John Brower

+ Follow
since Aug 17, 2014
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by John Brower

sam na wrote:Hi I'm planning on planting up the paths between my salad beds with white clover. I'll cut the paths with a lawnmower now and again and put the clippings between the rows of salad.

I also have urine available from a separating compost toilet. I was thinking I could put the dilute urine onto the clover and then some weeks later (*after rain!) mow and dump it between the rows of salad. Will clover absorb the extra nitrogen? I assume it will but couldn't find anything to confirm this.

I found this: "The return of urine to the sward increased production from the grass species; the clover content of the sward was reduced."

Has anyone done this or similar?



I usually just pee on my trees.
5 years ago

J Argyle wrote:Brandon,

I have been in the Bay Area for almost a year, and when I moved here last August, I did not notice that much of it. Then when we had that two weeks of rain in December it was everywhere. I have heard from others in this area that it dies off in late spring, and does not come back until Fall. Have you noticed if it does the same on your property? I also noticed it loves the compacted clay areas in my yard. I was curious, and transplanted it in a shaded very compact clay area in my yard where nothing was growing. It is doing very well, and I am hoping that it will break up compaction.

Like other clovers, I assume this one works to put nitrogen back into the soil. and every year when it dies down (here in the Central Valley of California) there is bunch of bio mass added to the soil. I usually just transplant into the clover patch, mulch, and come back a little later and weed what popped back up. By Summer most of it is gone, and my heavy feeders are using up the beds with a little cilantro and greens. When I do pull mass clovers, my soil warms up and starts to harden up (mostly clay) so unless it's flowering it's probably fine to leave as is until you can plan to plant and mulch it. No sense in fighting it, try cardboard layers instead of newpapers and use more mulch! Don't feed it to animals in massive quantities, and yes, it does make a pretty good oxalis-ade.

P.S. I've also had success pulling massive quantities, reusing some old plastic bags and filling them with the clover and leaving them to dry/die for a year.
5 years ago

tony phamm wrote:
This all said, I still feel that in the future prices of food in general is going to keep going up as we erode our lands even further and further. The reason why I wanted to start perm now is because I forecast that monos will become less and less effective while perms will stay resilient even during drastic climate change in the region. Monos will suffer from drought while perms will stay consistently intact. Water will be the #1 issue within 20 years, and perms will stay unaffected for the most part. Please let me know if this is true. Part of being a good investor is forecasting the future, and forecasting it before mainstream forecasters. So I'm hoping I can be a good investor and make good investments for our future and be part of the change that will be inevitably needed. I'm obviously going to get a bias response here when I ask if I should get into permaculture now but I wanted some more specifics from you guys to help me in the details. Let me know how I can get started on a personal scale. My preference would be to have maybe 1/2 the land already permacultured while the other 1/2 bare so I can learn from what's already there and 1/2 of it I can apply myself from scratch. Finding that land may take sometime, but I'm flexible enough to move to another state if I have to, or even another country if the weather and people are nice. I was thinking Costa Rica by the way. And any further info you know of on the business side of permaculture is greatly appreciated.

Anyways, let me know your thoughts on all points above. I left out a lot of details but I can clarify and thanks if you've made it this far lol.

Sounds awesome.

I usually point to the fact that some farmers are changing their methods (and attitudes) to include what would be considered permaculture practice. Videos like this one are all over youtube:

Some farmers are already taking permaculture ideas into account when growing their mono crops: water conservation, soil health, cover crop diversity, reducing waste, no pesticides...

5 years ago
The short answer is yes.

I would really recommend building up the bed as much as possible. Like you said drainage is going to be a problem, and the concrete will heat up and dry up way faster than soil will as well as release alkalinity into your growing space. Especially if the concrete slab goes outwards past the bed you are working on, the hot concrete will spread it's heat. Take that into account when selecting your plants. I would recommend about a 4-6-inch layer of woodchips or leaves , topped with some 4-6 inches of sand topped with as much compost / topsoil as you can gather up. You may also consider a barrier over the concrete... If you're going to buy soil, I'd recommend the kind of potting soil that retains moisture.
5 years ago
Hello, I'm in california and would enjoy coming out for a day to check some sites out!
5 years ago
Hello Permies!

My name is John, I live in California in the Central Valley. I work on a small organic farm, one of very few in this area, and we raise chickens, goats, and beautiful vegetables.

