These are the same quince trees I showed a few years ago. I haven't eaten or used the fruit yet because there wasn't enough. I decided to give them away to folk who wanted to sprout the seeds, especially the woman who gave me the first fruit - who now has a garden to plant hers in.
I think that they're worth growing for the autumn colour alone!
We eat the flowers straight from the garden or in salads or for whatever platter tastes great but needs a colour boost and a bit of fun.
The leaves dry really quickly, you crumble them and store them in airtight jars and use them in a salt mix or "straight" to give an interesting peppery taste to food.
They grow fast, are beautiful, edible, fill spaces beautifully, climb when they have to.
Check the voltage of the curtain opener, many of them are 12v and have an in-line converter to change domestic current to DC. (Just like your laptop, tablet, mobile telephone and probably your WIFI box have too). So you may not need an inverter, which wastes a lot of energy just by being switched on.
While you're designing the system, why not use a slightly larger solar panel than you need and run a few LED lights, charge your telephone and do all sorts of other things with the spare energy? After all you only open and close curtains once a day.
Solar panels are relatively cheap but batteries and reliable inverters are not. Am I being cheeky asking why you want to spend time and money on stuff when you already have a system that works on your domestic circuit?
One of the mini-designs I submitted for my Diploma in Applied Permaculture was about free-range chickens.
It's entitled "Free-range Chickens : Observations of their needs, multiple functions and beneficial relationships with examples of their use in a Permaculture garden design" and covers a lot of the ways in which you can use chickens in a garden and around a smallholding. It's long - 27 pages but as with everything I publish, there are loads of photos.
I hope you don't think I'm being pompous by including a link to the PDF and suggesting that it might be an interesting read.
This isn't an earth floor but it had a lot of earth in it. It was our very cheap but very time-consuming alternative to expensive terre cuite tiles. I thought about an earth floor but I dye wool and make a lot of conserves and we have some older dog/cats and sometimes lambs and kids who pee on the floor occasionally, so it was too much of a risk to try an earth floor, then have to redo it because it couldn't stand up to the humidity.
I read how to use straw for insulation under the floor and make the tiles in a book called "The Straw Bale House". So on top of about 75cms of rocks, we laid straw bales with mortar mixed with straw between them to support the floor. The floor is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. On the left in the photo is a small underfloor cellar which stays really cool.
Then we laid a classic screed floor and on top (because our house is bioclimatic and we wanted loads of thermal mass) we made a mix with sand, clay, white cement and ochre colours and made "tiles", tamping them down, then cutting and shaping them by hand (plastic bag over hand) to consolidate the mix and give them a nice finish.
Finishing off the last joints between the "tiles"
Floor after 17 years (Although I promised to wax it every summer, I don't) I love the floor and it doesn't show the dirt much with loads of muddy boots and 5 dogs coming in and out.
As we're near the top of a hill, we have a lot of small vernal ponds to prevent water run-off. This is one right on top of the hill, looking towards the house.
This is another small pond just in front of the house
The same tiny pond from another angle with ducks and geese enjoying the water
This pond was puddled by the pigs and tends to keep water all year round
This is our biggest pond (A double pond with false bridge) for swimming and fishing, we made it about 30 years ago and it's fed by a stream
This is a pond we re-laid with cement after several years of problems with liners. It's fed rainwater from the house front roof and takes the final water from the grey water sewage system that we finished last week! I can't wait to see how the system works and to make it a pretty place to sit doing nothing.
This is our latest pond which is being puddled by wild boar, it's fed from a swale
Good permaculture design allows water to be collected, protected, conserved and reused as much as possible before it is lost.
In the hectare (Mostly Zone 1) around us it was vital - before we built our house, built roads, gardens and shelters etc. - to design our water strategy. Although all our animals are extensively raised, their shelters are concentrated here and we sometimes have more than 200 animals to feed and water.
At first, we had to connect to the city's water to make sure that we had enough, but with careful management, we now pay less than 300€ a year for water - a very small amount for a 37 hectare farm. 🤠
For a guide to practical details on how we manage water, click on the link HERE to see the original photo in flickr. Then move your cursor over the photo for links to larger photos.
