Jim Bryant

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since Sep 05, 2015
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forest garden food preservation
Piedmont Region of North Carolina
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Recent posts by Jim Bryant

Marco Banks wrote:Comfrey really isn't invasive.  If you want to get rid of it, first mow it flat to the ground.  Then just lay a piece of black plastic over it and weigh it down with a couple of stones or scoops of soil.  It'll be gone in 6 months.  Bocking 4 or 14 will not "travel" --- it will get slightly larger with each passing year, but it's not suddenly going to pop up 10 feet away.  

I would imagine that eventually, anything will die that is planted at the base of a pecan tree that will grow to 50 feet tall.  That includes comfrey.

Thanks Marco, Do you know how far the roots of the Bocking 14 spread? How close would you put the Bocking 14 to your septic leach field?

Best regards,

2 years ago
Thanks Russ, This looks good. I have found those youtube videos that you mentioned and will take a look at them.
2 years ago

wayne fajkus wrote:I bought mine new for that price probably 7 years ago. I think when oil went up, they went up. Now that oil is down, I was wondering if the price would go down.

Shipping is another problem. Probably 3 fits per 18 wheeler. That's gonna factor into the price..

It will sink if it sits on the ground, which may be why they want flex joints. I think I had that happen to me with hard elbows out the bottom.

Yes shipping is an expensive endeavour. $950.00 for shipping 2 - 3,000 gallon water tanks.

 I had no idea that sinking is an issue. When I spoke to the dealer he did not mention it. I even asked him about flexible fittings and rigid fittings and he told me that flexible fittings are pvc like schedule 40 whereas rigid fittings are metal. I would be inclined to disagree with him though. I wonder if rigid is schedule 40 type pvc and flexible is actually flexible like a hose.

Another monkey wrench is the Ag extension agent does not recommend ponds or cisterns. He recommends wells because ponds and cisterns cannot make it through the July and August dry seasons. One little twist for me is that I called a well digger and he cannot guarantee that he can find water on my property.
2 years ago
Yesterday I had the local County Ag Ext Agent over to identify plants for me. It was a productive endeavor learning the names of various plants and pointing out a particularly non-native evasive plant called a Chinese Prevet.
I could not let him leave without also asking him the question that I have been posing to you folks on this thread which is how much water storage do I need based upon the amount of gardening area that I have. He gave me some good guidelines to follow.


"For every 1,000 sq feet of garden area, 1 inch of rain will yield 600 gallons of water.

In the Piedmont region of North Carolina
For every 1,000 sq feet of garden area that you have you need about 600 gallons of water per week, except July and August when you may need 1.5 to 2.0 times that amount.

However, this is based upon the area that actually has a plant growing on it so you can subtract the rows and other spaces in that area."

For my purposes I am assuming that I may have as much as 10,000 sq feet of garden area some day. I subtract the spacing between the plants and the rows which gives me approximately 5,000 sq feet.
5,000 sq feet * 600 gallons = 3,000 gallons per week of water needed
3,000 gallons * 4 weeks = 12,000 gallons per month of water needed.
In order to account for July and August we better double that so the 12,000 gallons now becomes 24,000 gallons per month of water needed.
My roof will put 600 gallons of water into my proposed tank or pond per inch of rain.
I supposedly get at least 3 inches of rain per month which will give me 1800 gallons per month
The rain will naturally water my 5,000 sq feet garden with 3 - inches of rain per month which will give me  5 * 1,800 = 9,000 gallons per month.
If I build swales whether inbetween the rows of the annual beds and /or in the edible forest garden I should be able to calculate a net savings of at least 25% of that 9,000 gallons per month falling directly on the garden so 9,000 * 0.25 = 2,250 gallons of swale water storage. Along this same thread If I figure out a way to rotate chickens on about 6,000 sq feet of this garden space on land that has swales built on it then I can still use this 2,250 gallons however if I cannot rotate chickens on the area because the swales will leave gaps below the chicken tractor which will let in predators then I pretty much lose a large chunk of that 2,250 gallons of swale storage.

Lets do the numbers.
How much do we need per month = 24,000 gallons

How much do we have = 1,800 per roof + 9,000 gallons per rain on garden + 2,250 gallons per rain on swales = 13,050 gallons

With the 13,050 gallons available
What happens if the 9,000 gallons does not come at the proper time? Lets subtract 25% = 6,750 gallons so 13,050 is now 10,800 gallons available.
It looks like we can get close to our needs every month with the exception of the months of July and August when we will need double the amount of water available.
One option is to collect the water off of our house roof in addition to the water off of our storage building roof. This will give us an extra 3,600 gallons of storage per month.

Since we have enough water available lets calculate a tank size. In July and August we are going to need a total of 48,000 gallons of water.
We can not subtract from this by calculating in rainfall on the garden and the swale savings because August will be already at a deficit. So we are stuck with needing a 48,000 gallon water storage tank which is an impossibility dUe to cost.
I wonder if the Ag extension agent calculated the amount of water needed if we used drip irrigation. Maybe the figure of 600 gallons per 1,000sq feet per week was based upon inefficient sprinkler irrigation?
If anyone has some input here please chime in? Thanks

Okay back.

I asked the local Ag Agent and he said.

"The 1" of water per week is the general recommendation for vegetable gardens no matter the source of the water. That could be rainfall, sprinkler or drip. The drip calculation would be made on the actual planted area vs. the entire garden if using a sprinkler. A garden bed that is 30 feet long and 3 feet wide would require about 62 gallons of water per week.