I've been lurking these forums for a couple months, because I am very interested in permaculture. I try to take a lot of what I learn into practice, and in my current urban setting I grow about a hundred pounds of food a year in a space you could walk through in less than a minute. I compost, re-use cleaning water, harvest the rain and conserve resources when I can. I've recently decided that I want to use my knowledge to help my mom establish her property in Costa Rica as something of a food forest. I intend to spend an experimental 6-12 months on this property making it habitable for someone in a very frugal lifestyle, but also to ease the transition for my mom when she finally does decide to retire the states. I don't intend to use very much heavy machinery in the months that I stay there, most of the actual building will take place in a couple of years once the finances are established (I would love to get a goFundme going). At the moment, i'm mostly interested to see what I can do by myself with maybe a thousand dollars and a lot of time investment. I don't intend for this to return me anything financially. I've only spent a day on the property and it is recommended to spend an entire year.

Although I know it is likely that I will not make these timelines, it is nice to organize it in this month-to month format to see what it is that I want to prioritize for the month in order for the rest to follow suit. Many things in the initial months are key to completing tasks in the later months. I could use all the advice I can get. This is all permie brain-storming.

Month 1: Shade and Water

Working on this plot, I will need lots of shade and water. The first thing I would like to do is create a simple water catchment system. Some gutters, and a water drum at the top of the property propped up with cinder block and equipped with hosing down to my zones 1-3. I'd like some advice on this subject, would it be more enduring to create a concrete structure with a metal frame?

Once a pressured water hose is established, it would be good to spend a whole day starting seed flats, or soil blocks to start what will thrive in the future hugul kultur beds. Winged Beans, Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Squashes, Tomatoes, Zucchini. Getting some radishes, chard, radishes and zucchini started now would be super ideal because it could begin to feed me within a month or two.

In my "living area" I'd like to create a simple shade structure, perhaps a tin roof on movable poles underneath one of the existing citrus trees on the property. Under this shade structure, during the hot parts of the day, I could begin the on-going process of cobbing and slowly begin what will become a tiny sustainable home. There will also be napping, eating, and reading so it would be good to try to make this a critter-free place to be.

If the month allows, a small man-made pond to be the first of a collection of small ponds throughout different elevations of the property. I could use the soil from the hole to begin seedlings, and if it is primarily clay, it can be amended and used for cobbing. Perhaps I could dig a rudimentary shovel-deep canal (for now) into the pond and the rain fall would work ease the heavy work and also begin to seal the pond. More, larger, swales on the sides of the property leading into this pond will help to fortify the water table, manage the rain fall and to begin to establish a fertile zone 4/5 planting area on the perimeter of the property.

Month 2: Pathways and A Food Source

Instead of fighting the currently existing landscape I picture Lasagna Gardening inspired pathways, lined with local cardboard, mulch with whatever is laying around, planted with heavy feeding perennials (cassava, peppers, moringa, banano cuadrado) or something easy to grow like sweet potatoes, corn and pineapples.

Each cross road planted with herbs and near the pond, I would create some large Key-hole Hugul Kultur beds to plant in those babies I started the first month. Many of these plants could be left to reseed or you know, be perennials. Ideally, the mulch and heavy feeding plants will allow little to grow in the walking spaces, and if I were to put a hiatus on the project, I could hope to come back to some of the plants indicating where the paths had been. All of the pathways could be zone 1-3.

Month 3: Swaling, Terracing, Food Sources

By now I've eaten so many pine apples I can hope to build a couple terraces to plant them. I'll have a better idea of how water moves on the property, and I'll know where I should continue digging. It would be good to keep staggering lettuces, and radishes and plants of the sort, but I also want to be getting into establishing my zone 4. I could ideally plant some of my fruit trees in my key hole garden beds, and some alongside the pathways, but there will be a section of the property that I intend to use primarily for trees and the swaling and terracing of this month has the purpose of ensuring the irrigation of all the trees to be planted.

Month 4: Legumes, Fruit Trees, Extending Growing Areas
The UCR Expo is selling out native fruit trees for roughly 2$ a pop.

I'd love to go next year and stock up on what I need. I know many of my cousins and family in the home country are gardeners and will have plants for me to throw in my own garden, and many trees can be cloned with just a cutting! I'll need to spend some time researching which trees and how. From my own experience, a nursery in the area will sell me an orange tree for $10.

Month 5: Watering & Cobbing

Month 6: Unallocated Space
I'm not really sure I can help you, on your topic but I am also on this route and i'm interested to see the course (pun, yes!) you end up taking.
I have about 10 acres of land to play with in Costa Rica and currently not much but grass grows there.

I believe my first steps will be digging a small pond, creating a water tower/structure and amending the dug up soil for soil blocks as well as cobbing materials. Working on pathways to the pond. plants lining the pathways and small clay canals from water source to pond and introducing minimal livestock. What do you hope your first will be?
This is awesome, thank you.
5 years ago