The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

My favorite stump dirt tree

Gathering stump dirt

My favorite stump-dirt tree has been good to us this year.  I've already used about six gallons of beetle castings, and B.J. and I easily brought home another seven gallons or so Monday afternoon.  I figure there are even a couple more bucketsful left for later seed starting, and of course the tree will fill back up over the summer, fall, and winter and give us the same again next year.

Praying to the tree

If I look like I'm praying to the tree, I kinda am.  Who wouldn't be grateful for such perfect humus?  This individual tree makes the best potting soil I've ever used --- just the right levels of nutrients and water-holding capacity.  Stump dirt from box-elders isn't even in the same ball park, and tulip-trees and apples are head and shoulders below this beautiful old beech.

Free potting soil

The best stump dirt is really little balls of beetle poop, and nearly everything spilling out of this tree fits the bill.

Stump dirt

More on what I used my stump dirt for in a later post.

The Avian Aqua Miser is an automatic, clean waterer for the modern chicken coop.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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for some strange reason, this post made me tremendously homesick for the east- where things are green and lush, and where you might find such a treasure as stump dirt. What a grand old beech tree. What kind of beetles produce this hummus? The quantity that you've pulled out of the tree is simply amazing.

Comment by deb Tue Feb 12 08:52:05 2013

Deb --- I haven't found any beetles in this particular tree, but another stump was home to these Horned Passalus.

Comment by anna Tue Feb 12 12:12:53 2013

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