ronan Watters

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since Oct 24, 2011
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Recent posts by ronan Watters

Hi David

I have a about a quater of a acre covered in long grass with the likes of common and medow vetch mixed in as well as some other wild flowers. There is about a year and a haft growth there, since I have it. Before that there where ponies on it for a few months and before that it would have been kept as lawn. I will be wanting to expand my garden into this area next year and push other parts more in the direction of wildflower meadow habitat. So this Autumn I am going to cut this long grass back, it's quite matted underneath.

So how best to compost all this material at once. There are lots of seeds in it and it bares closer resemblence to hay rather then lawn. Some of it has dried out but there will still be plenty of wet green high nitrogen content material as well. Other material I have onsite is a little over a cubic meter of fairely well rotted compost made up of kitchen scraps and garden waste. Plenty of comfrey, woodshavings mixed with chicken poop from the chicken coop (only 2 chickens) At this point in my sites development and in the Irish climate I am going to have more material on the green side of things.

To balance that, I was thinking of buying in some straw bales or getting more wood shavings to boust the carbon side of things. Which do you think will give me the best outcome in terms of finish product and help getting the pile hot enough to try and kill some of thoes seeds.

5 years ago
Hi Paul

Got my email with the first round of candy and all of that has downloaded safely and can watch the two videos on youtube. Have been waiting for the email about the download of the old dvd's that where part of the 60 dollar 8 download reward package and don't seam to have received it yet. Have checked spam and trash folders and know sign there.

Was messaging Cassie last week and she very helpfully checked that you had got my correct email address from kickstater. Only thing I can think of is that Cassie may have addded me two the later 72 hour download? If so thats fine. I have got enough candy from the first email to keep me going for a while.

This has got to be one of the most generous give away of rewards on kickstarter particularly at the lower levels. Well done Paul and team.

martin crawford creating a forest garden book is a huge resource for plants and process of setting up a forest garden and its uk based.

He started on bare field but one with woods to two sides of it. I cant see how starting with woodland would speed things up. Apart from having a soil biota mix set up from the start with a slant towards trees and woodland species. And some shovel fulls of good forest floor earth and duff can help inoculate the soil in a bare field around newly planted trees.

I would go with a bare field unless you can get a a recently logged bit of woodland at a very good price that ticks lots of other boxes. With both thoes options you can be asured you are improving and increase biodiversty even if you dont pull of a very optimized design.
6 years ago
Would like a rmh but can't see it working in a small stone cottage where there are a number of small rooms. Worried a rmh would take up a lot room and would leave one room to hot while the others are cold.

The other option of a woodstove which also heats some radiators in the other rooms seams like a better solution in this setting. Im in ireland so winters aren't to bad just damp.

Is there ways to spread the heat round the house better? I can see it heating two rooms well the one it, s in and the one thats behind the wall its against but worried about the other rooms

7 years ago

I have been looking at lots of cheap land in Ireland over the last few months. Most of the cheap plots are in the west of the country and are very peaty and waterlogged often to the extent of outright bog in parts. But where it's not bog it is very waterlogged with lots of rushes growing.

This summer has been one of the wettest on records so you get a clear picture of what the land is like all year round. The soil looks very dark has huge amounts of organic matter in it. But the water is stopping or slowing down the decomposition process and keeping out oxygen and i would imagine it would be acidic. On paper it would seam like good base for veg growing once the water level was dropped. Am I missing something as most of the land is just used for summer grazing of young cattle?

Gone through a lot of permaculture literature and have not come across this particular type of land or any real discussion on drainage. It's all focused on catching and sinking water.

Any ideas for permaculture approaches to this type of land or ways of drainage where i am not losing all my nutrients ?

8 years ago
Hopefully this will get some replies this time around. I am about to buy some land in the same area as the original poster and have some questions about food forests. The overall site is 2.4 hectares and is open along the northside to occasionally quite cold winds. I will need to close off some of that for windbreak and privacy. So i am thinking of a food forest. The site is 70 meters above sea level and would be USA zone 9 I think.

The specific part of the land is about a 50 meter stretch along the side of a flat 1 hectare terrace with well over a hundred almond trees that have been neglected for the last 6 years. At either end there are some olives and a fig tree.

