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etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1100 on: August 28, 2020, 07:57:10 PM »
Snakes would be nice, but it looks like they like they live close to rivers, which is not really the situation were I live. In Belgium, they are classified as a specie that is disappearing.
http://biodiversite.wallonie.be/fr/natrix-natrix.html?IDD=50334431&IDC=286

I have to check if something is possible, because the sparrow, also an endangered specie, is multiplying like crazy around my home, but gardens are small around here, and I guess a snake wouldn't pass the "wife acceptance test".

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1101 on: September 02, 2020, 08:18:14 PM »
A plastic bottle on a metallic bar seems to help to keep the vole away, but it doesn't solve the problem. I still find eaten vegetables, but not so many anymore.

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1102 on: September 03, 2020, 01:12:15 PM »
A plastic bottle on a metallic bar seems to help to keep the vole away, but it doesn't solve the problem. I still find eaten vegetables, but not so many anymore.

To kill the voles I would suggest the method used by a community garden of the Workers' Fraternities of Mouscron. Sensitive souls pass your way!  :-[  :'(

You dig a hole and put a washing machine (tub?) in it, you put vole treats in the bottom. The washing machine/tub must not rise above ground level, you cover the washing machine/tub with its lid while leaving a small passage. You wait and when the little gourmands are in the bottom you ... take action >:(. I seem to remember that some people put water directly into the washing machine/tub and the treats end up on a small raft. I am a volunteer at the Workers' Fraternities of Mouscron, when the office will be open again (covid 19) I will ask my friends for more details (personally I don't have any voles in my garden). ;D

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 01:56:19 PM by Général de GuerreLasse »
La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
Pierre DAC

longwalks1

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1103 on: September 03, 2020, 05:14:53 PM »
I did a lot of raised beds, semi-french bio- intensive in urban settings around homeless shelters in the 80's.   Dec 23 1987, picked the last of the collards from long raised bed in the snow and fed 35+ homeless,  Some of the sweetest collards ever.

I moved back  into my  parents empty house and decided to slow down on fix ups for selling the house and put in a 8 by 4 foot raised bed.  North Central Iowa 20 miles south of Minnesota.  The okra is doing nicely,  I gave to charity the 40+ year  water canner 2 years ago, so the okra is going into jars in refrig for pickles.   2 pepper plants, and parsley and mint plants.  Then a jungle of collards and kale for a bed.  The swiss chard germinated poorly, never happened to me before. I have 4 plants from store.  Carrots came in poorly, Planted a second set of peas in between carrots, they are being supported by greens.   Then arrugula and peas, the peas are tresslised on the arugula and the 8 inch high iron fence. And some more peas on the edges of 8 inch fence. Two tomato plants E and W end of rhubarb bed ( I put the rhubarb bed in 1992 at parents.).   2 gallons tomoatos blanched and frozen, see if I can borrow a water canner for salsa.   

 I do miss the bed of asparagus and tomatillos I put in in 1992, but father disliked asparagus and killed it off via not so benign neglect.  They really do well together and the tomatillos will self seed forever.

 Another combo I swear by is  one row sunflowers and one row cucumbers.   Huge garden in 1990 at rural  homeless shelter east of Moorhead MN,  I almost put out too much chicken manure  in between the two, and I forgot to turn off water overnight once on a soaker hose in early July, extremely prolific and perfect textured cukes. At least 3 bushels  into town for the free food pantry back  then.  Sunflower seeds went to the birds.  peace out.


nanning

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1104 on: September 04, 2020, 06:52:12 AM »
Please don't kill voles and moles.

They do not share our insane culture of ownership of nature! In living nature everything lives together. You may defend yourself if you are attacked, but you are not attacked here, only your fantasy of ownership; your fantasy supremacy over all other lifeforms.

--

Nice longwalks1 :). Thanks for that story and your morality in helping out homeless people.

--

El Cid, great idea! Replace lawns with food/fruitforests :).
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

sidd

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1105 on: September 04, 2020, 08:38:04 AM »
Re: voles

Cats ? there was a barn cat i knew that had little stashes of little piles of voles.

sidd

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1106 on: September 04, 2020, 10:38:23 AM »
A good example of gardening protection. Malpolon monspessulanus.
A pick in front of my house. It's a Mediterranean spieces, although as you can see, now living in humind Atlantic forest, another example of animals moving north.

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1107 on: September 04, 2020, 04:37:07 PM »
Please don't kill voles and moles.

They do not share our insane culture of ownership of nature! In living nature everything lives together. You may defend yourself if you are attacked, but you are not attacked here, only your fantasy of ownership; your fantasy supremacy over all other lifeforms.

--

Nice longwalks1 :). Thanks for that story and your morality in helping out homeless people.
--

El Cid, great idea! Replace lawns with food/fruitforests :).

