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El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1150 on: October 28, 2020, 08:29:22 PM »
Many of these new permaculture-converts have little practical experience with actually growing things. They have grand designs and highflying ideas which is all good and well, but you need to personally try many things (and fail often). That is the way to learn.

"Natural farming" is a pretty simple thing after all but there are many little tricks and every climate and plant has its own tricks. So it takes a lifetime to learn even half of them :)

But this is a wonderful path even thuogh we never get to the end   

Florifulgurator

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1151 on: October 28, 2020, 08:35:59 PM »
El Cid, exactly.

Problem is, there are also a lot of gardening myths out there. Here (wood chips or not) I had a problem with an elderly experienced gardener, who once even helped start a Demeter organic gardening business. Folks were listening to him and dismissed my idea without second thought. Meanwhile I "won" the debate and we will give it a try.
Google image search on my avatar image gives "wood". In fact it is the lower part of David Hilbert's tombstone.

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1152 on: October 29, 2020, 06:09:31 PM »
Demeter has an esoteric dimension, it is linked to antroposophy which is a child association of the former theosophical society.The speech Krishnamurti made when he ended the theosophical society in 1929 is just great, but the German section decided to continue its own path and became the antroposophical society.

I'm not saying that Demeter is bad, just that you need to know that some of their tricks are good, others require faith to see the effect.

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1153 on: October 29, 2020, 11:52:18 PM »
Etienne, I'm aware of that and some of the weird ideas of Rudolf Steiner. :) I also have a Demeter farming friend - the only successful small farmer in his area. But they are also working extremely hard. Some of those Steiner recipes actually sound like the right intuition - but I guess in effect they are more symbolic/homeopathic. Even if it is pure hokus pokus - as rituals they might help the farmer to focus on the right things. (Just like homeopathy may have some value as a symbolic system for deep anamnesis of the patient: This closer look is often lacking in standard medical practise.) -- Anyhow, I prefer a more scientific biological approach, but have some respect for the Demeter folks.

I just love the Krishnamurti speech. The story he tells of the devil - was it Krishnamurti's invention? Haven't yet found it anywhere else.

Quote
You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, “What did that man pick up?” “He picked up a piece of Truth,” said the devil. “That is a very bad business for you, then,” said his friend. “Oh, not at all,” the devil replied, “I am going to let him organize it."
Google image search on my avatar image gives "wood". In fact it is the lower part of David Hilbert's tombstone.

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1154 on: November 07, 2020, 08:38:58 PM »
these are beautiful beans and they are also delicious. :)
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Pierre DAC

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1155 on: November 07, 2020, 08:43:00 PM »
you seem to have very small hands, General :)

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1156 on: November 07, 2020, 09:07:16 PM »
you seem to have very small hands, General :)

at mine/home everything is small and cute  ;)

(not sure about the translation)  ;D
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 #1157 on: November 07, 2020, 10:02:50 PM »
you seem to have very small hands, General :)
Very very big kidney beans?
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
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"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1158 on: November 07, 2020, 11:21:10 PM »
you seem to have very small hands, General :)
Very very big kidney beans?

they are called "toes of the preacher", it is a spontaneous mutation (I think) that appeared in Belgium. They are really delicious and very productive. The oars are 5 to 7 meters long.
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 #1159 on: November 07, 2020, 11:31:17 PM »
The apples come from an apple tree called "Monty's Surprise". It was a friend of mine, Mark Christensen who sent me the grafts. Here is the link to his site.

https://www.heritagefoodcrops.org.nz/montys-surprise-apple/

I'm in the photo where you can see the gang of old people with grafts in their hands. ;)
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 #1160 on: November 12, 2020, 09:57:04 AM »
That is a nice, big apple. We also have a variety here, called "1-pounder", due to its very big size, I think it is called Rambour in France:

https://pomiferous.com/applebyname/rambour-franc-id-5203

And now, if you show me yours, I'll show you mine. These are obviously not as big as your apples, but beautiful. "Vaniglia" persimmons from my garden (I love persimmons, and due to climate change now they can be grown here):

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1161 on: November 13, 2020, 02:40:36 PM »
That is a nice, big apple. We also have a variety here, called "1-pounder", due to its very big size, I think it is called Rambour in France:

https://pomiferous.com/applebyname/rambour-franc-id-5203

And now, if you show me yours, I'll show you mine. These are obviously not as big as your apples, but beautiful. "Vaniglia" persimmons from my garden (I love persimmons, and due to climate change now they can be grown here):

