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s. ayalp

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since Mar 18, 2016
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Recent posts by s. ayalp

We had lockdowns, so I kept on chasing my endeavour. IFor any meaningful harverst, 15th of june is the last day to plant summer crops in Istanbul. so I chose that date as a deadline.
I was able to add an additional 20 square meter of growing space, but I was only able to plant half of it. It is funny that I was able to do all that hard work for weeks and then had no time to plant the rest. Whatever, I am going to plant some flowers in the remainder section.

All the seedlings suffered initially. It took some time for their roots to reach the layers of compost. As each one reached that layer, boom!, peppers, eggplants, corn and pumpkins are putting out leaves and growing like crazy. It was a quite late for planting this year. So I dont expect harvest per plant to be high, but in total, unless a mishap happens, I will get a lot more than last year.

So digging and piling what ever left to burry:,

Board and covering with dirt (this one had only a single layer of wood)

And tidying it up + planting

Final view:

1 month ago
I am trying to come up with new ideas to keep kids busy during these weekend lockdowns. After seeing all different shapes and colors of mushrooms (mostly Mycorrhizae) popping up in my veggie patch, the idea is to grow mushrooms in pots. They do grow actually, but unintentionally. Can we come up with a soil mix that we will be able to plant a pepper or such in to the pot. The real purpose is not to get peppers, but have small mushrooms popping out. Kids can wait weeks for grass heads to grow, I bet this can turn into an activity (planting fungi and a companion pepper plant, waiting and waiting). Any ideas?

For the record, if you google key words including these two: mushroom and pot; you end up with the uber delicious recipes of mushroom pot pie. Very much recommended indeed.

and when you search for fungi-pot, you end up recommendations how to stop mushrooms popping up. Not very helpful
2 months ago
and DONE

I might continue though. Probably we will have lockdowns for the next few weeks .
2 months ago
store bought top soil arrived

I almost forgot to completely soak the beds

another angle

almost complete



logs for pathways
2 months ago
boards arrived

you can see the soil layer between logs/branches and sheet of wood to hold moisture (cross section of third terrace)

compost layer added

a bit of overlook


digging and digging

started to look better

2 months ago
repeated to process for the scond terrace and started to dig the first terrace.

digging and pileing stuff

crosssection of first terrace

digging and adding

Started digging and adding material - the third layer

2 months ago
It will be 3 terraces, each roughly 1.2 meters wide (4ft) with 30 to 40 cm (roughly 1 ft) pathways in between. Beds will be hugels as I like to do in this climate. I guess I can call them as burried wood beds, but I dont want to complicate definitions. Lets call this kind of hugels, one side burried and the other covered with sheet of wood as terrace-hugels.

Yes, I know, it is not wise to build hugels on terraces. Especially perpendicular to the slope. BUT I am a structural engineer and, yes, I made some calculations. It will hold with a safety margin triple of my third attempt. So, it is fine. If one does not know how to calculate slope stability and basic foundation engineering stuff, please don't attempt to build hugels on slopes.

My third attempt cost almost nothing. On the other hand, it didn't take advantage of the whole area and it was very labours to build stone wall and dig under the terrace level. This time, I used 1.5 meters long half inch iron pipes and 4 mm thick sheet of wood. I know, wood is going to rot probably less then 2 years. Frankly I dont care. It is so cheep and easy to build that I can change them each season in the next 20 years, and it will be less labours than my third attempt. Pipe-piles are roughly spaced 50 cms to limit deformation of wood sheets. Beds are 55 cm high, which I found to be ideal to reach ahead. I used the rule of thump to hammer the pile in twice the length that is above soil level (50 cm above soil, 1m below). It roughly costed 1500 turkish liras to build 40 square meter of growing space, so 6.25 dolars per square meter, or 0.6$/ft2. It took roughly 3-3.5 hours to transform the slope into 1 square meter (roughly 10 sq ft) of growing space by manual labour.

It is in four layers. First layer is the larger sized logs covered with green stuff. It is covered with a bit of soil and then another layer of branches and soil. The third layer is compost over soil times 2 to 3 times, which is covered with the forth layer of store bought topsoil (cheapest that I can find). The foruth layer is there just to give a nice finishing and easy planting. It is only 1 inch thick. As they tend to dry out, logs and branches should not touch sheet of wood so I left a 10-20 cm thick layer of clay soil in between.

I didn't go below the pathway level and gave a gentle slope towards it just to shed extra water to the bed below and it was easier to dig this way.

So we started digging the slope for the second terrace (so we can pile soil on to the fist ones place)

added logs

added green stuff and covered with soil

and repeated the same for the second layer

and layers of compost and soil

2 months ago
Hi everyone!
I am continuing my endeavor to terrace our property. This year has been very strange for all of us, but it has been very tough on me. I don't want to flood this thread with personal stuff, so I am not going to go into details. Let's call it destiny, it is just things over things, financial, health, loss, kind of a break up, let downs etc. It was roughly 3 weeks ago, I wanted to cry, but I couldn't because I wanted to yell. I couldn't yell, because I wanted to punch something.

I had to do something.

So I started digging. Again!

I completed the first phase of my fourth attempt to tame this land. Digging didn't help a bit frankly. It was really hard to sleep when your whole body is hurting, and it is really hard to feel optimistic when you don't sleep. I planted some beans and some corn with neighbors and their kids two days ago. Joy on their faces made me feel better. Best part of it, kids won't fake it. So that is nice. There are problems ahead, actually none of them are resolved. BUT, If I still have the strength to brighten a day of mine and others during probably the darkest part of my life, I think I can manage. Instead of breaking things or punching, I forcfully transformed negative stuff into something positive.

That feels good.

Enough with mumbling, details ahead.

Originally, I gave myself 4 to 6 months to finish this work. So we started slowly and tried to enjoy with tea breaks etc. Then, as I said, I overtook to whole work. Lockdowns helped a lot. It is roughly 40 square meter of growing area added to my vegetable plots. Here is the figure:
2 months ago
Swiss chard. It grows like weeds. Not the worst problem ever, but if we have another meal from it I might puke. I am not going to let it self seed ever.
Mint is another one.
Bermuda grass (dont judge me please, it was my first year into permaculture)
Probably a liability thing.
But also, you can build up explosives with fertilizers. Maybe it should do something with that. Just speculating.
3 months ago