The backyard project.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by CaliforniaPermie, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    So the ultimate goal is to eventually obtain a minimum of 30acres and develop something that could be comparable to zaytuna. I have large dreams and being that I'm 23 I'm sure I have plenty of time to get there. But theres no reason to start now. This project is taking place in the backyard of my girlfriend's parent's house. Her parents aren't really in to permaculture nor do they really know much about it so they requested that a majority of the lawn stays (at least for now:)). So when I first started learning about permaculture it was hard not to just go out and try everything immediately and see how it worked. Now my girlfriend and I have gotten to the point where we realize we need to sit down and plan and prepare everything in order to ensure we maximize our efforts. With that being said we are planning on a Feb start date ( we are in us zone10b which I believe is similar to Aus zone 4). We want to plant Tomatos, Yellow of Parma Onions, Danver Carrots, Bell Peppers, Jalepenos, Santa fe Grande pepper, Bulgarian carrot pepper, Tomatillos, Corn , Purple Podded Beans, and Watermelon. We will be companion planting herbs with the above mentioned as well. Our soil is going to be sent in to get a more accurate test of its composition but based on jar tests it would appear we have a loamy soil. We are taking the time until Feb to add as much organic matter to the soil as well as building some new beds. We are also going to be harvesting the rainwater to use during the hotter summer months to reduce the amount of city water consumed. I am attaching some pictures with some descriptions. Definitely will be updating this as we continue. I LOVE FEEDBACK. I don't think it is possible to learn too much and I am really looking forward to hearing any advice and comments you all may have.
    [​IMG]There was some flooding going on in to her parent's sheds so I dug down a little. The blue represents the water overflow that accumulates by the planter and drains in to a 2ft hole where it can absorb in to the ground next to one of our raised garden beds. We have planted shade loving seeds on the left side near the cement raised bed and to the right is the raised bed planted with dutch white clover, calendula, globe amaranth, sweet alyssum, and a seed mix pack.


    [​IMG]The black boxes represent Hugel beds we will be making the bottom two boxes will be about 4 ft wide and 7ft long the top box will be about 7ft wide and 3 ft long.This is where we are planning on planting the majority of our tomato, tomatillo, onion and carrots. The red box which doesn't represent the full bed is about 1.5 ft wide and 15 long and will be the home for the corn and beans (I wanted to do a three sisters garden but I'm not sure it will work with the space available so I was planning on just mulching rather than planting a squash. The corner of the back raised bed will hole the watermelon so it can thrive when the temp gets hotter with the thermal mass of the walls. The remainder of the bed will be planted with flowers and herbs that will attract beneficial insects and pollinators. You can also see the first raised bed we have the dutch clover is really taking off on the left side and you can see some of our newly planted seeds that are sprouting. The peppers will be planted in that bed with companion herbs.


    So there we go for now. Hope you all enjoy this little escapade.
     
  2. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    I can't find the edit post button and I realized i wrote no reason to start now when I meant no reason to not start now lol oops
     
  3. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    Hope everyone had happy holidays. My Girlfriend and I knew we wanted to do a Berkeley compost pile before we planted seeds in the time of Feb. We decided since most people in our area throw out their Christmas trees when they are through with them that we could break down these trees and use them in our compost pile. You can see in the pictures attached our current progress. We are doing everything by hand and are hoping that by the end of Monday we will have everything broken down and the piles started. If I had it my way I would have picked up ten trees however again it's in the backyard of my girlfriends parents house so two was the max. I'll post pictures when the compost piles are completed
     

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  4. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
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    there is a short window for editing posts (about 15 - 20 minutes) after the post is made, but i also think there is the initial three moderated approved posts limit which must be made first before you can edit anything...

    welcome and happy returns on your projects! : )
     
  5. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    You have probably already seen it but there is a video by Josh Byrne on Urban Permaculture... the full length version is on youtube... And Geoff has a few... one in particular that comes to mind is 2 blokes in the USA who have a food forest on a quarter acre... over 300 species of plants if I recall.
     
  6. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    Yes we have seen both those videos and they are a great inspiration to us of what can be done with proper planning. Seeing all of the systems the people have posted here has also been helpful because we can tone down the scale of projects to fit our needs. Tomorrow we should be finished with our pile and beginning the hot composting. I will follow up then with a post and some pictures.
     
  7. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    So today we finished up and did a mixture of broken down Christmas tree and steer manure for our nitrogen and shredded paper for our carbon the pile measures about 1.5m x 1.5m we will be monitoring close to see how it does. The remaining branches and trunks will be left out and used in a couple of weeks for the construction of a hugel mound.

    View attachment 2937
     

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  8. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Good stuff...
     
  9. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    So today is day 6 of the compost pile and it is going well. I have a tarp over the pile because we are currently having some rain. The temp in the pile was solid a little shy of 50 degrees Celsius doing well though. Smell was solid I didn't notice any ammonia smells or anything like that so I feel my ratio is pretty good. The overflow mini swale is working out well distributing the water from the rain gutter around the bed and cumulating in to the mini resovoir to soak in to the soil. The water barrels have a capacity of 155 gallons and currently each barrel is about a quarter full. So far everything is going smooth. We have also ordered a majority of our seeds and I will post a pic of all we plan to grow with list once we have the seeds.
     
