I have never composted fish but I buried a trout's remains near some shrubs this weekend!
But I just wanted to say I had great results when I made fish hydrosolate (spelling?) a little while ago. I blended 5 large fish carcasses into liquid (wife unhappy), added sugar and about 10 lacto-baccilius (again, spelling) pills and let it sit for a month. It was a great success. Although I am not sure about the mechanics of pulverizing 50 gallons of fish maybe you wouldn't have to? Chop finely and wait longer?
When I lived in Fairbanks I used to know an old timer that would sun himself for 15 minutes a day any time the sun was out in the winter. For a month or so the sun is just too low on the horizon to get any rays at all but other than that, -20 degrees? Didn't matter to him. Probably helped that he had lived there since the 70s and knew enough about the trade offs...
Also one year my boss bought us all sad-lights which are supposed to emulate sunshine while you work at your bench. They sucked.
One of the legends I heard when I was in the army was that they boiled the same grounds so many times at Bastogne that they turned white. May have just been propaganda to excuse the poor quality of modern day army coffee. Mighty fine my ass.
As the proud holder of an associates degree in computer science...
I'd say Python. It always seems to be more fun than others. We learned Java and C in school. C is cool if you are making actual things (like embedded systems) but it always ends up pissing me off eventually. In fact, I actually hate computer programing but when I get the itch to play around I choose Python. Its fun to put 124349**30821 into IDLE just to see really big numbers...
I have one where the cage might as well be off... It's missing 1/3 of the horizontal bars and all but one of the vertical ones are bent, broken or not in contact with the tank. I have filled it up and it seems to be fine. Someone told me that the cage is just for transportation. If that's actually true, I don't know.
At what point, if any, does fire safety trump permaculture?
In my opinion, point zero.
But, I don't see a huge conflict of interest here. 100ft of space isn't all that hard to have while still practicing PC. In my defensible space are water collection tanks, a vegetable garden, flower beds, a tiny pond, a couple shrubs, bushes and fruit trees (not within "spreading distance"), storage sheds and the not yet operational chicken run. None of these raised the insurance inspectors hackles. Still, where I live if a "real" fire comes through there isn't going to be much anyone can do about it, defensible space or not
I sorta think that a well managed food forest is basically what you would get after a fire came through anyway. Good soil, healthy spacing and an effective succession system. Isn't that why the fire danger is so high and the forest health so low? No fire for 100 years? Just from looking at the difference between a well-developed food forest and the average (and also well-developed) tinderbox forest here in California keeps me working towards one of my own.
Just get a surplus E-Tool. They suck to dig a hole with but I guarantee that they suck less than all the other options. They aren't fragile. Just make sure it's the genuine article with an NSN or you will be more disappointed than necessary.
It's been crazy for sure. We were under evac warning a few weeks ago but never got the word to move out. That fire is now out. The smoke has been THICK with the exception of Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the winds pushing it off and necessitating a Public Safety Power Shutoff, another great benefit of living in California!
Here is the real crazy part: Tuesday night my son was out on the deck and he goes, "there's a fire across the river canyon". I go outside and immediately bad thoughts start kicking in. It looked like a huge fire across half the ridge about 2 miles away and with no power we weren't getting the news or anything. Fire up the genny and check the local news. Insanely enough, it was actually the glow from the North Fire Complex, like 40 air miles away. I guess the lack of smoke allowed it to be visible for the first time even though that things been burning for a while... It was creepy, especially because the clouds and smoke rolling around out there really looked like flames flaring up and whatnot. I wish my phone could take better nighttime pictures. It was unreal.
First to answer your question: I used a pick, a digging bar and the grubbing end of a pulaski to break up the ground. Hard work.
I have the same land. Ultra-compacted clay. I made some garden beds there doing the following:
I dug it up about 1 foot deep. Picked out rocks and the pure white clay chunks that might as well be rocks.
Mixed in wood pieces, horse manure and some biochar.
Planted a green manure cover crop and let it grow for 6 months.
Then I mounded it all up into beds, and covered all of it with 4 inches of wood chips. I also filled in the paths with wood chips to a depth of about 8 inches. After this the green manure crops popped out again.
I scraped off the wood chips and the green manure in the spring and mulched with some compost, then re-covered with the chips/green manure. Then I doused it with aerated compost tea and planted.
