Thought this was cool. The oak tree is dead. The leaves are all mustang grape. Normally the vines would go to the ground and create a room. The other one I had, which finally toppled over, often had a deer inside when I walked by
The cows love the leaves so I doubt they will let the leaves vine down to the ground.
This is what I used some of the soil for. I guess I would call it a washout area. It looks like an old dried out river bed. It does not make sense to take an eroded, low elevation area, and make a swale (make it even lower). So I made just a berm with the excess soil. Its pretty risky but I can fix it if it blows out. There is a lot of Bermuda in there and if I can get it growing, it should hold it together. I also mulched it with hay and seeded it with a food plot mix. Oats, wheat, peas, brassicas.
If you look at the top left you should see a culvert. That road was added by previous owner probably 20 to 30 years ago. The diagonal flow on my property goes through that culvert. This includes overflow of the last pond I built.. This berm is uphill from the culvert so won't be effected by that flow.
It should catch water from a small area. I'll look after a rain but I suspect it will hold 6" of water in an area ruffly 30 yards x 30 yards. It'll take about 200 ft of hose to get a sprinkler to it. Considering the small size of the berm it might be worth doing it to get Bermuda and other roots holding it together sooner.
Here is an update on vetiver. I planted the swale line with two plantings over 2 weeks. This shows how it turns brown and looks dead, then sends up new leaves. I've kept animals off this pasture to let it establish, but at this point I can tug on the first plantings and they stay in the ground.
Basically done. After filling with water, I can see the berm is not level. I have a mound of dirt I extracted. I'll add to berm to level it off. The overflow area was cut into the lowest elevation, so the water is basically at or below the pre-existing ground level before I started the project. The berm/dam is not holding the water. My big concern is getting roots established.
To wrap up, this project took one solid day, but spread over a few days-1 or 2 hours at a time. A skidsteer and a small tractor was used. The tractor had a little more reach to smooth out the slopes with the front bucket.
I also need to direct the outgoing water to the area I'll be posting up soon
Started on another unsealed pond. I basically dug out a swale, then filled with water (using water as a surveyors level)to make sure water entry and exit was correct. Everything looks good so far. Next I will dig out about the size of the red line. I'm using the soil in another area. Will post that one soon.
Joe, the biggest obstacle is 100 days of 100 degree weather. Any newly planted trees/perrenials will need attention to survive the first couple of years. I have lots of fails for sure.
As far as the dams, I wanted to do both, and more. The downed log/tree was on the property. When I first saw a 1 or 2 log check dam on youtube I was like "I can do that!". It was pretty cool. I want to plant vetiver across the ravine also. It will filter sediment and build grade on the uphill side. Vetiver will reroot at that higher level and restart again. The problem is the short time it takes for them to root deep . If a cow attempts to take a bite, it will pull out the whole plant. So I have to work around the cow rotation as well as moisture in the ground.
Thus is another quick project I did. This is on my diagonal water flow. I dug a hole with the skidsteer and lined the water entry with rocks. The taller grass is rice. This is one of my candy lands. An assortment of small paddocks that can rest for a long time so roots go deep and grass gets tall. I'm hoping to get natural water into each of these.
I was able to get some vetiver slips here in Texas. One slip planted in a 5 gallon bucket or wicking bucket netted me 20 to 30 plants in a season. Here I am taking the plant, dismantling it to separate them, then trimming them down. I am putting them in net pots to go in the floating wetland. But I need a couple weeks for the roots to grow through so they are stable in the pots. So I put them in the blue bucket.
These plants get 6ft tall, 6ft across, and 12ft roots. The roots go straight down. If planted in soil about 9" apart the roots can create an underground dam to slow seepage. If planted on contour, it will filter the surface runoff and collect sediment. As the plant gets covered with the sediment, it will reroot from the next node up and keep growing.
In a pasture set up, this can be the "trees" in a swale set up. Providing food to horses, cows, sheep etc. The growth is fast. The roots are deep so should be drought tolerant. This is my game changer plant.
Sediment pond. This is the first pond so it gets all the dirty surface run off water. It's level is stable enough for Lilly pads. When I got the pads, it had 3 pads and no flowers. This was probably in May. It has really taken off. It also shows my floating wetland. This is an experiment for the other ponds. Not sure Lilly pads will survive with the elevation changes throughout the year. The float removes that problem. This one is rice and if you zoom in you can see the seed heads. My goal is vetiver, which is more perrenial. I'll show my little vetiver set up next. Roots in the water take up nutrients from cow manure, etc that wash in. It provides shade to lessen algae, and the roots should provide food for fish.
