Catalpa trees planted on the high plains of colorado at Regen Farms

Catalpa trees on their way to RegenFarms on the high plains of Colorado. Dave thanks for the trees!Catalpa trees in transit to RegenFarms

Two trees in the same pot. Their roots were really tangled together. It took longer to separate them than to plant the previous 6. I think it was worth it since they were wrapped around each other.image

Catalpa trees roots tangled


Long catalpa tree roots bare

Mini swale trench around catalpa tree to catch and hold water enabling it to soak in rather than running off.

8 catalpa trees planted along west border. The neighbors horses are ready for some shade and these are so poised to be fast growing.
West Row of Catapla trees on the High Plains of Colorado

2 catalpa trees on food forest over story swale replacing 2 trees that did not survive the second summer. A bur oak and black cherry have been replaced.
2 catalpa trees on food forest over story swale

Colorado Comfrey dividing for next year

I found some time to divide some of my Bocking 4 Comfrey plants this week. The large plants are very impressive. If next year is as good as this year we will have quite a bit of Colorado comfrey for sale.

This was a one or two year crown planted last fall.
Comfrey Bocking 4 before digging

Another large crown.
Comfrey Bocking 4 before digging

The roots extending about 2 feet.
Comfrey crown cut in half

Large crown cut in half.

Comfrey root cuttings.
Comfrey roots cut from crown

I cut and planted these for more production next year. I need to divide the row of small root cuttings I planted last year. I should have spaced the more than 6 inches apart!
Comfrey root cuttings in hand

Planting Apple Trees in the Fall in Colorado

This past week I planted the two yellow delicious apple trees I bought at the end of the season.  I decided to plant them at the homestead for a few reasons including to provide more shade for the chickens and because the apple trees already here produced so well this year.

After hearing about how well some trees planted in the fall have done in Texas I excited to be planting some and am looking at buying more to plant at RegenFarms.  Some to replace the ones that died this summer.

First I removed the roots from the pot.

Apple tree root ball

Then I untangle as many of the roots as possible to keep them from strangling each other as they grow.  Also when I place them in the hole I spread them out in as many directions as possible.  This should help the tree establish and grow easier and give it a wider and thus stronger base to ground itself.

Apple tree root ball expanded

I place the trees into a soupy mix of water and mud.  I then pulled the roots away from the center and stick them in the mud and or place heavy dirt on top of them to keep them in place.


This is the tree at the corner of the permanent pen but in an area near the temporary runs I setup for the chickens.  The other tree is directly in front of the permanent pen which will provide the chickens shade much like the large apple tree to the left of this new one.

Yellow Delicious Apple Tree Planted in fall

Updates September 16 swale and trees

Here are some of the straw bales that I spread out over the newly dug hugel swale. I first threw out some clover seeds then I spread the straw out. I them threw out a bit more clover seed over the straw.

Most of this straw has been sitting on the groin out in a field since last year. So part of it was very wet and some had mushrooms growing out of it.

It takes a lot more time to spread out wet straw! Paying a dollar or two for each dry bale would have saved me a lot if time.
imagePinion pine after first summer

Below is one of the pinion pines that survived its first summer. Besides the attention they got when being planted which included biochar, soil amendments, initial water and mulch they have been neglected. The 25 ponderosa trees have faired much worse with most all of them dying months ago. They were much taller and the wind looked to take quite a toll on them. Even the four in tree guards died.

Chicken run version two hawk proof

Yesterday I moved and changed the chicken run for the chickens. After watching a hawk eat one of the chickens, all of the runs will now have a top on them.
Since I have two runs of wire that are about 4 foot wide I used one for the side and put the other on top. I had to keep it skinny enough to keep the top from falling in. I used metal fence posts again. This setup took longer than my other setup and it provides maybe another foot of width. This doesn’t use both runs of fence though so I will probably try another triangle shape when I move it next since I’ll get twice the length if I use all of both fences.

I used removable zip ties to hold it together.
Side view.

Another side view.

First frost of 2014

The first frost of 2014 at the homestead and the farm was on September 11, 2014. We had a bit of snow at the homestead which is at a higher altitude than the farm which is on the plains east of Denver.

Think it is time to dig the potatoes and get ready for fall leaf collection! I hope to cover the farm in leaves. A dump trailer would help speed up that process.

First frost September 11 2014

Second food forest swale completed

On Wednesday I finished the digging portion of the swale for the 2014 food forest. I added some more organic matter that I found in our neighborhood including: grass clippings, aspen limbs and even some worms.

This first photo shows the organic matter that makes up the woody core of the swale mound.
Woody core in swale

Here are some photos after the digging.
Second food forest swale before completionSecond food forest swale completionFood forest swale completed

I dug this half of the swale with a skid steer with a straight edge bucket. The other half was dug with an excavator with teeth on the bucket.
Having dug Swales with an excavator and a skid steer I found the skid steer to be quicker. I do wish the skid steer had teeth on the bucket so I could rough up the soil. The skid steer has a five or six foot bucket making it really quick to dig this swale. I’m sure a large excavator with an experienced operator would be quicker than I was on the excavator I rented.

Hawk proof chicken run


Hawk proof chicken run

Seeing a hawk eating one of the chickens made me realize the chickens always need to be enclosed. This is my first method which is taking the fence and laying it over so as the tops touch to form a triangle. I covered the end where the top is open with wiring along with the opening by the door to their pen.

I’m thinking about making some wooden triangles to replace the metal fence posts which the metal fence lays on. Thinking it wold make it quicker to move the run to fresh grass.

I’m also hoping I can cover this with plastic to form a kid of greenhouse for the chickens in the winter.

Comfrey Bocking 4 transplanting and dividing

Today I planted the comfrey I dug up from the past residence over a week ago. I kept it in a rubber storage bin with some dirt and water. Some of the larger crowns started producing new leaves since they were cut and dug up.

The blocking varieties of comfrey can only be propagated from root cuttings. Thus I cut some of the roots and divided some of the crowns.

Comfrey Bocking 4 transp


Splitting a Comfrey Crown

I cleared a while section of the garden thinking I was going to plant the comfrey there them I remembered that removing Comfrey can be difficult and there is already some in the garden so I decided to use some space just outside the garden. I think we will have enough nocking 4 comfrey and surely common comfrey to sell some next year.
Planted Comfrey Bocking 4 Crowns

Spreading Common Comfrey

Last week when I was headed on a road trip to Lincoln Nebraska I thought it was a good time to spread some of the Common Comfrey seeds that are on my property.

The road we take next to the interstate has some bare areas so I’m hoping the comfrey will establish near there. I threw seeds out the window as I drove by. I also took some seeds all the way to Lincoln to see if thy would grow there. Time will tell if the seeds grow.

These seeds are very sticky in that they are like Velcro when they touch fabric.

Common Comfrey plant with dried seeds

In this climate the comfrey produces seeds and mostly does during the warm months and then starts growing again when it cools off.