Earl Ironside

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since Jul 25, 2019
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Recent posts by Earl Ironside

Thanks for the response everyone.  With regards to brush piles I was under the impression that they are fire hazards.  Is it better to pile brush in big heaps or leave it relatively scattered across the property?
1 month ago

Mike Barkley wrote:Perhaps build some large hugelkultur gardens.



Thanks I have started some hugelkultur and plan on doing more.  My property is pretty sloped and rocky so digging down or digging up the dirt to do hugelkultur is a bit of a challenge but I will do that to some of the brush for sure.


Juniper Zen wrote:There was another thread about this recently:[/url]



Thank you I did read through that thread before posting.  Lot of good information in there.  I almost posted this in there but didn't want to hijack.


@Pearl Sutton

I will look at those resources thanks for the information.  I will try the bury method but it is a bit difficult on my property as I mentioned above.  Maybe at some point I could rent some heavy equipment to aid in the process.
1 month ago
I have a relatively new to me property in an area that is susceptible to wild fires.  We had a scare already this year and had to evacuate for an evening.  I'm trying to take all the steps I can to mitigate the risk.  Most around here clear brush off their property which would be counter to permaculture thinking.  What are some of my options to still mitigate my risk but not get rid of loads of bio mass on my property?  One option I have considered is accumulating brush far away from structures and eventually renting a chipper but I have even read in this area to not use wood chips too close to structures.
1 month ago
Thanks all this has given me a lot to think about.  I think I'll try and start with just the cover crop.
1 year ago
I'm finishing up my first Hugel and plan on immediately sowing some cover crop.  My question is should I/can I put mulch on top of that?  Will the cover crop be able to come through?  I have access to free wood chips and I am concerned that they might not be able to make it through.  I guess this doesn't apply to just Hugel mounds but it is my current scenario.  I've really only ever used mulch on established plants.

Thanks for any advice you can supply.
1 year ago

John C Daley wrote:No, not diverting any water, planting into the moist ground



Oh I see that makes sense.  Unfortunately the area is actually only about 10 feet wide strip behind my house.  After the 10 feet there is a retaining wall and behind that a rather steep section of hill.
1 year ago

wayne fajkus wrote:You might look into a terrace. In simple terms it is a swale that gradually slopes downhill, moving the water away. When they did mine the drop was something like 1ft every 50ft. The water moves slowly.



Thanks I'm assuming this always involves heavy equipment.  I might have access issues with this.

John C Daley wrote:
Thinking laterally, can you put this water to good use?
Vegetable garden, orchard etc or simply trees that may love that situation.
I have seen trees planted on farms to absorb water



Like diverting water with the french drain and running it to an orchard or garden area?  That is definitely the plan when we install the french drain or at the very worst to some sort of catchment that can be pumped elsewhere.


Similarly, instead of a swale uphill could I run more of a diversion trench that runs away from the house but towards an area that could use water like an orchard?
1 year ago
Yes the hill above is much drier.  To be clear I've estimated the slope to be about 23 percent which I believe is actually slightly less than 15 degrees.
1 year ago
Recently moved to a new home and have been evaluating my site for permaculture purposes.  My home is situated on a hillside about half way up.  That means directly behind my home the ground continues to slope up.  I've noticed the ground directly behind my house feels water logged even when we haven't had rain in days.  My guess is water is flowing down the hillside and just getting trapped by my house.  Naturally I am worried about what this means for water getting into my basement as well as the foundation of my home.  I plan to install a french drain around the house and hopefully catch that water or divert it somewhere useful.

My question is will building swale(s) behind my house up the hillside also serve to alleviate this problem and better hydrate the hillside behind my house?  Or could it actually make it worse?  Is there any danger building a swale like this behind my house?  I've read figures on this site suggesting what is considered too steep to implement a swale.  I think I fall in a safe range.  I'm actually unsure how to calculate this but just taking the rise and run given by google maps I get a percent slope of about 23%.  There are of course sections that are steeper and section that are more gentle.  I actually live in a pretty arid region which is why I was surprised that the area directly behind the house was seemingly so water logged but I think I now understand better.  Any advice would be appreciate.  

Site info:
Southeast Idaho
5 Acres
Elevation: 5,029 - 5,170
13 in annual precipitation





1 year ago
Thanks for the advice and kind words everyone.

You could ask us. It works best if you can isolate one mystery plant per thread.  



Thanks I suspect I will get laughed off the forum with some of the plants I question but that won't deter me.


Start a small nursery area and start planting seeds, cutting etc.  



I am all ears when it comes to thing I can actually be taking action on.  To be clear your suggestion is to start a small patch somewhere to act as a nursery experimenting with different trees and bushes and if they took off I would transplant them to my desired location later?

I don't have any specific fruit tree I am really set on growing just know that I do want to try some of my best options for my area.  The former owner said he did plant fruit trees but they never really thrived because he couldn't get them enough water.  I have located them and believe they are plum trees but am unsure.

Everyone in my family loves berries so I will definitely want to grow some or all of blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
1 year ago