A quick and easy way I use is to use Word or Open Office. Open a new page, choose "landscape" for your new page layout then insert a photo, move it to the left, copy it on the right and adjust the sizes of both photos to fit on the page then use screensave to make a new photo in jpeg.
Shawn, last year I posted a video of the temperatures in different parts of our solar home when the temperature outside was 111°F / 44°C. I also included photos of some of the techniques I used when we built the house and how they affected the light and comfort inside. The link to that post is here : https://permies.com/t/90659/today-Southern-france
I love just watching interactions between our dogs and cats and our new cockerel and how he joins in with two hens working together to protect their new family of goslings on their first day outside. Just checking of course.
That's almost the same as the machine I used for a few years which was great for smaller things and has really changed my life after hand washing and going to the laundromat for big stuff. (We're off-grid with a very modest amount of panels).
I've lent it to a friend since I managed to buy a bigger machine in a similar style which washes much bigger items and a lot more stuff. Yesterday, I washed two duvet covers, three sheets and lots of pillow cases, seven pairs of jeans, about eleven tee shirts, five shirts, 27 pairs of knickers and five bras, millions of socks and a few dog blankets - all with same soapy washing water. It was pretty grubby at the end.
I used two only black rubbish bins of water for washing and rinsing, which I siphon off to water the garden.
I grow horseradish in three places in the garden where the earth is really rich and the big roots are worth harvesting. If it's not getting enough nutriments it wears itself out but it will stay alive and take up space without giving anything back. You don't need much to get enough sauce for a year.
Once your plants are really showing signs of enjoying life and have huge healthy leaves, then wait until the end of summer when they start to wither, then dig straight down around the plant with a spade, wiggle it a bit to get the whole complete root out. You can then decide to leave some in for next year or to take the whole lot out. It's only when you cut the root in little bits that it becomes invasive.
Here, it's growing next to Egyptian onions, Melissa, Rhubarb and some pink Lamium.
Hello Bob, just to add to the reply that Thomas gave about 12v batteries.
He is absolutely correct but there is another important consideration when choosing solar batteries.
Take the example of connecting four 12v 100ah batteries in parallel.
Correct wiring and connections are crucial to ensure that the current going through batteries is shared equally. Every battery must benefit from the absorption period to be fully charged.
Resistance paths in six cells x four batteries creates a high margin of error, the paths are not always the same and can change over time. That's why it's important to unhook everything and check the individual cells in your batteries periodically and change their order from time to time. (Eg. Moving the first and last batteries to the inside of the string.)
I've learned my lesson by experience. Just have a look at my Flickr solar photos, you'll see that I made that mistake often, being tempted to buy cheap and easily available 12v batteries that died after just four or five years.
Now, I'd never parallel more that 3 batteries and when I'm designing a system, I try to aim for two.
To get 400ah, it's best to buy 6v batteries - connected in series, they'll get the same charge and they'll last for years. Or, if you already have 12v batteries connect them in series and parallel to provide 24v, use a dropper if you really need to for some applications but most inverters, LEDs, frigos, telephone chargers etc. we can buy now now are 12v or 24v.
For a bigger system use high ah 2v batteries connected in series. They are really expensive but worth it in the long run, not only for your purse but for the environment too.
This a 8" j tube about seven years old and it works like a dream but it's not at all pretty so I cover it with crochet pads made from old tee shirts. It's in constant use when it's cold and I've cleaned it out a few times and repaired the cob around the burn chamber twice. I'll finish it one day.
I built it, Fabrice reluctantly built the chimney core and cut and helped with lifting on the old heavy water heater I used to surround the chimney and insulation (Perlite). He didn't believe it would work.
I used an old chimney pot to connect to the barrel which was easy to cut to size and I also cut out an inspection hatch in it. I used the top of the chimney (Which I cut off) to go into the the cob near the barrel and it's used to dry things, warm wine and so on.
