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Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #100 on: March 23, 2014, 07:38:58 PM »
JimD, doesn't seem such a high bar at .1 does it? Could you please source that info so I can link it into the EROEI thread ? If I can't best that they will at least bury a healthy corpse as I proceed towards proving up. I would be lost in a modern air-conditioned mammoth John Deere with GPS anyhow. Frikken throwback squirrel poacher.

SATire

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #101 on: March 23, 2014, 08:32:02 PM »
If you choose your seeds wisely (increasingly hard to do in the EU at least as heirloom seeds are being heavily attacked), the taste and quality difference between items freshly picked from your own garden and purchased from the shelves of a supermarket is very significant.

ccgwebmaster - thanks to 100 years tradition and more than 10,000 true organic farmers here there is no such problem to get real seeds. Just try to search for "biodynamisches Saatgut" or something similar in englisch (bio-dynamical seeds?).

I would suggest to go to some nearby organic farmers and try their vegetables and fruits. If you find some tasty then ask for the names of the type. Some old types you may never have heard before. Then google that seeds or small plants and get it. Most farmers grow their seeds so you could also kindly ask the farmer for the seeds/plants.

edit: found one with english website as an example. http://www.bingenheimersaatgut.de/content/de/english-catalogue.html
Please search for some farmer near you since you want plants that fit to your place.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 08:40:04 PM by SATire »

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #102 on: March 23, 2014, 08:51:26 PM »
I would suggest to go to some nearby organic farmers and try their vegetables and fruits. If you find some tasty then ask for the names of the type. Some old types you may never have heard before. Then google that seeds or small plants and get it. Most farmers grow their seeds so you could also kindly ask the farmer for the seeds/plants.


Yes, but what about the EU regulations?

http://www.nationofchange.org/all-about-new-eu-seed-law-1368022078

In fact I think I can find something about them on a section of the site you linked (though I am trusting google translate with it):

http://www.bingenheimersaatgut.de/content/de/Aktuelles.html

SATire

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #103 on: March 23, 2014, 09:02:25 PM »
You may ignore the EU regulations. If the type is not listed (in that EU list) the network of bioland or demeter farmers take care for the old types - all the seeds are taken care of. Take a look in the catalogue linked above - there is also a list of farmers and breeders. There will be something similar in your neighborhood since that is so mainstream today.

JimD

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #104 on: March 24, 2014, 01:03:37 AM »
ccg

If you buy organic or get some veggies from the neighbors garden you can often save the seeds from them for yourself to use.  Depending on the vegetable.  Some you have to let the plant go to seed to get any and we eat them before then.  Others we eat the seeds or usually throw them away. 

What is your goal and which ones do you want seed for?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

adelady

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #105 on: March 24, 2014, 02:35:18 AM »
What is your goal with seed selection?  Getting more of what you want.   

So you have to make the reluctant decision to not pick some of the most desirable produce in your garden.  If you've got one lettuce / carrot / whatever to be the first to mature - don't pick it.  Nurture it and do whatever it takes to preserve those seeds.   For favourite foods, you might finish up with two of your own strains - one that matures early and one that withstands all the problems of the season and is still producing long after everything else has given up. 

If you're serious, it's worth joining a local seed savers network or at least following some sites on line.   There are lots of hints around the place about the best way to collect various seeds and ideas about storage and experimentation with plantings.   I know some people like to float tomato seeds and then dry and store them.  I'm much more in favour of squeezing out the seeds onto a piece of paper towel and then, after it's dried, keeping in that form and simply putting the piece of paper onto the seed raising mixture next season.  Or maybe cutting it into segments for successive sowings.  The great advantage is labelling.  You write on the piece of paper before spreading the seeds on so you can never make a mistake. 

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #106 on: March 24, 2014, 03:00:08 AM »
SATire, Thanks for getting back on my query and your response # 94. I am very impressed with
" Biolands Standards" but Demeter USA not so much. Demeter has this focus on GMO that will never address the energy/Co2 issues that drive our interests and problems here on the " forum " I would appreciate any help you might offer on my minimalism and how that might improve EROEI. Please see posts under " policy and solutions " I know you Germans have been thinking about these issues and
" biolands "is proof of both a lot of thought and excellent execution. Bravo . Can you look over the
" improving EROEI page " and comment please?

Ccg, If your have an interest in seedsaving I think adelady's technique is similar to mine. I have great success with heirloom tomatoes and keeping seed strain true but in northern England you are going to have a hell of a time growing heirloom tomatoes. Squash cross-pollinates with other squash or pumpkins very easily so saving seed becomes much more difficult. Onions and beets take two years to get back seed so also fairly difficult. Lettuce works for me and I can get lots of seed in a single season but I don't use multiple lettuce types so cross-pollination isn't an issue. Peppers are also easy to keep but after a few seasons the mild ones start getting hot due to cross pollination but again northern England is tough gardening for peppers also. Bottom line is gardening is very site specific and what seed you want to save or grow is going to depend on growing conditions of the garden they are to be grown in.   

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #107 on: March 24, 2014, 03:39:19 AM »
What is your goal and which ones do you want seed for?

JimD - I know that seems like a nice simple question - but it really isn't - I'll answer it properly in the foreseeable future (hopefully later tonight/tomorrow)...

Bruce Steele/adelady - I have dabbled with seed saving in the past, as it's really rather important for what I have in mind. I can't say I'm by any means an expert at it, but I'm satisfied I can keep some seeds from some things (and learned some useful lessons about different plants and how they perform in the process). Despite the UK not being ideal I managed in successive years to keep seed for Ashworth sweet corn (but little edible yield). My then wife tried tomatoes one year (variety unknown, she got them as started plants) - but an early onset of cool conditions in the fall/autumn meant we got lots of little green things (which were eaten, but nowhere near maturity for seed purposes). Other plants more climatically suited to the UK did better.

Unfortunately, I have no availability of any local networking of any type for this sort of thing, nor a good probability thereof any time soon (nor for that matter availability of land upon which to grow plants, nor again the probability of that in the near future). That's just the start of the "interesting obstacles"...

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #108 on: March 24, 2014, 09:08:17 AM »
Those are some great tips, Adelady! Thanks! (forwarding your comment to my wife).
Il faut cultiver notre jardin

SATire

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #109 on: March 24, 2014, 09:38:58 AM »
I am very impressed with " Biolands Standards" but Demeter USA not so much. Demeter has this focus on GMO that will never address the energy/Co2 issues that drive our interests and problems here on the " forum " I would appreciate any help you might offer on my minimalism and how that might improve EROEI. Please see posts under " policy and solutions " I know you Germans have been thinking about these issues and
" biolands "is proof of both a lot of thought and excellent execution. Bravo . Can you look over the
" improving EROEI page " and comment please?

