I believe it would have been 'Anise Hyssop'... THis is a potent aromatic plant which helps to deflect (at least a bit) browsing pressure from wildlife... Plants in the mint family, the onion family, etc, all very strongly scented, can help.
Mike Jay - great questions! Lets see here...
1) Minutes spent - it can vary, but I'd say perhaps 10-15 minutes a day is a good average. If there is enough food/seed/piles around they could keep occupied on their own for a full 2 days without much fuss, but in the extreme winter cold and if the inputs are lean we need to pile it up super high every day.
2) I don't have good metrics to say it's done. Generally it needs to leave before I'd call it aged/cured/finished compost since there is just so much coming through the pipeline. I mainly export it to our main nursery and use it as an insanely boosting deep mulch around perennials. OR, I make new permanent raised beds with heavy amounts of it and grow super heavy feeders year one (corn, squash, etc)
3) This is loose and hasn't caused problems. We NEVER would use it to direct seed or transplant in for example parsley, cilantro, salad, or other greens we may wish to eat raw. But as a deep mulch around tomatoes or to boost nursery stock, etc., its never caused us any problems.
If we had much more space I could see having bays or windrows that let it mellow on its own, but then that is just one more set of material turning, where it could be mellowing in small doses in many points in the landscape. So far we've only had positive feedback from the system, but take it as just our 2c!
Thanks kindly for doing this... If I can be helpful in providing feedback/answers/details, please let me know... These structures have served us really nicely and I'd love to see more out in the world.
Just made a youtube update video on our chicken composting project. We have nearly 60 hens and feed them almost entirely on compost, which they turn around into useful garden soil in roughly 30 days or so. It's been very rewarding to develop over the last 4 years, maybe there are some ideas in it that folks could find useful. Some suggestions people may have?
I would argue against chives, oregano and thyme unless you have spent the time to fully dig out and remove all runners of the grass before establishment. I've worked with all 3 as experiments for beating out grasses and they do a poor job for me where I popped them in and hoped/expected them to beat out the grass.
What has worked with potency in holding back / beating out grass...
Comfrey, Turkish Rocket, Rhubarb, Sorrel, Sweet Cicely, Giant Perennial Sunflower, Jerusalem Artichokes, Elderberry
I made this video last year and thought I'd share it here. We've been working with this system for a few years now, and have generated a large amount of very high quality charcoal while heating our home. Feels like a very effective way to create a continual flow of charcoal while using the heat effectively.
Would love to hear notes and ideas from folks!
Part 3 in a series on a clearing being done this winter to expand new orchards and guilds into a managed woodland at the Edible Acres home site in Trumansburg, NY
I'm exploring ways to deepen my understanding of how to generate high quality charcoal quickly and cleanly without any intensive resources. This style is very promising...
I just put out a video on my edible acres youtube channel sharing some notes on a system for potting up multiple species and structures of plants in a single pot to establish a functional guild in the pot. This can then be planted out as a unit to have plug and play guilds in a food forest. Thought I'd share the idea since it's so dead simple and can be modified to meet whatever situation..
Sharing notes on our chicken operation as we enter the cold season. Things seem to be quite functional, our limiting factor currently being not enough chickens to eat all the free food! Yeah, great design challenge!
We saved seed from our potatoes this year. Two separate varieties of real old school all blue/purple potatoes. We have many thousands of seeds that we processed with the mold then washing then drying treatment. Happy to do some trading...
Working on a harvest the other day and made a quick video showing just how productive black currants are for us, even in the woodland context. Thought I'd get other folks excited to try growing them in partial shade to see how much food and medicine you can get with just a few hours of direct sunlight a day and pretty massive deer pressure. (Lots!)
I'll answer a few things here...
mosquitoes... they come around but with birds and such they aren't a problem yet, so we haven't had to think about another design layer. Could have a fitted sheet that goes over it if it becomes an issue.
advantage over your ideas, Dale... I find it nice to have freely available nutrient water to dip into any time I want to water. Makes it more likely that I'll use it if it's super convenient and always 'on tap'. I'm not sure there is a technical advantage, but I like it being there and ready for me.
Todd... I am still experimenting with timing, but so far a day or two and it seems like it gets started on being rich. A week now and its very robust and strong. I've diluted it down once and still has a rich color. I'm not scientifically minded so I can't say whats ideal, but by feel and how the plants respond it feels like day 2-5 is a sweet spot window.
Thought I'd share a very simple setup we use to generate gallons and gallons of rich compost tea to use widely in the garden. Less than $40 to get going, and 3 watts of electric to keep it aerated... Let me know what you think.
