plot is 8000m2, we'll be powered by the sun, finding our own water solutions, composting our poo, and growing as much of our own food as we can. It's a lovely spot. Around  80m x80m is set aside for our agricultural pursuits. This land is gently sloping, dominated by a huge wild mango tree on one side and a big tamarind tree on the other. Light is dappled throughout, and soil seems deep if slightly clay-y (adjective for clay soil anyone?). Irrigation shouldn't be a problem as we have grey water recycling and we're pretty clued up on that side of things. Climate is very hot, rain is sporadic, and we're on the coast so that may have an impact. The native trees are thriving though. We have coconuts and limes and guava and all sorts. Ok, so that's our site. I want to maximise the amount of edible stuff the land produces, Ive watched lots of videos and read a few books, but I thought I'd turn to you guys for advice. Thoughts on design, layout, core principles, potential crops, animals.... We're really at the stage where we're taking advice from anyone kind enough to dispense it. We will have volunteers arriving soon, some of whom know a thing or two about permaculture, but we'd very much appreciate your thoughts on how to approach such a piece of land. Many thanks.
2 years ago