Bruce, please do not judge Demeter to quick: The groups are all very different. Anthroposophy is very broad and poeple life it very different - from christian fundamentalism to holistic scientific ways. So if you do not like poeple in an anthroposophic group in one town try a look at groups at some other towns - they may be very different so you have a chance to find a group matching your way of life.

I am sorry that a have no idea about EROI in that case: In gardening I put in a bit electricity to cut my small lawn and some charcoal for barbecue. Furthermore I do not get any energy from my garden only food - the calories in food are not the same as the energy if you burn it. I also do not see any good reason to make fuel from plants. I have not much knowledge about agriculture so I will not comment about that agriculture "EROI".

A last comment about genetic modification: Nearly all organic groups here refuse that. I never heard about a demeter group using genetic modified plants and I have no idea how that could fit in their concept. Since they do not use chemicals there is no need for plants producing chemicals nor beeing resistant to chemicals. In general here in EU we need to prove, that something does not have bad consequences before using it (vice versa to e.g. USA) and since life forms tend to spread the potential hazard to some other life forms is much more severe than e.g. releasing chemical poisons or nuclear material. How to prove that there is no long term effect? Not possible - so there is no chance for GMO here.

idunno

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #110 on: March 24, 2014, 10:58:03 AM »
My ha'pennies:

1. Shallots, if you harvest them very young, make a fine substitute for spring onions; going from bulb to spring onion in a matter of weeks. Leave around 1/6 to mature into bulbs and you have a constant supply.

2. My favourite salad leaf is nasturtium. If you're right posh, you can also eat the flowers.

3. Rocket is best left until it's about a foot high, and then eat the top leaves and the buds/flowers.

4. Radish pods are delicious; until they dessicate, when they're inedible.

5. The most ecological form of gardening is foraging; but it has to come with a significant health warning: DO NOT EAT things which you cannot definitely identify. Poisonous plants come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and hazards vary geographically. So I don't really want to pursue this too much on an internationally read forum. But wild garlic, garlic mustard, dandelions, blackberries. You are much better off getting local information.

6. Make your own compost.

7. Grow herbs in, or very near, the kitchen.

8. Harvest rainwater. Tapwater has loads of nasty chemicals in it.

9. Grow your own bamboo.

10. Would you all please now desist from having anything interesting to say on this or any other topic? I've got loads of digging still to do ;(

SATire

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #111 on: March 24, 2014, 11:42:32 AM »
idunno - I write just to interupt you, since you should leave some places undigged. Do not disturb all life forms at once but let e.g. have the worms a refugium for this year. Next year they are spread again and you may dig the other place.

I forgot one very important (but trivial) point in my starter-list in post #93: Talk to all your neighbors! You need to know what they like/do not like. Explain them what you do and why and how and ask them about their honest opinions. Respect their opinion and ask for some respect and find compromises.

Why is that very important? If they consider your garden as a highway to hell and a source of weeds and slugs they could answer with chemical warfare destroing all your chances - since that would kill the ecology at your place, too. Avoid any plants they do not like near the boarder. Pull the weeds they do not like and tell them about that. Offer them that you pick the slugs for them, too (until e.g. the fireflies are back - their slug-killer nymphs need a wood pile, poison-free slugs and several years to get numerous). Only if you are in peace with your neighbors you can enjoy your garden (a friend of mine made some bad experience some years ago).
The next thing is to discuss what to plant. If your neighbors have apple trees and cherries you could go and plant e.g. plum and pear and share the fruits with the neighbors. Furthermore it is fun to discuss different herbs and share knowledge and swap vegetables - learning together is always better than doing alone.   

wili

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #112 on: March 24, 2014, 12:46:55 PM »
idunno: The other thing that it is good to know, but that can be even harder to be sure of, is whether the stuff you are foraging has been sprayed with herbicide.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #113 on: March 24, 2014, 04:43:06 PM »
As a lot of you live in cool climate areas there is a good chance in your area there is an emphasis on cool season crops.  Brassicas; like cabbage, broccoli, kale and such.  A lot of people do not know that almost the entire plant of many of these is edible.  Broccoli for instance is fully edible; the stem, the leaves and the florets (the heads they sell us in the store).  Make soups and greens from the stems and leaves.  Add all that stuff in and you get a much greater calorie production.  We used to sell the leaves bundled right next to our kale leaves and we cut the stems and sold them by the pound for soup stock.  Sold almost the entire plant.  FYI be careful not to overeat raw brassicas as too much of them can cause thyroid problems (personal experience - I love raw kale and used to eat it all the time when I was out in the field.  Opps!)

If you pick the right variety of beets the leaves are of an excellent flavor ands can be used for lots of stuff.  So you clip some of the leaves (not all) and you get leaves and bulbs to eat.

Parsnips are great for lots of purposes, but WATCH OUT for the leaves as many are allergic to them (like poison ivy) so use gloves and long shirts and cut the tops off in the field.  Some are also allergic to celery.

Garlic will grow anywhere so don't forget that.  As garlic is the fastest plant to evolve if you buy a few kinds to start with and check them for the best flavor for your soil then save the one(s) which taste best for planting.  DO this for about 4 years and you have optimized for your soil and you have your own variety of garlic (Neven's Fire Garlic TM).

A lot of cool season plants will overwinter so you can plant them in the fall and mulch a bit and have lots of early season stuff to eat.  Check what the serious gardeners do in your area.

Stuff like that helps a lot.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #114 on: March 24, 2014, 06:39:41 PM »
(Neven's Fire Garlic TM)

Check!  ;D
Il faut cultiver notre jardin

adelady

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #115 on: March 25, 2014, 04:08:39 AM »
One good piece of advice I've followed religiously all my life. 

Never attempt to grow a crop of the large conventional long-keeping onions until your soil is well under serious control.    Don't even think about it.  We've never tried.  The soil has to be very fertile, but not too much so that you get more top than bulb.   It has to be friable, but also free of uncomposted vegetable matter.  It has to be absolutely weed free and you have to keep it that way from start to finish.   7 months of unremitting - relentless - dedication to hand weeding.  You can't let chooks anywhere near them.    Much better to wait until you've got a decent area well cultivated for a few years so that you know you have cleared and maintained it in suitable condition and that weeding won't be burdensome. 

