Kevin Young

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since Feb 25, 2014
Moved from the very sandy, extremely hot environment of Yuma, AZ to a nearly-as-hot Del Rio, TX (instead of sand we are now on a bed of limestone). Very interested in all things permaculture!
Del Rio, TX
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Recent posts by Kevin Young

I have also been reading about it and hope to set up a system, but have not yet done so. I have read that the sand is supposed to be "inert" (won't react with vinegar), so my locally-produced sand probably won't work because I live in an area of pure limestone and they make sand by crushing rocks. I also read the sand was not supposed to be too fine--a mortar sand would be good. Lastly, I read that the top and the trenches should be level, but the bottom of the sand container should be sloped, so that water distributes evenly across the top, but still drains. For longer systems you should use perforated drain pipe to help flow. Typically the pump runs for 15 minutes every 2 hours to flood the sand, which not only waters and fertilizes the plants but aerates the water.

From what I have read this was the original design and is superior to aquaponics systems using clay balls or gravel. Supposedly someone took the design, commercialized it, but in the process used gravel because they did not have sand and did not think it mattered. Apparently it does matter, and sand is supposedly superior to other options (cheaper too). I recently joined a Facebook group for iAVs that Gary Donaldson manages: Within the group you can access quite a few files from the left menu.

I too would love to hear of any experiences with these integrated AquaVegeculture systems (iAVs; also called sandponics).
8 months ago

Chris Kott wrote:The idea behind a swale in a rain event is to make sure that the swale mount is level, such that the water tops it all at the same time, a tiny trickle of water over the whole thing, rather than a narrow, fast-moving rivulet-turned-torrent as the water finds the easiest way downhill

I cannot imagine that the mount is so perfectly level that water would trickle over it evenly across the length--surely there will be a low spot that will, as you say, form a fast-moving rivulet. My plan was to pack down a spot so it is definitely the low-point where water will first spill over, but to really reinforce that area with a lot of rocks to prevent erosion as much as possible.

We have a good variety of wildflowers here, so I can collect those seeds when spring comes. It has been a very dry winter, so I think we will have far less bloom than normal, but I'm sure I can find patches. I'll have to look around more to see which grasses are hanging on in this landscape.

The main goals are hydrating the landscape and adding organic matter to the dirt to create some soil. I'll definitely keep you posted!
8 months ago

Rene Nijstad wrote:Did you create an overflow for really big rain events?

Not yet. I was hoping for a medium rainstorm so I could see it in action and verify that it is actually level! I think there is a chance it will naturally overflow on the edges, but I plan to make an exit in the middle.

I actually used that swale calculator to plan the 4 swales, but I think that assumes a greater depth than what I achieved. I guess I can take measurements to estimate volume of the swale and compare that to what the tool says.
8 months ago
I live in hot, dry southwest Texas in an area with basically no soil--just limestone. I don't own land or a tractor, but I found someone who is willing to let me play on their land, and use their tractor. They don't have any sort of excavator or bucket, but I used a plough to break up the "soil" that I could, then a scraper to move it to one side. I could not get it very deep--perhaps in part due to my method, but I think largely because we are on bedrock. I'd love suggestions on what to do next. I was originally going to do 4 swales down the property (about 230 m long at about 3-5% grade), but after this first one turned out so shallow, I am thinking I should do more. I don't have a lot of resources to buy seeds, but I can at least collect a bunch of mesquite and Leucaena tree seeds.
8 months ago

Travis Schulert wrote:I hate to say it, but permaculture folks have left a very bad taste in my mouth in the last couple years. I considered myself a permaculturist since about 2008, I took Lawtons PDC. But then I started using landscape fabric on a half acre, which has upset dozens and dozens of people online, and many permaculture instructors have made it a point to attack us and our farm. It's kind of sad really, that we went through all this work, all this sacrifice, only to be booted out of the community because 5% of our paradise isnt perfection. And the catch 22, is our farm is called imperfect by them, and shunned because it doesnt resemble someone elses idea of perfection. Well, that my friends is a very subjective idea... perfection...

That's incredible that people would be so critical--in what way are you a threat to them? Are these people who simply can't compete with you at the Farmer's Market? You are growing GREAT looking vegetables, you are IMPROVING soil, you are living an AUTHENTIC life, you are BLESSING the land you are living on. I'm sorry that there are people who can't handle your happiness and success.
8 months ago

Roberto pokachinni wrote:

The Gov doesn't seem to like people who have figured out how to get by in the world without debt and a "paycheck" type job.

 Sometimes even if you do have a job.  This is very clear if you try to cross the U.S. border and they ask you for your bank statements, or proof that you have job. . . I hate senseless bureaucracy.

It appears that they are taking senseless ideas from the southern border and applying them to the northern border! There used to be a thriving cross-border economy between our little Texas town and the larger city in Mexico, but they tightened border security so much that it just isn't feasible to pop over to the Mexican side for lunch, and it's hardly worth the hassle for dinner. Both sides have suffered from this nonsense, but Border Patrol puts a spin on everything to make it appear as though they have made things so much better.
8 months ago
I'm chiming in late, but I wonder if you could find someone's home who would be happy to have you garden on their land. I'm thinking you make a flier that tells about yourself and your decades of gardening experience wherein you propose a deal: you convert a family's lawn into a luxuriant garden, and in exchange they enjoy some of the fruits of your labor (you can list other benefits as well). They provide the land and water, and you provide the rest. Add some contact info if they are interested. You drop off the flier to a bunch of houses in a neighborhood that is convenient for you, and see what happens. Personally if I were a busy homeowner and someone offered me something like this, I would jump on it. If anyone expresses interest, you sit down with them and explain your vision and see if it is compatible with theirs. You agree on some simple principles (not rules), and you now get full freedom to express beauty and partner with life
1 year ago
Just chiming in to add one more type of rugged cart that some may find useful: a game cart (for hauling deer or elk), which costs around $70. Also, for bike trailers, it may be worth checking out Rambo ebike trailers. A cool back-country cart I saw has 2 inline wheels and is called a Neet Kart, but at $450 I'm not ready to test it.

1 year ago

Mike Homest wrote:My favorite tree is chestnut.

Which chestnut species?

I am surprised Moringa has not made it on this list of favorites. I only started growing them (in south Texas) but I love how fast they grow and how much food they give (I blend the leaves and substitute for spinach in a saag paneer-style Indian dish).
1 year ago
Here is one that seems to be working well: Has anyone visited?
2 years ago