Seth Marshall

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since Nov 29, 2015
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Recent posts by Seth Marshall

Interesting hugal!  This gives me hope.  Thanks!
6 months ago
I live in the Rocky Mountains and every time I dig my shovel strikes rocks, either big or small. Sometimes they are big and flat which makes for nice stepping stones, but the rocks are bountiful and of all sizes all the way down to pea gravel. I’ve been obsessed with removing them from the soil before planting anything.  I’m wondering if this obsession is unwarranted.

It’s easier to get the big rocks out, simply because there are so many small rocks I need to sift them out which is very time consuming.

I know rocks on top of the soil could have advantages. But are rocks an issue inside the soil?  Do they take up room which is otherwise healthy soil?  Or should I not even bother with sifting our rocks or removing the larger ones?
7 months ago
I live in the Rocky Mountains. Very rocky. My zone 0 is 6-10 inches of soil above hard decomposed granite. It’s rock that will break apart with heavy equipment.  The area I’m talking about it only 10’x20’.

Last year I planted tons of Dikon radish to help break it up. Sadly the soil was too shallow to hold water in the hot Colorado summer and they died with little progress in the roots.

My neighbor had an bobcat with a trencher that amazed me with its ability to crew through this decomposed granite!  Previously I rented a bobcat but didn’t think of the trencher attachment.

I decided to raise the soil in this area another foot or two.  I planned to plant annual greens with shallow to medium root systems.

But should I have rented to bobcat with trencher to break up the decomposed granite underneath it all first?

Is there any advantage to having this hard layer underneath?  Perhaps holding in moisture instead of it sinking down?  

In early spring when the snow melts this area is water logged, and along with the later spring rains. But summer on there isn’t a problem and I’ll need to keep it watered.

I plan to compost on the area in the fall and by October it will be covered in snow until April.  
7 months ago
Hi, I wanted to compare where I live to the weather on Sepp's farm.  I have never been there.  I did not know where his farm is specifically located but I saw he was born in Ramingstein so I looked at the data from there.  Here it is:

By the way, this is an incredible site to compare weather data from places around the world.  There is a section towards the bottom where it offers data specifically for gardening such as "Growing Season" and "Growing Degree Days" (which I still don't understand so if anyone does understand this please help explain).

If this location is similar to the exact location of his farm I am very surprised how cold it is and how short of a growing season he had, much less then where I live in the mountains of Colorado!  Although they have WAY more moisture than we have.  Still, I want to do my best to develop my humble plot to be as lush and bountiful as possible.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

(edit: changed the word "more" to "less"--I had it backwards)
7 months ago
Thanks, Daniel!  I just bought it on for $15
9 months ago
Hi Kimi, I'm so excited to watch this process for you guys.  I've been watching the WYosasis build and recently posted a question but haven't had any replies.  I was wondering what your thoughts were on this design vs a more dedicated Climate Battery design like CRMPI uses. I know greenhouse in the snow uses a drain tile for storing heat, but I'm talking about a greenhouse design that recycles all of it's air under itself instead of piping tubes outside the greenhouse.  I love both concepts and especially like the sunken design of the greenhouse in the snow.  But I wonder if more drain tiles underneath for storing heat would improve it.  Do you have any thoughts?
11 months ago
So glad I’ve stumbled upon this. You’ve done an amazing job with the greenhouse and also in documenting it. I purchased the $50 set of plans for this and was disappointed at how unorganized everything was.  Did we receive the same plans!?!  

Unfortunately I have no plans in the near future to build one. I have no money and only a small 1 acre north facing property on a steep and rocky slop. I bought the plans to satisfy my own curiosity.

Before I learned of the greenhouse in the snow method I was hooked on the idea of a climate battery like CRMPI has. I would love to hear your thoughts on the differing designs. I see you ran one drain tile through the greenhouse for the “climate battery” purpose (aka. SHCS), but unlike those designs you do this with only one drain pipe.   Don’t you feel it would benefit from much more if not all the pipes directly underneath to “charge” the entire soil mass directly underneath the greenhouse?  In theory would this provide even more heat during the winter?  If it’s too hot in the summer couldn’t ventilation provide enough cooling (especially given the dry climate)?  It works in Colorado and elsewhere.

I do like the sunken design of the greenhouse in the Snow design. He did a great job thinking this through although I’m still very curious about the climate battery technique for the drainpipes.

Could you explain the importance of the vestibule because that was something I didn’t quite clearly understand from the $50 packet. It’s a shame it wasn’t as clear. But then again, I can’t ever imagine being able to afford this anyhow!  Thanks so much!
1 year ago
I have not built a greenhouse because I have no money, but I’ve been dreaming/researching these types of greenhouses for years. GAHT is just one design brand that uses this concept, others being SHCS and then the Climate Battery that CRMPI uses (I’ve visited it and its awesome).

There’s also the Greenhouse in the Snow design which I really like their way of having the greenhouse mostly buried. They’re design doesn’t “charge” the floor with captures heat however.

I came here right now to see if anyone had considered combining the Greenhouse in the Snow design with the Climate Battery/GAHT/SHCS idea. I think that would work the best.

I thought long about using rock like you’re mentioning. The climate batter design does not, they simply use soil.  Even though I was originally hopeful using rock or something else would allow better heat retention, I’m wondering if the simpler Climate Battery design wouldn’t actually perform best. Would love to see some results.  
1 year ago

G Freden wrote:It might be worthwhile to try to get any other trees growing by directly sowing seed.  I would plant any trees I'd already bought and hope for the best with them, but undisturbed tap roots might be better at finding little crevices and anchoring themselves well.  I believe Sepp Holzer does this and then grafts seedling fruit trees with desired cultivars.

Very interesting.  And I believe I when I was researching "planting trees on bedrock" I encountered a website explaining a specific variety of tree that does very well on bedrock was the intention of grafting the desired tree onto it.  Now I'll have to find that!

Unfortunately I this is the only area on my yard with this issue.  So I may not get the opportunity to try it out.  I just hope that Locust tree survives and is able to get a good footing.  I need it to grow tall and fast if we ever hope to get any shade!  And I certainly don't want it to fall on my house either, it gets crazy windy, sometimes up to 75MPH regularly.

Travis Johnson wrote:You should be okay as fruit trees have VERY shallow roots. You can pull a apple tree stump with a farm tractor because thy barely go into the ground. With fruit trees the biggest issue is with watering. It takes a lot of water the first year to get them established, but after that they are pretty hardy..

Great to know!  And I'll be sure to water thoroughly especially in this first year (although we're entering fall so I'm assuming I won't need to water as much...  once the leaves are gone I guess?)
Unfortunately I also planted a Honey Locust in an equally bad location, but I bought it specifically for shade in a decade to come on our raised deck.  A shade tree is badly needed in this spot.  The ground may be slightly better here in that the bedrock seems to be more compressed decomposed granite.  I hope the roots can penetrate!