For home consumption, you're much better off with a variety of onion family stuff.  Garlic, a couple of square metres of spring onions, soft bunching onions, lots and lots of leeks so that you can cut young ones and also let others grow to full size,  a square metre or few of the small pickling onions that you grow really crowded and really quickly,  and a few varieties of those more or less perennial onions.   

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #116 on: March 25, 2014, 05:59:04 AM »
Adelady, I grow onions in my crop rotation. Cover crop winters and plow in about three weeks before planting time. Plant corn one year, tomatoes the next and finally onions the last year before manuring 
and fallowing  a season. Food safety rules say you need to wait nine months after manuring. I grow very big onions and start them all from seed. I had a big red short season onion show up in a large planting of yellows one year so I saved it along with a couple smaller reds I had grown from catalog seed for pollinating the next year.The resulting red is huge , about the size of Walla Walla yellow onions. Onions are good sellers for restaurant sales and keep well for winter sales. Shallots are another specialty that also grow in one season from seed. I have been saving a box of red onions to replant for seed ever since. I will agree on weeding for several months but I let the weeds go once the bulbs are getting up to size to provide a little shade. Amaranth goes weedy around here so I let it go and collect seeds for making brownies to sell in the fruit stand.

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #117 on: March 25, 2014, 06:30:07 AM »
Food safety rules say you need to wait nine months after manuring.

Why? Is there a good reason? E coli, if you don't wash the vegetables, or something?

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #118 on: March 25, 2014, 07:26:41 AM »
Ccg, There is a difference between well composted material and manure. Manure is higher in
Nitrogen but it isn't totally free of potential pathogens unless it has been brought up to 165
 degrees F ( measured with a long stemmed thermometer ) turned again brought back to temp. and repeated 5 times. This composting process kills pathogens and weed seeds. Manure hasn't gone through this whole process and can cause problems. I use horse and chicken with some horse urea mixed in with things like spoiled alfalfa and straw from the horse stalls. Cattle manure is higher in nitrogen but definitely more dangerous due to e-coli. Rules used to say 6 months but changed this year. I don't use cattle but I would if I did a complete compost regime.
 These things aren't really monitored and I keep a million dollar insurance policy should something happen but if you don't follow rules and somebody does get sick the insurance probably won't pay. There isn't much money in farming to start with and lawsuits are an expense that can ruin you so 9 months is cheap insurance and probably overkill for horse manure.  Weed seed can be a problem but a couple passes with the harrow helps keep them under control in the fallowed field. Bringing the manure pile up to temperature at least once helps a lot also.
 

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #119 on: March 25, 2014, 07:52:59 AM »
Ccg, There is a difference between well composted material and manure. Manure is higher in
Nitrogen but it isn't totally free of potential pathogens unless it has been brought up to 165
 degrees F ( measured with a long stemmed thermometer ) turned again brought back to temp. and repeated 5 times. This composting process kills pathogens and weed seeds. Manure hasn't gone through this whole process and can cause problems. I use horse and chicken with some horse urea mixed in with things like spoiled alfalfa and straw from the horse stalls. Cattle manure is higher in nitrogen but definitely more dangerous due to e-coli. Rules used to say 6 months but changed this year. I don't use cattle but I would if I did a complete compost regime.
 These things aren't really monitored and I keep a million dollar insurance policy should something happen but if you don't follow rules and somebody does get sick the insurance probably won't pay. There isn't much money in farming to start with and lawsuits are an expense that can ruin you so 9 months is cheap insurance and probably overkill for horse manure.  Weed seed can be a problem but a couple passes with the harrow helps keep them under control in the fallowed field. Bringing the manure pile up to temperature at least once helps a lot also.

Interesting. What you're saying about compost vs manure makes sense (knew the decomposition heat killed some things).

What I'm wondering now though is - where does the manure come from? If your animals are roaming around on pasture - presumably it's just being deposited directly onto the field in question? Does that mean you can't grow crops there for that length of time after removing animals from it?

Or does it only apply to manure collected in more concentrated settings and relocated - barns, stalls, however the animals are being concentrated such that the manure can be collected? Am I right in thinking that animals (like plants) are best rotated around so that parasites specific to one species don't accumulate in a given area too much? (and also due to the different nutritional demands in both cases)

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #120 on: March 25, 2014, 01:51:41 PM »
Ccg, I suppose trying to recreate a natural system with animals rotating maybe with an additional cover crop planted for them right before the land was in it's fallow would be fine but large animals like horses require a very strong fence. If they get out on the highway and someone hits them it is a big liability . So my horses go out on pasture ( with strong fence)during the day and are brought in to their stall/ paddock at night. Their manure is collected during chores every day and wheelbarrowed over to the pile where I can stack it up to get some heating and decomposition. Pastures manure is also collected when I have some energy, used to be very week but after ten years I am not on it as regular these days.
 Sometimes I try to explain the bacterial decomposition that takes place in the ocean and compare it to composting. Result is organic matter is eaten and oxidized by bacteria ,oxygen consumed and Co2 released.
 A sow delivered 13 little piggies about sundown yesterday so I freshened her farrowing shed with fresh straw and went down a couple times 12:00 and 4 to try and make her life a little easier. Water and some pumpkins that are high in protein as treats in her shed. I am going to have trouble however unless I can find another sow to adopt a few babies as these heritage pigs only have ten tits. One piggy per and they don't share, they own their tit till they are weaned. Pig manure also gets collected but it goes into an area I will put into orchard as piggies are a little too much like humans and we share common parasites if you're not careful. Orchards take several years to grow and by the time they are fruiting the parasites are gone.
 It's spring so seedbed preparations are going on and lots of seed starts are going into the little greenhouse I have for that purpose. Some things can be directly seeded. I lay out drip tape let the weeds germinate run tillie up and down the rows to knock down the weeds then it is planted. I have
over five acres in row crops and cultivating and hand weeding begins soon. Stabbing in little onion plants every 6 inches can take me days of crawling around and tomatoes ,peppers and melons follow in a few weeks but they are planted on two foot centers so not as difficult as the onions.
 

sidd

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #121 on: March 26, 2014, 04:24:58 AM »
To Mr. Steele:

thanx for the description.

most have no idea of the work it takes.

sidd

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #122 on: March 26, 2014, 04:53:17 AM »
Thank you Sidd, Ten thousand years we have kept night watch on our keep. I love it though.

adelady

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #123 on: March 26, 2014, 12:34:29 PM »
Onions.   Can be made easier to handle (if you're not doing this already). 