I don't usually recommend investing in water storage because it is very expensive and there will be many times during the summer that you can not capture enough water to meet the garden requirements. It is fine to capture what water you can, but the rainwater collection will not be able to supply all the water the garden needs. A drip system connected to the house water supply is the least expensive and most dependable way to water the garden.  

Berryhill Irrigation is the vendor most of the farmers in this area use for their drip systems.

http://www.berryhilldrip.com/    "

This puts me in a difficult position because I do not have an adequate well for irrigation, too shallow.

I now plan to design my site based on the exact water needs of each plant I wish to grow.

Here is a site that will help me https://www.growwater.org/plantneeds.html   along with the book "Edible Forest Gardens" and the weekly ET evapotranspiration rates of my area which I hope the ag agent can give me.

*Sorry but I have to go to work now but will continue this at a later date*

3 years ago

carly bee wrote:look into data that local agencies have collected- NC state research/extension, local NRCS office, etc. you may need to adapt to permaculture concepts, but the data and equations available through these public agencies should help with sizing. nc state in particular is known for being pretty progressive (in SE) in the designed-ponds field (rainwater/retention ponds, etc.)
maybe this will help you get started http://iswm.nctcog.org/training/Ponds_Class_082913/Ponds_handouts_combined.pdf

Hi Carly,

This is a helpful link.  The local Ag Extension Agent is coming over tomorrow to help me identify the plants in my permaculture paradise (lot sounds so boring ).
I will ask him to assist me in calculating my required storage amount.

Thank you and good planting.
3 years ago

Gilbert Fritz wrote:It is unlikely that a whole year's water would be available to put into the pond at any given time; water would be used/ evaporated continuously. So you would have to calculate average inputs/ outputs month by month and see what the largest cumulative total would be, and then add some extra to account for unforeseen events.

Thank you Gilbert.  

Do you know of any formulas or general guide lines or possible consultants that I can use to calculate my size for me? I have 1.5 acres total land with about 10,000 sq ft cleared for either chicken or pig grazing and or forest gardening. Of all of that I have about 400 sq ft set aside for annual vegetables and herbs. My plan is to design a very low maintenance edible forest garden, with the annual vegetable bed and maybe a couple of chickens and or pigs. All are designed to be very low maintenance and producing just enough vegetables, herbs, berries and animal fats and meats for my wife and I. Thanks again.


3 years ago

Has anyone ever tried a tank made out of 'food grade FDA approved virgin polyester resin'? Here is a link to a low price 2500 gallon tank. It may be a piece of junk designed to sell to the ignorant home owner and last only 5 - years.  Here is one limitation listed in the description.

"Hard-plumbing of plastic tank is not recommended due to the expansive/contractive characteristics of polyethylene; use elbows to allow flex"  

Maybe they are having problems with the tank and that is why they are being sold so cheaply. I will send them an email and report my findings.

Thank you,

3 years ago
This design seems to be cheap to build. Do you think that it should have a liner on the inside? If not, won't the metal leach into the water?


Thank you
3 years ago

Devin Lavign wrote:Glad my comment was helpful and got you looking in the right direction for your needs.

Yes there is a lot of stuff to learn in permaculture, I am in no way done learning myself.

Is it not amazing how much there is to know in this vast universe. It is hard to believe that we humans are the only known species that have the capability of asking these questions. We are watching a national geographic series that shows how we came to be so inquisitive.

3 years ago

Devin Lavign wrote:These are my thoughts on pond vs cistern for your application, other applications however might have give different results.

A cistern has the benefits of less evaporation issues, as well as less plant mater sucking up water from the store of water. Your not in a desert though so this might not be a huge issue.

Both cisterns and ponds tend to become breeding grounds for insects and possibly viruses. However a cistern tends to be the easier to manage these issues. While a pond it is more about mitigating than complete management.

A cistern can be an eye sore if just left above ground but if you opt for a buried one they can blend in. A pond however is typically an attractive element and a pond can add to the beauty of your place.

Both ponds and cisterns do need some upkeep. A cistern will need to be drained and cleaned occasionally as sediment builds up in the bottom. A pond will need a bit of plant life management as well as possible dredging of accumulated organic matter and sediment. Ponds however are hard to know what to expect, as they are dependent upon how you build it what goes into it and so many other factors. A pond could go for years with no maintenance, or it could take intense maintenance 2 times a year, or even every few months. It really depends a lot on the pond construction, the region, the wildlife, etc... A cistern would be the more predictable one. As well as the more instant option. As a pond will require more start up maintenance to get it going, while a cistern will pretty much be ready to go once built or installed.

Over all you might notice cisterns seem to win out for your application. I personally prefer a pond, which is why I bought land with a pond. However for what your talking about needing this water reserve for I would say opting for cisterns would likely be the best bang for your buck.

Now the big question might be build your own, or buy one? You can make simple concrete box cisterns pretty easy, both underground or above. Buying an cistern gives you the quick fix of getting it right away, and usually with the plumbing options ready to go.

Hello Devin,

Your idea of a concrete cistern definitely led me to the right location https://permies.com/t/36097/water-cisterns-AREN-concrete

It seems like there are many DIY cisterns being made and used today and the only thing holding one back is one's own imagination.

I truly appreciate you recommending cisterns over ponds for me. Since I am quite new to all of this permaculture stuff I need to spend as much time as possible learning as much as possible and cisterns will free up more time for me.

About ponds though, I like the idea of making pond scum for human consumption so maybe someday I will make a pond in the woods for this application.

Best regards,

3 years ago