You are a good person Nanning. Indeed in an ideal world voles are useful to turn and aerate the earth, they are good workers, and it is therefore normal in this case that they take the right salary for their work. Same thing for slugs, a slug-free soil is much less fertile. Scientific work has explained all this. Unfortunately we have destroyed the trees and refuges of the voles' predators that regulated their numbers (owls) and we have reduced the natural environment in which the voles evolved, so they are forced to come to our gardens, in fact we created our gardens on their territory and planted tasty plants with yummy yummy sweet roots... Good luck to those who want to eradicate voles, they are territorial animals and they will always come back to occupy a good territory.
In my garden the curse is the codling moth. For many years they infected some plums and apples, but never many, I always had enough left, then one day we renovated the bell tower of the nearby church and we drove the bats away, since if I want to eat apples from my garden I have to lay nets. Otherwise the codling moths destroy the whole harvest. It is more and more difficult to garden when the natural environment is artificialized and the natural balances are upset.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
Pierre DAC

nanning

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1108 on: September 04, 2020, 05:40:03 PM »
That's a good translator Général de GuerreLasse.
And thanks for the compliment :).
You sketch the problem very good. I completely agree.
Because of their loss of habitat, we should welcome these wild animals and nurture them.
One can buy ones food at e.g. the supermarket.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1109 on: September 04, 2020, 06:50:27 PM »
Well, I'll try to be productive.

To fight against voles and mole rats:
You can use these plants by planting them all over (limited effectiveness).
-fritillaria meleagris et imperialis
-hyacintoids non-scripta
-scilla bifolia

You can also make liquid manure with the following plants and pour them into the tunnels, but be careful, they are poisonous plants and you will eat the vegetables growing on them.
-euphorbia lathyris
-cynoglossum
-melilotus
-ruta graveolens
-nicotiana tabacum

Otherwise you can try to put dog hair or hair in the tunnels, you can also pee on the mounds (at least they'll see that you're marking your territory and that you're the boss  ;D)
Put prickly pear thorns in the tunnels.

The best allies are weasels, ferrets, snakes and birds of prey (not easy to have that in your garden). A few days ago, I noticed a young hedgehog eating a mouse that my cat had brought back on the terrace of the house...maybe a way to get rid of the young voles?
La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
Pierre DAC

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1110 on: September 04, 2020, 07:53:45 PM »
Nanny,

If your garden is sandy, the soil should never be left bare because rain will wash away the humus. If it is dry, the sun and the wind will do the same thing. In general, the soil should never be left bare.
You can use BRF (fragmented rameal wood) to cover the soil this winter, adding nitrogenous plants.  I use the twigs of my troënes that I crush with a lawnmower. I spread the result with grass clippings for nitrogen. This way you have a carbon-nitrogen mixture, you can also use the wool from an old mattress or the feathers from an old pillow to bring the nitrogen.Soil bacteria and fungi will thank you by making you a better soil. Your vegetable and fruit peelings will spread them on the ground, hide them in your BRF so that your neighbors don't get scared, it's called horizontal composting. In the beginning I also sometimes used unpolluted corrugated cardboard as a source of carbon.
Generally speaking, make sure you keep all the organic matter in your garden. Don't let it go, make small hedges to hold the leaves.
Now BRF is a lot of work and you may run out of small branches, so plant ground cover plants. The best mix to improve your soil is: mustard, phacelia alfalfa, comfrey, spinach, rapeseed, rye. Personally, when I pass by my garden I pull up wild plants that are a bit invasive and put them on the spot. When you pick a lettuce, you cut it and let the roots compost in the soil etc....
Trees and shrubs are very useful too (leaves for composting, fruits, wood, even light shade with peach trees to grow some vegetables like lettuce). Trees bring up useful things from the ground.
So here is what comes to me on the spot. Good luck!
La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
Pierre DAC

nanning

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1111 on: September 05, 2020, 06:06:00 AM »
Thank you very much for your advise monsieur de GuerreLasse.

I will have to look up all the plantnames I don't know.
Other allotments are all bare soil with vegetables but have had yearly layers of horse manure and other organic compost added. This has made their soils much darker. In effect, they have created a new fertile toplayer that's not sandy anymore.

I've made the decision to leave this allotment and if I find another one, it will very likely be as the other allotments; no more sandy soil but a new fertile toplayer. For a first-time 'gardener' this poor and sandy soil is not helping.

