Loren Luyendyk

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since Aug 27, 2011
Loren Luyendyk
Santa Barbara. Ca
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Recent posts by Loren Luyendyk

Mulberry are notorious for hybridizing, and with the white and red growing together its hard to say what is what.  To make matters more confusing, they have very similar leaf shape and appearance.  But generally the red has darker and thicker leaves with a matte appearance as opposed to thin light colored and shiny.  The white also has leaves that are slightly pubescent.

I also think that the leaf shape variation from heart shaped leaves are female and the grape leafed/lobed is the male plants as mulberry are dioecious (male and female on separate plants).
9 months ago
I assume you are asking about fodder for cattle?  

Mulberry, poplar, alder, black locust, elder are just a few appropriate species, with white mulberry having the highest nutritional value and hardiness (it is toxic to horses like many trees are to them).  Mulberry also is high in micronutrients and of course has a very valuable fresh fruit.  

This wiki has the fodder value of many tree species listed out:

I am in the process of writing a white paper on the potential of mulberry silvopasture in mediterranean climates.  Alfalfa uses the most water of any crop in Ca and mulberry uses about 1/4 the water.  If graziers planted mulberry we would have a lot more water to go around!

Also called "tree hay" or "fodder banking".  Tree hay can be harvested (pruned) mid summer and baled for feeding out over winter, while fodder banks can be browsed in summer as a standing crop.
10 months ago
There are obviously many things to consider when drilling a well. You should first consider why you want to drill a well. Is it for drinking water? Irrigation? Could you supply your drinking water needs with rainwater catchment? This will be MUCH cheaper and maybe even better quality than a well (or at least more predictable quality assuming you don't live near a coal power plant). You never really know what the water will be like once you poke a hole in the earth, it could be full of salts or some micronutrient contaminant like iron or lead, naturally occurring. Of course the water quality determines if its potable and if its good for irrigation. If you are irrigating then you will either need a good well or a pond, or both. Depending on what you are growing and how much area, irrigation can take A LOT of water (think acre feet = 326K gals). Most crops take about 1-2 acre feet of water/acre/year to produce with no summer rainfall.

If you decide that drilling a well is the way to go then continue reading.... First, as many have suggested, site your well (ie water) with either a geological survey or a dowser, or both. The depth of the water and the substrata will determine what method you use, the most common being a rotary drill with mud slurry or cable pull. If the water is any deeper than 300 ft or drilling through rock, you will most likely need to hire a well contractor to drill your well, as the rig would be far too expensive to purchase unless you wanted to go into the well drilling business. Definitely a good idea to check with a local well drilling contractor to just ask about the quality and depth of water in your area before gearing up to drill yer own well or paying for one.

(We recently commissioned the drilling of a 1000 ft deep well on a new farm project in Ventura Ca. It cost about $100K and will need 3 phase power to pump fossil water up to irrigate sub-tropical crops in a Mediterranean climate. Sounds kinda silly, but that is farming here in California. I don't know how I fell about it, as I think the way to go is dry farming, but we are retrofitting an existing avocado orchard so it kinda had to be done or else we would have to continue watering with chloramine domestic supply.)

But speaking of shallow wells, I have drilled a 60 foot deep well with LifeWater International (Faith based NGO) with a team of 4. You can download their manual for Shallow Well Drilling here: (http://www.lulu.com/shop/lifewater-international/shallow-well-drilling/ebook/product-17386472.html). We used the Lonestar LS200 5.5 hp rotary drill rig with a Honda power plant from drilling into hard clay in Southern California. It worked like a charm. (http://www.lonestardrills.com/water-well-drills/mechanical-series/ls200/)

If you think you could have a shallow aquifer it may be a good investment, especially if you share it with a few folks. I think they are around $15K new. Why not have multiple wells to ensure one doesn't run dry? Once you have the rig they are pretty inexpensive to set up (of course depending on how deep, ie how big of a pump you need). Shallow wells are the way to go if you can get to the water and your demand isn't much more than 5 gpm/7000 gpd. This water can be recharged much faster than water from 500 plus ft deep. Or, what about a shallow well drilling WORKSHOP!?!

