Scott Stiller

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since Feb 06, 2013
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hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging ungarbage
No big gardens but many patches of food and herbs.
North Carolina zone 7
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Recent posts by Scott Stiller

I went WAY back on Instagram to find these biochar pictures. This was the simple way. I dug a ditch and burned wood and weeds. After it got going I tossed all the clay back on top. A few weeks later some compost went on top and kale seedlings went in. I’m sure there are other ways to go about it so I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!
21 hours ago
That’s a great thought Keith, thanks! I haven’t messed with biochar in awhile but will look into if for this situation. I cut the roses and broomsedge two weeks ago as a form of chop and drop. Broomsedge is possibly the worst chop and drop on the planet but maybe better than nothing.
There’s one narrow bed in the field that I did a quick biochar thing once. It was quickly productive so I’ll give it some thought. Thanks!
23 hours ago
Wow, brutal stories here that I wasn’t expecting to see! I’m sorry about your family situations. Especially in John’s case. Sad to read brother. Family dynamics can be a very difficult for weird reasons occasionally. I guess I’m lucky to have found permaculture and will always be thankful to a YouTube video Paul made a decade ago.
My family marvels at the stuff I do. They continue on with the gardening techniques from their childhood but not out of ignorance; I’ve offered to help. It’s just tradition and marks the changing of the seasons. It’s a habit, and like most habits it’s comforting. They always ask why my produce is so much better than theirs. I invite them to the gardens to talk because I don’t know how to answer their questions. I never had an interest in growing food until I saw Paul’s video. Permaculture is all I know and my people seem to appreciate it. God, I’ve learned so much here.
I knew I was blessed to have more than we need but never thought of the family blessings until now.
I’m working on a field that I haven’t planted in five years. It’s very acidic and covered in broomsedge, wild rose and blackberries. I’ll work around the blackberries but the rest needs to go. I’ve been hitting it every few weeks with wood ash to bring the PH up but I wanted to try adding humic acid as well.
This is where the stacking functions part of the post comes in. I built a compost pile on top of a small hill. To the right is a peach tree and herb guild. I feel like there will be some fertility working it’s way down to it.
In the middle I’ve installed twelve inches of metal half round (I don’t know what it actually is) to collect some humic acid for the field. From there I will dilute and spread.
On the left is a small ditch. It will be funneling rainwater with compost goodness down to two separate hugelcultures. The one closest to the camera is offset twelve inches to the right. I did this in hopes that any goodness that works it’s way out of the top bed will be caught and not go onto the path. I like to build smallish hugelcultures separated by a couple feet. I like to anchor both ends with perennials.
Coming down the hill towards the camera are several more beds. They contain various herbs, berries and greens. I let dead nettle self seed every year as a free winter cover.
I put together the compost to be passive. I want it to be there until spring of 2022. The hard clay where I put the pile is not a good place to grow anything. I plan to use the compost as a vertical growing space for the next three seasons. When I use the final result the soil underneath will be in great shape to plant as I wish.
1 day ago
I love swales and hugelcultures! Those would definitely be my first step. I love looking a massive permaculture earthworks but they don’t have to be big. Most of mine are six feet long and four foot wide.
1 day ago
Good article Brian. I grow a lot of tomatoes but am not a real fan myself. A few months ago I stuck slices in my dehydrator and my tomato world view changed. A fresh basil leaf in the middle and a touch of salt was all I needed. I feel like they would have kept quite awhile but they didn’t last that long.
1 week ago
Hey Tas, I found my old notes. I put several leaves together and folded them a couple times before placing in the bag. The bag shouldn’t be completely sealed to keep mold at bay. Ideally, place the bag somewhere from 90-125F for five days or so. It may take more time if that temp isn’t achievable. Once it starts to cook it smells like hot urine until the ammonia burns off. Once it starts to smell like a fine tobacco shop take out and dry. Once dry shred, roll and smoke.
2 weeks ago
I had the same question years ago Nathaniel. I made a coral eight feet wide and eighteen inches deep. I piled all of my shredded leaves in the fall and waited. The next May I made three inch wide holes, stuck sweet potato slips in and filled with compost. The potatoes grew large and healthy while the leaves broke down. By the next spring I had a wonderful new garden spot.
2 weeks ago