Dragonflies need emergent vegetation to creep up when they metamorphosize from aquatic nymph to adult flyer.
I have lots coming out of a backyard pond, and mosquitoes are much lower than when the pond was a pool.
The vitapure unit you show uses (I think) a long finger UVC llamp in a cylinder through which the water flows.
The UV lamp has a life span and is prone to fouling, check if it is easily cleaned/replaced.
If you have it that should be the last step before the tap and the run from the vitapure to tap should be as short as feasible.
It will also pull some power if you are offgrid.
Maybe just one potable tap with the unit directly beneath.
There are first flush tank designs to go between your down spout and your first capture tanks, to allow the roof and downspout system to flush before delivering water to the potable system.
Think about your roof material, overhanging vegetation and level of bird droppings. Not good to flush pigeon poop into the system.
I hate to say this, but, many of the older wood preservatives included arsenic compounds, which have insidious mobility and bioaccumulation properties, including in fungus, I believe.
They change oxidation/reduction state and shift mobility depending upon conditions; it is a huge problem.
Unlike lead, I am not aware of a quick test, but arsenic in well water is a fairly widespread issue, so there might tests or services available.
As I recall I was filling the tire ring as you describe.
I only split about 1 cord a year, of big chunks or birch for kindling, so I get limited opportunity to practice my 'flick'.
But I always hit the chunk and it usually flies apart
We use a a Pacific Energy Super27; best money I ever spent for family happiness.
We start a load with a fast burn, then turn down the primary and use the secondary burn to combust the gas coming off the coal bed; lovely dancing blue CO flames.
In the coldest weather (-20 to -30C) we load at 22:00, turn down at 22:30, it coasts nicely until 06:00. Then turn up and re-load.
My best overnight wood is yellow birch, which often grows with a crinkled, folded grain that is tough to split.
I also get maple, some ash (for now ) and a bit of oak.
White birch I split down for kindling.
Jack pine (heinous tree), linden, rowan and other scraps from my house property we use for autumn/spring quick burns of an evening to take the chill off.
As mentioned elsewhere, people on the forum use different definitions of 'cord'. I burn 2.5-3.5 true cords (128 cubic feet), 1-4 stove loads a day, to heat from October to May in a fairly well insulated house.
If I was burning straight softwood I would probably burn 5-8 cords, and would have to be more careful about my stovepipe (which is never dirty currently).
With well seasoned wood (usually 2 years) burns are almost always clean.
But it is tricky to properly season wood in my climate.
I am in Sackville NB.
I have a similar size garage.
A single IBC tote under the outlet of my garage gutter on each side of the garage mostly keeps up.
I took the down spout off and let the rain fall through air to the screened inlet of the IBC.
I lose some water to wind and splashing, but have less hassle with frozen or leaf clogged downspouts.
I would suggest separate IBC on each side, a horizontal pipe run could be an ice and leaf jam hassle.
In late fall I open the drain valve and recap the IBC.
Welcome to NB!
I converted a 20 x 40 swimming pool, 10 ft deep end, using an epdm pond liner.
The liner was cheaper than filling the pool.
I had alot of surplus at the shallow end, less at the deep end.
I think my epdm sheet was 80 x 40.
I put in some big feed bags full of sand to create bottom structure, also some ledges with surplus patio bricks.
Around two sides I excavated a ~6x20x1.5 ft trench to become a biofilter marsh, with 1 ft brick retaining rim.
I used old tarps and pieces of the old liner as a base layer.
But, it is critical not to create a wate/gas tight pockets between the under layer and the liner, because decomposition gases can build up and bulge the liner inside out.
After that I got a crew of strong people to help unroll the epdm from one end to the other, allosing it to sag and draw down to conform to the pond and the biofilter trench.
I wish now I had shingled a separate piece from the biofilters over the edge of the pond.
I trimmed excess and draped it over the rim to protect from foot traffic.
I refilled the biofilter with pea gravel which I should have washed better.
I weighted the edge over the rim of the pool with a trench full of pea grave but I wish I had used rocks, the trench is a stagnant nuisance
It all worked well, although a bit of a rush because the old pool was held up by water pressure, so I had to get it refilled before it collapsed.
Tomorrow I am installing a solar powered circulation pump, instead of the old pool pump I currently use.
Lots of dragonflies, toads, some frogs, mint, nice plants in the biofilter, and a growing patch of water lilies.
Next I am going to try wild rice.
And, maybe ducks.
There are, however, limits.
N can be fixed from the atmosphere by microbe/plant consortia.
P can be mobilized by microbes, but there are soils which are simply P deficient.
Also,,interesting factoid: most of the N (~90%) in human populations is derived from chemical fertilizer (Haber process).
Human population is ~8,000,000,000.
Before ferilizer it was ~1,000,000,000 around 1900.
We could probbably do a bit better now, but those numbers imply a large population drop if we go without ferilizer.
Also, consider population density; how many potential customers are within XX km of your operation?
