Re: Guest Post - Garden Pools

1

"OK, that does it! Everybody out of the pool!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
2

We had a number of books from the 70s showing this type of sustainable system, and I *loved* them. I've grown into the sort of adult who is considering chickens for the garden...

Sometimes apples don't fall too far from the trees.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
3

Especially when chickens are in the trees to poop on the algae to feed the fish to nourish the apples to decompose and seed the earth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
4

She went a little further, and she met a chicken. So she said: "Chicken! chicken! poop in the pond; algae won't feed fish; fish won't nourish apples; apples won't seed the earth; earth won't grow hay; hay won't feed cow; cow won't make milk; milk won't be lapped by cat; cat won't kill rat; rat won' t gnaw rope; rope won't hang butcher; butcher won't kill ox; ox won't drink water; water won't quench fire; fire won't burn stick; stick won't beat dog; dog won't bite pig; piggy won't get over the stile; and I shan't get home tonight."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
5

You wouldn't believe how fucking fucked I am at work today.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
6

There was a discussion of this at Cole's place a couple months ago and I read some of the articles about it. I suspect it's one of those things everyone who's done it claims is easy and they should all be shot. So I planted a couple apple trees instead.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
7

It takes a tough man to make a chicken poop in a pond.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
8

And boy am I chafed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
9

8-> 6


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
10

An obscure younger relative of mine is doing this. He has nine fish. I don't see how its supposed to scale.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
11

Like fish usually do, I imagine.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
12

This strikes a deep chord in me. I would be a survivalist if I were a tiny bit more paranoid and not completely lazy.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:01 PM
horizontal rule
13

10: How famous are most of your younger relatives?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
14

My dad was deep into stuff like this. We had books on aquaculture and self sufficiency and all that ladida lying around the house. He did an admirable job of setting up a system to reuse household grey water for irrigating the garden, and for catching rainfall from the roof.

We had a family friend who grew crayfish in a couple of ponds which were made from the tank of a petrol tanker truck that had crashed. He paid a couple of dudes to saw the tank in half lengthwise using just hand saws. It was all very fascinating to 9 year old me.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
15

I imagine a big part of the sustainability here is the fact that you can continually harvest the tilapia -- allegedly, you can do outdoor tilapia ponds in cold climates too, but you just harvest them all in the fall and then buy new fry in the spring. Which seems like a reasonable system if you have access to a larger, year -round tilapia farming operation to provide the fresh fry every year.

The big deal with tilapia, of course, is that you don't need to spend a lot of energy oxygenating the water.

One thing I'm becoming more interested in is urban grain farming. I guess people are working on perennial, multi-climate quinoa, but good old amaranth is a close relative, and that grows like a weed just about everywhere. Probably, given the realities of grain farming, it would make more sense to have communal amaranth fields out wherever, and keep the vegetables and fruit and animals close to the house in Zone 1.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
16

13: You're not familiar with Spike Kardashian?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
17

Idea for a musical I had today: "Karmen Kardashian"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
18

10, 13: this made me think of Rabbit's friends and relations, and in particular the little beetle at the end of the expedition line who is hooshed when they are off to find the Pole or something (my recollection fuzzy), and goes home to live quietly with mum for the rest of days. Made me smile.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
19

communal amaranth fields out wherever

This reminds me that Birth Story has some interesting details about life on a commune. I'm sure there are other documentaries that are more specifically focused on either sustainable agriculture or commune life, but I image that the farm is one of the longer-lasting intentional communities.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
20

"Karmen Kardashian"

Lovin' would be easy if your colors were like my dreams...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
21

19: There are some others that are about as old, but with less drama and press notice. Obvs. not counting earlier experiments, Shakers and that sort of thing.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
22

I think the whole idea is fascinating, but the amount of work is outrageous for the scale he is imagining. It's brilliant but not possible for more than a tiny fraction of a percentage of the population.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
23

good old amaranth is a close relative, and that grows like a weed just about everywhere

We may be all nourishing ourselves with amaranth out of necessity after the glyphosate-resistant pigweed takes over the country.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
24

19: There are some others that are about as old, but with less drama and press notice.