Hi El Cid,
My persimmons won't be as big as yours. For the moment they are not yet ripe enough because there has not been enough gel (2 or 3 small morning gels). So they are still much too astringent. But soon they will be tasty and I will eat them with a small spoon. The raspberry trees are still giving a lot (this morning's harvest). The figs are still ripening (but not for long), this is the second harvest of the year, the first took place at the end of July and the second started at the end of September. And all this grows in the north of France, the climate change is really already very present and it influences my gardening methods. I let a peach tree grow so that it can shade my apple trees a bit. Several of my apples were burned by the sun this summer, it made brown spots and the apples were ruined. I also think my salads will grow better in the light shade of the peach tree.


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 #1162 on: November 15, 2020, 05:44:09 PM »
Good evening friends, I have some very bad news for you: Gilbert Cardon, one of the founders of Permaculture has passed away. RIP my friend.

http://fraternitesouvrieres.over-blog.com/2020/11/une-bien-triste-nouvelle-vient-de-tomber.html
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 #1163 on: November 18, 2020, 07:31:58 AM »
The apples come from an apple tree called "Monty's Surprise".

I plan to cross-pollinate some of my favourite apples and plant the seeds. I read up on the subject, so I know what to do and what to expect (basically results only in 5-8 years, 50-70% of grown seedlings useless because of diesase or sour taste, but maybe some interesting, edible new apple cultivars). Has anyone has any experience with this though? Just out of curiosity.

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1164 on: November 18, 2020, 09:02:30 PM »
The apples come from an apple tree called "Monty's Surprise".

I plan to cross-pollinate some of my favourite apples and plant the seeds. I read up on the subject, so I know what to do and what to expect (basically results only in 5-8 years, 50-70% of grown seedlings useless because of diesase or sour taste, but maybe some interesting, edible new apple cultivars). Has anyone has any experience with this though? Just out of curiosity.

The Monty's Surprise probably came from a seed of chance. Mark and his friends sowed seeds of Monty's Surprise and they seem to have gotten a better apple tree than they called "Remarkable" (it has anti-inflammatory properties in addition to the peculiarities of its progenitor). For that it was necessary to sow hundreds of seeds.

The great creators of apple trees in the 19th century proceeded by sowing and pollination.I will inquire with the president of the croqueurs de pommes (Northern France plus Belgium) the national association has 8000 members, there must be 1 or 2 among them who could give good advice.  I will come back on the thread when I have an answer.

If you want a graft or Monty's seeds it's possible (and it's free).


Otherwise there is always google. ;D
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 #1165 on: November 24, 2020, 01:08:21 PM »
The apples come from an apple tree called "Monty's Surprise".

I plan to cross-pollinate some of my favourite apples and plant the seeds. I read up on the subject, so I know what to do and what to expect (basically results only in 5-8 years, 50-70% of grown seedlings useless because of diesase or sour taste, but maybe some interesting, edible new apple cultivars). Has anyone has any experience with this though? Just out of curiosity.

Hi El Cid, I have directions for you.

To sow your apple seeds you will need a temperature not too high, 15°C seems to be very good.
If you sow your seeds without preparing them they will not germinate or very little. INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research) has been looking for malus siversii seeds in Kazakhstan but nothing has germinated. In Kazakhstan the seeds germinate only if the apples have been digested by bears beforehand. If there are no bears in your garden you know what you have to do. ;D

You can sow them now you will see well in the spring. Do not expect miracles, you will probably be disappointed with the results, unless you are very stubborn and very patient. The apples obtained are rarely satisfactory.  :'(
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 #1166 on: November 24, 2020, 04:39:13 PM »
merci mon general

I do know how to do it, just wanted to know if anyone has grown a significant number of apple seedlings (100+) and tell me the ratio of usable apples.

In the meantime I talked to a guy who crosspollinated a few nice apples (like Cox x Golden, or Red Delicious x Gala, etc) and he said that 1 out 10 seedlings are pretty good, 2-3 is good for juice/cider, the rest are not very good, but those can still be used (as rootstock) to graft good apple cultivars on them.

Anyway, I will tell you all how it worked out  in 10 years time :)

Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1167 on: November 24, 2020, 07:41:36 PM »
merci mon general

I do know how to do it, just wanted to know if anyone has grown a significant number of apple seedlings (100+) and tell me the ratio of usable apples.