Get your soil prepared to a reasonably fine tilth.   Run a gooseneck hoe along a straight line, with the blade of the hoe on an angle.  (If you have the same neat freak inclinations as Peter Bennett* had, you'd be using a spirit level and a GPS - we can all be thankful GPS wasn't around when he was coming up with his ideas.)     The important thing is to create a sharply V shaped depression as your planting strip.   The next step is the most important for making the process quick and easy.   Take handfuls of your seedlings, rinse most of the soil off them if you need to and line up the bases.   Use scissors to cut all the roots to the same length and do the same for the tops.    Having done this you can practically run alongside the row putting in the seedlings - you do this on the lower side of the V.   You don't have to pay any attention to placing them because they're all the same, you only have to keep your spacing right. 

The next step might not be appropriate in your region's soil and moisture conditions, so think about it a bit.    Get the hoe and run it along the raised soil on the high side you created when you made the depression so that a good amount of the soil drops into the depression and onto the roots.  His advice is that you then tread, firmly, with your boots along that root line so that the roots are fully in contact with the soil.  There'll still be a bit of a depression directing water to the roots.   He says they'll stand up straight within a day or so and there will be no setback to growth.   I've only ever used a modified version for things other than onions, but making seedlings a uniform size really makes the whole process easier and simpler.   

*If you can find a cheap copy of this book online http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Organic_Gardening.html?id=BMs2AQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y you might see some of his other ideas.  He died a few years ago, but he was our local organic gardening and farming guru here for a long time.  He got kicked off a radio show he regularly contributed to because of his rants about the ag fertiliser and pesticide companies.    A man after my own heart - apart from the met.i.cul.ous measuring and controlling everything in a domestic garden.  He's very much an organic gardener - his view on the permaculture people who came to his courses was that he was very fond of the knit-your-own-sandals crowd.  (Had a couple of quiet conversations with him after some sessions.) 

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #124 on: March 26, 2014, 01:07:44 PM »
Adelady, I use drip tape because it allows me to irrigate several acres at once with minimum labor. At planting time I carefully stab in one little onion plant ( with the tops cut ) exactly at each emitter hole.
With dry ground and  tape laid out I turn on water just long enough to make a little wet spot so I know where the emitter holes are then turn off the water and get to planting. This is tedious work but it gets my spacing perfect at 6 inches. Later in the year I cultivate along either side of the tape with a small offset Kaboda tractor. The advantage of exact spacing is the next step in hoeing between plants. I can move  fairly quickly with a methodical swing , not any adjustments due to odd spacings. I will have most of an acre of onions to maintain this year, so anything I can do to minimize the dreaded hand weeding is worth the effort. I usually need to do about three passes hand weeding to keep things cleaned up before bulbs are large enough to relax a bit. Relax being relative in this case.
 
 

SteveMDFP

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Re: Gardening -- food-bearing vines to recommend?
« Reply #125 on: March 27, 2014, 04:29:50 PM »
You gardeners on this site have finally made a convert.  For 5 decades, I've had about as much interest in gardening as ditch-digging.  Now, I may be seeing the light.
Here in Maryland, we have a decent growing climate.  Generally adequate rainfall, temperate temps, pretty good soil.
But I live in a townhouse in an area with a homeowner's association.   The available back yard is fenced, and the fence is high and blocks sun from the ground--even weeds barely grow.  But I figure the fence can allow vines to grow on the outer, sunny side, with roots planted legally on the inner, shady side.  But I have NO CLUE what to plant.  Maybe some kind of variety of grape?
I'm almost certainly going to plant some bitter melon, as it is a useful medication for us Type 2 diabetics.  But that's more medicinal than a source of nutrition and calories, so it won't be much.
Any other recommendations?

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #126 on: March 27, 2014, 08:33:53 PM »
Steve, You might check around to see if your city has any community gardens. Usually lots of interesting people of various ethic backgrounds so can be both fun and educational to see what other people plant. Also gives you the advantage of watching when other people with more experience plant ,harvest etc.
  There is an interesting plant called Yacon that is also good for diabetes. It is supposed to be able to help control blood sugar and because it has a high concentration of polysaccharides it tastes sweet .
It is also a strong probiotic so be careful when you first start eating it. Your body will adjust to it but the first days you may think you ate a very large can of beans. My wife gets kinda angry with me if I use it to cook with. Needs full light. Can be purchased on the Internet as a syrup. I have made syrup but it takes a lot of tubers to reduce out much.Order some and see if you like it. I use it as a sugar substitute but again warn people about flatulence before sharing your baking projects.
 A plant you can grow that will do O.K. in shade and vine up to the light is called Chayote. It is used by Mexicans as a squash substitute. It is extremely productive. You can attach some trellis to your fence and it will crawl right up it.   

SATire

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #127 on: March 27, 2014, 09:05:03 PM »
Steve, I do not know anything about diabetics. But I can tell some stuff that grows in the shadow part of the garden (needs only a few hours sun per day): The fruits which grow in the forrest: blueberry, raspberry, lingon. Also some vegetables grow in the shadow: various salads, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and also pea, beans, radish. Some other stuff may also survive but grow smaller.
Some herbs: chive, bear's garlic, peppermint, woodruff or rhubarb life beneath the trees in the south-west part of my garden which is the darkest region.

You can also plant more different plants if you elevate a part of the garden a bit like this: https://www.mein-schoener-garten.de/de/gartenpraxis/nutzgarten/gemueseanbau-im-hochbeet-22492

idunno

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #128 on: March 27, 2014, 09:40:20 PM »
Hi Steve,

Some kind of grape sounds good. Or you could maybe try a kiwi fruit; in that case you need to buy two plants, a male and a female, if you want to get any fruit.

In either case, be aware that vines can grow like triffids. You should probably train some wires or cords on the sunny side of the fence for the vines to cling to.  And you will certainly want to get some secateurs (gardeners' scissors) to keep a bit of order.

But do give it a go. Even if you kill'em, you'll get away with murder. And vines do grow like triffids - you may delight yourself.

bkpr

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #129 on: March 29, 2014, 02:20:31 PM »
Keeping bees means no toxins in the garden or orchard trees. The only exception we have ever made is a mild copper dust based spray for a nasty case of leaf curl in the peach and plum trees. I applied it at late dusk when I was fairly certain all the foragers had returned to the hives, and one application turned the tide.

The use of IPM just makes sense, let the good bugs eat the bad bugs and the parasitic wasps work great in the garden and in the greenhouse. I am in a test phase to determine if a parasitic wasp, so small, it lays in the abdomen of our worst bee pest, varroa destructor is effective rather than rotational miticides.  If this research shows promise, it will help us ween our bees of essential oil based miticides.