Power supply for the well pump is another very big consideration in drilling your well. Most well pumps can run on solar unless you are down 800 ft plus, then you may need 2-3 phase (or phase conversion), and a 5-15 hp plus pump. Check Sunpumps for solar well pumps, or Grundfos. If you are lucky and your water table is higher than 24 ft (or you hit an artesian aquifer) you can have a hand pump or windmill with a suction pump. You cannot "pull" water up from more than 24 ft deep as the weight of the water breaks the water column. My stepfather has drilled about 5 wells in Ojai Ca with a super old and funky version of the Lonestar rig, and has made windmills out of scrap to passively pump/suck the water (at 14 ft deep) to all parts of the property.

By the way, the job of the drilling mud is to be so viscous that it removes the tailings from the bore hole, pushing them up as the mud is forced out of the bore by the pump. This means that you need a heavy duty mud pump (10 HP plus), one that has an impeller and not a diaphram that can pump a thick mud made from bentonite clay. The mud is pumped into a mud pit where the tailings fall out before being re-injected into the bore hole by the pump. One mud pit that has enough volume to accompany the amount of mud you will need to fill your bore hole is all you need.

Its all in the Lifewater manual if you want to get into it (I am not religious BTW). I love the concept of drilling your own well actually. Its really not that difficult (depending on your situation of course...)
5 years ago
What an epic thread.  Thanks permieobserver for starting this.  It looks like its a one year anniversary!

DirtSurgeon, you hit the nail on the head, as you obviously have the experience to wield a hammer...
I also firmly believe it is possible to incorporate many permaculture principles and ethics on the large scale, though it may not be purist- or satisfy everyone in this forum that is.

I think we need to move towards the ideal and utopian model of industrial permaculture, though may not actually reach that lofty goal ever.  But baby steps are better than no steps.

There are several designers working on the scale you are talking about, most notably Darren Doherty's work on huge cattle stations in Australia that approach the 100,000 acre plus scale.

I have also been approached by a wealthy "investor" who seeks to "walk the talk" and showcase permaculture on the "industrial scale".  In this case we are talking maybe 2000 acres, not 500,000, still pretty big when you consider topography. 

For this current project, we are still in the planning phase, basically crop selection.  I made a spreadsheet that lists all of the crops I could think of that are suited to that micro/climate in all of the categories possible: food, fiber, fodder, timber, animals, insects, mushrooms, etc. 

(I tried to read through this whole thread but got lost in some of the dogma.  But did anyone list mushrooms as a product?  I think something like oysters or even reishi would do super good in a temperate forestry system.) 

Crop selection will narrow down based on the demand for products locally, then based on mechanization/economies of scale and value of course (both monetary and caloric).  Those products that perform multiple functions (ex. tea tree = bee forage + windbreak + essential oils + cut flower + bird habitat) are also selected.

My point is to pick a dozen or so crops that will do well in the particular microclimate, that have good value and market demand, and that are relatively efficient to grow, harvest, and process.  Farm layout follows from conventional farming, but is integrated.

Implementation follows from community planning to create local buy-in and secure a labor force to run the operation.  This IMO is one of the most important elements- people the run the thing.  Then composting and fertility management, nursery establishment, earthworks, infrastructure development, planting, etc.

The corporate model can work as long as the employees are happy.  Take advantage of them and there will be too much turn-over or poor performance.  Benefits beyond pay go a long way, like free food and housing, which need not be too much of a cost to the company (give employees culled produce).

If you asked me for advice (maybe you are sick of it by now) I would say find an intact virgin or old-growth forest in the area you wish to start this project.  Make note of the plants and animals and interactions you see.  This alone could take awhile.  Find cultivated analogs (crops), and create a system that mimics the native forest in composition (not necessarily distribution- this is the advantage of designing the system, ie for efficiency and partial mechanization).

I am attempting to create a Design Team very much like what you mentioned in the first post (www.globalpermaculture.com).  The idea is exactly to use all of the knowledge synergistically in order to reduce mistakes and increase chance of success.  Contact me if you need help arranging all star designers, I may be able to help.

