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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Earthworks

Before Huglekultur
 
This is a home in Benicia seeking to reclaim an overgrown area. An area covered in Ivy over Juniper with Yucca trees and Fruitless Mulberry, the odd Rose gone wild and some unkempt Phormium.

We are using a Cat 302.7 three ton mini excavator with a 24" bucket and a thumb.
The beginnings of a hole to bury green material. We first called 811 to have the services marked. It's free and it is a requirement.
The goal here was to keep all carbon on site, harvest rainwater and build soil.
We buried the green material rather than haul it away. Soil is layered with brush in a lasagna style. Ivy being positioned at the bottom, as possible.
Some sizable tree trunks were buried.
 


After Huglekultur -
This is the finished pile except for a covering of tree chips. There will not be much decomposition during the dry months, however the height will be much reduced in a years time.

At CACG 

A small but enthusiastic turn out to the monthly Crop Swap this evening.

 
 Meagan has been busy planting the raised beds.

Happy Earth Day and Happy earthworks to you all,

David
925 286 7225

 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How Did We Get To This?

"This" is the scene at the end of the day at our latest Food Forest installation in Benicia.
 
 There is a video that documents the whole day. Thanks to Constance Beutel

 
We have swales, rainwater harvesting from the roof downspouts and fruit trees planted ready to receive greywater
 
This is where we started.

At least 25 volunteers helped clear out the 1200 square foot area to begin the transformation.

Flour marks paths and swales.

 
Our trusted A frame on the birm in the middle

Keeping carbon on site by adding trimmings to bottom of swale
Plumbing class for piping downspouts to swales
 


Nikita watering a plum tree that he just planted
The thrill of testing a downspout
Happy Homeowners Heather and Frank launching an avocado tree

All this was made possible by a 2014 grant from the Benicia Sustainability Commission.
This is a TIME LAPSE video of the whole day. Thank you Steve. See if you can notice where lunch happened.
 
So that is the story of how we got to "This" but not the end of the tale!
 
The trees are ready for the Greywater Action workshop on April 25th and you might like to sign up for that one. We also will be planting the other layers of the Food Forest in the next couple of months.
 
May we all feel the abundance of Spring!
 
David
925 286 7225

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Anatomy Of A Greywater Workshop

This is the overview of a greywater workshop which took place in Benicia last Saturday.
9:00am Greywater basics in the garage classroom
The leaders, Natalie and Brian, speak for half an hour on the virtues and uses of greywater. They introduce the Laundry to Landscape (L2L) system that we are about to install today.
Digging the delivery basins close to fruit trees.
 
4 inch perforated plastic drain pipe is cut to length. These will act as mulch shields to create an air gap between delivery pipe end and tree chips. The chips allow greywater to disperse into a larger below surface area.
The blue pipe is Blu-lock one inch tubing. This more robust pipe transitions into regular one inch vinyl as it snakes down the slope (cost saving). The meandering is to calm the flow and so produce a more even distribution at each port.
 
The straight drain with 'tee' end = roof water into swale
Noon, and that important part of the install called Lunch.






Brian demonstrating how to test and calibrate the system with hose
 The half inch delivery pipe tees off the one inch main and is terminated with a valve to adjust the flow into each individual mulch shield regardless of position in the system.
Needs more tree chips and a cap to complete
Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the plumbing around the actual washer inside the house. A three port valve allows the option of diverting the discharge to sewer or garden. A vent is installed at the highest point to prevent water syphoning back.
Please check out Greywater action's website
You might especially like this page regarding the L2L system because this is just what we have inside the house.
The workshop was completed just after 2pm.
At an average of one load per day this family of four will be directing about 300 gallons of water to 8 young fruit trees every week.

New Website

Our longtime permaculture advocate and lifetime resident Ron Zampa has started a new website.
We send all good wishes to this useful new addition to the local media and celebrate its enormous potential to create abundance for all.
contracostapermaculture.org

Well done Ron !

Permaculture principal number 5
"Use and value renewable resources and services"

Happy gardening to you all,

David

 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Arrivals

Re purposed tea pot

With the arrival of Spring ...

Jennifer has some new Chickens. We are also sending lots of love and good wishes for the speedy recovery of the broken bone in her foot.


A First Born

Keith and Rhiannon, who now live in Lafayette and have helped with CACG, movie nights and generally supported the Permaculture Community, have a son, Bodhi. Congratulations! I would choose them as parents!

Not Quite arrived Yet

Jim, Karen, Brenna and Colin are expecting and addition to their family in May. Again major supporters of CACG and we are delighted to see them continue to visit the garden even though they now live in Pleasant Hill.

The Crop Swap Is Back !

March 25 saw the first Crop Swap of the year.


Meagan Arrives


Meagan, seen here crushing some new season honey comb, is a DVC student doing an internship with David Mudge Gardens. We are delighted to have her help at CACG where she has been cleaning up the lower row of raised beds ready for planting.

Arrival of Swarm Season

I found my first bee swarm last week. Here we see the swarm deposited on the top of their new home. It's a Langstroth hive box with comb filled frames ready for the queen to start laying.

New To Me Truck

I'm often hearing "Did you get a new truck, what happened to the red one?" I still have the red GMC  truck that is most familiar. The arrival of this 2001 3/4 ton truck allows me to tow equipment and materials necessary for some of the earthwork projects I am undertaking.
It runs on Biodiesel, which I purchase from what I believe to be the closest source, Biofuel Oasis in Berkeley.





Here are two examples of edibles that look very attractive in a winter, or early spring garden.
Tree Collards ( this one planted in Oct. 2014 as a start)

Ruby Swiss Chard (in great lighting:)

At CACG

Feel free to add to this panel

Arianna thinning old Raspberry canes at CACG

There is more information in this Peaceful Valley video about our purpose in the management of blackberries and raspberries in winter. It's also a great time to divide and plant new ones.


For protection from Gophers I planted some at home in a 1/2" mesh galvanized wire basket.


 Hoping Spring has arrived with good things in your life,

David
925 286 7225