Great tips and techniques here, queen bee and i have been raising food since we were kids and it morphed into something like our grandparents practiced. They didn't keep bees but raised almost 80% of the flesh, vegetables, herbs, and fruit they ate.

We will attempt to better that by a bit, by expanding our operation some.  We are in growing zone 5 and we use a greenhouse to force our starts, beginning late last month.  We also hurry the AM soil temperature by just covering the raised bed or rows with 6 mil clear poly. We use greenhouse poly because it can be reused for a long time if minimally cared for after the danger of plunging overnight temps is over.

Scrounge for an old SS sink, single bowl is fine, scrounge or look for used garbage disposal and attach to sink. Use a pallet to make a counter for sink. Carefully wire a switch to your new compost tool. Before just throwing your kitchen scraps in the compost pile, run them through the grinder with a sip of water, let the goods eject into a 5 gallon pail, then toss onto compost pile or worm bin, being careful what you feed your worms of course.

Source your seeds from a reputable organic and/or heirloom catalog in your growing zone, they will be acclimated to your zone already. Better is the suggestion to join a seed savers club. Saving seed is just as important as growing our own food.  Practice, ask for help, get good at this, for when seeds might get hard to get. Once dry, many varieties can be stored in dark colored medicine or supplement bottles with a bit of rice or powdered milk to keep them dry. We use a sharpie to date/identify and keep them in a cool dark spot.

If you're using raised beds made of cedar we hope, scrounge, barter, for a 1" roll of exterior abrasive tape used in tools to shape/smooth steel. Staple it on top of the cedar edge, using a heavy stapler, and you have a barrier that slugs and snails hate to crawl over.

We use small row covers to give the cukes room to get big enough to fight off predators on their own.  Same with others vulnerable to pests. And it took a 8' barrier to keep out the venison, that is the only thing we found that worked.

For outstanding results find in your area those folks that raise rabbits, alpacas, or llamas.  Offer to muck out the stalls if you have too, don't be surprised to hear your poo person say they want a small fee to offset the cost of feed.  Gardeners know these critters really chew their feed so good, that seeds are almost impossible to germinate. Also these animals are fed real good chow and what goes in comes out.  Many are aware of the value of one application of poo tea and one of compost tea and then stand back.  While spot watering one afternoon, we had a large nursery pot of alpaca poo sitting in the garden. I started to add a bit of water to keep it from getting dry, when i noticed brown tea oozing out the holes in the bottom.  In one hour I had sprinkled 1 gallon pots, two thirds full of poo, all around the plantings.  Folks accused us of buying Miracle Grow by the drum, Nope, just poo.  When you have tilth, a trowel full of soil will have worms and smell fertile. :)

For aphids in the greenhouse again parasitic wasps, lady bugs, or a mild solution of water, oil soap, and a bit of mineral oil will play havoc with aphids and works good to keep the earwigs out of the swiss chard too.

Rain water is the ideal for irrigation, followed by good well water if you can get it.  We use 55 gallon food grade barrels to harvest rain and it gets used in the greenhouse.  This water is allowed to come up to greenhouse temps before use so as to prevent cold shock.  In this barrel a net bag is hung to brew tea.  24 hrs steeping seems to do the trick, whether poo or compost.

All orchard pruning are rendered into bio char and eventually returned to the soil.  We are making a slow switch from annuals mostly to perennials, just because their easier to care for and seem more resilient. 

Having a large garden, coming into it and picking that days meals, eating them literally minutes after harvest is rewarding and we feel a bit more food secure I'd admit.  The price however is we zero out the plain hard work it takes to live like this. Same with the canning and the cooking.  OK, we did kill the TV years ago, that might have played a part for sure, cause it freed up a lot of time for us.

Sorry for the long post, couldn't sleep so good, diarrhea of the keyboard I plea.

Happy Growing

bkpr 





 

JackTaylor

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Re: Gardening -- food-bearing vines to recommend?
« Reply #130 on: March 30, 2014, 03:17:23 PM »
You gardeners on this site have finally made a convert.  For 5 decades, I've had about as much interest in gardening as ditch-digging.  Now, I may be seeing the light.
Here in Maryland, we have a decent growing climate.  Generally adequate rainfall, temperate temps, pretty good soil.
But I live in a townhouse in an area with a homeowner's association.   The available back yard is fenced, and the fence is high and blocks sun from the ground--even weeds barely grow.  But I figure the fence can allow vines to grow on the outer, sunny side, with roots planted legally on the inner, shady side.  But I have NO CLUE what to plant.  Maybe some kind of variety of grape?
I'm almost certainly going to plant some bitter melon, as it is a useful medication for us Type 2 diabetics.  But that's more medicinal than a source of nutrition and calories, so it won't be much.
Any other recommendations?

Steve,

Welcome to the FORM world of Type 2 Diabetics with high lipids (cholesterol) - my backyard garden work may have saved my life - helped with 75 lb weight loss - wore out a shovel turning soil in limited spaces before getting a couple of powered tillers.  It (gardening) is one form of exercise I don't get bored with, tired yes - bored no.  BTW, it is alleged (not advise) properties of cooked  green chili's help with pancreas Langerhans islets (hint = insulin).
FORM = Fat Old Retired Men

Been down the road with condo living and HOA regs/rules. 
But as Bruce Steel mentioned there are ways to get the Therapy.
http://ahta.org/  American Horticultural Therapy Association
www.google.com/#q=gardening+therapy

I like trellis/fencing - to some vertical gardening www.google.com/#q=vertical+gardening

To an old fashioned Slide Show with this picture/image  http://www.polk-nc.com/garden

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #131 on: March 30, 2014, 11:41:07 PM »
Scrounge for an old SS sink, single bowl is fine, scrounge or look for used garbage disposal and attach to sink. Use a pallet to make a counter for sink. Carefully wire a switch to your new compost tool. Before just throwing your kitchen scraps in the compost pile, run them through the grinder with a sip of water, let the goods eject into a 5 gallon pail, then toss onto compost pile or worm bin, being careful what you feed your worms of course.

Coincidentally we built a worm farm a couple of weeks ago, and put compost worms in it. The worms are still a bit uneasy (not eating that much as of yet), but at least they're not dead.

My wife then also said how easy it would be to have an American style garbage disposal unit that shreds and grinds food, which makes it easier to digest for the worms. Little did we know as Europeans that the grinded stuff gets flushed down the drain as well (we thought liquids and solids would be separated). Because garbage disposal units aren't a regular feature here in Europe, I won't be able to find one on the scrap heap, I fear.