I'm not surprised to hear that either, but the number can't be large.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
25

Wasn't there a bit of a fuss about the Chinese doing this, but using shrimp instead of tilapia a few years back?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
26

I'm pretty sure the first edition of Permaculture: A Designer's Manual, from 1988, has a section about just this kind of set-up. And I've also seen similar advice in books from the 1970s.

23: Yup. Toldjya so.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
27

Point being: The guy has kind of a neat set-up, and the repurposing-the-wasteful-Phoenix-pool thing is neat, but nothing about that is revolutionary or untested.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
28

Fuck that hippie crap, let's get us some classic British mixed farming. Old college mate's first draft of Angus cattle has landed!

http://devonfarmerboy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/raw-hide-comes-to-valley.html


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
29

Six cows? He better hope some fish can feed on the poop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
30

It must be a thousand degrees inside there, in the summer, in Phoenix.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
31

Those clay pellets creep me out for some reason, though it might be the way the cinematography fixated on them.

So are the water plants that feed the tilapia nitrogen fixers? Seems like you'd have to grow a lot of nitrogen fixers in the garden otherwise.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
32

One of my obscure older relatives raises cattle in a forest. The cattle forage in the forest and keep the down the undergrowth, which gives him room to keep the forest reasonably thinned to let in enough light for grass to grow for the cattle to eat. He sells the wood he gets from thinning the trees for firewood, and he also runs a fairly extensive tree tapping operation to make maple syrup. Also he collects the cow manure to fertilize his weed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 5:56 PM
horizontal rule
33

Is asking about your famous older relatives too obvious at this point?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 6:20 PM
horizontal rule
34

2: I want chickens too!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 7:30 PM
horizontal rule
35

It's probably legal where you are. At least it is here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
36

Urban chickens are legal lots of places, evern Anchorage. They're pretty popular here, actually, despite the fact that they keep getting eaten by bears.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 9:37 PM
horizontal rule
37

I would snicker at the part at the end where he says "if we can do it in Phoenix, people can do it in any climate," but people actually have done similar things in Alaska.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
38

One thing I'm becoming more interested in is urban grain farming. I guess people are working on perennial, multi-climate quinoa, but good old amaranth is a close relative, and that grows like a weed just about everywhere.

If you are growing enough grain in your area to feed all the people who live there, then what you have is not an "urban" area in any meaningful sense. What you have is a farm.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 2:03 AM
horizontal rule
39

My wife's family's 'garden'* is quite like that. No fish, but they collect all the rain water they can from the various sheds and greenhouses that they have, via a complicated system of pipes that feed into various old baths and drums. Then there's a little pump made from a scavenged engine [lawn-mower or something]. So you can flick a switch and it fires up and then you can irrigate/water the trees and vegetables.

Also, a little tractor that her Dad made from an old motorbike, that can be used for tilling, and for towing a little trailer of produce back to the house.

* it's quite big. Maybe 30 or 40 metres long, 10 or 20 metres wide.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 3:21 AM
horizontal rule
40

Just to expand on 38, in one US urban area (Sacramento) covering 800km2, "the total roof area comprises about 150 km2 and the total paved surfaces (roads, parking areas, sidewalks) are about 310 km2. The total vegetated area covers about 230 km2. The remaining 110 km2 consist of barren land and miscellaneous surfaces."

So if you take over every garden and every park, fell every tree and bush and shrub, plough under every flower, and turn the whole lot over to growing food, you could bring about 23,000 hectares of land under cultivation - plus another 5,000 hectares estimated "barren land". We're talking "siege of Sarajevo" conditions here. And you still won't be able to feed more than a tenth of the population, not even on near-starvation rations.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 3:33 AM
horizontal rule
41

Yeah. I think true urban self-sufficiency is a total non-starter.

My wife's family grow most of the vegetables they eat, and pretty much all of the fruit. And they raise enough chickens for eggs, and the occasional chicken for the pot. Every few years they used to also raise a pig for slaughter and smoking/preserving. But they still need to buy lots of other staple foods. Flour/grain, rice, etc.