All sorts of interesting niche businesses are viable in the US or southern Ontario.
Unless, maybe, you could sell online? Shipping costs can be low.
Plants have genes encoding a wide range of nutrient uptake transporters.
Each transporter has a characteristic binding affinity for a particular nutrient, and as long as the dissolved concentration of the nutrient is higher than the transporter binding affinity (binding constant), the transporter can bind the nutrient.
Then the uptake can be passive (flowing from high to low concentration), or active (using energy to pull nutrients in against a concentration gradient).
Different plants have different sets of uptake transporter genes, and may have differing intrinsic nutrient requirements to build tissues, and may change the expression of their set of transporters depending upon external conditions.
cheers, Doug Campbell (Ph.D., Plant Science).
I have lived in 3 conventional houses in New Brunswick, one step north and more coastal than Maine.
The climate is challenging, and builders tend to be cautious.
-~50-60 freeze/thaw cycles per year, so it is difficult to keep masonry intact. We get 20-24C (43F?) temperature fluctuations within 24-48 h, multiple times most years
-high precipitation in all forms, often accompanied by driving winds to push water into unexpected places.
-high water tables in many areas
-poor drying potential in most years (this past summer/fall was anomalously dry, although possibly to be expected going forward).
Some comments on ideas from previous posters:
a) Wide eaves can be problematic if the trusses become cold bridges carrying cold back into the ceiling. This leads to condensation and mould if the spots of the ceiling drop below the dew point. Insulation below the trusses, or designs without eaves escape the problem. Ice dams around the roof perimeter can also be problematic.
b) But lack of eaves means problems with drainage around the foundation. Keeping a gutter system running is difficult when it freezes, plugs with ice, then needs to drain rain.
c) Canada guidelines aimed towards an insulated ceiling above a vapour barrier, a ventilated attic and a 'cold' roof for many years. But more recently, for the East, the benefits of a ventilated attic and cold roof are coming into question, and insulation directly under the roof deck, with a warm attic, is being discussed. The idea of the attic ventilation is problematic in high humidity.
d) Thawing out of the ground from the perimeter of the house can create water channels down the outside of any sub-surface structures. Insulation can help.
e) Vapour barriers are very very difficult to get properly installed, and are widely done inadequately. This leads to risks of mould within the building envelope, at the point where a surface reaches the dew point.
Personally I would not consider a construction that relied upon sub-surface living, or hand laid masonry or mortar in my climate. I think it would take great design skill to avoid a mouldy, subsiding mess.
Earth is a poor insulator, particularly when it is water saturated, and heaving up and down.
Some interesting approaches (no personal experience) are insulated slab on or above grade, with proper drainage and vapour barrier below the slab.
Or screw-in metal posts to support a structure above the surface, with insulation below the floor.
Or double-wall framed house with spray foam insulation.
If you have an elevation, why not drain to air, rather than to a sump?
A sump is going to be a big electrical draw, compared to running your drains out to air at a lower point.
I would think carefully about multiple layers of insulation that could trap water between them.
Maybe better to have a single layer that can drain above and below.
I would also think carefully about stucco. If you get any water infiltration between the stucco and the foam, the freeze thaw will peel it off in sheets.
Any plant material will eventually compost but pine needles and bark are resinous and slow to decompose.
I have limited experience but perhaps use the pine material to build an outer ring around one of your rain hollows, and cover the bottom of the hollow to retain water, then put better material in the centre of the ring?
Gradually build up piney borders around plantable beds?
This is fascinating.
The sequential ventilation through ever higher levels sounds very interesting.
Two big comments:
Water, and freeze-thaw.
Have you spent a winter/spring/fall on PEI?
They currently get about 50 freeze-thaw cycles per year, depending upon location. Temperature can fluctuate 20C in 24 h (-10C to +10C is common; -25C to +15C happens).
So any sort of masonry related structure (10% cement to stabilize bags) is very prone to cracking, heaving, crumbling etc.).
There is a good reason why a bunch of Scottish settlers abandoned stone houses within 1 generation.
And related, drainage? A hole 15' deep on PEI is going to be well below the water table in most places. I fear your structure will be a pool.
I think many of the earth dome/earthship/earth cone ideas are coming from much drier places.
Building practices in the maritimes are conservative, partly because conditions are so inimical to experimentation.
If I ever build another structure in the region it will be on an insulated slab, completely above ground, which is a practice starting to spread.
I have friends nearby who have a straw bale house on a slab with wide eaves for rain shedding.
This is a very big topic.
To continue from Lindsey:
-Instantaneous light level
Full sunlight on a cloudless day at noon is about 2000 umol photons m-2 s-1. That level is higher than the level to saturate photosynthesis for most leaves. Most leaves, even leaves on plants in high sunlight, are light saturated by around 500 umol photons m-2 s-1.