Re: I'll try to be productive.
I'm not sure of the context but if you mean from your garden, then it is not you who is 'productive', but it are all the other lifeforms in a forced manner. I'm sorry but I feel that I have to stand with the weak. To speak up for all other life, for living nature itself. To give the correct view i.e. views without human supremacy.
It seems to me that gardening is mainly the killing of unwanted lifeforms and continual habitat disturbance/loss.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1112 on: September 05, 2020, 08:11:35 AM »
Nanning,

I think you have a trauma following your first year of gardening. Gardening how I want it is much about how to find an equilibrium between different plants so that you get something to eat. It's quite difficult, each year has its challenges (this year, I had carrots that needed water between onions that had to dry, I promoted the onions), and you learn each  year a little bit more.

Next year I'll have even more flowers in my garden, thank you Général de GuerreLasse for the names, I'll have plastic bottles on iron sticks, and we'll go for another round.

I feel that when you start gardening, just like anything else, there is some kind of honeymoon because the first year, the wild life around you didn't check that you planted things, but they find it out, one after another, and on your side, you have a learning process.

I have a question about cardoon. Does anyone has experience with it ? I have one in it's first year, looks very good, I hope the vole won't eat it. Well when I look in books or on internet, some people plant them every year, and other keep them and it looks like they can eat parts of it every year. Other keeps them and just enjoy the flowers every second year. I'm planning to enjoy the flowers next year, but I wonder what can be eaten the year with flowers. In one blog, they are eating the leaves in the spring but they don't do the whitening in the fall, other say that the flowers can be eaten, but I never found practical tips.

Etienne


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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1113 on: September 05, 2020, 08:29:06 AM »
Hi nanning. It sounds like we share a similar aversion to 'weeding,' though yours may be a bit more intense than mine.

As to: "It seems to me that gardening is mainly the killing of unwanted lifeforms and continual habitat disturbance/loss."

I definitely see what you're getting at. In my case, most of my gardening has involved taking over mono-cultures of lawn grass and replacing them mostly with native flowers and grasses, with some vegetables in between. So of those 'vegetables' are themselves natives--native strawberries (very small, but tasty) and native onion varieties--a bit more bitter than the cultivated types, and no big bulb, but tasty in many recipes.

I have no regrets killing off lawn mono-cultures. I do try to avoid tilling the soil too much, mostly adding leaves that turn into compost, as well as actual compost.

But I do find that I am 'competing' with other creatures...a groundhog one year, an army of Colorado Potato Beetles last year (they don't just eat potato plants, I learned, but everything in the same nightshade family), and a growing population of voles and ground squirrels.

I try to be philosophical about these neighbors, but it can be discouraging to put so many plants in with so much effort only to see nearly all of them wiped out in some years.

It is certainly a learning exercise.
"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."

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1114 on: September 05, 2020, 10:03:20 AM »
Re: I'll try to be productive.
I'm not sure of the context but if you mean from your garden, then it is not you who is 'productive', but it are all the other lifeforms in a forced manner. I'm sorry but I feel that I have to stand with the weak. To speak up for all other life, for living nature itself. To give the correct view i.e. views without human supremacy.
It seems to me that gardening is mainly the killing of unwanted lifeforms and continual habitat disturbance/loss.
[/quote]

Nanning,
"I'll try to be productive."
It was just a joke, I was laughing at myself. I meant that I was going to try to be useful to others, nothing to do with garden production. In fact I like nothing more than to go for a walk in my garden to admire all the life in it.
My friends from the workers' fraternities in Mouscron and I have remarked on many occasions that we are not welcome in allotments because our gardens are too clean (attention here is another joke) by clean I mean that we never use chemicals of any kind. Our gardens are always full of wild herbs and life. I'm sorry that these machine translators, but also the lack of context in our discussions may betray what we share here, and thus hurt your feelings. If I may make a suggestion, click on the links on youtub and you will get my context, you will be very pleasantly surprised to see the garden of Mouscron, it's a paradise.


« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 10:13:54 AM by Général de GuerreLasse »
La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
Pierre DAC

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1115 on: September 05, 2020, 10:33:42 AM »
etienne,

cardoon: I  have artichokes which is similar to cardoon and they say cardoon is easier, so if it works with artichokes it should work with cardoon as well.

My artichokes overwinter under a thick (20-30) leaf mulch after being cut back in November. I push the leaf mulch a bit aside in April and they grow quickly and can be harvested in June-July. Also, the leaf mulch won't let too many weeds come up. I cut back the very few big weeds that still come up in November before the next leaf mulch layer. That is all I do with them.

nanning,

Yes, we manipulate our environment and that involves killing. We grow plants we like and we kill those we don't like. All we can do is to do the least amount of killing that is necessary. Also, that involves doing as little work as necessary.

For example: after harvesting in October we can plant rye or wheat as a winter cover crop. Come May, we cut it or roll it down (if necessary can be covered with a tarp for 2-3 weeks to make sure it does not come back) and then  plant into that thick mulch. No weeding needed afterwards as the mulch stops most weeds. If some weeds still come up and grow too big you can cut them or leave them be.
This is a good method as it keeps the soil food web intact, in fact it feeds it and also is very little work.