Wanting to share another episode in our experiments with having our 25 chickens generate mountains of compost for us. Right now we're trying to figure out how to have the compost move the least distance while still generating crops as it ages, so we're experimenting with a number of designs with rings of various heights and shapes to make very nutrient dense raised beds in the chicken yard. Still very much a learning process... I'd love to hear thoughts from folks!
The people that create and enforce those restrictions are also the people that support and allow widespread use of massive monocropping of GMO crops and huge huge volumes of poisons to be used in the landscape for destructive agriculture, so I'd make your decisions based on your needs and goals and the repairing of the land you are stewarding over the rules of folks who say no to early succession pioneering plants that mainly threaten annual crop farming. It would be one thing if destructive and toxic farming was banned or restricted as well, then I could understand, but these rules are obscene if you zoom out and look at the situation objectively.
Zone 4B and basing it mainly on Osage Orange = not too resilient (in my opinion). I'm in 5B and I've seen Osage get hurt by -20F or colder in some serious ways. Especially younger plants. I get the interest in it, it's so spiky, high BTU, rot resistant, etc... but if its marginally hardy it shouldn't be the keystone for your design I'd think. From a stacked function standpoint, shouldn't the fence be building soil and providing food and medicine as well? I'd lean more on seaberry, rugosa rose, maybe get Hawthorne into the mix, wineberry even? There are some exquisite black cap raspberry cultivars available that would be super spiky as well. If it were me, I'd really want to invest more in seaberry because a) it's incredibly hardy to your zone, b) it improves soil massively, c) it has an incredibly high value (both use wise but also financially) yield in the fruit, d) it suckers and spreads and makes a crazy robust thicket naturally, e) would be compatible for additional vining layers to complexify and thicken the system.
Osage has appeal for high btu and rot resistance, but if you think through your management goals, even if it did thrive in your zone, you'd never see firewood or bow staves coming out of it. So the main yield is inedible, beautiful, grapefruit scented spider repellent...
Super excited to see how our 4 panel cattle panel high tunnels faired against a very powerful late winter two day storm. Nearly 0F wind chill, heavy winds and almost 16" of snow later they performed amazingly. I'm psyched to share! Would love to hear what people think, good or bad...
Nothing to steal... All these ideas just exist out in the world, floating around, for people to grab and make their own, connect together to make new, and twist and shift to what they need. I love not having anything be 'my idea' !!!
We had the coldest night of the winter for us last night and thought it would be good to share how our chicken composting system is performing after -3F temps and 1F in the morning... Would be great to hear opinions on all this!
I just put out a new video on my edibleacres youtube channel where I talk in detail about designing water ways to release and focus water in our landscape and creating hugelmounds and beds associated with them to wick water and provide raised beds without lots of soil moving. All of this is hand tool based and very easy as a concept to implement. I'd love to hear folks opinions on it!
Just put together a video documenting our system after nearly 3 years without flock of Black Australorps. I realized just recently I spent $25 the other day on them (sunflower and millet in bulk) and it was the first time I bought food since October. It ended up being $25 for the last 100 days plus of our chickens being fat and happy... I want to share with a wide audience whats working for us. It's through barter, compost collecting, systems design inspired by Vermont Composting Company and lots of observing and interacting that this system is really evolving in a living engine. I'd love to hear peoples thoughts both positive and negative on this...
Thought I'd share here my newest video from my Edible Acres youtube channel. I talk about a series of ponds that have been developed over the last 7 years with all hand tools and how they work in the landscape and have been designed into the systems I have in place. I'd love feedback from folks here!
Thought I'd share a new video from my Edible Acres youtube channel where I document a lot of permaculture oriented projects. This one is about developing hugelculture and raised bed areas during the winter months...
Would be great to get feedback from people here!
I made an update video about this system that shows how the operation evolves to adapt to winter conditions. The new compost setup is much larger and closer to their coop to help protect the coop from winter raw cold and put their 'work' and 'play' close to home for those days that are super rough... Maybe this is interesting for folks to see?
Just put up a new video on my edibleacres youtube channel documenting our chicken coop dialed in for the cold winter months of NYS. It seems to serve our birds well, worked just fine last year and has been upgraded for this winter with more comfort and goodies. Would be great to hear peoples opinions!
I just made this video the other day. Using deep litter to keep birds warm, using old blankets as a 'blanket fort' to help them out, and insulating with leaves and burlap, etc. Pretty passive overall, but has a bit of automation with the door and with the heated waterer...
Wanting to share the most recent video we put together documenting our experimenting with 25 black australorps helping us create a ton of compost and be fed for free. We barter for local organic grain and use mountains of scavenged leaf bags / wood chips / kitchen scrap to create large, hot windrows of active compost for the winter, with a ton of grain embedded and sprouting and fermenting in it. The chickens seem to love it and thrive on it and we're getting active compost transformation in NY state winters. This video shares the most recent documentation. I'd love to hear opinions from folks...