Here is a brush dam. I set some cedar posts to keep it in place, then started adding brush. Mostly cedar (ashe juniper). You can see the material it is filtering(floating in water). It should start clogging up and slowing the water.
Here's a check dam I made from a log about 18" in diameter. I cut a trench across the ravine, dropped in the log, and placed rocks on each end to lock it in. I cut some v's in the log for water flow. I hope to gradually heal the ravine erosion over time. When sediment gets up to the log height, I can add another log on top.
I'll post some pics. I created floating wetlands in 2 ponds. These put roots in the water to suck up extra nutrients. I put Lilly pads in the sediment pond. What started as 3 pads this past spring now has 100+ pads. I made a log check dam and a brush dam. Another swale about 300ft x 8ft wide. Some other misc stuff I'll think of.
Vetiver is the most exciting thing. An amazing plant. For those in mild climates, you should take a look at it. I've been reproducing quantity of it. Roots go 12ft down so it's drought resistance. In rows it can catch sediment and stop erosion, resprouting at the new elevation and keep going. The top is thatching, horse/cattle feed, weaving material. Roots are used to purify water, make a tea, used for weaving, its the basis for men's cologne. I've seen Roots compressed and used as building bricks.
Mark, same with me. Here's a lettuce picture I took yesterday. Its a restaurant stainless trough, like a salad bar might use. I built a clear lid for it. Its elevated and has a drain spigot. I keep a bucket under the spigot to catch the nutrient rich water that drains out.
The height can be adjusted with either style. I am not in a heavy freeze area. It might dip below freezing overnight but rarely during the day. I dont put any seal on them. I remember wood strip being sold that were cut in a corrugated pattern. Not sure if they still exist or if the market has gone to only rubber and foam.
Glazing can be anything, including recycled sliding glass door panels. Thats a good example where the this style works well. Trying to figure out the 30" x 80" lid while making it sloped can cause frustration. Build the box to the size of the door panel or window (s) and you are home free.
You can hinge the whole box or just the glazed lid. Either of those can have a counterbalance weight hanging off the back so its not heavy to open or close.
Here's a pic. The closest one is from this thread. You can see the sloped back wall compared to the one next to it. Building them in pairs (like this) has the advantage of absolutely no scraps left over.
I started adding cloths over the filter. I filter it first, then again after it condenses to about 50%. I read that the first minerals to form are bitter and to filter it after the water turned cloudy. Also, any algae is dead at that point and settled to the bottom.
All is going good with the system except the wood shrinking on the collector. It makes sense that the wood will shrink as this dries everything. I have had to recaulk it several times.
I was getting 200 degrees F regularly in the collector and 150 F in the box. I do wonder what the box temps would be if I totally sealed it off since I have to vent it to remove the moisture. Like could it cook a turkey? Maybe next summer I will try that.
Here is a pic of what i referred to as the cheaper version. The good thing is I do not think there is residual electricity while it is pressurized but ofg. It kicks on when the pressure switch trips it on. If i am.wrong, someone please correct me.
The groundfos is always using a little, even when pressurized and not running. There's an LED light that is on when it is on.
There are self contained 110v pumps that include a pressure shutoff and pressure tank. They are relatively inexpensive. I know harbor freight has them. A backflow preventer is not included but is a must. Otherwise the pump will constantly turn on/off. It shuts off when pressure is reached, but the pressure pushes the water backwards when pump cycles off. Which turns the pump back on. Its a head scratcher. Lol. Backflow preventer cures the problem. They are inexpensive. You just have to know it is needed. If your tank runs dry, this unit will not shut off. It's cheaper than my next example, can give you on demand water with out flipping a switch, but will burn up if ran dry.
If you go with the groundfos like in my thread, it is the only thing needed. Backflow is built in. The other thing about the groundfos is it turns itself off if tank is empty. The motor will not burn up. It will try to repressurize every few minutes.
My guess is $150 for cheaper pump with built in pressure tank and $700 for a groundfos. You would have to burn up 4-5 cheaper pumps before the groundfos is of better value. Reliability and actual pressure-groundfos wins. Ive had the same unit for probably 7 years or longer. My guess is the cheaper one being a 1-2 year kind of reliability.
We are running ours with just the spindown filter so there is no continued expense in operating it. I have a uv light but it is broke and i never repaired it. My main concern is that no sunlight hits the water. That's all i have. While the rainwater only goes through my hot water heater (cold water side is well water) , it is used for cooking, bathing, brushing teeth, dishes, etc. We have had no health issues.