---

I need a short tip. My wife has planted seeds a couple of weeks ago, but all of a sudden the small seedlings weren't doing so well. My wife thought it was because of small fruit flies flying around the little pots and getting into the potting soil. She feared that little fruit fly worms were eating the roots, and so she stuck matches upside down in the soil (I guess for the sulphur). Some seedlings have recovered, but others are getting worse.  I'm not too sure about the matches.

I should be googling this, but then I thought: Arctic Sea Ice Forum!  8)

Any tips?
Il faut cultiver notre jardin

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #132 on: March 31, 2014, 02:05:04 AM »
Neven, you may have something I call wilting off. To plant seeds and avoid this problem you need sterile soil mix and clean planting trays. So if you reuse planting trays or plug trays you need to dip them in a weak chlorine water bath and then rinse them well before using. Soil mix is very important to avoid wilting off and I use 50% peat moss mixed with 50% perlite (or vermiculite) these are both fairly sterile. I fill the planting trays part way add a slow release fertilizer fill trays up to level with more 50/50 planting mix then press down into trays. This leaves a little depression at the top to drop seeds into. After each little plug or cup get it's seed you add 50/50 mix pack the last time add lightly water. Sometimes the peat is slow to absorb water and you need to lightly water again the next day. Once it is thoroughly wet  it will be easy to keep watered but if you get carried away the first day you can wash the seeds out. I know they sell organic planting mix at the store but I never trust it. I have tried side by side plantings with expensive store bought planting mix and the 50/50 peat/ perlite and I always do better with my homemade stuff. I put in tens of thousand of seeds this way every year.
You don't want to see your seeds start up then bend over and wilt off. For me it gets expensive and messes with my planting calendar. I have never had the peat mix fail me.  Also called "damping off"

JackTaylor

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #133 on: March 31, 2014, 03:51:57 AM »
Coincidentally we built a worm farm a couple of weeks ago, and put compost worms in it. The worms are still a bit uneasy (not eating that much as of yet), but at least they're not dead.
---
I need a short tip. My wife has planted seeds a couple of weeks ago, but all of a sudden the small seedlings weren't doing so well. My wife thought it was because of small fruit flies flying around the little pots and getting into the potting soil. She feared that little fruit fly worms were eating the roots,

and so she stuck matches upside down in the soil (I guess for the sulphur). Some seedlings have recovered, but others are getting worse.  I'm not too sure about the matches.

I should be googling this, but then I thought: Arctic Sea Ice Forum!  8)

Any tips?

Neven,

Congrats on choosing to start a "worm farm" - nothing like "worm castings" IMHO.

Also, small seedlings falling over - shriveling after growing straight up rapidly, long stems
Number One - probably most important -
It could be a lack of "Photosynthesis" -
unless the sunlight is good & bright in your greenhouse it may be necessary to use some "grow lamps" and temperature needs to be high enough.

Suggest to NOT use "potting soil" to start seeds - do as Bruce Steele says "peat moss" w/perlite/vermiculite - price is also better here.

Sulphur reduces the PH of soil - though doubt enough is breaking off the matches to work as it is a time process.  Great to apply (powder/granule) to an area for "Irish Potatoes" a few months before setting eye-seeds, depending on "soil tests."
Has a use as a pesticide, note plants it could be toxic to:
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/make-sulfur-spray-pesticide-26954.html

BTW, without an in-sink-garbage-disposal, my wife would probably leave home.
Remember no meat - no grease through the disposal or to the worms.
They do like carbohydrates like cracked wheat/corn and uneaten veggies.

idunno

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #134 on: March 31, 2014, 06:38:58 AM »
Er, guys, peat is the most important carbon sink in the world.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/peat-bogs-help-to-mitigate-climate-change.aspx#axzz2xVXhon3r

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat

http://flrec.ifas.ufl.edu/Hort/Environmental/Media_Nutrition/COIR%20potential.htm

Sorry, Bruce, but I disagree with most of your post, until the last two words; damping off. I think it highly likely that you're killing them with kindness, Neven, by overwatering.

There are 3 other methods of plant propagation which you might like to  try, which can save you years of time, or hundreds of Euros. They are very much not pushed by the horticultural industry, as this is where they make their money (from you)...

1. Cuttings. Take a dormant (quick!) twig, and push it gently into a pot of compost; so that there is at least 1 bud above and at least 1 below the soilline. You could try blackcurrants, grape or rosemary. If you're fond of mysterious white powders, use rooting compound. By about middle of May they may just have grown roots.

2. Layering. Some plants will only root if the growing living plant touches the soil. Some, such as strawberry, do so spontaneously. Others, eg thyme and gooseberry need encouraging. Take a sideshoot and pin or weigh it down. If it roots, cut it clear from its parent and replant in suficient space.

3. Grafting. Ignore this one for now.

I strongly suspect that Prof Google has more, better info than me; including tutorial video.

For this year, you might do best to buy some parent plants for grafting over the next winter. Eg buy one Blackcurrant now. In Autumn it will need pruning. Take pruned twigs and plant as cuttings. Buy one; get half a dozen free.

Clare

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #135 on: March 31, 2014, 08:27:35 AM »
Neven & Mrs Neven,

I found it works best if I let the container of worm food scraps sit a few days before adding it to the worm farm. & Especially when I am starting a new box/layer I don't add the worms for a week or 2. (Mine is a v simple type with stacked bins.) That way some breakdown by moulds, bacteria etc is already under way making it easier for the worms to digest.
I have 2 containers on our kitchen sill, one for the regular compost bin & one for the worms which I often chop up a bit.
PS Obviously the scraps breakdown faster when its hot, maybe your worms are a bit cold if spring is just beginning with you?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 08:56:39 AM by Clare »

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #136 on: March 31, 2014, 08:33:03 AM »
idunno, You might want to read the "Archer et al" link below before you try to convince me that peat is " the most important carbon sink in the world ".

http://www.atm.damtp.cam.ac.uk/mcintyre/archer-carbon-tail08.pdf

The ocean holds 38,000 gt carbon and that is one hell of a pile of peat moss.
  But I suppose I should defer to  " Mother Earth News "

Even if you were to exclude the 70 % of " the world " that is ocean I have serious doubt that peat is the largest terrestrial carbon sink.
 Damping off or wilting off can be caused by a lot more than excess water. Fungus and bacteria can be serious threats to young seedlings. The perlite is to help lighten the planting mixture and keep you from water logging your plants.
 O.K. The couple of bales of peat I use per year is taken from a moderate long term carbon sink and mixed into my garden soil where it oxidizes faster than it would have if it were left where it was but the plants I grow absorb Co2 and store some of it in their roots  and is also stored awhile so it's not a totally one sided equation. You failed to offer an alternative planting mix option. I suppose an organic mix that was actually sterilized would do the trick but the energy it took to accomplish that would be worse than some peat. I said I have tried other options and not been satisfied with the results. You can disagree with that if you'd like.   

