Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2

This post is Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2.  Topics covered include first flush downspout water diverter, water catchment, rainwater harvesting, hardwood cuttings, protecting plants from deer, Michael Judd’s straw bale house, seed starting indoors, and cell phone signal boosters.


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This is one of a series of Q&A sessions that I will be holding over the next few months.  These questions come from our YouTube channel, email, blog post comments, Facebook and even a few face to face questions.  If you would like to submit a question you can do so in the comments section of any of the above medium or you can email your question to me directly.  My email address is [email protected].

YouTube – First Flush Downspout Water Diverter Product Review

Background: This video is a product review of the first flush downspout water diverter, which is part of the filtering system in a rainwater catchment system.

[Q] Thanks. Their own website fails to explain anything about the gaskets and the filter, thank god someone like you knows what they are doing!

[A] I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the kind words.  Be sure to check out our rainwater catchment video playlist for all of the “how to” videos and product review videos on rainwater catchment systems.

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 - First Flush

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 – First Flush

YouTube – More Water Catchment Lessons Learned

Background: This video shows some of my many mistakes and lessons learned on my first two water catchment installs.

[Q] Why do you have the black plastic over?

[A] The black plastic cover is to prevent algae from growing in the IBC tote. The algae would clog my mist heads. By covering the totes with black plastic, it prevents sunlight from getting to the water which prevents the algae from growing in the totes.

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 - More Rainwater Catchment lessons learned1

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 – More Rainwater Catchment lessons learned1

YouTube – Rain Water Harvesting Lessons Learned

Background: This video shows some of my many mistakes and lessons learned on my first two water catchment installs.

[Q] Hi, Thanks for the video.. I would like to do a rain catchment system for the financially challenged person living in a rental property. Please help.. thanks so much

[A] If you have a small garden, I’d recommend going with 55-gallon barrels. They are much cheaper and in some cases free. As a rental, they are easily moved when they are empty and can be masked or hidden to look better and not be an eyesore.

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 - Rainwater Harvesting

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 – Rainwater Harvesting

YouTube – Large Rainwater Harvesting System

Background: This video shows from beginning to end of the install of a 1200-gallon rainwater catchment install I did last summer.  It is very informative and is by far my most popular video on YouTube.  The screen discussed below is a screen covering the inlet of the IBC totes.  The sole purpose of the screen is to keep mosquitos out.

[Q] Susanne suggests: I think a much finer screen mesh would be needed to keep mosquitoes from entering your totes and laying their eggs.

[A] Thanks! The screen I used was a fiberglass screen that is used in many windows throughout the US.  So far this screen has done great at keeping mosquitos out.

YouTube – Large Rainwater Harvesting System

Background: This video shows from beginning to end of the install of a 1200-gallon rainwater catchment install I did last summer.  I used a laser level to make sure that the four 3000-gallon IBC totes were exactly the same level so the water level would be the same in them.

[Q] Stephen asks: I know you said you used a laser level, but you are not on a solid concrete foundation are you, surely once the tanks fill everything will change right?

[A] I actually had no settle this year. I’m guessing that was in part because I’m on clay and we have a severe drought this year – clay in drought is as good as concrete. I’m moving to 8-foot round, flat bottom tanks later this year, so I don’t think even with soft clay I would have to worry about too much settling.

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 - Large Rainwater Harvesting

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 – Large Rainwater Harvesting

YouTube – Hardwood Cuttings Pt1

Background: This video was the first in a series I did on taking cuttings in the winter and putting those cuttings in the ground to propagate new plants.

[Q] RV asks: So what was the success ratio, also don’t I cover them with some polythene etc for them to retain moisture?

[A] The success ratio depends on the plants. I had about 95% with Elderberry. I had close to 50% with blueberry, which was great because I’ve always had difficulty propagating blueberries. The video is about hardwood cuttings taken in the winter time when the plants are dormant. I have so many because I run a nursery. Most people doing this will just put the plants in the ground right where they go and put a little mulch around them.

Blog – Protecting Plants from Deer

Background: This post was about some of the methods I use to keep deer away from my new plants.  I have a lot of deer in the area and them browsing plants as well as fall “scrapes” and “rubs” are an issue for me.  This video addresses some of my successes in keeping deer at bay.

[Q] Mike explains: I use a double fence at about two or three feet apart. The first fence can be two strands and the second fence a single strand about one foot higher than the highest strand on the outside fence. Deer are good at height perception, but not depth

[A] I now have a two-foot-high fence that is 2×4” to keep the ground hog out.  Just above the 2’ fence I have one strand of electric fence with another strand 18” above that.  Then I have another strand on T-posts about two foot inside of the first fence.  I have had one deer get into the fenced area and it is obvious by the damage he caused to the wires that he made a hasty exit.  This system has been up for over a year now around my food forest and works great.

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2

Q and A

YouTube – Michael Judd’s Round Straw Bale House

Background: I did a video walk through Michael Judd’s straw bale house earlier this year.  Michael actually gave the tour and explained a lot about the house.

[Q] I’m in Maryland and I would love to come see your structure as I’m actually about to learn building with straw. Would that be possible to visit?

[A] Hi Philippe, I did the interview with Michael. He runs ecologiadesign and you can contact him directly at http://www.ecologiadesign.com/20-2/contact/

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 - Straw Bale House

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 – Straw Bale House


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YouTube – Seed Starting Indoors to Save Money

Background: This video was a kind of how to on starting seeds in your house.  I start my seeds in my basement every year.  I do this because I can’t find the non-GMO, heirloom annual plants that I want to grow in any of the local nurseries.

[Q] Do you have any experience with the LED grow lights? (tom’s wife)

[A] I do not have experience with LED grow lights. I have done several different kinds of fluorescent bulbs and that is it.

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 - Hydroplanet

Permaculture and Homesteading Q and A Series No2 – Hydroplanet

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