There seems to be an upfront icky concern with rainwater here in the USA. If you go to other countries the ick concern is not there, primarily because it is normal to them. They use big tanks and allow sediment to fall to the bottom. They pull the water from the middle of the tank. As far as i can tell, uv filters are not used. But i say do whatever makes you feel secure about it. Peace of mind goes a long way.
Is the system automated? Are you looking for "city type" flow, or a basic off grid type system? A little more info on that will help. Mainly if it is a pressurized system. How to hold the pressure (pressure valve, back flow preventer, pressure tank). Thats where filter location comes into play. At least it did on my well side of system.
Rice sprouted in the pond but most of the roots didnt dig down so the plants are pretty much floating on the surface. That's probably why most memories of rice fields involve seedlings being transplanted. I would say 90% floated, 10% rooted down. I did do 12 cells of seeds in transplant pots just so i knew when they sprouted. I ended up planting those.
Most of the edge plantings i did last year came back when the rains came. I am very happy about that. The ones ludens had sent me.
The terrace is "amber waves of grain " and looks awesome when the wind blows. The wheat and oats are full of seeds and dry. The perrenials and trees are all doing well.
I added a beehive into the terrace.
One cow had twins. Not good. Second one didnt know how to suck so we had to force feed it for a week. Literally pushing a tube down his throat and letting 1 to 2 quarts drain into his stomach.
Father in law passed and ive been very busy at his ranch. Hauling trash out, sorting auction items, mowing it, getting tractors, generators, welders running so they get top dollar......lots to do.
It seemed to be a flop but i jumped the gun. Zach Weiss had said spend a year getting plants established before adding fish, etc. When i called to inquire about crawdads and found out that was the last week they were shipping, i went for it.
I ordered 10 pounds of rice seed. Its coming tomorrow. If i can get it established i will try it again
I had a pleasant trip to a picked over grocery store. Picture our ancestors going to the store to find out peaches are now in season. What joy!
The only difference is finding those treasures in stock vs in season. Coming out with a nice surprise you didn't walk in to get.
I got fresh strawberries to put in my homemade yogurt. The most exciting was 2 cans of maraschino cherries in a glass jar. Something i haven't eaten in a long time because we focus on eating what we produce. I splurged and brought them home. How exciting!
Jennifer, i think your idea on the first post of adding 4" of compost every year and nothing else is an excellent idea. If you havent watched charlea dowding on youtube, you might enjoy it. I watched one today where he built a new bed by adding 4" of compost, then covered it for 3 months with a wool rug. No tilling, no carboard, no nothing. He flipped over the carpet and it was full of worms.
As stated, once that organic matter is added, worm castings will happen on their own. Everything will happen. Its good stuff.
James mentioned SEA-90. I can see a benefit from that and it is a worthwhile purchase every couple of years. It has every mineral known to man. I am able to get seawater from the coast so i dont have to purchase it.
In general it looks like i beat the rain and things are thriving. I went to tie tomato plants to their stakes and i have actual tomatos on the vine. I've never had them on the vine while i am harvesting asparagus. That is super super early. Potatos are up 4 to 6 inches.
I think this is awesome. I am doing this on a much smaller scale. One thing that came to my mind is longevity of trees and their growth rate. In my climate, pecans are the main nut tree. Their slow growth allows me to grow peaches between them. At the point they get shaded out they will probably be past prime but is a good smoking wood. Also, the peaches will give me a harvest as i wait a decade for pecans.
Besides the trees, i am blitzing the "in betweens" with every shrub, herb, perrenial, nitrogen fixer i can get my hands on. Where the soil is thin and rocky i am planting lavender and native persimmons. I will know what wants to be there and what doesn't. The evolution of what it will become is exciting as it may be different than my vision.
I have a wicking bed with lava rock. I have seen no adverse effects. In fact, it grew the biggest yellow squash and zuchini i have ever grown. Easily twice as big as ones i planted in the ground. It was my first use of a wicking bed and i am a believer
Peat moss and rainwater works for me. I top dress with compost each year. I think my previous failures have been the alkaline well water. Once i got rainwater storage established, they are doing VERY well.
I generally look at the planting window, then look at the 2 week weather report, then plant prior to a rain event. I think everyone has experienced "too wet to plant" regardless of planning though.
My catastrophe with potatos has come on the backside. 6 weeks of swamp conditions toward the middle of their cycle. The new potatos rotted in the ground. After 2 years of this i set up raised beds and things have been good.