Monthly Archives: November 2010

Unseasonable Harvest

Peppers from the Garden - Nov 3rd


Here is a cornucopia of vegetables, mostly green peppers, that would be damaged – make that ruined – by a frost. I gathered them on Nov 3rd, which is really late for this part of the US, Eastern Pennsylvania. Traditionally by now frosts would have put paid to every vegetable that is not snugly still ensconced in the earth. I cannot say unequivocably that this is yet more proof of climate change, but it is certainly good evidence. Gardeners as much as anyone notice how the seasons change. The growing season was certainly longer than ever this year, at both ends.

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Filed under Gardening, global warming

Rammed Earth Wall

The  Rammed Earth Wall

Earth wall, side and end


Constructing the wall

Mixing and ramming the earth into the forms

At last I have fulfilled a dream and built an earth wall. This technique is rammed earth and as far as I know this is the first in my area, perhaps in Pennsylvania. It is usually found in drier areas such as Arizona and New Mexico, as well as Australia. It is adaptable to a wide range of soils and has a small percentage of portland cement added to the mix to make it more waterproof and stable.

This will be the side wall of a garden shed, which is sorely needed to keep tools, bicycles and so on out of the weather. It looks very fine. There is quite a difference in texture and appearance as you go up the wall, partly because of slight differences in the soil and the mix, but more because of different workers on the two days we spent building it. It should be smooth and hard, well compacted, as it is at the bottom. But the upper part with a more earthy look is also good. The roof will project to help keep of the rain, and I have linseed oil to coat it with and help preserve it. Let’s hope it can survive our wetter climate.

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Filed under earth building, small house