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1116 on: September 05, 2020, 02:06:44 PM »
El Cid, Thanks for the info. I'll try. Cardoon is something that I had like once a year as kid, but out of the supermarket. I liked it very much.

General de GerreLasse, these movies are beautifull. If you can ask your friend, there is one thing I never understood in these forest garden, I have one tree in my vegetable garden, and under it, it is much more difficult to grow plants. When I bought the house, it was an area without weeds. In order to grow something there, I need much more watering than in other places.  I have another area where I have currents under bigger trees, and I always have to make sure that they have enough light and water. In the Luxembourgish forests, you don't have so much weeds on the ground. Does a forest garden require a place with a lot of water ? I find it beautiful, but plants seems to need light.

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1117 on: September 05, 2020, 03:51:45 PM »
El Cid, Thanks for the info. I'll try. Cardoon is something that I had like once a year as kid, but out of the supermarket. I liked it very much.

General de GerreLasse, these movies are beautifull. If you can ask your friend, there is one thing I never understood in these forest garden, I have one tree in my vegetable garden, and under it, it is much more difficult to grow plants. When I bought the house, it was an area without weeds. In order to grow something there, I need much more watering than in other places.  I have another area where I have currents under bigger trees, and I always have to make sure that they have enough light and water. In the Luxembourgish forests, you don't have so much weeds on the ground. Does a forest garden require a place with a lot of water ? I find it beautiful, but plants seems to need light.

Etienne you make a perfect analysis of the situation. We (the volunteers) keep telling Gilbert that he has too many trees for his vegetables to grow properly. Same thing for the trees, there is competition between them for light and CO2, so they tend to make a lot of wood to get ahead of the others. But he can't resist the lure of a tree that he doesn't have in his collection...
So shrub hedges are best when you space them about 8 meters apart (it all depends on the height of the shrubs of course).
There are trees with tracing roots and others with roots that plunge into the ground, it has a lot to do with the need for watering. Some trees have a light foliage (like peach) which allows you to have a lettuce crop for example, this year under my peach tree I tried tomatoes but the results were bad. Under other trees there will be too much shade and nothing will grow. There are also bad friends, those who emit poison in the soil to kill the competition (ex. walnut).
Under the trees I tend to grow bear garlic which is delicious in spring, I also eat nettles at that time they are delicious in soup.
I don't understand: " I have currents under bigger trees" What are currents?

Otherwise I put here links to the garden of Aalbeke. It's a garden much more oriented towards the production of vegetables.

Our philosophy is that every gardener should make a garden that looks like him and where he feels good. So we all have different gardens, and we don't practice everything that happens in Mouscron or Aalbeke.

He has many other videos on Aalbeke and Mouscron on Youtub.



La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
Pierre DAC

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1118 on: September 05, 2020, 06:10:03 PM »
I think they are currants or gooseberries.
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1119 on: September 05, 2020, 08:31:31 PM »
I think they are currants or gooseberries.
Yes, it's what I meant. Groseilles et cassis in french.

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1120 on: September 06, 2020, 12:47:30 AM »
I think they are currants or gooseberries.
Yes, it's what I meant. Groseilles et cassis in french.

Yes, gooseberries, blackcurrants and raspberries don't give much if they are in the shade. In Mouscron they are on the edge of alleys and therefore have more light, otherwise they climb like other plants to get their share of light and do not produce normally unless they win the challenge. The surrounding apple trees are grafted on MM9 (dwarfing rootstocks), for the other fruit trees we also try to find weakening rootstocks or small varieties. The bigger trees are in the noth of the garden. So there is also competition at the root level because the roots of MM9 remain on the surface, like many vegetables. We also see many blackberry (?) whose root network will seek water deeper, so we are more relaxed and we are not obliged to water them like other small fruits (not mulberry trees, they know how to impose themselves on their environment).
A small remark about the rootstocks, I discussed with the president of the "Croqueurs de pomme du Nord-Pas-de-Calais" and we agree not to use MM9 anymore, with the repeated droughts we will now use more powerful rootstocks with roots capable of fetching water where it is.
The so-called 'food forests' are not suitable for growing vegetables, except for a few leafy vegetables.
For me the best thing is to grow vegetables with fruit hedges at a sufficient distance so that everyone has light and enough space to grow normally. That way we also have the possibility of harboring insect parasites that will eat the insect pests. You always have to be well balanced and never eradicate a pest, for example the aphid, I try to have plants that host aphids as long as possible in the year, so I always have ladybugs ready to multiply when I need them. If I don't do this the aphids might invade everything, and by the time the ladybugs come back to the garden I can tell by by to the crops. When i see aphids in my garden i smile i go my way and i wait for the ladybugs to do the job. The problem then comes from the ants which defend the aphids on the apple trees, life is complicated  :'(.
I think that if I had a really big plot of land I would have fruit trees that I would never prune unless I pruned the dead branches. I would let them have their natural shape (no long stems, low stems etc...) the trees would be much more resistant to climatic hazards, their branches would be more resistant to breakage and their productivity would be much higher, the trees would also be much more beautiful, but as I have only a small plot of land and I am very curious to taste many different things I adapt and I make concessions to productivity in favor of a greater variety and the pleasure of experimenting. Concerning the forests whether they are Luxembourg, English or French it is normal not to find many different varieties of wild grasses, these are recent forests, the ancestral forests found in Poland are richer in variety, the wild grasses of the open countryside cannot compete with the newly planted trees. Some wild plants sometimes have interesting strategies, I have already talked about bear garlic which grows when the trees have not yet leaves. When we transform our lawn into a vegetable garden we upset the balance of our land and we bring out from dormancy thousands of wild grasses whose seeds have accumulated for sometimes a very long time (the dormant life of these seeds is incredible). Traditional gardeners believe that the bad seeds come from our natural gardens but in fact they have been in their own garden for decades. When we change the balance of the soil we have to expect surprises. The example of the American plains is exemplary on this subject, even a simple buffalo plain seems simple and well no!
La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
Pierre DAC

