Permaculture Training day 3

What is permaculture?   Landscape design modeled on natural eco systems and incorporating food crops. The systems approach maximizes harvest while minimizing work. Waste products are only undiscovered opportunities.  Long term preservation of people, plants, animal is the goal. Create and support a local food economy.  A new appreciation of biomass!

!Hugelkulture – use tree branches and logs to create raised planting beds.  Dig a trench and save the soil/turf.  Pile logs and branches in the trench, cover with wood chips, compost and the soil/ turf.  Plant ramblers like pumpkins, cukes, melons and squash and watch it grow!  The logs capture water and store nitrogen – a big pile of biomass and an organic matter storehouse waiting to be broken down to feed plants.  

My husband and I have been wondering what to do with all the wood we have stacked around our property.  It was a lot before but after last year’s storm and 6 trees down, it’s now a fire hazard.  Not only do we have some huge logs that we can’t easily move but also some really big piles of branches and brush.  I think we will try to compact the brush piles down some by stomping on them and then wait until fall to fill in with leaves, twigs and smaller organic debris, maybe even paper and weed debris.  Top it off with worm compost and plant melons or pumpkins in it next spring – right  where it sits at the back of the yard.

 We also have literally about 30 years of  wood stacked up  which we couldn’t figure out what to do with.  We can’t burn it all as we have no fireplace and only limited campfires.  I’m thinking I would really like to get some sort of a wood stove just in case the power ever goes, the US oil supply is disrupted (not if, but when) or simply to reduce our heating bill in winter.  We learned about rocket stoves today and how to design them to heat a home using cob as thermal mass to radiate heat.  I would love to have a Swedish stove but super expensive.  Could we get a basic wood stove and build heat storing thermal mass around it with stone or tile somehow?  The other option is to use the cords of wood to build some hugelkulture beds outside.  Both are good options for reducing the fire hazard building up in our yard.  Even the box elders are beginning to look good as a source of biomass for heating.  The rocket stove works efficiently using small pieces of wood. The boxelders can be coppiced/cut back each year and the small branches or shoots used for heating. I could stop all this crazy Rounduping of boxelder stumps and use the shoots for fuel! 

We also learned about using swales in the landscape to direct and capture water.  Our house has 2 sump pumps which tells you we have a lot of water moving under our house!  We live on a slope and water from Spring brook road drains downhill to us.  Also our house was built on a marsh that was filled in so we have a naturally marshy site.  Roger (hubby) built a swale behind our house several years ago which directed water away from our backyard which used to form a pond every spring.  Our sump pump(s) run less too.  So even with a small swale built we saw a big benefit. Today we also learned to use an A frame to determine level across a grade to direct water.  I want to direct the backyard water away from behind the house and into the basement to the front of the house and my veggies.  Why can’t we dig a couple ephemeral water storage ponds?  One by the veggies and another at the base of the slope right before Spring brook.  These concepts are work at first but once in place reduce money and labor

 

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