Water heater on, burn chamber cobbed in
Experiments with exterior air to burn chamber. I decided that this didn't make much difference the rocketiness and adding another metre to the height of the chimney solved the problem of a good draw.
Second firing, it worked well (inspection hatch covered temporarily until I had cobbed the bench)
Inspection of the joints and cob around the bottom of the barrel after a few burns
Inspection hatch covered with a plate from an old stove
Plan of the workshop. The rayburn heats the water, I preferred to use the rocket for heat only as the pipe run was so long
Just before the pipes exit to the chimney, a boot stash in a dark corner near our back door with a 1 watt LED light which comes on automatically when you come in to take your boots off.
A good clean and repairs to the burn chamber after 5 years
Four dogs, a man, two cats and me and the rest of the dogs are further along the bench...
I'm in South West France with a bit less sun than you have in Ohio and I've several solar systems which I've built up over the years to power our 3000² feet house which almost runs like a "normal" house. All heating is by wood.
In your position, with your needs, I'd buy only 4 x 330 panels and connect them to produce 48v
A 60 amp MPPT controller
8 x 6v batteries (300 - 400ah) and connected in series and parallel to have a 24v bank
What will you use a 3000watt inverter for?
We use a small Victron Phoenix pure sine inverter 750VA which runs our twin tub washing machine, several computers, a Vorwerk vacuum cleaner, printer, sound system, 2.5kms of electric fence, bread machine (Summer only) etc. Our large refrigerator and small freezer (Summer only), telephone and torch charging and all lighting runs directly off 24v.
This system is running on only 800 watts of panels, a PWM 60amp Morningstar controller and a bank of 12 x 2v 620ah 4PzS (Fork lift) batteries which I've never needed to charge.
I can show you photos of wiring, fuses etc. and I'm sure the other posters will help with that too, once you've decided on the elements of your system.
Hans, (Nice to hear your sister's spirit lived on, I hope you got seeds from the plant!) your post reminded me of another perennial plant, Nine Star broccoli. This is really worth growing. In my experience the heads get smaller each year but we usually get five or six good years before the plant is exhausted and keels over. The Cleavers (or sticky willies as we used to call them) climbing through the leaves are also edible and quite yummy.
Yukka or Yucca You can eat any part of this plant which is new growth. I've never tried the huge asparagus like flower shoot (That seems like such an indulgence) but the flowers taste good. These are too far gone to eat but what a beautiful sight. The fruit doesn't ripen in our climate, so I've never tried it.
I planted Canna to use the seeds as a dye but you can also use them for making jewellery, and for shot for catapults etc. They are incredibly hard.
You can also eat all parts of the plant, the new green shoots are OK, or you can cook and eat the roots (We did it only once.) Now we use them to make a sort of arrowroot used in cooking or for adding to deodorants and cosmetics. I usually give the awful job of grating them to somebody else!
Maybe this should be in your next post Daren about perennial root crops but it's difficult when plants are so versatile.
More than two-thirds of my garden is planted with perennials. I have about a third of a hectare of "potager" and my big problem in the spring is finding space for summer annuals and veg.
Here is a small selection of some plants that haven't been mentioned already. I've enclosed photos, so that you can actually see things growing in a real garden rather than in a catalogue.
"Le Chou perpétuel" Perpetual cabbage Daubenton (Brassica oleracea var. Ramosa) totally unaffected by frost and with three or four plants, there's always enough to add to a stir-fry.
Asparagus keeps on giving for years and years if it's fed well. Our oldest crowns must be at least ten years old.
Artichokes, this plant is about five years old and produces beautiful big heads. Behind the are some hops, "Fuggles" which are also perennial and the new growth is delicious - they look and taste just like asparagus with a slightly earthy taste.
Horseradish is a pain in the eyes to grate but the result is fantastic and worth crying for.
Malabar Spinach (On the right) is a climber and will take shade and grow into trees and fences. . It's great in salads (not too much because it's a bit glutinous). It can be cooked like normal spinach. Our plants are about eight years old.
