Erik Lee

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since Sep 21, 2011
Software engineer becoming permaculture forest farmer. I love complex systems, living things, and learning stuff.
I'm the founder of the Human 2.0 Project, a fledgling effort to bring permaculture, inventiveness, and adventure to our urban and suburban spaces so that we have a future as a civilization.
Zone 6 - Missouri
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Recent posts by Erik Lee

I'd recommend going with the shapefile, but I'm still a beginner with qGIS so I'm saying that based just on this link: http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/25472/workflow-for-dxf-interchange-with-qgis which seems to indicate that DXF is not well-supported. Glad to hear you had lidar available, I was bummed that I can't get it yet... Looks like LAS isn't supported out of the box, but there's an expensive commercial extension that does it: http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/73252/what-is-the-procedure-to-load-las-files-in-qgis-2-0-1
4 years ago
Kerry - I've definitely had mixed results with the contour data you can download (google or otherwise). It seems to be pretty good on the scale of 5+ acre properties, but getting down to small lots you miss a LOT of detail and sometimes it's downright wrong. I think that happens mostly when the survey data is from before properties were developed and leveled. I did get a couple of good suggestions on the other forum though - check to see if you can download LIDAR data for your site. You should be able to find it if you google LIDAR plus the name of your state/country/county. I wasn't lucky enough to have it for my place, but all the counties around me do... If you can get that, you can really get some amazing resolution. The other thing is a different approach for locating the points in the survey - check the comments below the post for an alternative method that you might like more than the baseline approach. I haven't tried it myself yet, but it seems simple enough that it might be a win.

I'm also working on a new set of tutorials for taking the design software to the next level with GIS (qGIS in particular). One of the many awesome things you can do with that is input your own surveyed elevation points and have it calculate contours for you automatically using the same algorithm I talk about in the tutorial. I've been swamped with things to do on my place for the last three weeks, but I'm hoping to get the new series up pretty soon. GIS software is quite a bit more complex than inkscape, but I think it's worth learning and hopefully I can get it distilled down to something manageable...
4 years ago
In another thread, Bill Downes pulled a quote from your facebook page about water use: "Yes we have perpetual rights to the water in the lake next door. Was one of the clinchers to buying it in the first place. We pump 60 gallons per minute for 3 hours per day to water 12 acres."

Doing the math (at 6:30 in the morning, so buyer beware!), that comes out to 10,800 gallons per day, or 324,000 gallons per month.

**edit** whoops, math error! I knew I shouldn't be doing this so early in the morning... (in the original version I was calculating inches of water, but used the 324k number as the *daily* not monthly amount)

Okay so that comes out to about an inch of water per month over 12 acres, which sounds very reasonable. Still, can you recommend strategies to reduce water consumption for people who have less water available? Is this watering done whether you get rain or not, or only during dry spells?
4 years ago
@Jerry - I had that problem for the lower resolution (720p) download for some reason. I was using a download manager to get it, so I downloaded the 1080p version directly from the browser and it made it. It actually downloaded almost the whole file on the first shot, but then for some reason it was replaced with a little html file that said I'd reached my limit. I think they only let you try to download it one time and if it goes wrong you have to ask to do it again.
@Topher - Most of the plastic is pretty well shaded by leaf drop and the tree canopy above, so it's probably not really getting hit too hard with sunlight. If it was direct sun, I'd agree - I've never had plastic last more than a season or two in direct sun (even 6-mil black stuff). That being said, there is a plastic they use for hoop-style greenhouses lasts about 10 years in full sun, 365 days a year. I suppose they could make a black version of that. It's also much stronger and thicker.
4 years ago
Excellent news, thanks for the replies. I wish I could dig up the original source that listed it as allelopathic, but I've lost the link. I thought it was the USDA Plants site, but looking through there now there's nothing about allelopathy so I must have mis-remembered.
4 years ago
I read somewhere that A.Julibrissin fixes nitrogen at a rate comparable to alfalfa, but that it also may be highly allelopathic. Can anyone weigh in on the allelopathy from personal experience? Dave Jacke's book "Edible Forest Gardens" vol 2 has it on the watch list because it's dispersive and exotic, (but also says it's a nitrogen fixer and outstanding hummingbird plant). It doesn't mention allelopathy.

This one basically says that a water-solution of A.J. doesn't seem to inhibit germination:
http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~research/Undergrad_Res/NSS2010-2011/AbstractsSpring2011/CHollifieldAllelopathy.pdf

wikipedia claims it's allelopathic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albizia_julibrissin#Invasive_species

I have a bag of seeds I got from RF Shumacher, but I haven't planted them yet because of uncertainty about the allelopathy issue...
4 years ago
Wow, $1/sqft is awesome. One of the things I'm interested in as far as profit is concerned is the bootstrap process (e.g. how to get going from zero). I've been working on a strategy for successing through various annual, fast-perennial, and long-term perennial crops. The plan as it stands now is to start out with workshops as the property is developed for initial cash flow, then plant the system so that it'll have a steady yield of marketable stuff starting within a few months and continuing steadily afterward. I've been thinking about a sequence that includes things like cut flowers, herbs, and vegetables, with the fast stuff filling the gaps until the slow stuff catches up. I'm hoping that will keep the system profitable as the trees mature.

What has your experience been like for getting cash flow going as the orchard is just getting started?
4 years ago
Stefan - I just wanted to congratulate you on putting together what I think is the best one-stop video on building a permaculture food system that I've seen, anywhere. I watched it the day after my download link showed up, and I have to say, great job! I'll definitely be recommending it to everyone I know who's even slightly interested in permaculture. Thanks for sharing your experience in such a clear and open way!
4 years ago