K Eilander

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since Aug 23, 2018
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homeschooling homestead woodworking
Rocky Mountains, USA
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Recent posts by K Eilander

Dave de Basque wrote:There are so many styles of things that people call "raised beds." What style are you thinking of?



Exactly.

In fact, in the latest Mother Earth News there was an article where somebody used a bunch of old, discarded bathtubs.  I thought that was a pretty clever repurpose.  
Just found this thread.  I really like the idea.  Any movement yet?
1 week ago
Does anybody know of a plant database that includes the natural origin for any given species?

I think it would be useful in determining potential plant guilds by looking at what is designed to grow together in nature.
1 week ago
I realize that rocket stoves are supposedly immune when functioning properly, but it would be helpful to see if this would stand up to a regular old creosote chimney fire.
3 weeks ago
Sounds like a nature walk might be in order.  Wander around and see what naturally grows in your area that could serve the purpose.

Something tough and stringy like a palm frond or even tough grass might be good.

Alternatively we could take walk back through history.
Arak root was popular as a natural toothbrush well as many other datun or "chewing sticks" used the world over.
3 weeks ago
I'm new to microgreens.  I'm sprouting these guys in a dark box near the fireplace to keep them warm.  Misting with water twice daily.

For now the soil consists of:
33% Miracle Grow Potting mix (not the most organic thing I know, but still at least has nutrients)
33% Bark chips
33% Perlite
... and 1% math :)-

Seeds are brand new from Mountain Valley and regardless of species I seem to get this result.  Some sprouts are very tall -- almost ready for harvest.  Meanwhile others have not yet sprouted.

From all the stuff I've seen online they're supposed to look more or less like a nice, even lawn of sprouts.

Any idea what I'm doing wrong?
1 month ago
I don't know whether the origin was due to human involvement or simply nature working right, but...

I saw a documentary where they dug into the amazon soil, expecting to find the best "black gold" stuff ever.  It was for a few inches, but after that, nothing but white sand!

Turns out the system is so efficient that almost all of the biomass is in live, standing plants, not the soil!  Interesting!
Now, that's one remarkably efficient system, if you think about it.  Nothing wasted in the amazon.

Also turns out that was bad news for the cattle ranchers who were burning the forest for land.  Bye, bye, biomass.  What they thought was going to be this amazing, fertile, land literally went up in smoke.
It would be tempting to call it poetic justice if it wasn't all so stupid and tragic.
1 month ago
Even pea gravel would work, the added weight and different texture could be a pro or a con -- depending on what feels good to him.
1 month ago
I have a couple of thoughts.  (May or may not be good ones, so take it for what it's worth.)

The first is, your building looks fairly tall and I think I even spotted a staircase up to a loft.  Would it be possible to reinforce that floor and raise up the tank to eliminate the need for the second pump altogether?

Second, I don't know how much of a necessity filling the pond is in your particular situation, but when the tank is full you could use a DPDT relay to switch the power on over to your main solar electric system.  (Better to have the watts going into batteries than into a hole in the ground.)  

1 month ago
I was recently fiddling around with self-watering planters.  Yeah, you can't grow as much as in the ground, but they're great for decks, driveways, and other places where that's not possible.  Plus, we plan on adding a few inside the house for winter growing.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my latest innovation in that arena.  While the above are somewhat self-watering, which is nice, water still needs to be added from time to time.
My idea is to make the task of watering completely automatic, rain-barrel compatible, grid water fail-safe, AND without needing any electricity!

This improvement works with any watering arrangement that uses a fixed level of water, including:
Either the 5-gallon poly bucket variety ("Alaska" buckets)

Or more of a raised garden bed (SIP sub-irrigated planters)

Or it should also do great with animal watering systems.

The secret to making this happen is a poly bucket with a pair of cheap float valves ($3 apice on amazon)

To set up, the height of this bucket is raised or lowered so that the "max" line is the same water level as the planter's and a funny-pipe hose run from this to the bottom of it.  The higher float is run to the rain barrel, and the lower is attached to a garden hose.

Here's how it works:
1) When the level drops below the "max" line, the first float turns on and water from my (higher elevation) rain barrel refills the bucket (and therefore the planter) up to the correct level.

2) If water ever drops below the "min" line, then presumably the rain barrel is now empty, so the second valve turns on to at least maintains the minimum acceptable level using regular tap water.

Well, I hope this idea is something useful that you guys can add to your own projects.

1 month ago