Keep us posted on the development of this, if it still is a possibility.  I want to get rich doing good work too!  That way I will have more to share...

(pic is an orchard in the sky, working on planting it)

7 years ago
maybe try to build a little shade house out of shade fabric (or window screen) that is low over the seedling trays.  this will protect them from both the scorching sun and the driving rain.  if the cloth is too high the drips will be too heavy and will wash away your seeds again.  with the shade cloth you can place the seedlings in the full sun so they get even exposure, and that will make them grow a little better.  also the clouds may have had an effect on the seedlings in your picture, not enough light due to the rains.  and yes, better to direct seed roots crops (on the waning moon), and cover with mulch or row cover to keep the rain from washing them away.
buena suerte
7 years ago
paul et al:
I just recently spent time in New Zealand where apple trees do very well.  I was surprised at the amount of "wild" seedling trees growing along the roadside.  All of them were unpruned and un-irrigated.  Needless to say, we sampled many fruit and found the majority of them to be quite pleasant.  Several were comparable to commercial varieties, some in my opinion were better!

I think if you plant apple seeds from commercial varieties you will get good fruit, especially if you select seeds from trees that have not been cross-pollinated by crab-apples.  For example, seeds from an orchard of mixed varieties of commercial hybrids may have a better chance of producing good fruit.  You could even rig the genetic slot machine and make your own crosses by hand pollinating, then plant those.  You may be able to increase the percentage of good fruit to over 50%.  I am sure this has been done with apples.

I have planted many fruit trees from seed in an effort to experiment with true-to-type fruit tree varieties that produce good quality fruit without grafting (http://www.sborganics.com/Rare_Food_Nursery.html).  I have found that peach, apricot, macadamia, cherimoya, and loquats all produce good fruit from seed, with some variability of course.  I am waiting on sapote, rose apple, surinam cherry, and carobs to fruit for results on those.

RE tap roots, in my experience trees that are more adept to drought have greater tap roots.  Often the tap roots may be several, and not always heading straight down.  I guess they are really lateral roots but perform like tap roots.  

if you start your seeds in deep enough tubes that air prune (http://www.superoots.com/air_intro.htm) and transplant your seedlings after they go dormant (maybe year 2?), you will not have to worry about the tap root.  It will air-prune itself and branch but continue down as long as the soils and conditions allow it (this last part the key).  If they grow super easy in your climate then planting seed straight in the field would be optimal of course.

sounds like a great project and look forward to updates!

7 years ago
Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) is considered a "pest" in Australia and to my knowledge the only good use anyone has come up with for it are chopping blocks.  Anyone tried growing mushrooms on it?  It is pretty resinous so not a likely candidate.... but who knows?
7 years ago
Is this also known as Zambo Grande?  Introduced by Jerome Black and Oregon Exotics many years ago from latin america.

I grew it for a few years but haven't in a while.  The vines lived for two years, so I would call it a biennial.  The fruits are really tough and last several years as well.  Supposedly the seeds are the most nutritious of all the squashes.  Hard to removed unless you use the method outlined above. 

The Mexicans mix the flesh with milk, cinnamon, and sugar for a desert.  On its own it tastes like a cross between spaghetti squash and cucumber.  I never ate the seeds as I gave them all away 

7 years ago
I use 44 gal (200 liter) drums, preferably made out of plastic.  These are incredibly easy since they are water and critter tight, they can support your weight (no framing necessary), and you can usually get them cheap.  For a couple we have two drums, when one fills we move to the other.  The drums have worms in them which break down the material.  I use soil, sawdust, old hay, leaves, for cover material.  If the first drum isn't finished composting when the second one is full, I complete the compost process in a worm bin specifically for this purpose.  I also add veggies to the worm bin to feed them in between humanure inputs.

check here for simple plans you can download:

Happy pooping!
7 years ago
I have worked with sandy soil in California and found that wood chips from tree trimmers makes the best soil and is the fastest.  Maybe in the fall put wood chips on top of your compost, mixed with some rotten manure, then cover with the hay.  May work I don't know if the winter would stop things, but you may get heaps of fungal activity this way.
7 years ago