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1121 on: September 06, 2020, 09:01:33 AM »
The vole must be hungry, it starts to eat salads. It's quite annoying because I have planted the winter spinach where it ate all my chards, I thought it wouldn't eat that kind of plants.
In another part of the garden, I even have tomatoes that are eaten. 

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1122 on: September 06, 2020, 10:56:34 AM »
The vole must be hungry, it starts to eat salads. It's quite annoying because I have planted the winter spinach where it ate all my chards, I thought it wouldn't eat that kind of plants.
In another part of the garden, I even have tomatoes that are eaten.

Yes, chard is very much on his menu as well as the young sweet roots of fruit trees.I found my notes from 2015 (on youtub you can have free access to Gilbert's trainings but it's in French).
You need a bucket of 10 to 12 liters, you bury it at ground level. Fill it half full of water and put a garbage lid on it, leaving a 2 or 3 centimeters passage, put a good smelling carrot in it, the voles come in and drown.
Elderberry manure seems to be effective against field mice and carrot flies. You can also try dog hair (go to a groomer, leave your dog in peace  ;) ). Castor oil cakes also seem to be effective.
Good Luck !

PS: You can also use traps, but in this case I don't have any information from people who have used them.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 11:12:12 AM by Général de GuerreLasse »
La cravate est un accessoire permettant d'indiquer la direction du cerveau de l'homme.
Un petit croquis en dit plus qu'un grand discours, mais beaucoup moins qu'un gros chèque.
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nanning

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1123 on: September 06, 2020, 11:14:30 AM »
Thank you all for the beautiful posts, a joy to read :)
I'll watch the video's later. Nice.

etienne, your garden seems to have two gardeners.
Perhaps the vole has children to feed?

A bit of info on voles.

en.wikipedia:
A 2016 study into the behavior of voles, Microtus ochrogaster specifically, found that voles comfort each other when mistreated, spending more time grooming a mistreated vole. Voles that were not mistreated had levels of stress-hormones that were similar to the voles that had been mistreated, suggesting that the voles were capable of empathizing with each other.

I'd say the voles are a more advanced species than civilisation humans.


Trivia:

urbandictionary.com:
vole
Used as a nickname for Microsoft Corp. (a Redmond WA-based company) commonly in alternative media with ties to opensource software.
Also commonly found as "The Vole".

Here you can find them at work  :P
bitsdujour.com/software/vole_office
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nanning

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1124 on: September 19, 2020, 12:08:42 PM »
I have a question about composting.

There's this little compost container in my kitchen that's filling up but never seems full. Always room to put new stuff in (at my pace of consumption).
The lower half of the container is warmer than the air in my house, so I expect very nice compost in that part.

Now the question: How do I get that ready compost out to use it?

I could remove the container's top half but that is very messy. How do you do it?
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

Latent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1125 on: September 19, 2020, 03:30:10 PM »
Hello Nanning
If its only a small container I would take it outdoors.  Lay down some newspaper and turn it upside down on the newspaper.  The compost you need is now on the top.  Take off what is useable then gather up the newspaper with the uncomposted material and put it back in your container.  The newspaper will compost down.

