Jordan Mathis

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since Mar 12, 2019
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Recent posts by Jordan Mathis

I thinks there's a spectrum between "Ease/cost of construction" and "Longevity" when building raised beds.

Have you considered just building inexpensive and simple beds that are intended to wear out in a year or two? (Dr. Redhawk's square hay bale beds come to mind.)
Or perhaps making mud bricks that require more work but last longer?

I suppose if aesthetics is important to you then these options wouldn't work.
7 months ago
Where I'm at (Oklahoma) the power companies charge a monthly fee if you use grid-tie solar because you're introducing energy into their lines and grid that they haven't planned for.

A decent portion of my energy consumption consists of things that can be separated from the grid, (charging batteries for outdoor lighting, and ventilation/cooling devices that only run on-demand and typically during the daytime) so if I build a solar system it will probably be off-grid and easily packed and moved.
It helps to categorize your energy use into things that need constant power, and those which you can utilize off-grid.
9 months ago
What are the evaporation rates of topsoil compared to evaporation rates of wood fibers?
Too many variables. What kind of wood? What direction is it oriented? Are both the soil and the wood shaded by plant cover? To what degree is the wood rotten or root-permeable?

I think we all agree that hugels require both soil and some woody plant material, but I don't think a few twigs poking out or some wood surface exposed by erosion is anything to worry about if you have good plant cover.
9 months ago
Are your local buildings typically well sealed or do they have a lot of air leaks?

Moving air carries a lot more moisture and heat/cooling than what permeates the material itself.
10 months ago
To what degree does the freeze-thaw cycle work to create space for springtime fertility by breaking down otherwise inert or inorganic material?

I mulch heavily in the fall, and even though the top layer doesn't have much activity (I live in Oklahoma so we freeze and thaw tens of time over the winter months.) things break down rather quickly and thoroughly in the mechanical sense.
10 months ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:I dream of houses that are designed to be most useful for the occupants, not most convenient for the builders!



I want houses that are easier for the builder, but I want the builder to be the owner!
Easy to build, repairable with natural, local materials!

Jason Hernandez wrote:I dream of interchangeable electric motors, so that if my blender blows out, I can just buy a new motor, not a whole new blender.



We could easily design food processing tools that are powered by electric drills.
11 months ago
In my area there are a lot of old feed silos with conical bottoms that would be easy to retrofit for water/tea.
Farmers and ranchers here barely use them anymore, many would be glad to get rid of them for very little money if not free.
1 year ago

David Huang wrote:While I haven't actually tried this on my patches of Jerusalem artichokes I've heard that aren't actually that hard to control or get rid of if you stop to consider their life cycle.
Apparently if you let them grow initially to exhaust the fuel from the stored tuber you can then simply pull up the plants and that takes care of it.



Mine grow into the pathways around their beds every year. I usually let them get a few feet tall before I pull them up and use them as mulch in those pathways. An action hoe works well if you want to cut them off early while they're small.
Not super aggressive, just 100% resilient. I've never replanted a single tuber.
1 year ago

Marco Banks wrote:For the life of me, however, I can't imagine how Walmart or Amazon would make any money off it.  But lets say that they were to figure out how to do so . . . we'd have millions of Americans ripping out their grass lawns and converting millions of acres into productive agricultural space.



Let's not forget that both Amazon and WalMart are powerful not because they have particularly innovative products, but because they are the absolute experts at supply-chain management and consumer connection.
It doesn't matter to them what they sell, even if it's permie produce and products. Amazon could design a system to automatically offer products only from farms or affiliates within X miles of your location, easy to use online merchants representing your local permie farms and friends. WalMart's distribution network is itself mostly local in terms of regional distribution, their truck drivers work 8 hour days because they've decentralized their network.
1 year ago
Interesting.
I often see questions of allelopathy on this forum, but few instances where alleged allelopathy actually affects anyone whether it's about cedar wood mulch or now caffeine. I would submit that at 8.09 mg/g it would take a significant amount of coffee to overpower your plants, and that this effect could even be used to beat out competition among "weeds". At this point all I have is anecdotes to offer, but considering how ubiquitous the use of coffee grounds in compost and mulch is in this forum you'd think we'd have a horror story or two if it was that bad.
1 year ago