In the meantime I talked to a guy who crosspollinated a few nice apples (like Cox x Golden, or Red Delicious x Gala, etc) and he said that 1 out 10 seedlings are pretty good, 2-3 is good for juice/cider, the rest are not very good, but those can still be used (as rootstock) to graft good apple cultivars on them.

Anyway, I will tell you all how it worked out  in 10 years time :)

Send Mark Christensen an email, he can answer you better than I can. He has a good sowing experience, I already told you about it. You are right in the worst case you will get good rootstocks (francs).
A tree grafted on hardwood will start to produce well after 8 to 10 years if it has enough nitrogen I know everyone says that nitrogen is not good because the tree makes wood, which is normal for a young tree. it will only slow down fruit production very little and it will prevent the phenomena of alternation.  Nitrogen must be produced by plants cultivated at the foot of trees and which can be mowed and left on the spot regularly (do not pull them up but then you know why). An Apple tree, or a seedling pear tree will require 20 or 25 years to become adult and produce to their maximum. I think that if you graft on francs you will have to leave a space of 10X10 meters (So that your trees do not lack carbon, carbon hunger is a disaster) and not to prune them to keep the suppleness of the branches and that they do not break under the weight of the fruits.
Good luck, I would already like to have 10 years more to taste your apples (uh no finally I'm not in such a hurry to be 10 years older). ;)
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 #1168 on: December 04, 2020, 02:41:16 PM »
About the vole, I found a flower that should  also help.
https://www.saatgut-shop.com/blumenzwiebeln/osterglocken-narzissen-dichternarzissen/Kleinkronige-Narzissen/Narcissus-Kleinkronige-Narzissen--La-Riante.html
Wühlmausstopp Narzissen La Riante in German.
I bought the last 25 available.

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1169 on: December 13, 2020, 10:37:37 AM »
Hello,

Does anybody knows what happens with the onions this year ? The place where I buy it is sold out, and I didn't find any organic one. I bought what I found in a supermarket, but there were only 3 pack left.

Regards,

Etienne

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1170 on: December 22, 2020, 05:15:44 PM »
This is quite interesting:

https://medium.com/local-carbon-network/a-perspective-on-terra-preta-and-biochar-765697e27bd5

This one is about biochar and terra preta. The article basically says that to get the best effects out of biochar, you need to co-compost it, not simply add to compost after compost is ready and explains why.
It also says (and after checking it in other scientific studies I found this to be true) that the compost heap heats up faster and to a higher temperature if biochar is added when creating the pile. Also, he states that plants grown in co-composted biochar/compost grows much better (also supported by other studies I found) than in "simple" compost or compost+biochar mix.

Great article!

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1171 on: January 09, 2021, 10:10:46 AM »
I do not remember if this article has been quoted before in this thread:

https://www.shelterwoodforestfarm.com/blog/the-lost-forest-gardens-of-europe

This is a truly interesting article (with scientific research quoted), detailing how late stone age Europeans relied very much on semi-wild/semi-cultivated hazel groves for a significant portion of their diet and how climate changed destroyed these ancient, sustainable forest gardens, leading our ancestors to (unsustainable) grain production and working only a few hours a day to toiling all day.

I more and more believe that our whole agricultural system is based on the phallacy of annuals while truly sustainable systems are almost always tree-based / agroforestry systems with mostly perennial produce (various nuts, eg. hazel, chestnut, pecan, walnut etc and fruits) and some annual vegetables in between (and possibly small animals raised in theses groves).

However, as our diet is very much based on grains, we would also have to change our dietary habits, which is a very hard sell...

kassy

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1172 on: January 09, 2021, 05:36:02 PM »
Interesting and inspiring read. Thanks!
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.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1173 on: January 11, 2021, 02:53:05 AM »
El CID, Yes well written. I think some inclusion of foraging and low energy input agriculture can be rebuilt in some places but all the energy we currently use allows farming marginal land and pumping deep aquifers. Without lots of energy there will be less land viable for food production.

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1174 on: January 11, 2021, 07:25:55 AM »
Bruce,

I actually did some energy calculations. A mixed apple (10%)-hazel (15%)-chestnut(25%)- walnut (15%)-pecan(15%)-nitrogenfixer/pollinator/native pollarded/coppiced (20%) tree mix  with a n fixer perennial understory (eg. white clover/alfalfa,etc) should conservatively yield cca . 500 kg of oily nuts, 500kg chestnuts and 1000 kg of apples (without any outside inputs). Enough food (protein, calories, vitamins,all) for 4 people from one hectare.That is not bad. You can throw in some bean-production for protein in the tree rows (or other vegetables), or alternatively a few sheep,chicken or goat.