SATire

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #137 on: March 31, 2014, 11:06:32 AM »
Neven, I would agree to most above: For seeding the soil is critical. Peat is not a good solution due to environment. Those tiny plants are very sensitive and need right humidity (not to much and never dry), some sun, but not to warm - the right thing for a wife to take care the hole day...

Our solution for the soil-paradoxon is a professional compost company (using only the cut trees and other green material of the town and not the stuff from ugly "Biotonne". Maybe you have something similar in your neighborhood like this: http://www.gabco.de/produkte.html

They also sell soil suitable for seeds made from recycled material. It is more expensive than other type of soils but you need not much and it is worth the effort to keep your wife happy.

edit: Why you should not use peat here in Europe? Because they kill the last moors to get that stuff. Next to releasing CO2 that harms wildlife significantly. The latter point may be different in e.g. Siberia ;-)

« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 11:30:16 AM by SATire »

JackTaylor

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #138 on: March 31, 2014, 02:17:55 PM »
use 50% peat moss mixed with 50% perlite (or vermiculite) these are both fairly sterile. I fill the planting trays part way add a slow release fertilizer fill trays up to level with more 50/50 planting mix then press down into trays. This leaves a little depression at the top to drop seeds into. After each little plug or cup get it's seed you add 50/50 mix pack the last time add lightly water. Sometimes the peat is slow to absorb water and you need to lightly water again the next day.

Bruce Steele,
Emphasis (bold) is mine.

Are you willing to share information about the exact slow release fertilizer you use?
Brand if purchased.
Amount per cup/seedling.
etc ..................
I use 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water 1/week soluble 15/30/15, similar to MiracleGro.
(Brand = Expert Gardener from WalMart believe it or not - I am NOT 100% Organic)
The extra phosphate to get roots better established before re-potting and/or transplanting.
All with about a dozen "grow lamps" in back bedroom.

Compost type for re-potting mix - soil amendment, we have packed red-clay (mud) soil.

I switched to exclusively using a Peat Moss w/Perlite or vermiculite for seed starting years ago.
Germination Rate Very High IMO.  And I've experimented off-n-on for more than 20 years.
Do it for me - relatives - friends, hundreds of plants but not thousands.
The major nurseries in my area use it for seed starting also.
If there is a better "starter mix" at a practical cost - my eyes-ears are open.

Edit/Modified for my educational link, sorry forgot at first.
Starting Seeds Indoors
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/gardening/hgic1259.html
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 02:26:14 PM by JackTaylor »

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #139 on: March 31, 2014, 04:41:10 PM »
We all take our own road. I try to think through my operation from seed to table and how to minimize ENERGY inputs. Fossil fuel use in tractors is the largest input for most " organic" farms and organic certification takes no measure of either fuel or plastic consumption. Fuel use is what is killing this planet and putting a strong focus on that ,for me anyhow, is the top of my list.
 The very best standards I have seen that starts to get at this issue is the " biolands " standards that Satire was kind enough to link( see below). Compost made on site, farm animal standards and feed produced on site, and many other well thought out rules that put some teeth into what organic certification should entail besides a marketing scam.
 I use no pesticides, copper, fumigants or herbicides in my operation( organically approved or not) I try to do what's best for the wildlife I share my farm with. I use fences for rabbits or deer and I guess squirrels are the exception but poison is how most people deal with them and killing hawks and owls means I use alternatives.
 If you read the " biolands" standards they do allow a 50/50 peat mix for planting soil. Maybe peat isn't perfect but without any alternatives that work it is a compromise I suppose to perfection.
Perfection isn't possible for humans and most such claims are delusional. We pick our compromises or more often bury our heads as we muddle through.
 Jack, I use Osmokote sprinked into 128 plug trays for most seed starts. They are about 3/4 inch square and I try to get about 8-10 grains per plug hole. Osmokote is time release so there isn't much risk of burning your starts if you happen to sprinkle to many in. I plant out early and put out about double the seedlings I need and thin later to desired spacing.

 http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf

p.s. I sell produce at prices that compete with prices at the supermarket up the road. My clientele is not rich and they get a good product for their hard earned money.

SATire

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #140 on: March 31, 2014, 06:50:56 PM »
Bruce, you are totally right. That small amount of peat for seeding is very well invested, if you are able to get your own organic plants and a happy life in your own garden. Better stay 80% perfect and happy than trying in vain to life at 100%. Step by step we go.

Edit: I am sorry that I talked some bullshit above: I just learned from my wife that the special soil for seeds from above mentioned supplier also contains a fair amount of peat (more than 50% probably). That is important for the plants and, therefore they mix it that way. Sorry if I induced some bad feelings and sorry for talking bullshit to loud.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 08:10:43 PM by SATire »

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #141 on: March 31, 2014, 07:46:15 PM »
SATire, Thank you. We do follow different paths and not everyone can be or wants to be a farmer.
I think every one needs to aspire to do a better job protecting this planet and taking care of each other( that includes me ) I happen to be lucky enough to take some risk on ,but if I can make headway I also need to help educate others in my progress. I am happy we can share information across such vast distances and that Neven has helped to create this opportunity for us to share. Sometimes we are dealing with
cultural divides and misunderstandings but good intent is important. It is my honor to be associated with all of you.

idunno

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #142 on: March 31, 2014, 09:13:07 PM »
Hi Bruce,

Yes, agreed with much of that, and your operation sounds quite awesome. I didn't mean above to criticise what you're doing, as what you're suggesting Neven do.

Peat is the largest terrestrial carbon sink, after the oceans, as you remind me. I believe that it stored more carbon per hectare than tropical rainforest, which surprises most people, but may be old hat on a blog so concerned with permafrost on tundra.

This is an occasionally interesting blog...

http://bogology.org/

In Western Europe, peat is a real problem, as it is the basis of several severely rare habitats, which have severely damaged by peat extraction. I hope the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew trumps Mother Nature etc, above...

http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/garden-attractions-A-Z/compost-heap.htm


Peat-free compost at Kew

Peat bogs are important habitats and valuable stores of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. However the use of peat, primarily as a potting compost, has damaged or destroyed 94% of the the UK’s peat bogs. Kew took the decision to stop using peat in 1989, except for carnivorous plants that cannot be grown in any other medium. It now uses peat substitute for potting composts and makes home-grown mulches at Kew and Wakehurst Place, using waste plant matter from the Gardens.