Walking (Or Egyptian) onions. Great in the middle of winter for some fresh onion topping they're bigger than chives (Which are also a fantastic perennial) and even snow doesn't phase them.
Liquorice is easy to grow, although you have to wait a while to harvest the roots but in the meantime, the flowers are lovely.
Apios americana, another climber, nitrogen fixer which has roots that taste nutty, sort of potato but interesting. The flowers are fascinating.
There's also scarlet runner beans, bear's garlic (Ramps), Jerusalem artichokes and hundreds of others......
This is only my experience of using clay to line a pond in very sandy soil, other people may have much better ideas.
In drawing A, the almost pure clay (grey) was laid thick all over the pond bottom and sides and came right up to the edges where it was smoothed by hand to create an impermeable barrier.
Water needs to be in contact with the clay at all times, if it dries out it will crack - even with the addition of lots of animal waste and organic material - and the water will run through to the sand, taking some clay with it, lowering the level and speeding up the loss of water due to cracking. See B
The loss of water and clay led to a situation where there was some clay at the bottom of the pond (As in C) but the level of the water not as high as I would have liked. This stayed stable for a few years which indicated to me that it's possible to clay puddle a shallow pond which is regularly filled with water but if the edges are too straight, in time, the clay will be lost through cracking and move downwards.
It's difficult to say how much clay you'll need without knowing more about the purity if the clay, the size and depth of the pond and what your arrangements are for filling it. Do some experimenting in a small hole and work with the clay for a few weeks to see for yourself.
We've now used concrete to line our pond in sand but if anyone has succeeded in making this work, I'd love to know how you did it and I'm sure Nathanael would too.
Jake Van, here are my answers to your questions about wood stoves.
Those wood stoves are sexy.
They are How consistent is the heat?
Keep adding wood and the best ones run 24/24 Is it easy to control the temperature?
You add more wood, open up the air vents and it gets hot, on better ones you can choose to favour the temperature of the oven or the temperature of the water and also whether you want it to heat the water or the radiators. When you're cooking on a stove, you don't control the temperature, you use it. You need to learn when to open up a vent or move the pan closer to the hot spot or leave it over at the cooler edge but once you have the hang of it you're flying! Where is the best place to source them?
I haven't got a clue for your location but we found ours in a local small ads. Is it better to buy a modern one or try for a classic?
It's depends what you want to use them for. What should you expect to pay?
We paid 1500 euros for ours. Can you use them in the summer or would it be better for an outdoor kitchen?
I sometimes use our in the summer for the oven, to heat the water and when we're doing conserves. Ours has insulated lids, so doesn't give off too much heat when they are down. I would never use a wood stove outside for hundreds of reasons, better to build a rocket oven. They look REAL heavy!
It took four men to lift ours. There's a lot of steel and thermal mass in a good cook stove.
We have almost finished our extension and for cooking, decided on a bottled gas cooktop for summer and a Rayburn.
The Rayburn has got a fast and a slow cooking top, I love cooking on it. We've had thirty people here for a couple of weeks on courses and this and the gas top can handle all the cooking and heats the house really well.
I like things to be multifunctional and this suits our purposes. You can keep things warm, dry clothes, seeds, herbs, warm lambs, dry cast iron things, get candle wax off things, put canned food on top to make it easier to get out of the bottle, warm your bum etc.
You can get six pizzas or two big dishes or a giant turkey into the oven
It heats 400 litres of water and six radiators upstairs. The rooms are toasty warm if all the heating is on but that's not often as we mostly use the rocket heater.
The huge pillars to hold up the upstairs are just behind the Rayburn and the dogs and cats sleep there between it and the other thermal mass of the burnchamber of the old rocket heater.
This is the wood corner where the animals sleep and, just behind the Rayburn, there's the 400l water tank. It's a lovely corner and it's free'd up the rocket bench for us !!
I run a seed exchange association and some kind person gave us them.
When we have unusual plants, I usually keep some and divide the rest between the more experienced gardeners with the promise that they'll let us have seeds next year. All of us had seeds to share the next year, so they're not difficult to propagate.