And the amount of labour required to do even that level of self-sufficiency, isn't really compatible with the sorts of full-time jobs and commutes that most people have.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 3:51 AM
horizontal rule
42

They're pretty popular here, actually, despite the fact that they keep getting eaten by bears.

Canadians are popular everywhere, really. We're just very nice people. And delicious.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 4:06 AM
horizontal rule
43

Also not great to be eating food grown in urban soils that may contain large quantities of lead or other remnants of industrial pollution.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 4:44 AM
horizontal rule
44

Yes. The former giant steel mill across the river comes to mind. That and how the old people say they used the slag as a way to melt ice and get traction on the pavement.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 5:33 AM
horizontal rule
45

42: "David and Christine are perfect normal Canadian young people. Let's open them up and see what's inside."

http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_11260.html#1307990


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 5:42 AM
horizontal rule
46

Hey, I don't know if I'll be online enough to get a post up today. Sorry to leave you all in a lurch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 6:21 AM
horizontal rule
47

You could leave us in a larch. Tree climbing is great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 6:24 AM
horizontal rule
48

41 Part of my mom's family did and to some extent still do that, plus grains and milk. Five hectare farm, but you can't really live off that these days, not that the living standard was all that great before. When my grand aunt was still alive they used to slaughter a pig when we were coming to Poland. It was the best ham and kielbasa I've ever had. But I haven't ever had the chance to compare it to authentic Canadian.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 6:25 AM
horizontal rule
49

45 to 48.last.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 6:27 AM
horizontal rule
50

Reminds me of this bad old joke.


Posted by: Grant | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
51

I've been fascinated by permaculture for a while now, but like Eggplant upthread, I suspect I'm far too lazy to ever get it started.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
52

re: 48

Yeah. My wife's parents' spot isn't anything like as big as a 5 hectare farm, but they get a decent amount of fruit and veg. There are several periods a year when they spend days canning and pickling to preserve all they get.

And ditto on the pork. Their village has a smoke-house, so the locals get their pigs cured and smoked there, and it's delicious.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
53

44: This is the thing that always seems to get left out of the "turn Detroit back into farmland!" boosterism. Not just the lead, but the toxic crap from decades of poorly stored "household" and "garden" chemicals everyone keeps in their garage, spills, etc, then trickles down thru cracks in the floor...


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
54

as big as a 5 hectare farm

Where I'm from, I don't even think you can buy land in that small of a plot unless it's been sold to a developer for housing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
55

53: I wouldn't worry that much about the garden chemicals. Compared to what gets intentionally dumped on the actual farmland, it can't get that bad. I'd worry about the heavy metals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
56

Five hectares meant my great grandfather was right at the point at which you were a kulak. Fortunately that was nowhere near as bad a thing as twenty years earlier over to the east.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
57

My poorer ancestor (from the famine refugee side) got 180 acres for service to the Union Army during the Civil War.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
58

180 s/b 160, obviously.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
59

58: well of course. otherwise they would have had to give him 4.5 mules.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
60

Land there is marked off in sections (square miles) of 640 acres. So, 160 is a quarter section.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
61

Four mules and a donkey.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
62

the old people say they used the slag as a way to melt ice and get traction on the pavement.

"The old people," pshaw. My mom used to have us spread slag on our sidewalk for traction in the winter. Like sand but cheaper, from the steel mills. Another intimation of mortality.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
63

Five hectares meant my great grandfather was right at the point at which you were a kulak.

Great, now bob will never speak to you again.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
64

Four mules and a donkey sounds like a poor use of equine capital - weren't mules more expensive? I'd have more to say but I'm currently doing OCR on the 1866 Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances in hopes of getting some harder information.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
65

Well, that killed the thread. I didn't find anything in that report, although there were some records of exports of live animals.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
66

Great, now bob will never speak to you again.

Aw shucks!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-13-14 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
67

"The old people," pshaw. My mom used to have us spread slag on our sidewalk for traction in the winter. Like sand but cheaper, from the steel mills. Another intimation of mortality.

"The old people" used to get the slag for this from our domestic anthracite-fired boiler in the kitchen.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-14-14 4:57 AM
horizontal rule