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John Hutter

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since Oct 11, 2016
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Central Oregon Coast Range, valley side
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Recent posts by John Hutter

if you tamp the spots that went to high and dry dormancy first (late July?) towards the end of summer/early fall here, you are unlikely to hit any clay that is damp enough to fuse to itself.  Meanwhile you will collapse all the wind tunnels and make a big difference in the rate of drying in the future.

I also know that because it tends not to rain at my site during the "growing season,"  the issue of ground airflow rate is far more pronounced than it would be somewhere that does get some summer rain.

hot tip #2: I have given up on managing hugelculture in this way.  Once you decide you have "enough" productive soil for the immediate year, the additions become a 10 year plan : )

4 hours ago
Hugelculture warnings;

1.) If you are in a forested, non-urban environment, hugelculture is going to make habitat that will initially be filled with mice, voles, rodents etc, and slugs, pillbugs, creepy crawlies etc.  They will be populated with these things regardless of how completely you bury the wood with plenty of dirt/soil.   "Too much wood, to little dirt" will exacerbate this issue to the point that the hugelculture looks more dead than the marginal dirt you were trying to upgrade once the hot season arrives, AND the pests will be streaming out of it.   If you are trying to bury wood with clay that is in clods larger than 1/4" minus, the dry voids and wind tunnels are inevitable (if it isn't a sunken bed) and they will require tamping (or a decade+) to do away with.

Even though hugelculture can create a pest problem that ruins a nearby traditional garden area, it's okay.   Remember it's all part of the ecological kersplosion master plan that creates fertility rather than consumes it.   But it might take 5 years for the leopard slugs or whichever predator you need to show up : (  If it's fresh-cut 6"+ logs, it's probably going to be a few years before the wood is little more than dead space to the plants above.  

2.) you will likely have a much more productive hugelsperience if the plan is to put it in, come back in 5 years, tamp it down, and then see what you can cultivate.

3.) putting pricey delicious perennials in a new hugelculture commonly makes for rodent food and little else.   The experience will likely be less of a bummer if you plant perennials adjacent to the hugelculture, in well-tamped, well-fertilized and well-irrigated holes.   Drip irrigation + tilled area (hugelculture etc) =  root buffet/vole void

But if you'll be around for 5 years and your starvation isn't dependent on that patch of ground's productivity in the meantime, it's totally worth it : )

2 days ago
I tried 3 times plug inoculating logs (shitaki, oyster, lions mane) and then mostly burying them with an exposed end ~3 months later, hoping for choice mushrooms and faster soil food bonus.   But no choice shrooms were ever seen in those attempts...

In my PNW rainforest experience, anything other than winecap is going to fail to be competitive with the many types of fungus the ground is already crawling with.  Even then, I saw a few dozen winecaps over a few years come out of the 3 yards of oak chips I raked out into a 4-6" layer.  And then the winecaps were gone...hardly a success for the input.

Mostly I've seen many different troops of small inedible mushrooms on ~300' of 3' tall hugel berms.   Sulfur tuft dominates the conifer, turkey tail and polypores if it isn't buried, with a relatively rare flush of conifer tufts now and then.  One time a noble fir hugel put out over 100 large white dapperlings (4-6" thick and meaty caps) in the third year.  Too bad they're a volva away from the Destroying Angel and most of them rotted before I finished the edibility test.  And they all but disappeared in subsequent years.

It seems like trying to control fungus on/in the ground in an environment with an active and diverse resident fungus population is a lost cause.    Or I was just doing it wrong : )

I landed on the solution of keeping the processes separate; suitable deciduous logs are used as Blue Oyster (#1 aggro grow winner here) logs in stacks held off the ground by either rock or cedar) and once they are spent as Oyster logs a few years later, they are somewhat spongified and ready to be returned to the Earth in hugel form.

Or you could say, mushroom cultivation is the first step of hugelculture with fresh-cut clear deciduous logs....it's a 5 year plan though.



3 days ago
Me:  "why does the (sawmill) blade only have 2 teethe?"

Dez:  "....it's just like a baby."

Think I only cracked a smile at the time, but it stuck and has since gotten funnier. Thanks for the giggles.

And well done!  Looking forward to seeing what you make out there
I've got a question I probably dumped into too many other questions previously and it didn't get answered;

how is the chop and drop from the willow feeder putting out?

New follow up, is this a 10 year plan? 20 year?

I notice that the term "poop beast" seems to measure as far as a person can see roots that grow right through and into the poop, + classification as "heavy feeder."  I've observed fawn lilly, trailing blackberry, and snowberry do the former, and not sure how "heavy" they "feed."  So willow is a "heavy feeder", but how heavy?

First define 1 "unit" as 1 years worth of dookie from a 175 lb individual, aged as per willow feeder protocol (going for average...)

say you have 5 largish willow trees,  each with canopy covering about 400 ft^2, so together they span about 2000 ft^2'

If you put 20 units of dookie in an even layer under this canopy, how long does it take for 50% of the dookie nutrient/plant food to be deposited into willow limbs that you are going to prune and mulch?

so many variables here, I really don't know how many years to bet on.  Maybe it'd be faster for 5 dookie units, and/or a thicket of smaller willow trees covering half the area. Or not. lol

I do know that willows do not feed or "poop beast" as heavily as squash and corn.  Observation has put me in the camp; if it's not squash or corn, you're doing it wrong!

Just kiddin, I only suspect.  Carry on
1 month ago
Fun watch, I very much enjoyed the soundtrack and details!