Also, this should be managable by handtools and be a regenerative practice in general.
The carrying capacity is pretty amazing in theory.

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1175 on: January 15, 2021, 11:00:16 PM »
Thanks for a great read, El Cid. Somehow I've always thought that ever since grain-based agriculture became dominant, there wasn't much else, but this makes much more sense.

That combination of nuts and fruit/berries as a foundation of increased self-sufficiency is my dream and ambition.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1176 on: January 16, 2021, 09:28:19 AM »
... Somehow I've always thought that ever since grain-based agriculture became dominant, there wasn't much else, but this makes much more sense....

Metoo!

Since grain-based/annual agriculture is basically the only thing we have ever known, ever seen, it is hard to think that any other diet/agriculture is possible. But if we think about it then perennial, tree-based agriculture is really the only thing that makes sense (with some grain/veggies, animals, etc in the tree rows). The change of mindset is not easy but it is a beautiful goal.

Geoff Lawton's great video about what is a food forest, worth watching:


Général de GuerreLasse

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1177 on: January 25, 2021, 07:46:48 PM »
I am destroyed. I have just heard on television that the allotments in Paris are going to be evicted to make way for buildings that will be used for the future Olympic Games in Paris  :'(. I call here for a boycott of these games. >:(

I complete my information. The allotments "Jardin des Vertus" will be concreted to make way for an Olympic swimming pool as well as an aquagym and fitness complex. Only my good education (and the rules of this forum) prevents me from giving you here the bottom of my thought.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2021, 08:01:31 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

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1178 on: January 26, 2021, 07:49:12 AM »
I am destroyed. I have just heard on television that the allotments in Paris are going to be evicted to make way for buildings that will be used for the future Olympic Games in Paris  :'(. I call here for a boycott of these games. >:(

That is sad. Especially that it happens for the now totally useless Olympic Games, which are the hotbed of corruption and a waste of taxpayer money and are almost always loss-making ventures. Not to mention, that now almost all elite sportsmen/women use various drugs, so it is more a chemical competition - not the old Greek Ideal. Our government wanted to host the 2024 Olympic Games in Budapest but after 200 000 signatures arrived against it in a very short time they understood that the populace is not very supportive, so they gave it up (and started calling the people who were against it "dream-killers").

 Do something, resist, take to the streets (I hear, you French are quite good at barricades and mass protests :)

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1179 on: January 27, 2021, 05:15:58 AM »
They are still paying off the Olympics that were held in Montreal.

 I have finished up my okra refrig pickles, but still have collards/kale and yellow tomato salsa from 8 x 4 feet plot. And of course the rhubarb jam.  The condundrum, do I get my parents  house ready to sell or garden one more year.   As noted, it might be moot for 2024, one never knows, but the theft of the commons will happen long before that unfortunately.  sigh. 

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1180 on: January 27, 2021, 07:23:14 AM »
I have finished up my okra refrig pickles, but still have collards/kale and yellow tomato salsa from 8 x 4 feet plot. And of course the rhubarb jam.

Unfortunately we are also running out of staff from last year. No more fresh carrots now... Carrots are important for me, because from September I start the day with a carrot-apple juice (fresh pressed) and you cannot buy really tasty carrots now matter how you try. They simply don't grow them anywhere. Supermarket carrots are tasteless. So I grow them, and they are super delicious. During November I pile 10-20 cm leaves on them so I can keep digging them up even though it is cold outside and the soil freezes (but not under the leaves!) I probably had 100+ kgs on 25 m2 without much effort other than hand-seeding and watering. I try to avoid thinning and weeding as I am a lazy gardener :)

Even after many years I am always amazed how much food you can grow in a small space and how different the taste of produce when grown in very good soil (compost basically) and fresh...   