A greenhouse would cut this by about 50%, so maximum level in a greenhouse is likely around 1000 umol photons m-2 s-1, maybe a bit more with careful cleaning, materials and design. 1000 umol photons m-2 s-1 is still more than enough to saturate leaf photosynthesis for most species.
But leaves do not lie flat on the ground, they have an orientation and are usually in a canopy of other leaves that lowers the instantaneous light.
(Also, humans have a logarithmic response to light; typical room light is ~40 umol photons m-2 s-1, 1/50 the level of full sunlight. So it is tricky for us to gauge light levels.)
Exposing a leaf to light above its saturation level often leads to photoinhibition; a decline in photosynthesis or growth rate caused by excess light, which has toxic effects. In most cases it is not the absolute level of light, it is whether light is above or below saturation. The saturation level varies with species, developmental history, temperature, nutrient status and prior light acclimation; most leaves have some capacity to acclimate over time to changing light.
And, saturation of leaf level photosynthesis is not the same as light saturation of growth, nor of production of the desired crop. Growth usually light saturates at levels below leave light saturation.
The length of the light exposure in the day. Plants have many photoreceptors aside from the photosynthetic system, and some are sensitive to very low levels of specific light. Some plants are able to exploit long photoperiods (tomatoes in Alaska etc.); others are not, and some respond to changing photoperiod to complete their developmental cycle.
Depending upon species light acclimation can flatten the response of growth to photoperiod somewhat; long low light photoperiods can sometimes drive growth at a rate similar to higher light shorter photoperiods.
The colour of the light has regulatory effects upon the photoreceptors, with different plants responding differently. Some wavelengths (UVB) are strongly inhibitory.
Total photons m-2 in a given period. This can be a factor; it is the product of instantaneous light and photoperiod (actually the integral of instantaneous light over photoperiod). Think of a laser flash that delivered a whole days light in a ms; the plant would be incinerated. Then think of a very dim light for a very long time; the plant is unable to grow at all because the light level is insufficient to drive net photosynthesis, so no matter how much total light is delivered slowly there is no growth. The useful photon dose also interacts with nutrient status, temperature, presence of mycorhizae, species, developmental history etc.
-UVB & UVA effects are complicated, dose and species specific.
sunnily yours, Doug Campbell (Canada Research Chair in Phytoplankton Ecophysiology, Mount Allison University)
I have a side yard/incipient wood lot/blackberry patch.
I mow the grass 2-3 times a season, in a token effort against ticks and to keep access open.
There are groundhogs nearby.
Any ideas on how to attract a groundhog? There is an nice sandy bank that looks like groundhog heaven.
For various reasons I am not in a position for goats or rabbits to eat the grass, but a groundhog might do the trick.
I would not eat plants potentially contaminated with dog excreta, and short of thorough cooking for pathogens, I know of no way to reliably decontaminate them.
In fact, nematode eggs are tremendously resistant most treatments, and most dogs carry them.
Dog poop can carry multiple pathogens, including long-lived cysts of nematode worms, Toxoplasmosis, enteric bacteria and others. All of these would likely b killed by thorough cooking (boiling).
Dog pee might carry pathogens, but might also be contaminated with medications like anti-helminthics (worm medicine) etc. Medications would not necessarily be destroyed by cooking.
There are several other plants in the Compositae that are similar in growth habit and appearance, but not as large. Some of them also have poisonous sap.
Kids are attracted to the horrible giant hogweed because it looks interesting.
8-10% is a theoretical high end for conversion of incident solar energy to biomass.
Actual conversion efficiencies under most circumstances are closer to 1% (maybe 4% for sugarcane).
The very highest efficiencies are only reached under moderate light; even C4 plants can be come light saturated at noon on a clear day, so those photons are wasted (maybe that is the first line in the original poster's quote?).
The answer depends in part upon the goal:
-carbon sequestration into soil carbon or standing biomass?
-or total harvestable carbon
-or total usable harvestable carbon?
So, in a tropical harvest situation sugarcane is the current winner, because some strains have nitrogen fixation, and the gabasse left from sugar production can be used as fuel.
In a temperate carbon sequestration situation a tree species or perennial grass might win because it might sequester more carbon into soil.
Miscanthus is studied for temperate situations because the leaves and stalks can be harvested after yellowing, and they contain little besides carbohydrate; the nutrients are pumped down to the roots for another round of production.
I agree that theoretical peak productivity is not always the best criteria for a permaculture situation; diversity, disease resistance, pollenator support, habitat.... are all factors
Please be very very careful if attempting to start 'Spirulina' from wild isolates of cyanobacteria.
The edible 'Spirulina' is actually a member of the 'Arthrospira' genus (group) of cyanobacteria, which are superficially similar to the 'true' 'Spirulina', but which are not actually closely related.
Some cyanobacteria produce toxins, and this is a big issue in Australia.
$250 for a starter culture is not unreasonable, given the costs of production for pure cultures. As you note, it will grow up quickly, and if you are careful, you could save some of the initial culture in case your launch fails.