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...
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.
Adding the worms:
6 months later:
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.
Last edited by Adam; 14-07-2010 at 04:30 AM.
Reason: Photos weren't working
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?
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.
Originally Posted by pebble
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.
That makes sense. I'm always interested in how people separate worms from castings - there seem to be lots of different methods.
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.
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.
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.
Harvest time for the squash and corn.
As you can see, the miniature blue popcorn lives up to its name.
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
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?