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Ludi's permaculture projects

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Here's a thread about my proposed and ongoing projects.   

Here's my site plan:



The kitchen garden near the back porch door.  This is about half finished.  I need to dig rocks from the other half and install buried wood beds.  Presently growing Arugula, Fava Beans, Parsley, Garlic, Elephant Garlic, Cilantro, Collards, Beets, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes (just went dormant after a freeze), Tiger Lilies, several kinds of small Onions, Apple trees, Lettuce, Chicory, Sunchokes, Mint, Oregano:



The house rain tank and greywater bed.  The greywater bed grows a small Bamboo plant (could use more water than the laundry provides) and some Canna.  Eventually we hope to plumb the shower to it so the Bamboo will be happier:



The future water garden between the house and the workshop. I hope to have a pond with water plants and maybe some fish, based on what I learn from my aquaponics experiment.  This is a very long term plan because there are many rocks in this area.  The part of the garden not taken up by the pond will be buried wood beds for edibles:



The little aquaponics experiment.  Total system contains about 600 gallons.  I've ordered baby Channel Catfish and Bluegill which I should get in the Spring:





The site of the future Well House, which will be made from rocks and bottles and will contain one of the large tanks.  We plan to install a photovoltaic well pump system.  The Well House is a long-term project.  It will also serve as a cool storage area:



Bottle collection we've been working on for a few years:



The old vegetable garden and orchard which was killed by the drought.  This area is planned for the future Asparagus Farm experiment on the end nearest the viewer and the far end will be an edible Prairie Garden.  Both of these gardens will have buried wood beds.  Fortunately there are no rocks in this area!   :



Not pictured are the large-scale ongoing rainwater harvesting earthworks project and Wildlife Management plan.  The above plan is for the approximately 1 acre "homestead" part of our 20 acres.

We also have some animals; a Border Collie, 3 indoor cats, 2 outdoor cats, 5 sheep, 2 turkeys, and a couple dozen chickens. 


Idle dreamer

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
sometime google the bottle house in Copemish Michigan, it has been there since I was a child..it is a couple dozen miles from our house..always fascinated me.


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Brenda Groth wrote:
sometime google the bottle house in Copemish Michigan, it has been there since I was a child..it is a couple dozen miles from our house..always fascinated me.


That's amazing! 

Marcella Rose


Joined: Nov 09, 2011
Posts: 95
Location: Central Texas, it is dry here.
Wow!  Tons of stuff going on there!  How do you keep track of it all?  I think that is the one thing that makes me fidgety about the permaculture/homesteading thing.  Once we get out there I know I am going to want to do it all at once...but I know I have to START small and build from there.

I am impressed with what you have going on. 


No land yet, but growing what I can with what I have!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Thanks!  I'm trying to take the long term view, though I do have a tendency to start more projects than I finish. 
Thelma McGowan


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
    
    2
I love to see what others are doing! Thanks for sharing


There are no experts, Just people with more experience.
George Lee


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
Nice work. Are you an alcoholic? Haha, geez!


Seed Swap via Letter | Livingwind.tumblr.com | sustainable seed co
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Trying not to be!    It's a few years' accumulation.
Lolly Knowles


Joined: Aug 22, 2011
Posts: 159
Ludi, I have talked to the bartenders at a couple of places I go for coffee (my buddy can't smoke a cigarette in a restaurant) about saving bottles for me when I get closer to time for building.  Just in case you decide you want more light than you have bottles stockpiled ...
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Working on the asparagus farm beds:

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3625
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  49
Will you use the dead orchard for hugelkultur or as a base for climbing plants? I could see the shade being useful for less sun tolerant crops. What will hold moisture for the asparagus beds?

From the last photo it appears that your beds contain wood for moisture retention. A flattish profile would lose less moisture to dry air. Many of the hugelkultur beds I've seen expose to much sidewall to drying winds. I wonder if a membrane could be placed just below the soil level around each bed and sloped toward it? This would suppress all weeds and gather rainfall from a larger area.

It's nice to see the pictures, from what you described in other threads I was anticipating desert like conditions complete with sand dunes and petrified livestock. It looks like there's still hope.