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1181 on: January 27, 2021, 05:44:00 PM »
El CID, I have just planted my carrots as we are about to get the first substantial rains. Last year I had lots of carrots and kohlrabi leaves so I cooked guanciale and fried the root crops in the oil. The kohlrabi reseeded this year so in a couple months we will have abundance again.
 I usually put out a cover crop but rains are so late this year I didn’t put in the cover. Instead I bought $800 of compost last spring,  a semi load. I put it out about four inches thick over and area of half and acre and smoothed it with a rake. I stretched and old heavy rope in one hundred foot straight lines and pulled it to make nice long lines to plant my seeds. So without much work I have my garden started.
 Too bad there aren’t any victory gardens being promoted with the Covid hunger issues expanding. The government could help as they did in WW2 but I guess sitting in your car waiting for food handouts is easier. Handouts aren’t  a solution in the long run but as usual nobody is thinking our problems are systemic or long lasting. I think people might starve rather than get their hands dirty.
 There are ways to eat that are very inexpensive. Buying bulk wheat or corn and making your own bread or masa can feed a family on pennies per day. At some point there will be no rescue from free food. At some point we either learn how to take care of ourselves or risk our electronic neverland coming back to bite us.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 06:18:37 PM by Bruce Steele »

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1182 on: January 27, 2021, 09:06:18 PM »
Well Bruce,

Half an acre garden? That is a LOT. I mean, I currently have 2 acres but most of it is just various trees (eg spruce, maple, ash, etc),  ornamental trees (like magnolias, gingko, tuliptree, paulownia, flowering bushes) and many fruit trees from mulberrys to figs, apples, pears, apricots, peaches, cherries, persimmon, pawpaw, plum, chestnut, hazel, berries, etc but you do not really need to do much with those.

A vegetable garden is much more work. if yo do not look at your trees for a month or two, likely nothing bad happens, but veggies need constant, almost daily attention. So half an acre is really very much. but you can literally grow tons of food. What will you plant?

I have a wheat cover crop now in half of my (not really big) vegetable garden, I plan to terminate it at the beginning of May/end of April and plant melons, sweet corn, tomatoes, basil, beans, peppers and aubergine there.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1183 on: January 27, 2021, 10:22:01 PM »
El CID, I used to have five acres in vegetables, soil prep, drip tape, planting, cultivating, picking,  selling to restaurants and four days of farm stand offerings seven months a year. My wife would help in the farm stand but otherwise I did it alone. I keep logs but in general vegetables sold for $1 a pound and I could grow 15 to 20 thousand pounds a year. It’s not that it’s so very much work but that it’s so very little money. I had another job as a commercial sea urchin diver for the remaining five winter months so I had year round very physical work and farming was the easy part.
 I learned some labor saving techniques and it is amazing how much food one man and a small tractor can produce. Drip tape, plastic mulch, fertilizer, and irrigation but ultimately very little money and damn hard on the land growing crops like corn. As a fluke I starting raising Mangalitsa pigs . Pigs are less work but they are work 365 days a year. The money is roughly four times better. The pigs are hard on the ground so I keep them off the best garden dirt.
  I play with farming my little acre area with as much care, compost and manure( chicken horse goat ) as I can grow onsite. This year I splurged and bought forty yards. I try to not use my little cultivating tractor and prefer my electric wheelhoe. I don’t use plastic drip tape or plastic mulch anymore except a little floating cover for frost protection. I know I am on track when I can see healthy worms . So I used to farm my vegetables to sell but now I only grow them for the fun and no I don’t think it’s that much work .
 This year I found a spring or more like a small weep and I have been working on plumbing it to a tank. 
I have several Chilean wine palms I have grown from seed collected from 100 year old trees in Santa Barbara. I am going to try and devise a way to use the little spring to water the palm  trees so that when I am gone the trees will have gravity access to water.  I have a moreton bay fig that I am going to plant as a specimen tree. Figs tend to freeze out around here but with a little greenhouse built around it maybe I can give it a head start before climate change kicks in. I am planting trees that are really better adapted to warmer climes but soon enough they will be well adapted and my stone fruit will suffer lack of winter chill.
 Anyway it’s a good day of rain and I think I have spring fever.