Fun story, I walked on over and then into the green house on the coldest day when I was there, a low of -11, high of 7F circa 2/21 if I recall correctly.

It was very nice in the greenhouse at about 12:30 PM, musta been in the mid 60's at least.  It was a clear sunny day, but it usually is when it's that cold.

On the critical side, I was struck by how small the space was relative to the dollar count.   I'm thinkin, maybe somebody should build a yuge one and make a super abbey out of it?  Living quarters in the back!

The next wondering thought at the time, if you did a 4V 5/12 Kruschke dome with the strut 10' length max, all in 4x12"s, could you safely pile enough dirt on top of it to make it was well insulated as this one?

Well that's all gonna depended on the joinery at least

awesome in any case!
1 month ago
Seems like, if a person wants to make something like that happen in 5 years or less, they are going to need fertile well-watered loam about 2 feet deep.   Less rich soil or faster growth, given the most aggressive weeds in your area...

A ~fifty 50 yard stretch of my wanna be green hedge is a low grade ridge with exceedingly poor soil and water conditions.    Mostly red brick clay hardpan.  So poor that a Himalayan blackberry will languish, 3 years in and the canes were 2 feet tall.  They rounded a corner this year!  New cane shoots are going on 3 ft with a few pushing 4.   Great success.

4 years, for blackberries, in this climate.  And they're probably 2-3 years out from making a barrier no deer will mess with.  Ha  

godspeed and score
2 months ago
Try try try, go Paul go!  

The bright side: in terms of people who have played a role in learning others genuinely creative action, I'd bet you are way up there near the top on the list of currently alive humans, despite the lack of that mainstream billions-level notoriety. For every property or project directly or indirectly impacted by your work you do hear about, there's probably 100 to 1000 that you don't.   Not enough?  

Say you include other people doing similar things in your tally for "success in the empire."  Do you see your work as part of a global effort, with yourself being an individual in a bigger picture where your name notoriety is basically unnecessary?  If it is necessary to the wish, careful with the fame thing.  It will probably never be enough.

And continuing down the darkside...

'unfulfilled wish' can be another term for the root cause of addiction.  Yes sir, they can be toxic.  Ambition; tread carefully.  Emphasize most desires are not part of some immutable core of a human, most individuals who haven't become completely habitual reevaluate their goals, desires, wishes, and ambitions occasionally.

So the "perpetual goal is to cause change at the level of billions of people."  In 1 lifetime I assume? (haha.)  I see a shot in the dark where you can't evaluate the probability of hitting the target, not something to get disappointed about given the wish may be physically impossible due to the billions of humans that aren't going to change unless they must in order to survive.  But that doesn't mean don't try.

Mike Lafay pointed out a lot of what this solution is up against.  I'd emphasize that Gert, as far as moneyed civilization is concerned, is bad for business.  Say we are aware of paid corporate social engineering trolls, there's also a series of youtube videos "Dead Internet Theory" (1, 2 and 3) put together by "All Time" channel that recently updated my perception of "the internet."   Despite the title, it's not a theory, and the pro-established-business bot generating algorithms will not be promoting Gert.  I'd bet, that if these channels of communication don't change, Gert is not going far in them.

Back to the bright side, if not already, a near critical mass of smartphone carrying humans are aware that all major corporate outlets, social or otherwise, are only saying what will generate sales, even if it's a lie.  So there's a decent chance for a mainstream alternative in which Gert can flourish in the nearish future.   To me, the great channel you created here is already so much!

But don't mind my milder ambitions.  Carry on
Speaking of dead standing wood, I meant to ask if the only reason it was being used as firewood was because there wasn't another dried alternative?

I was splitting that stuff in and then around the tipi, dust always and grubs and beatles often flying, the outer inch or more often already spongified... This isn't great firewood, and I'm burning soil here...   Oh well.  I've experienced that dead standing timber is basically dry wood, ready to burn save a tiny bit of the outside diameter near the bottom, even at the end of an 8 month 50" wet and cool season.   Firewood you don't have to put up and cure before use, and can be retrieved needed...very convenient!

But seems like the lab really wants that soil, and that already spongified wood represents years of progress.  I'd wanna get that stuff on or in the ground asap, as opposed to in a fire.

An alternative to putting cords under a roof is girdling live trees that you know are going to be used as firewood within  a year or 2.  I have girdled an 8" abh diameter tree here, and it is completely dry after 1 summer.  Except it often doesn't rain and cloudy days are rare here during the "growing season", and I'm not sure if that spot in Montana land gets as much hot hot heat as the east side foothills of the central Oregon coast range...so it might need to be a smaller tree or 2 summers.  esperiments!

Happy hugelin exclusively with already spongified wood

5 months ago
"I've found in some company they elicit enigmatic reactions and expressions of extreme intestinal blockage or malaise."

Yup, that qualifies as a way with words lol.  But that is not the reaction to muh childhood comic books!

Sweet that a bottom rock got added to my Miyamoto glyph.  I went on a 5 hour hike up and around the valley wall, specifically looking for green rocky bits and whatever else might catch my eye, but there were few green rocks to be seen, none of them striated

Before that I was thinking, holy shit can I pull off R G B, with purple instead of blue, and another set of striated rocks on the edge so that no color occurs twice within each triangle?  Close, but one of the triangles is yellow instead of red, and I got no green edge stone...I thought "damn, Solomon's seal evades me..."

but run all the striations to the center of the center triangle for max nature spirit power! Joking, but not sure


5 months ago