Hope this is helpful! :)

nanning

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1126 on: September 19, 2020, 05:29:35 PM »
Thanks Latent.
That's what I would do, but I'd like to know if this is the same thing that people do with 1m³ compost.
Sorry that my question was not that clear.
I wonder how compost from larger compost heaps get used. How do they do it? I guess that I can look it up but I like interaction with people :)
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1127 on: September 19, 2020, 06:55:37 PM »
Hi Manning,
I have in fact 2 times the 1qm compost. One that I fill, and one that rests.  When the filling compost is full, I empty the resting compost and refill it with the filling compost making sure that everything is well mixed.
That's the theory, but most of the time I use the resting compost before the other one in full. With the vole, I mixed the filling compost before it was full because I wanted to check if it would be living in the compost.
For your situation, you should try Worm Composting. It works very well inside, doesn't smell. I didn't find any webpage in english with picture. Here is one in french https://www.fermedumoutta.fr/comment-marche-un-lombricomposteur.html . You have to look for lombricompost if you want more, even videos.

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1128 on: September 19, 2020, 07:37:35 PM »
...
That's what I would do, but I'd like to know if this is the same thing that people do with 1m³ compost....
I wonder how compost from larger compost heaps get used. How do they do it?

I thnik most people have 2-3 heaps/composting boxes: the first is kitchen scraps/fresh composting material the next is half ready, the third is ready and they turn it over like etienne said.
Important: you need at least 1 m3 of material to reach 50 C - the minimum for hot composting, if you have less material, worm composting is for you, though I never tried it myself.

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1129 on: September 19, 2020, 08:25:30 PM »
I worked for a year and a half in an office with a worm compost and it worked fine. When there was not enough food for them, they received some cardboard.

nanning

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1130 on: September 20, 2020, 08:39:48 AM »
Thanks guys, that makes good sense. I'll try to think of some way to make several compost containers because I don't want to spend more money on this. It has been very interesting and I've learned a lot of important things from gardening, but I have made enough expenditures already and I've put some 'red tape' on this budget.

Luckily I have harvest from two auto flowering cannabis plants on my balcony. I'm already smoking it for a week and have enough for 10 more weeks it seems. To me that means some 400 euro saved, but I don't have that money yet. Many thanks to because for helping me out through the growing season.
The remaining (large) cannabis plant on my balcony has entered the flowering stage and looks alright. Perhaps even more valuable harvest in 8 weeks' time. Looking forward to smoking that stuff.

--

Interesting etienne. I wonder what kind of office it was :).
I will look into that but I don't have a garden and I don't know what to do with excess compost. I would want to save it for next growing season. Do I need to buy a special worm-composter, or can I put the worms into my little kitchen compost container? The worms might get bored.

El Cid, is it not feasible to get good compost from a smaller volume than 1m³ ?
It's far too large to have in my apartment, and I don't have a lot of organic material left over to get to that size. The small one (15x17x25 cm) in my kitchen has not filled up after several months of receiving left overs, even with adding many leaves from the cannabis plants. Every time I put something in, I can push it down, and the bottom feels warm to the touch.
From experience I know that there'll be fertile fluids down under. Is it a good idea to put a faucet in to tap the fluid?
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
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Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1131 on: September 20, 2020, 11:06:23 AM »
It was a normal office, just that we were working mainly for renewable energies and the boss was very ecological.
I didn't take care of the worms, but the system was organized so that liquids could come out, these are also good as fertilizers. It was very simple and should be easy to produce with different sizes of plastic buckets and lids. You have to search a little bit on internet, there was also a special process to get all the worms in the upper part when the compost had to be emptied, but like I just said, I didn't take care of it.

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1132 on: September 20, 2020, 11:24:42 AM »
Long ago i had co worker who really loved the system. Getting it started is pretty easy. Just google ´zelf een wormenbak maken´.
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1133 on: September 20, 2020, 03:55:15 PM »
Thanks etienne and kassy for your advice. Most welcome.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
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El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1134 on: September 21, 2020, 09:05:16 AM »
El Cid, is it not feasible to get good compost from a smaller volume than 1m³ ?
It's far too large to have in my apartment, and I don't have a lot of organic material left over to get to that size. The small one (15x17x25 cm) in my kitchen has not filled up after several months of receiving left overs, even with adding many leaves from the cannabis plants. Every time I put something in, I can push it down, and the bottom feels warm to the touch.
From experience I know that there'll be fertile fluids down under. Is it a good idea to put a faucet in to tap the fluid?

You can get compost from less than 1 m3 for sure, but to heat up compost to above 50 C (hot composting) you need at least 1 m3. Hot composting kills weed seeds and diseases. But as they say compost happens. However, cold composting is much slower and the end result is sometimes not as good quality

As for worm juice I think you should watch Geoff Lawton's youtube videos on worm tower, worm composting, worm juice. Also, he has at least 40 videos on youtube about permaculture. You can learn basically everything about permaculture from these videos. I believe permaculture would be an acceptable/attractive gardening philosophy for you nanning. Geoff is a great guy, fantastic videos

solartim27

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1135 on: September 26, 2020, 06:02:29 PM »
Great article a out gardening in the far north
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/greenhouses-in-the-arctic.amp
FNORD

sidd

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1136 on: September 27, 2020, 07:09:55 AM »
(USA) Who, apart from me, is seeing a bagworm resurgence in the midwest ? I seen them this year in PA, OH and IN, IL so far.