Results were pretty ok. The garden started great but ended up "self compacting" over the course of the season. Upon investigation the actual growing depth of the beds is more like 6 inches (they are almost 18" high) and under that is just nasty water-phobic clay. Tomatoes grew ok, Zucchini and Lemon Cucumber grew great. Peppers and Melons sucked. Pickling cucumbers are so bitter as to be inedible.
I will be incorporating about 400% more organic materials and biochar into as many beds as I can before next spring. I think I will be in business after that.
I have almost the same question and I thought it might be better to post it here instead of a new thread. I hope that's ok.
Almost the same situation: I want to supply 30 amps to a small cabin 160ft from the panel on the side of a house. The supply from the panel on the house is through a 40A breaker. At the cabin I would like 2 separate 15A circuits. Do I need a 30A breaker at the subpanel in the cabin before the 15A breakers? Or is it ok to pigtail both 15A breakers together directly from the wire coming from the 40A breaker at the house?
Thanks for following through with the updates, Michelle! My garden beds which were also in their first year had many of the same issues so it was very helpful to see what you did and read the advice others gave. So yeah, thanks for taking one for the team, as it were.
I try to just drive them off with a few rocks or whatever. Lord knows I need the help with the mice and voles but I have killed them before too. I shot two snakes (with one shot, i might add, haha) because they were together, tip to tail during mating season and edging up under my house. I don't need a snake den as I have kids and a really dumb dog running around.
Like they say, "debt is cancer". Get what you can actually afford and do the work bit by bit. That's my advice. Just be EXTREMELY honest about what you can realistically do. That's my big problem, I started out hot and now my arm is all (expletive deleted). Definitely put a damper on things...
Clearing land is hard work but it's spectacularly satisfying to see the difference a few hundred square feet at a time. Plus free heat and rough building supplies forever!
Sorry for the delay. I forgot I would be out of town for a few days when I posted this.
I have no idea if they are table or wine grapes but since they taste great (very sweet) I am guess table. Right? Exposing my ignorance here...
I appreciate all the replies and advice, thank you all. I think the best was to try many differing methods and something outta stick. I will start the process this fall, take a few more cuttings in early spring and hopefully have some good results to report!
I have a friend who has these delicious grapes (see below) that are growing on the property he rents. No idea what kind they are but I would appreciate any guesses or even a categorization. Anyways, I am going to attempt to propagate them onto my property as well. I've never tried to grow grapes before and know nothing about it.
So can someone please check me on this? First I take some cuttings in early spring. Then I put them in a vase with 2" of water, wait for them to root and then plant them in pots until they seem ready to go outside. At that point I transplant them into the ground, where I plan to build a trellis.
My big questions are:
Should I use a rooting hormone? What kind of care would these baby grapes need? When are they considered established?
I carry my knife and my phone in my pocket to work but when I leave the office I grab my 3L camelbak. On the back of it I attached an old ammo pouch to hold my "survival kit": Toilet paper, a flashlight, a couple granola bars, two packs of alka-seltzer, a bic, couple bandaids and a survival blanket. Good enough to survive a night in the woods with a broken ankle, i spose. Somebody will come find me, right?!
I really like your idea and wish there was such a database. In response to your questions about contributing though, I don't actually feel confidant that I know ANYTHING about growing stuff right yet. Hence my desire for exactly what you are proposing!
I am interested in your results. I planted a pepper and a tomato in wood chips this year that are about half rotted. It is going poorly... Both plants are small and sparse. I have given the pots some urine and some compost tea and even a splash of tomato fertilizer but they just don't seem to like their situation. Both are planted in 25-30 gallon black pots. In fact one of my theories is that the pots are getting too hot, although the plants I had in them last year seemed ok, with soil. I am actually really excited to dig them up at the end of the year to see what the roots look like.
Super cool. While I agree with Douglas and doubt it is more efficient from a volume standpoint, this method would be an amazing way to grow your home. If you had the foresight to start 20+ years early, you could make such a fantastic house. When I was a teenager I help my friends family build a two story log home. Imagine the time and labor savings if all the logs were similar sized and found side by side! Thanks for sharing!
Not to be a naysayer but Redding is hotter than anywhere I've ever lived. And I've lived in Baghdad. Similar vegetation.
Also, why buy pigs when there are so many running around up there? Just build a fence around your property and viola, you're a pig farmer!
But in all seriousness, if you can make this work you will be the man. Don't let me dissuade you. Catch a LOT of water (safely) up high and disperse it effectively, you'll be ok. Do not go into this without a track hoe. That's my advice.