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Sometimes it feels like sand dunes and petrified livestock! But I think there is hope. Those dead fruit trees will be cut up and put in the buried wood beds. I'll probably make the beds every so slightly mounded (no more than 1 foot) so when they settle they will be about level with the surrounding ground. I've noticed my other buried wood beds have settled quite a bit.
Dan Poole


Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Central TX
Looking good Ludi! How much land do you have? I recognize a lot of that vegetation from your pictures.

This is the sort of thread that I'd be interested in seeing more of - people sharing their projects/experiments, successes, and failures. I hope you keep adding to this thread.


We're growing a wiki out of this forum and can use all the help we can get... Won't you contribute? http://www.permies.com/permaculture
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Thank you. This thread was inspired by Dale Hodgins' suggestion that we each start a thread about all our permaculture projects.

My husband and I have a total of 20 acres, but the "homestead" part around the house is maybe an acre. I probably won't be able to develop even most of an acre, as I'm a very slow worker! The climate is so erratic here with good years alternating with horrible droughts and catastrophic floods that I've had to completely rethink a lot of my earlier plans, so a lot of work I had done in the past was largely wasted. I've killed so many kinds of plants! But I think I may finally be learning how to grow things here...
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3625
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  49
H Ludi Tyler wrote:Thank you. This thread was inspired by Dale Hodgins' suggestion that we each start a thread about all our permaculture projects.

My grade 5 teacher always said I was an inspiration. My classmates called me other things.

I thought this type of personal thread would be a great way for us to showcase what we've done without having people constantly pick holes in it, as happens to ideas which are still in process. I pretty much dropped out of the green building section for a while simply to avoid dealing with someone who wanted to constantly point out why I shouldn't do anything the way I definitely intend to do it. Two of these projects are in process but that doesn't matter to someone who firmly believes it should be done differently. ------- So I think the personal thread thing should give us some sort of immunity from judgment, as these things are a done deal.

I'm going to start mine tonight and the first thing I'll do is load up a photograph of myself and some pictures of things I've done.
Since we moved to the new format I've noticed it's more difficult to edit postings. This may have been done in order to prevent people from removing their posts after they were quoted. In the personal thread we should be able to add and subtract stuff at will. I'll talk to the powers that be and maybe they'll listen.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Dale, you are like Super Idea Man. You're definitely an inspiration. And other things!

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3625
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  49
H Ludi Tyler wrote:Dale, you are like Super Idea Man. You're definitely an inspiration. And other things!

If I was to post even half of the ideas running through my head, I'd be locked up for sure.

I remember a couple months ago when I first learned the word hugelkultur and read about it. An hour later I had several reinventions of the practice running through my mind including incorporation with fish ponds, using beavers to chop up the wood, burrying the material in swales in dry climates, using them as windbreaks, putting rock piles beside each one so that snakes can live there and gobble up the rats and mice which are bound to burrow into the beds, and most importantly getting paid thousands of dollars to take other peoples wood waste. It took me two weeks of head scratching and writing to record everything that came to me in that first hour of hugelkultur. Then I went and piled 150 m³ of the material on my property using an excavator to move it all. It wasn't a rash decision. I mulled it over for at least 45 min. before committing.

At this point many of my projects are just talk, but that happened before when I just talked about tearing down a giant hotel by hand and about getting a free house simply by removing it from the site of a new bridge. Those things happened and many of my proposals will happen over time. There's nothing I enjoy more than turning my idle coffeehouse chatter into real tangible accomplishments. The idea I'm most in love with right now is detailed in the thread about "farming urban wastelands." Which I posted in the Homestead section.
osker brown


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
Thanks for sharing, looks like lots of fun. You mentioned sheep and turkeys and chickens, how come they're not on your drawing or in your pictures? How are they being connected to your plant systems?

Are there fish in your aquaponics system yet? What kind?