And I'll raise you the Royal Horticultural Society...

http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Peat-and-the-environment/Peat-and-the-gardener

The problem that now arises in Western Europe is what to use instead. Supermarket compost is now the final destination of the 'green garden waste' delivered to the council dump; this is primarily hedge-clippings of species such as leylandii, (with which  I am currently experimenting to see if I can use them as organic herbicide). Half-rotted black sticks.

The last season I spent raising seedlings en masse (about 4,000 pots), I ended up using varying quantities of this supermaket rubbish, about a tonne of well rotted moo poo, about 5 years of accumulated grass clippings from about 1 1/2 acres of lawn, some garden topsoil and about 200 kilos of wormcast. Can't really recommend this.

This year, I just need to do about 5 seed trays, for personal consumption from a small garden, and so all I'll use is one bag of supermarket compost/mulch/herbicide. And I did see this girl ride through on a horse the other day... and, sadly, in Spring, an old man's thoughts turn to stables;)



Martin Gisser

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #143 on: March 31, 2014, 10:12:33 PM »
Why lawn mowing?

Nothing I hate more than the roar of the early morning lawn mower motor in summer. What is it good for? (OK, short grass is sometimes practical for playing football, but why not just swing the scythe then?) I've seen a non-mowed meadow grow all sorts of beautiful things, and enjoyed strolling thru the high grass and flowers. But then they borrowed an XXL mowing machine, just so. Since then methinks lawn mowing is mostly a male mental disease of civilization.
Why is the earth silent at this destruction? (Martin Heidegger ca. 1937)

idunno

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #144 on: March 31, 2014, 10:41:18 PM »
Martin,

Agreed. Not my lawn.

Highly commend the scythe as the most beautiful, efficient and satisfying garden tool ever invented - the product of 10,000 years of countless millions of people, as clever as you or I, spending every waking hour, for a full month every year, constantly posing themselves the question 'Surely there must be an easier way to do this?'

The scythe was their final conclusion.

By the year 12,014CE, I very much doubt that the world's mower or strimmer manufacturers will have spent enough on R + D manhours to have developed a competitive product.

Half an hour with a scythe, and you will never voluntarily touch a strimmer ever again. Hard to find though; and 50 year old wooden handles are prone to break easily.


Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #145 on: April 01, 2014, 12:23:30 AM »
Idunno, Sorry if I am a bit harsh as I am not getting all the sleep I need. Trying to keep some newborn pigs healthy and their mommas happy. I was thinking coconuts provide a product used in hydroponics that would probably make a good replacement for peat , in many places around the world it is much more available and also renewable. I really didn't understand your situation over in Europe re. peat habitat and to tell the truth much of what sells around here says Alaska or Canada on it. I should try something new just because you are correct and habitat destruction needs to go into any calculations along with carbon considerations. Around here it's a long way to coconuts but they would come by ship as opposed to peat moving over a thousand miles by truck. Will make a mental note and  have an eye out for coconut byproduct. Plenty of people use it around here I suppose but they run in different circles.   
Just found these two article/self- promotions on vermiculite 90% energy savings in a new processing method. Another on perlite that makes mining it sound good.  :D So a 50/50 vermiculite/perlite mix would do just fine as a replacement for the mix I currently use. I can get both products and they would as a mix both hold water and not get too soggy. The real issues for me are the fungi  and bacteria I am trying to avoid. I will let you know in a month what I think.
  http://www.e2v.com/news/e2v-launches-prowave-pioneering-vermiculite-exfoliation-system-/

http://www.perlite.org/support/sustainability.html

« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 01:54:06 AM by Bruce Steele »

sidd

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #146 on: April 01, 2014, 07:00:53 AM »
Re: Scythes

I am standing in a 140 yr old farmhouse right now (circa USA civil war). A hundred yards away is a barn, with two beautiful scythes hanging on the wall, blades all rusted of course. I am afraid to have the local Amish fix em new blades and try, coz i think i will break em, the wood is too old. I have taken em down and swung em a few times, nice.

Probly just have the locals make me a one for my build and height.

But they are pretty.

sidd

adelady

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #147 on: April 01, 2014, 08:43:12 AM »
Watering seedlings?  Haven't done any for the last two years (husband's heart attack - brain injury - months of therapy got in the way and is still a bit of a problem), but we always use a half-strength dilution of liquid seaweed/kelp stuff.   You could do the same with a home brew of compost tea or weed tea but working out the dilution would be a bit of a trick that could cost you some seeds if you use a too hefty concentration.   Half strength twice as often is a good way to do things.  (Once you've worked out what "half-strength" is for your concoction.) 

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #148 on: April 01, 2014, 03:02:49 PM »
Sid, I went in search of seeing the old methods in use and found them in Southern Poland. It may be gone now but around 1991 there were still people using scythes on wheat, hand shocking it, then they had a bicycle driven thrasher they hauled out into the field and would individually shove in the dried shocked bundles. I would be interested to know if anyone has seen similar methods any where recently?
 I too have two old scythes laying around and one has a serviceable handle. It may need the handles moved and adjusted for me but I will give it a try. I used one a couple times ~45 years ago and just enough to figure how to swing one. I would imagine if your neighbors saw you out swinging one you might have a couple more offered as gifts. There might be some small talk at the local coffee shops early in the mornings to go with. I was out running my battery hand tiller yesterday and a neighbor next door thought I was actually doing the 1/2 acre completely by hand.( zero noise )Kinda in a head shaking way he called over the fence to comment. I finished 24 rows 18 inches wide 200 feet long using the tiller for final seedbed preparations and got most of it seeded before a little rain event came  through.
 Do you drive a team or have neighbors that still do?  I just talked to a farmer in Kansas and he said there is an influx of Amish in the area he lives. He was quoting some prices they were selling vegetable at the farmers for, very inexpensive. I wouldn't be able to compete. 
 What's Neven's Avatar doing?   
 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 03:09:36 PM by Bruce Steele »

icefest

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #149 on: April 01, 2014, 03:25:40 PM »
My grandmothers new boyfriend studied agronomy in East Germany just after WW2.
He mentioned that he had to learn to scythe by hand as part of his course.

He taught me how to use an old one they had lying around in their shed, I doubt I could make a passable one by myself without a model, though I have a friend who has recently taken up smithing as a hobby - I wonder if he could make me one...

I really don't get the fascination with a lawn. The closest I would want is some land to have some geese and chickens.
Open other end.