They say you spray Bt in late spring if you see em. But i am seeing little ones at this time of the year, and i am wondering if they have a two season thing going. Sparrows eat em when they are small, and i had a bunch of sparrows living in one of the trees that are now infested. Sparrows are gone now as winter approaches, but i havent ever seen small bagworms so late in the season. Starlings eat em in all stages, but starlings are LOUD, so a mixed blessing. But starlings didnt come my way so far.

(Also, Bt spray tastes salty i had my mouth open while trying to get the spray up to the top of a tree while on a ladder. In a couple years i'll have to spray with a pump from a cherry picker or a scissors lift. It's green and sticky and you get covered with green spots. Shower after you spray. )

sidd

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1137 on: September 28, 2020, 04:49:08 PM »
First Look at a Sustainable Agricultural Mulch
https://phys.org/news/2020-09-sustainable-agricultural-mulch.html

Farmers often need to regulate soil temperature, reduce weeds, and minimize water loss. Agricultural mulch can help farmers do so.

But the plastic in commonly used agricultural mulch can degrade soil and water quality. Microplastics can even enter the food chain.

In a new study, researchers tested a more sustainable approach to lowering evaporation from soils. Instead of plastic, they used sand particles coated with soybean oil. This research was published in the Vadose Zone Journal, a publication of the Soil Science Society of America.

In laboratory experiments, soil treated with a thin layer of soybean oil-coated sand had up to 96% lower evaporative water loss compared to bare soil.

To make the coated sand, researchers mixed roughly equal volumes of sand and oil. Then they heated the mixture for about an hour and allowed it to cool. Finally, the mixture was washed with water and dried.

This process chemically modifies the oil, partially polymerizing it. The partially polymerized oil forms a coating around individual sand particles.

"We found that individual sand grains can be coated with partially-polymerized oil," says Nicholl.

That's important because any soil treatment aimed at reducing water loss also has to allow water—via rainfall or irrigation—to enter the soil. A sheet of oil-coated sand fused together could stop water from entering the soil.

Initial tests indicated that this oil-coated sand is quite effective at reducing water loss through evaporation.

This bio-based mulch has not been exposed to outdoor environments. "So, we don't have adequate data to determine how this material weathers in an agricultural setting," says Nicholl

... Water evaporates from soils in two different ways. The oil-coated sand reduced the more potent path of evaporative water loss.

"As an analogy, think of soil as a damp sponge," says Nicholl.

If you set the sponge in a puddle of water, the water will soak up into the sponge. Eventually, the water will rise to the top of the sponge. Then it will evaporate into the air.

Similarly, wicking action carries water to the soil surface. There, it evaporates directly into the air.

In the second mechanism, the water is unable to wick all the way to the soil surface. Instead, it evaporates into the air within the soil. This humid air must diffuse upwards through the soil and ultimately escape into the atmosphere.

"This second mechanism is much less efficient than the first," says Nicholl. "It results in lower rates of evaporation."

Jesse Lee Barnes et al. Mildly hydrophobic biobased mulch: A sustainable approach to controlling bare soil evaporation, Vadose Zone Journal (2020)
https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/vzj2.20047
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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1138 on: September 28, 2020, 09:26:36 PM »
I dont like this idea. Soy oil will break down into free fatty acids (FFAs) and drop the pH, many crops do not like that. Increasing water retention throught increasing soil organic content sounds like  a much better idea.

sidd
 

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1139 on: September 28, 2020, 09:34:22 PM »
Although I agree with you that organic is the better way, semi-polymerized soybean oil would slow oxidation significantly. In real life, I think soil fungi would probably reduce layer functionality fairly rapidly.
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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1140 on: September 28, 2020, 10:40:47 PM »
I dont like this idea. Soy oil will break down into free fatty acids (FFAs) and drop the pH, many crops do not like that. Increasing water retention throught increasing soil organic content sounds like  a much better idea.

sidd

I agree. You can plant cereal rye (or any other cover crop) in the fall which - when rolled down by a roller-crimper creates the best mulch there is, feeding soil life and enriching your soil. Nature has millions of years of R&D. Systems like this are not new and yet still barely used:

https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/31/3/article-p338.xml

(the study is about tomato grown in various mulches, vetch was better than black poly or bare earth)



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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1141 on: September 28, 2020, 11:37:45 PM »
Vetch is cheap too.