Thanks again

peace and bless


Glorious Forest Farm
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I guess I left them out because I'm not actively working on anything for them right now. I use their poo and waste hay in my garden beds. I do not currently have a good way of integrating them directly into the other systems because of the difficulty of fencing and housing. Poultry housing has to be extremely secure because of predators. Sheep fencing is a pain to install. I'm just the one person doing most of this. 49 year old female person. :p

Only Gambusia, one goldfish and several frogs in the aquaponics right now. I think the fish hatchery will be delivering in the spring.

osker brown


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
Well, I think the great benefit of conducting a thread this way will be allowing others to suggest possible connections. For me, the crucial Permaculture principle is Functional Interconnection, and it also tends to be the most challenging. I worked with a system that roosts chickens over an aquaponic pond, it worked well, although they use a removable tray to keep the water from getting overly nutrified which might not work if you have lots of birds. A chicken lagoon might be a good place to experiment with mycofiltration, though. I think either Stropharia or Oysters would be my choice, as both are easy to propagate in non-sterile conditions. The water could then go to plants? Just a thought...

Do you process your wool yourself?

Thanks for sharing!
C Quint


Joined: Apr 04, 2011
Posts: 19
Location: Northeast Tennessee
This is really incredible! For how long now have you been working on this project? Also, I am still learning about permaculture concepts - what is your plan for the bottles?

I like the idea of posting our projects here with hopes that others will have ideas for connecting elements. This is where I am sorely lacking. I love the concept of permaculture, and learning about it has helped me move from "I only want edible plants on my property" to wanting to incorporate wildlife, but in practice, I am still closer to practicing organic gardening than I am to practicing permaculture!


~Carrie
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Thank you for the suggestions, oskar. My aquaponics system is far too small to accommodate putting chickens above it, only about 600 gallons. What kind of bed and media would you suggest for mushrooms? Flood and drain? Constant flood? Logs? Wood chips?

I've only done minimal wool processing, just washing prior to sending off to a friend to spin and then to another friend to knit. I wanted to learn how to make felt but realize I'll probably never get around to it.

C, I've been working on this land over the span of about 12 years but not every year, and many years of work were wasted because I was not preparing for this severe drought. Most of my previous ideas have been scrapped.

The plan for the bottles is to use them in constructing the well house.

I have a lot of other smaller projects in mind such as a composting toilet system, a solar cooker (we've tried building a couple with not that great results), a solar dehydrator (my husband built one but we determined it needed to be redesigned so it was retired), and various passive cooling strategies for the house.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3625
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  49
I demolished a small tourist complex called the glass Castle and mini golf course. The constructor of this facility failed to give the roof adequate overhang and water got in behind the bottles and rotted out the house. He also used mortar with far too much Portland cement in it. This didn't allow the flexibility needed during the freeze thaw cycles. Any mortar used to encase fragile glass must have enough lime incorporated so that the bottles don't crack.

The inside of some of the structures was quite surreal with all of the different colors and the way light refracts through the bottles.

Good roof overhang, plenty of lime= durable bottle building. Consult a mason on the best mortar mix. Lime is quite caustic so you'll need good gloves. A dust mask is also advisable. -- Happy mucking.

Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Ludi, do you use the big rainwater tank just for watering the garden or do you use it for house purposes?


permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Thanks for those tips, Dale.

Rob, the tank next to the house is for emergency potable water. The other tanks are used for emergency, topping off the aquaponics and some irrigation.
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
So the huge tank is for emergency potable water? What are you doing to treat it so you can drink it? Does it come right from the roof or some other catchment? Thanks!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
There's a galvanized metal roof on the porch from which that tank collects water. I bought a Berkey water filter to treat the water in emergencies, but we haven't used it. We did use water from one of the other tanks last winter when the plumbing froze, before the house tank was set up, but we didn't have the filter then so we boiled the water.
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Gotcha, Im using a berkey also. Im trying to come up with a system that will collect and treat the water for the entire house.
osker brown


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
Re: mycofiltration, I'd suggest chips, that way you'll end up with a mycelial mat to run the water through. I've never tried this so take it with as many grains of salt as you wish...but...I envision perhaps 3-5 tubs (bathtubs, sinks, 1/2 barrels, etc.) raised off the ground, filled with innoculated woodchips. They could either be moved into the water flow (on casters or something?) or the water could be directed through a pipe that can swivel far enough to reach each bed. Then all water flow would be directed to a plant system that could handle whatever nutrient remains. This system would have to be a sort of flood and drain, where you would only let the chickens poop in water sometimes, only flood the mushroom beds when you had adequate water, etc. Just a very rough idea, but I think mushrooms are a very important part of human diets. And I wasn't necessarily suggesting this as a part of your aquaponics, but as a separate system for your chicken coop.

