Adam's Activities

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Adam, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    Well, I might as well kick things off here in this new forum as I was the one who requested that it be added here! I really want to see what everyone else is doing, though, so please don't be shy about starting a thread for yourself, too.

    As I am a currently living in a tiny apartment with no garden and north-facing windows, there's not much I can show in terms of a permaculture system at the moment. However, once I start at my job in January (explained in my introduction thread) I will be able to have this thread about the permaculture system I will have going there.

    In the meantime, I can show you all some little snippets of some permaculture-inspired projects I've worked on in the past...
     
  2. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    I will start off with my worm bin that I currently have in my little apartment here. I started the worm bin last September and have kept it inside under my kitchen table since then. I found my (red wiggler) worms by riding my bike around the neighborhood until I spotted someone with a compost bin. I knocked on their door and asked them if I could take some of their worms and they were kind enough to allow me to take some.

    This is the very cheap, very simple design: two 84L white IKEA containers stacked on top of each other, 1 lid (not pictured). As you can see from the photo, the top container has drainage holes poked through it (I used a nail since I don't have a drill here), and the bottom container acts as a worm juice collector.
    [​IMG]

    Adding the worms:
    [​IMG]

    6 months later:
    [​IMG]

    A close up (although poor quality picture) of what it looks like now. I have already started harvesting the vermicompost and worm juice to give to friends of mine who have gardens.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Hi Adam. How do you separate the worms from the castings? And do you stop feeding the bin at some stage and let the worms completely break down the food scraps?
     
  4. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    Hi pebble. So far I have only taken out a small amount of compost so I have just done it by hand. I have started to not add food to 1/3 of the area so I can remove compost from there pretty easily without having to separate too many worms. My eventual plan is to buy a piece of wire mesh and attach a wooden frame to it so I can sift through it easily.

    Sometimes the worms aren't breaking down food scraps fast enough and I have to stop feeding them temporarily until they can catch up, but because they have been reproducing so much since I first got them, I haven't had that problem in a while. They can break down a few kilos of scraps ever week.
     
  5. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    That makes sense. I'm always interested in how people separate worms from castings - there seem to be lots of different methods.
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Hi Adam, this is a nice idea. However, i began my own thing on my introduction thread. It seemed the best way to do it at the time. Speaking of which I need to update it. I don't have any pictures yet either.
     
  7. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    Last summer I decided to give the three sisters guild a try. There was a space in my garden in which the soil was relatively poor -- rocky with a lot of clay. I made some mounds about 50 cm in diameter (spaced about the same length apart) and mixed the soil in the mounds with a fair amount of aged manure. I planted the corn in alternating mounds first, and a week or two later I planted the beans in the same mounds and the squash in the adjoining mounds. On the northern end of the bed I planted a row of sunflowers to act as a companion plant (ants herd aphids from the other plants onto the sunflowers). The space in between the mounds I mulched with straw and some moldy hay bales.

    The varieties I planted were "miniature blue popcorn", "kentucky wonder pole beans", and "bush delicata [winter] squash". I also planted a few zucchini plants and a pumpkin variety with hull-less seeds whose name escapes me.

    [​IMG]
    Here the squash and beans (which are more difficult to see under the corn) have recently germinated.

    I wish I had some pictures while everything was in full growth, but unfortunately I don't. The squash did a great job as a ground-cover and eliminated the need for weeding. The pole beans grew right up the corn and had a great harvest. Everything did very well and the garden required little maintenance.

    [​IMG]
    Harvest time for the squash and corn.

    [​IMG]
    As you can see, the miniature blue popcorn lives up to its name.
     
  8. WaterBaron

    WaterBaron Junior Member

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    Thanks

    I like the explanation of your worm bin. It gave me some ideas. And hearing of your casual success with the three sisters has made me want to try it myself. Hope to see more once you've documented more :)
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    When are you heading off to Thailand?
    Must be coming up real soon.

    Have you found a good home for your worm farm or are you going to let them go free?
     
  10. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    Hi mischief,

    Thanks for inquiring! I will indeed be heading to Thailand soon, in two weeks exactly (the 25th of Jan). Unfortunately I will no longer be going to the children's shelter that I was initially going to be at, but I will be going back to the Panya Project in northern Thailand, which was the same place that I attended my PDC. There is a great group of people there and the permaculture site there is really coming along quite nicely. I will be sure to describe the system there and post some photos when I have the opportunity, although I might start a new thread entirely for that.