Some feedback on planting potatoes in shredded/chipped wood. We got a good crop from the plants at the edge of the mulch. I think it was too deep in the middle and only half of the potatoes made it to the surface. However the yield was similar to another bed we planted under 15cm of hay topped up with grass cuttings.
Another possible upside is that even after recent heavy rain, the potatoes under woodchip and grass cuttings are still quite dry so it looks like we can keep them in the ground a bit longer. Some that we stored have already started chitting so I planted them (beneath the ground for once) to see what happens over winter. Also put in some very early garlic as a test.


El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1142 on: September 29, 2020, 08:15:43 AM »
Some that we stored have already started chitting so I planted them (beneath the ground for once) to see what happens over winter. Also put in some very early garlic as a test.

Seems a bit early, as the garlic could grow too big and then freeze over winter and also potatoes could start growing too early. Anyway, tell us later in spring what happened to them

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1143 on: October 25, 2020, 07:46:40 AM »
Amazingly, some figs are still ripening on my trees, also some raspberries. These two are (in my experience) among the most easy to grow, rewarding fruits. I do absolutely nothing with my fig trees/bushes. No pruning, no nothing. I just pick the fruits. I mulch around their roots with with fall leaves in November (the neighbours gather and bag their leaves and I pick those up - their loss, my gain) and that is all. The leaves serve as protection from the cold and also serve as food for the trees (nutrients).
These twice-bearing/ever-bearing raspberries are also quite phenomenal. I pick them every day or every other day and I always get some very nice, sweet ones from June till October. Isn't life beautiful?

Florifulgurator

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1144 on: October 25, 2020, 01:17:42 PM »
Apropos mulch: Any experience with wood chips?

We got a dead-plowed loamy field here where manure hasn't helped building any new soil. It is near the forest where the foresters made huge heaps of wood chips from beetle infested spruce trees.

My theory is, it's due to the lack of fungi. One gardener says the wood chips would acidify the field. Methinks that would 1) at worst be temporary, and 2) if acidity happens it could be beneficial (mobilizing nutrients to deeper layers and feeding microbes). 3) Anyhow I would put out the chips in strips and not cover the field completely.
Google image search on my avatar image gives "wood". In fact it is the lower part of David Hilbert's tombstone.

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1145 on: October 25, 2020, 08:06:35 PM »
Here is a good link about wood chips. https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/
Mulch is in the middle on the right.

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1146 on: October 25, 2020, 08:41:00 PM »
Apropos mulch: Any experience with wood chips?

Plenty.

woodchip mulch is absolutely great for shrubs and trees and all sorts of berries, 5-10-15-20 cm deep, they love it. In our C-EU climate they become wonderful soil in 3-4 years. Coniferous chips take longer (depending on size and precipitation of course)
 
BUT: they do rob the upper few cm of the soil of nitrogen, therefore they are NOT good for vegetables - most vegs do not grow in them. After rotting for 1-2-3 years and partially decomposed, they are good. Or you could put chicken manure and or urine on them (mix them), that way they decompose fast and can be used after a few months.

Woodchips are wonderful soil builders but it takes time for them to build that soil. I grew wonderful melons in partially decomposed coniferous mulch

What you can also do is scatter the chips all over your field so that it would not completely cover it and frost-seed whiteclover and/or alfalfa and / or crimson clover (my favourite) into it in February. Mow the clover at flowering, that will provide enough nitrogen for the chips to break down faster.   

Alexander555

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1147 on: October 26, 2020, 06:52:47 PM »
El Cid , a little while ago you told something about cow dung , that it contains nitrate. So i mixed some horse dung in my compost. Now i'm preparing my 2th pile of compost, but i think they moved all the horses to their winter location. So i have no dung anymore. Is there something els you can use to give the compost some extra nutrients ?

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1148 on: October 26, 2020, 09:48:05 PM »
If you have lots of woody, high-carbon stuff (woodchips, leaves, straw), you should put in things that are high in nitrogen, like grass clippings, coffee grounds, kitchen scraps or good old fashioned urine (human as well). These all have lots of N to kickstart the process. You also might want to put a tarp on to keep the pile warm

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1149 on: October 28, 2020, 04:09:56 PM »
Thanks a lot etienne and El Cid for the wood chip advice! Much better information to noise ratio here than on the Facebook permaculture group!

So, it looks the cardinal "error" is to mix wood chips into soil: Then instead of a thin 2D-layer of humic acids you get an almost 3D fractal of acidic space for a few years. Deep rooting plants have no problem with the humification layer.

The best thing I got from the FB group is an old German farmers' saying: "Holz macht den Boden stolz" -- "Wood makes the soil proud".

------------------------

Ceterum censeo: Do not pee into the flush toilet, instead make the compost happy.
Google image search on my avatar image gives "wood". In fact it is the lower part of David Hilbert's tombstone.