Re: wool, I know a sheep farmer who loves using the dirty/poopy edges of her fleeces for mulch. They hold water in the soil well, and take a long time to break down, might help in your dry conditions. Felt is so simple to make, you really should spend 20 minutes with soap and warm water. To make larger pieces you can just use water and feet on a tarp. There are no tech ways to prepare it for optimum felting but a wool picker should be pretty cheap to buy or make. I'm not sure how you feel about it, but urine was supposedly the first felting agent in mongolia.

Re: bottle building. Is there clay in your soil? Could you use cob instead of cement? Cement and lime are gross, I have friends with some serious lime burn scars.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I would really love to have mushrooms in my aquaponics, as it is an area guaranteed to stay moist enough for them!

I've used some of the wool as mulch.

There's a lot of clay in the subsoil, but I don't know if I can excavate enough to build a structure with. All work is with hand tools.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3625
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  49
Something to keep in mind when gathering drinking water from galvanized roofing. I doubt that this applies strongly to you since your water is just for emergency purposes but I searched the net and it turns out too much zinc is bad.--------------- I copied the following which might be of value to anyone thinking of getting all of their water from a galvanized roof. --------Health effects of zinc

Zinc is a trace element that is essential for human health. When people absorb too little zinc they can experience a loss of appetite, decreased sense of taste and smell, slow wound healing and skin sores. Zinc-shortages can even cause birth defects.

Although humans can handle proportionally large concentrations of zinc, too much zinc can still cause eminent health problems, such as stomach cramps, skin irritations, vomiting, nausea and anaemia. Very high levels of zinc can damage the pancreas and disturb the protein metabolism, and cause arteriosclerosis. Extensive exposure to zinc chloride can cause respiratory disorders.
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3626
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  72
New Zealanders have been collecting drinking water off galvanised iron roofs for generations now. Of course that doesn't mean it's safe though!
Most people have a first-flush diverter, which is recommended for rainwater collection over here. That might rinse off some of the oxidised zinc.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I recall Bill Mollison advises putting limestone in the rain tank which apparently binds metals and renders them less toxic.
Rick Brodersen


Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: MLT,WA
with all those projects going on you need lots of beer & wine...looks like fun...I like your greenhouse/aquaponics setup...similar to what I'm planning here, but I'm going for trout since they are easy to get here and are my favorite anyway. Keep us up to date .


www.ricksdiy.com If I Can't Fix It, It's Definitely Broken.
darius Van d'Rhys


Joined: Jul 07, 2011
Posts: 56
Location: SW Virginia Mountains, USA
I don't envy you the work to come, but there should be great satisfaction from it!


http://www.2footalligator.blogspot.com
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Thank you.

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Here's the finished excavation for the central asparagus bed:



Just need to fill with wood.

Sandra Ellane


Joined: Nov 08, 2011
Posts: 71
Location: New Mexico high desert Zone 7a, alkaline soils. 9" average annual rainfall.
I'm learning a lot from your thread, as I think your climate and soil conditions come pretty close to mine. Are you planning on planting anything around/among the asparagus beds? Also, what variety of asparagus are you using?


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A sustainable approach to life in the city
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I'm glad the thread is being helpful.

I'm planning to try growing some other plants along with the asparagus, especially those which have proven themselves to be relatively drought tolerant. I think I'll try tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, basil, and maybe a few other things. I'll be growing several varieties of asparagus, the ones I have presently which I plan to relocate to the asparagus farm are (I think) Mary Washington and Purple Passion. I'll probably be using a combination of a few varieties from crowns and others from seed.

Rose Pinder


Joined: Nov 18, 2011
Posts: 124
Hi Ludi,

What are you plans re mulch? Are you growing some, or can you use the trees? I live in a similar looking dry landscape, but different flora and no drought currently. Looking at your pictures, and the land here, I want to cover everything with mulch (whatever I can get my hands on). We get a very drying wind here, you look more sheltered.

regards,
Rose.
 
 
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