  10. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    So today we received our seeds. We order a majority of our seeds through Seed Savers here is the list:
    Miniature Red, Yellow, Chocolate Bell Pepper.
    SantaFe Grande Peppers. Aka Caribe Pepper
    Bulgarian Carrot Pepper
    JalapeƱo Pepper
    Yellow of Parma Onion
    Trucker's Favorite Tomato
    Triple Curled Parsley
    Cilantro
    Lemon Basil
    Bunny Tails Flower
    Mountain Sweet Yellow Watermelon
    Purple Podded Bean
    Stowell's Evergreen Corn

    View attachment 2939
     

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  11. Australian Beekeeper

    Australian Beekeeper Junior Member

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    Good stuff :) getting excited I bet. Looking forward to seeing your progress.
     
  12. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    Today is day 12 of the compost pile. I've attached a picture so you can compare with the first. As you can see it's coming along nicely. I have never used Christmas trees in a pile so I was worried that I may overload on nitrogen but everything is breaking down nicely, temperature is consistent, and there is a nice earthy smell. The only thing I would have done different is break down the twigs more at the start of the pile. I'm hoping tho that if these twigs do not break down when I distribute the compost the twigs can act as moisture retainers as we hit our hot summer months.hopefully we'll be starting our hugel bed soon and I'll update with that and once the compost is completed. Thanks for checking in.

    @ Australian beekeeper. We are very excited this will be the first time we actually start everything from seed and the first time we tackle this many plants. I couldn't imagine having a large acre property I already feel as tho I'm overwhelming myself by examining every detail of this small project.
     

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  13. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Looking good.

    Is that a west facing wall ? Do you find you are gaining/losing heat or moisture through the concrete wall?
     
  14. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Looks like a lovely pile :)

    If you want your biggest wood pieces to hold water it's best to bury them in the Hugelcultur fashion. Then they can absorb any water that sinks down, and not dry out because of air in the pile.

    It might be interesting to keep track of a compost pile that doesn't have pine needles in it, and the pile that does, since there are oils in those needles that take longer to break down. And since it takes extra nitrogen to break down the wood, because the wood absorbs nitrogen in liquid form (like ammonia) and holds it there, it takes a lot longer than the other types of carbon to break down, and the oils are the last to break down, it could be quite a while before the tiny roots of annual vegetables can actually have access to what's in the pile.

    Or if there isn't enough to make two experimental piles, try to have the pine be only 1/4 to 1/3 of what's in the total pile breaking down, so more mowed grass, leaves, straw, kitchen scraps, manure. :)
     
  15. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    @milifestyle It is west facing. I do not notice any issues with moisture but have notices some heat transfer on the side directly touching the wall. Nothing that affects the whole pile but wither way I've decided to set up the pile now where it isn't in direct contact with the wall. Our Temps lately have been around the 20 degree C range during the day and around 10 degrees at night so I have found that it does help to keep the pile warm at night.

    @Sweetpea- Ive already pulled the largest pieces before starting the pile with plans to build a huge bed soon. Today was a turn day so while I was going through I pulled out the remaining smaller twigs. Unfortunately the experimental pile will have to wait as I did use the all the pine in this pile. The nitrogen make up is about 60% pine and 40% steer manure. Judging by how it looked today it will take longer than 18 days i figure about another 10 days or so before its at a more complete state.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  16. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Really good!
     
  17. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    So unfortunately a little change of plans. My girlfriend's father is uncomfortable with building a Hugel bed. So instead we will be digging in to the back bed where the compost pile is currently and making a hugel bed with the existing raised bed rather then creating a whole new hugel mound. Slight change but I do not think it will affect the overall plan negatively. I have drawn everything out and I should still have enough room to grow all that we have.

    I do have a question about compost tea if anyone is willing to contribute. I was reading an article posted on this site with a Canadian recipe. I specifically have questions about the following:

    1. Kelp 21mL and Fish 21mL. If I was to purchase a liquid fish emulsion with kelp also in it how would that affect the amount that I introduce to the tea.
    2. This should be easy but I want to make sure before I do anything. Molasses 50:50. Im assuming it is diluted 50:50 with water?
    3. Are there any recommendations as far as purchasing Humic Acid and Soil Aid that is called for in the list of ingredients?

    File is located Here
     
  18. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    Disregard the questions I've got it figured out.
     
  19. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Looking good! Great to see you trying to get the most out of the space you have.

    Growing by seed is probably the most addictive thing ever. I can't bring myself to buy any punnets from the nurseries anymore (unless its some rare hard to get plant), its just too cheap and easy to sprout them yourself ;) Looks like your having fun and look forward to seeing more progress :)
     
  20. CaliforniaPermie

    CaliforniaPermie Junior Member

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    So today we planted our germinated corn seeds just in time for some rain. I wasn't expecting the corn to germinate so well so We decided we are only going to plant corn and beans in that area and use straw for mulch. I'm currently looking at the current set up to find a good place to plant the watermelon. Overall we planted 45 corn seeds. Im attaching a pic of the germinated seeds. Ironically enough I just got done reading about planting with the moon cycle a couple of weeks ago and saw the moon cycle article on the main pri site. We will be attempting to plant with the moon. View attachment 2949
     

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