Archive for the ‘Permaculture’ Category

Mayapple Collective

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Jerry is starting a project called the Mayapple Collective that is intended to join together local artisans, artists, tradesman, skilled labor, etc that include permaculture, environmental, or social ethics into their daily lives.  By doing this, he intends the Mayapple Collective to be a place where people can hire local artisans that they know are committed to these practices.

If you have any ideas for this developing collective, please contact him.

The only portion of the Mayapple Collective website up is Jerry’s Mayapple Photography.  Soon to be added are sections for Web Design, Sustainable Landscaping, Woodworking, and maybe even Foundation Repair (We told you it was a broad ranging collective!).

If you think that you could contribute your skill to the collective, contact the Mayapple Collective.

Bike Wheel Trellises

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The bike wheel trellis is holding up supremely well.

It’s been through several major storms and battled high winds with ease.   It’s as easy as it looks, and the luffa’s love it.

Solar Oven

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Jon has been building and experimenting with Solar Ovens recently, which will hopefully culminate into a Solar Oven workshop with the next month while the sun is still high enough to use it effectively in NEMO.

He’s got one working made from a cardboard box, foil, wheat paste (a glue made from boiling wheat), a block of wood, and a plastic produce bag from the grocery store.   It gets pretty scorching in there.  It’s hit at least 250.

He designed it off of this one, and will be making a few other models too.

PEX Tubing Rain Barrel Catchment System

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Our rain barrels are finished, full, and functioning. The 1 inch of rain we got over the last 2 days on the 187.5 square foot section of our roof filled them to capacity, which, with overflow space, is about 180-200 gallons.

We used PEX tubing after reading about the potential toxicities of PVC, although, we’re convinced that PEX just hasn’t been tested enough to have found any toxicities, since that just seems how it goes. For the meantime, it works pretty well though. There are no glues to bond, the cuts can be crudely made with a hacksaw, and the tubing is flexible and cheap. All pluses to us, but we weren’t able to find anyone online who has used it on a rain barrel set-up before.

Here’s what we did.

  • Ordered 55 gallon, food-grade barrels from the Memphis (Missouri) Pepsi Bottling Plant. They came to us smelling like the green sweetness of Mountain Dew.
  • Built a frame out of palettes, found wood, and local white oak 4×4′s for the future rain barrels to sit on.
  • Punched out a hole in the middle of the lid which, for some reason, is 3/4 inch threaded- perfect for flipping the barrels upside down and fitting them with PEX adapters.
  • Fit the lids with PEX adapters. Elbows for the outer ones, and Ts for the middles.
  • Put Plumber’s Tape (Teflon Tape) on all the male threads of our adapters and lids to prevent most leaks.
  • Fit PEX tubing along the line to each adapter.
  • Screwed in a hose bib to one of the barrels.
  • Put all the barrels on the frame. (We actually connected two of them at a time, then made the final connection while they were in place on the frame).
  • Drilled two tiny holes in the tops of the three barrels that would not have a downspout connected to them. Big enough to let out the air pressure that would build up from filling from the bottom, but small enough to prevent mosquitoes from access the still water.
  • Cut a hole with a dremel tool in the top of the barrel where the gutter comes down for the water to drain into.
  • Covered the entrance hole with a cut out piece of screen we found and taped it on.
  • Cut an overflow hole in the downspout barrel and fit a gutter piece to it. We cut a flap in the bottom of the gutter so it could slide in and the flap would press against the barrel, then we silicone caulked it to seal and glue it in.
  • Waited for the storm clouds to fill them with the sweet nectar of the heavens (aka rain).

There is one veeeeeery slow leak (the sun nearly dries the leak up as it falls). I have actually yet to see it drip, but water beads on the underside of it and there is a water spot under a PEX T adapter. With that being the only issue, it’s a definite success.

There is sufficient water pressure with the barrels being 3 feet off the ground to use a 50 foot hose to water the garden. We can spray (with our thumb over the end of the hose) the water about 8 feet. Enough to get the job done. If we had put another T adapter on the main line and fit the hose bib there, it theoretically should have had 4x the water pressure, but I’m not positive. We didn’t want to spring the extra 8 bucks for the adapter, and this system seems to function well.

    Rain Barrel Costs for us:

  • Rain Barrels= $40 ($10 each)
  • 4 foot of PEX tubing= $2 (49 cents/foot)
  • 2 PEX elbow adapters= $12 ($6 each)
  • 2 PEX T adapters=$15 ($7.50 each)
  • Hose bib=$6.50
  • Plumber’s Tape=$1.50
  • Rain Barrel Total: $77 or 19.25/barrel
    Frame costs:

  • 6 3-foot oak 4×4′s= $18
  • Palettes= $0

That brings the entire set-up for us to $95. We successfully made a 4 rain barrel, 200 gallon rain catchment system for well under the cost of a single commercial rain barrel.

There will certainly be variations on other’s set-ups, but those were the real costs for us to build our rain barrel catchment system.

Overall the set-up is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and gives us about 200 gallons of water (less than 220 due to the placement of the overflow) to use on the garden when the rain isn’t enough. I plan to put together some kind of pdf/zine on building the rain barrels this way, but if you want to talk to us about this set up and its advantages and disadvantages, or have any ideas on how to improve the system, contact us and we’ll talk rain barrels.

Bike Wheel Trellis – Hard Luffa

Friday, July 16th, 2010


Here’s the pictures of Michelle’s second Bike Wheel Trellis.  The Luffa’s are loving it.  There was concern that the rims would get too hot in the sun and burn the plant, but they really don’t get hot at all.  Hooray for creativity!

Bike Wheel Trellis

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Michelle built a Luffa Trellis out of old bike wheels, popped bike inner tubes, and palettes.  The only things that weren’t reclaimed/recycled were the six screws that hold the wood frame together.

Moving by Bicycle

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Finally!  We’re in the actual house that is the Kirksville Permaculture Education Center!  It’s been a hectic last few weeks, but the end to the move is in sight.

Things would have been much smoother had it not been for the lead abatement/encapsulation that we did on the windows and garage.  The paint was flaking off and was an environmental health hazard to many lifeforms, so we spent over 120 work hours getting that under control.

Then- We moved.  By bicycle!

Here’s the proof.

By the end of the moving, we were testing the capacity of the four trailer bike-train.  Successes all around!

Many thanks go to Will, Jonathan, Eric, Gabe, Amelia, and Jon, and for the use of the trailers built by the Rot Riders and Eric and  the 700lb capacity trailer from the Possibility Alliance.