    It's funny you ask about the worms because just today on facebook I put out an alert letting people know that a free worm compost system is available for anyone who wants it. If I can't find a friend to take it, I will put out a message on the local university notice board. I am confident I can find a new home for the wormies, and I better, because these indoor worms probably would not like being outside during the Swedish winter! ;)
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Adam, how many corn seeds did you sow in each mound?
    I am thinking of trying your method next season, rather than just having one type of plant growing-the corn.
    Did you raise the mounds to help warm the soil up or was it for some other reason?
    Hope Thailand is going great for you.
     
  12. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    I sowed only four in each mound. I also planted a small flat of corn to act as replacements for those that got eaten or died somehow. This worked really well and despite having heard that corn does not transplant well, the replacements all did wonderfully. I guess you could also just plant like 6 or so and just pick the four best plants that remain, but then the spacing might look a little strange.

    I raised the soil up primarily because the soil in that bed was very poor and had a high clay content, so the mounds were full of good quality soil and lots of compost to make sure the plants grew well. I also did it for drainage and to help the soil warm up. I am back from Thailand by the way, but have been busy working on my thesis still so haven't been around on the forum much. One of these days when I have the time I will fill you all in on what I've been up to. Good luck with the three sisters!
     
  13. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    I've been away from the forum for quite a while, but I'm still as enthusiastic about permaculture as I have ever been. Thailand was great, but I was always too busy to be active on the forum. I was involved with the Panya Project there, and nearly went back to help them start up a new permaculture site near Korat, Thailand. But plans changed and now I have moved to Australia for some time. I just moved to Brisbane a few days ago on a working holiday visa and will try to find some work here. Luckily, I already found a great cheap apartment in Milton with a yard that has a lot of potential! So I am going to make up a permaculture design for the place soon and start transforming it with one of my housemates here who is also into this kind of stuff. I will post my design up here and some pictures at some point (hopefully). Also, I really want to put in a banana circle but apparently finding any bananas right now seems to be a lot harder than I imagined. So if anyone in Brisbane has any suckers they'd be willing to let go, I'd love to hear from you.
     
  14. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Welcome back Adam! Do share more about Panya...

    And welcome to my area of the globe. You might find a fellow banana owner via the Northey St Gardens.
     
  15. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    Yes, I suppose I really should say more about Panya. The place is in northern Thailand, two hours outside the city of Chiang Mai. They are primariliy a permaculture and natural building education center, but also a budding ecovillage. Anywhere from 5-10 people are living there on a long term basis at any one time (which included me when I was there). There are also anywhere from 0 to about a dozen short-term volunteers there at any one time.

    From time to time they host permaculture courses, natural building workshops, and high school groups, which I helped out with while I was there. Some of the features of the site include: 5 acre-ish food forest, adobe buildings, 4-chamber composting toilet facilities, 100% greywater recyling, solar outdoor showers, wattle and cob buildings, intensive garden beds, edible landscaping throughout, ferrocement rainwater harvesting (used for drinking and cooking water), ferrocement sauna, bamboo bridges, and tons of other interesting things.

    In addition to helping out with the courses, while I was there, I spearheaded the construction of a small household-scale biogas digester, which was semi-successful. We got it to create some gas, but there seemed to be a leak in it somewhere which prevented the gas from storing properly. I didn't get a chance to fix it before I left, since I ran out of time, but hopefully someone else has since then. I also spent a lot of time maintaining the food forest, battling the vines and grass and keeping our young fruit trees from being taken over by them. I also started up a little mushroom corner where we started growing oyster mushrooms at.

    Panya is a great place and very dear to my heart, so I'm sure I will be back there again eventually. If anyone is interested or curious about going there, feel free to ask me anything about it.

    Also, regarding the Northey St. City Gardens, I am definitely going to check that place out very soon. I plan on volunteering there as well at least one day a week. Hopefully they will indeed have some banana suckers to share!
     
  16. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Nice! LOVE the patterns in the earlier photos. You sure got your hands (and everything else) dirty. Was the fire deliberate or accidental?
     
  18. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    The fire that burned down the first compost toilets was indeed accidental. At that time there was no electric line out to the toilets so people were using candles. Sure enough, someone dropped one in the toilet chamber and the whole thing went up in flames. The toilet that is there now is actually the 3rd version, since the second version was recently torn down. This one is much bigger with the coolest looking roof done by some great bamboo architect. Here is a picture of it from over a year ago when it was first built:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Ooooh! Candle plus methane = whoosh! Love that new roof though - in fact I love all the buildings. There's something so much more honest and beautiful about buildings that show the marks of being hand made.
     

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