I suspect some of the almonds won´t make a comeback after watering and pruning but I have so many that's not a big deal. They are spaced in about a 5x5 meter grid. Peaches and cherry and stone fruit are whats generally grown in the wider area. Though the land next door is all olive´s and there is about 85 olive trees on the land. I haven´t worked out the full design for the land yet but as this area will need to be closed off and is at the edge of the property away from the house. I think I can block off a strip along this 50 meters to start developing a food forest that would also act as a windbreak, that wouldn´t have any negative impacts on the full plan for the land as it develops.

Even if some of the Almond trees don´t last in the long run I am wondering if they can play the role of nurse trees for younger trees? and now best to manage that? It´s only the start of March but already it is occasionally hitting 23C for part of the day even though it can drop a bit a night. The almonds that are there now may provide much need shade when the full summer sun comes.

In terms of trees that i think at the moment i would like would be a range of any fruit I can get and for nuts, Hazelnuts and walnuts.

Any suggestions for specific guilds to develop around them?

In terms of nitrogen fixers there are lots of candidates it´s partially about seeing on what i can source locally. Anyone have there own favourites that would suit the climate?

Any ideas, or feedback?

8 years ago
did my pdc 7 months ago and been studying loads since then. Just gone sale agreed on some land now. For me that was the right order. could have made big mistakes if i went looking at land first.

I would suggest a pdc first for structure and then loads more reading and learning on top of that utill you are ready moneywise to buy the land.
8 years ago
I am planning on setting up some sort of composting toilet in the near future. I have read the Humanure book by Joe jenkins. It´s a great read and i would recommend it. My only issue is I don´t think a lot of people will be won over to a system that involves them carrying a lot of buckets of poop out of their house. It´s one of those things where the vast majority of people (2 points lower then you on the wheaton eco scale) will just go "thats crazy".

There needs to be another type of composting toilet that allows them to keep an open mind long enough for them to get to the point where they see all the benefits about nutrient cycling. rather then just seeing carrying buckets of poop through there house and switching off at that point.

I am thinking of a system of two chambers where the composting happens in the chambers below the toilet. One maturing while the other is filling. Access to the composting chamber to remove mature compost will be external to the house. In terms of urine I had expected to use a urine diverting seat but Joe is pretty adamant about the benefits of mixing them (admittedly in a different system) Even so it maybe worth while to have a urinal in the bathroom as well so the guys anyway could use that some of the time if the compost was getting too wet. The urinal could just be plumbed outside and into a watering can for easy and discrete distribution on the land.

The compost in the first chamber can be taken out and left to mature more if the second chamber has filled up. But in a two person household that we will have i don´t think that should be a problem.

What do people think?
9 years ago
lots and lots of them you may need to break it down a bit more then that

one that gets talked about a lot is Tamera webpage in the alentejo in portugal. Pick your country and google you will find lots particularly in spain portugal france and germany and the uk
9 years ago
just a few ideas, I am sure some of them are already covered.

In terms of most trade magazines they are often produced by small teams who will work next week on a totally different trade magazines. Most of them will be looking for content to fill them up. If they can get someone else to do this it's all the better for them and the can get on with there real job of selling advertising space. It means that if you contact them, they will first try and sell you add space but if you can get past that and possibly get them to see how big your empire is and how a link to them from you could help them that may change there tone.

On a completely unrelated area I had big success with getting something out to police officers by placing a small add in their year book. This was in Ireland so it was more manageable (one book covered the whole country, in the US that may be totally unmanageable) maybe the fire service has an year book and a hugelkultur artical slanted to talk about the fire risk reduction benefits could have a knock on effect

Training packs, teach the teachers. I am not sure what the extension people you talk about are. I am guessing some kind of agr. advisers but they will get training somewhere. Find that person and develop training packs for them to use. I am sure there are other trainers you could target people with more local knowledge could come up with a list.

Don't get too focused on Hugelkultur. This weeks visit from Toby was a huge success. The forums and podcasts on all the different topics bring in lots of people, many of whom would never have clicked on a link that said hugelkulter, but once they are here they can't help but trip over hugelkultur. All general ways to build your empire also promote Hugelkultur. You are doing a great job, celebrate all the successes you are having on the broad range of topics rather then measure everything as falling short of this artbutory 50 million

Lastly I have to say I switch off when I see threads or podcasts from you about the whole light blub thing. Thats fine, it's your thing. But I am dissinclined to listen or read something that has moved up a level or so to ranting. I hope your focus on Hugelkulter doesn't reach that peek.

good luck