Aly Sanchez

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since Mar 19, 2010
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Recent posts by Aly Sanchez

I have a small stand of black locust in zone 4/5 and appreciate the n-fixing and yummy blossoms but wouldn't intentionally grow more for firewood. There are things that grow/regrow much faster here (like elm) and don't have thorns on their branches to hassle with.  But really, I deal with thorns and spines enough here.
2 years ago
Damn, damn, damn. Terrible news and far too early in life to navigate passing. I donated to the cause and posted to social network. I never met Toby but Gaia's garden has been invaluable over the years. I have two well-loved copies and have probably bought and gifted another half-dozen to people who seem receptive. His work and their lives have done so much to extend the accessibility of permaculture, firmly establish a US presence, and to inspire urban and suburban households to embrace the practices and principles. I'm slowly working through Permaculture City as I work on some urban neighborhood project ideas.  
3 years ago
If you end up looking at adobe, I recommend this book: It includes considerations, energy info, and a series of plans in various styles and configurations.
4 years ago
I like it! One issue I have though is that I follow the link, see something cool, want to reply, need to log in, log in, then get shuttled to the main page, and can't find the thread again. Weekly is about right for frequency for my preferences.
Another pair here in the southwest US. We live in a medium sized city in a home circled by small yards areas- it's not a lot of overall land area, but a great find for affordable property in the core urban area. I'm the permie and my wife's the artist. I'm just getting started on the real work here as we enter our third year at this property. We're in 7b zone. Much of the task at hand is soil and water. Our house, while lovely and updated, was foreclosed on then stood vacant for 2-3 years. In our neck of the woods that makes soil into dust. So the surviving trees and plants are hearty but the soil is pretty much hydrophobic. We keep 2-3 hens, bees, and cats. I've been observing (of course!), getting structures like chicken pen and coop built, and the first plant projects were a dwarf/semi-dwarf fruit orchardlette and a plot next to the chook coop where I've put in grapes and berry bushes (with vines twined to eventually shade the coop). Next is pulling up gravel mulch and repurposing it for wicking bed media for annual beds and getting the newly exposed, rock free area amended for perennials (placed to take advantage of roof edge rain flow).

Oh, and in our city, which is really queer-friendly, I know a few other lesbian and bi permies.
4 years ago

Shaz Jameson wrote:Good point Charli.

Aly -- using them above ground? I thought it was always in the ground? Did you just got for pinhole size then?

I didn't mean using plastic as ollas, just my experience using them for "drip irrigation." I wanted a bit more flexibility/mobility than with buried jugs/bottles. I was surprised at how fast a pinhole drained (it was years ago - but I think I used a corkboard pushpin) - so run some tests and likely better to use different size sewing needles
5 years ago

Shaz Jameson wrote:What about re-using plastic bottles for ollas in places where it freezes?

I know plastic is the demon but it's free and it's re-using... or is the problem with leachate?

I'm just thinking I've got really sandy soil and along with a 'junk pit' some ollas could be quite helpful... I will have a scout around for unglazed clay pots, that's an awesome link

I'm not averse to using plastic even with leaching concerns (e.g wicking beds are pretty magical here). I've used two-litre soda bottles above ground, but getting the hole size just right was something for which I didn't have the patience (little pinhole will drain in a couple hours). Milk jugs degrade and shatter here.
5 years ago

Ruben Jaime wrote: My raised bed garden gets full sun at the moment and I've tried to place things where they wouldn't interrupt each others sun too much. At least by a newbies judgement.

Congratulations on beginning the journey! I live in the high desert with hot summers and low rainfall. From my experience, the type of raised bed you built can be challenging in terms of water needs and plant vigor if you are doing hose/bucket watering. If you don't already have a set-up, consider drip-irrigation, soaked hose, junk pit/olla, or wicking bed. It's often simpler to dig down instead of build up for arid climate gardening as the plants get a bit more shade, some wind protection, and better soil moisture regulating. As for full-sun... in my area "full sun" plants often do best with a bit of shade (shade-cloth, loosely spaced tall plants like sunflower).
I haven't read it, but that book that came out a while back seemed to really study selection of swarm destinations including other factors like location. A couple are mentioned here:

I lucked out this spring; my top-bar colony didn't overwinter but a swarm settled into the hive last weekend. A number of bees had been raiding remaining honey stores so I imagine a few colonies had it in mind before swarming and/or picked up on the honey/wax remaining. (note: I intended to do the prudent thing and pull all bars, discard/process all but two combs of honey, freeze those, then place back in the hive - but didn't get around to it... though I didn't notice any obvious signs of pathogen/mites/foulbrood when inspecting the dead colony, so hopefully a safe destination).
7 years ago

gani et se wrote:Alycat, can you elaborate a little on the junk pit? Is it right beside the plant? Under it? I'm thinking of half rotted wood...

If you look at the mound lowest in the picture you can see the opening. It's in the middle of the mound and has some cardboard scraps peeking out. The seeds are then around it for side growing. I used a post-hole digger to get...maybe 18" or so... down after forming the mound to keep the squash roots from soaking in the berm. I filled with mostly paper products like newspaper and cardboard, maybe some rags/cloth. With our arid climate it acts more akin to sponge or wick than something biologically active (hugel, compost, etc.). If it was getting rarer watering, an olla might make more sense, but it worked great for my needs. The junk pits are good here for trees as well (place one or more at the drip-line of new trees or those needing supplemental water.
7 years ago