Well I said that this is the best site I have seen for shade edibles in that other thread. Might as well say it here too! Thanks so much, now I just have to pare down the list of 50 different berries and trees I want, hahaha!
I am also interested, Eric! Hahaha. The problem is that I don't think I can divide any of my 3 or 4 comfrey until next year. They have only been up for 2 months. Unless you know different? I am not afraid to try... I actually cut one off at surface level because it ended up in a row of corn. It came right back and is only a little behind it's sister plants, shade and all.
Awesome thanks again. I have been out for a few days but have not lost interest in this thread. Especially now that you mention phosphorus! According to my soil sample the level of P in my soil is extremely low. (Insert the standard comments about living soil vs chemical fertilizers here). But I would still feel better if someone could address P in this discussion a little bit more. Is there a fungal-safe method to increase phosphorus and avoid the dependency we are discussing? It doesn't have to be immediate or surface applied. I plan on digging my beds after this season and incorporating a lot more organic matter. I knew I needed to do it but just didn't get to it. Anyway I can add anything then and following that never have to dig again!
Well dang, this thread keeps on giving. I am very curious now, exactly at what point would introducing too much "easy food" (for the sake of argument let's go with urine) into the soil biome cause it to break down? I don't expect anyone to have an exact answer of course.
Aside: I hear you Eric, with your struggle and eventual success. I am in the first year of growing my new garden and it's going way WAY better than I ever dreamed. I live in the tertiary channel of the ancient Yuba River. It used to drain the entire Great Basin and as a result it was full of placer gold. So people used to blast entire hillsides down with water and remove the top 200 feet of soil in search of it. The underside of that is what my garden is made of. Biologically deficient clay based medium for sure! But a truck bed of horse manure, some leaves and sticks, some char and two coats of aerated compost tea have proven to me that you can grow in ANYTHING as long as you keep it mulched. Except peppers. The peppers are not happy.
Oops, one more thing I wanted to put out there. I do plan on using comfrey in my biochar in the future. I bought 25 root cuttings this spring but I kinda screwed up. I overestimated just how hardy they would be and only 4 have popped up. I know I can easily start many more from those but for now supplies are limited! There are actually a few more I just realized I never went and checked though. Cross your fingers that I have more than I think!
Also. William, I am very glad to hear that. I planted 10 willow sticks last fall and they are growing nicely. I plan to expand on that and to use them for all kinds of stuff! I am also digging some bambee from a friends house later this week!
How much material do I have available? It's absolutely insane. I only own 5 acres and I have only cleaned up about 1.5 and maybe another half acre done to 50%. My stupid right elbow is all messed up so it's making it slow going. I have burned enough brush, limbs, small trees (under 4-5" diameter, bigger than that I buck up and stack for firewood or future hugelin') and shrubs to bury my house and garage 3x over. And it's all either dead, dying or manzanita. Think about what you would get if you put a rainforest through a 10 year drought and that's about what I have. It will be nice enough when it's finished though. My little patch (and most of California) just has been left alone and fire excluded for so long that it's out of control and choking itself to death. That's why I just burn in a semi-controlled open way. I have to get this stuff done to have any chance of the forest coming back to health and I don't feel like I have the time or need to go for maximum efficiency with the biochar production. In the future, I have hundreds of acres around me that my neighbors would be ecstatic to have me take fuel out of. That is when I will definitely take the time to try to make higher efficiency char, deploying methods like you outlined.
As an aside:The manzanita is the worst part, it weaves itself together and around everything so the effort is like dragging it 5x farther it seems. Also, it's sharp and pokey and it burns hotter than a bucket of gasoline, hahaha. It catches fire insanely easy so in most cases, it has to go. It's a cool tree though, my wife makes fences out of the big stuff and the little berries are tasty. It just really likes to take over where not much else wants to grow.
And yes, regarding the stuff pushed over the side of the hill, I do winch and/or drag it when I can. A lot of it comes down to just hand dragging it though. It gets stuck around trees I want to keep. Or that I want to keep the hillside at least! It's not really wood like logs but more like the illegitimate son of wood and brush. It's not heavy but exceedingly awkward to hook up. The problem is is that my winch setup leaves something to be desired... For some reason I am struggling to find someone to weld a winch plate on my truck so I have it on my rear tow hitch and hooked up to a (non-charging) deep cycle battery. So I only get like 3-400ft of pull before it has to go back on the charger. So like 6 turns or whatever. Frustrating.
I dunno, it's kinda awful work but you definitely feel like you earned your beer at the end of the day.