 

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1184 on: January 28, 2021, 07:37:04 AM »
Couple of things/questions Bruce,

1 ) 15-20 thousand pounds seems to me very little on 5 acres. Of course that depends on what you grow. If my calculations are correct that is below 0,5 kg/m2. I know that my much smaller veggie garden (grown on compost and irrigated, no dig) has average yields of 3-5 kgs/m2 of carrots, parsnips, 2-4 kgs of sweet potatoes, 3+ kgs of tomatoes. Of course lettuce and greens yield much less, way below 0,5 kg/m2. Green beans yield cca 0,5 kgs /m2. My original soil is clay but I now have 10-25 cm of very soft black earth on top of it in the garden beds, and I do not need a spade to get out my sweet potatoes or carrots.
2) You say that figs freeze out where you are, but I find that odd. The general knowledge and experience here is that figs survie until -15C. They die back if it falls below that (happens every 3-10 years), but grow back from root. Of course if they die back you don't have a breba crop (1st crop), only a second. So maybe, you grow the "wrong" fig variety? We definitely have no dieback until minus 13-14 C.
3) As for trees. I think trees are the ultimate solution (agroforestry). They build up organic matter in the soil, they are less work than vegetables, and produce wonderful fruits. And yo can still grow veggies in between them if you want to. Or let loose those mangalitsa in the rows (when the trees are bigger)?! I have some mulberry trees outside the house and a wild apple and pear tree. we live by a forest and wild boar eat up all the fallen fruits. They love it and do not hurt the trees at all. Maybe you can use this technique of growing a sort of food forest? You could grow some (coppiced) nitrogen fixers and apples/pears /peaches/apricots/mulberries from seed, eat the good/lucky varieties that tase well and leave the rest for the pigs?

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1185 on: January 28, 2021, 03:14:13 PM »
Sorry for the interruption, but re food forests:

In 2-3 years from now we plan to buy a couple of hectares of agricultural land and convert them to some form of agroforestry. The way I envision it now, is a focus on nuts (chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, maybe almonds) with sheep to keep the grass low.

Before planting anything, we'd probably invest in soil improvement with a focus on CO2 sequestration. The idea doesn't necessarily revolve around self-sufficiency for ourselves, but would serve as an example of regenerative agri/horticulture that is more resilient and lucrative for farmers, and healthier for communities.

Is there any information out there that gives a good overview of the possibilities? There are two books that are considered essential reading, called Edible Forest Gardens Vol. 1 and 2, that I've been wanting to buy for over 10 years now, but the price and the sheer amount of pages have prevented me from doing so. Has anyone read them?

Of course, that link that El Cid posted earlier to a blog post on 'The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe' was very inspiring. But some concrete stuff wouldn't be bad either, especially if in book form (for my library). I found some books on commercial growing of chestnuts and hazelnuts, but they were very US-oriented (maybe worthwhile nevertheless):

The Hazelnut and Chestnut Handbook

Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts: The New Resilient Crop for a Changing Climate
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wili

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1186 on: January 28, 2021, 03:32:05 PM »
That's really exciting, Neven. I have friends who went heavily into hazelnuts. Unfortunately for me, I shortly thereafter discovered that I have a fairly serious allergy to tree nuts :/

In any case, besides the books you mentioned, have you heard of this one?

Designing a Forest Garden: The Seven-Layer Garden


https://www.chelseagreen.com/2020/designing-a-forest-garden-the-seven-story-garden/

Technically, I have six of the seven--no tall fruit/nut bearing trees. I planted a hickory in the back yard a few years ago, but it didn't make it. May try again next year, but in any case, I can't eat 'em, and I would probably be long gone by the time it reached any significant stature.
"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."

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1187 on: January 28, 2021, 03:54:21 PM »

Designing a Forest Garden: The Seven-Layer Garden


https://www.chelseagreen.com/2020/designing-a-forest-garden-the-seven-story-garden/

Yes, that's from Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Second Edition by Toby Hemenway, which is one of the best/most inspiring books on (permaculture) gardening I have read.

Would it help with your nut allergy if you soaked the nuts before eating them? That's what my wife almost always does, as she maintains that nuts contain toxins to discourage predators.
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El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1188 on: January 28, 2021, 08:59:58 PM »
Neven

This is a nice one (pdf), I hope the link is OK:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi0qO2qsL_uAhVywosKHV43ANIQFjABegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbosquedeniebla.com.mx%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F09%2FSyntropic-Farming-guide-1.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2-eF7ZjLqJo34K0VgsyBy7

(also check out Ernst Götsch on youtube and here:
 https://agendagotsch.com/en/what-is-syntropic-farming/)

(also Panos Manikis: , there are also other videos with him)

Then, Geoff Lawton has tons of videos on youtube starting with this :



he's got dozens of other videos that you can learn a great deal from

I think the basic principle is mimicking a real forest, if you consider that, you won't make big mistakes. You start with plenty of "nurse" trees and many other "useful" trees planted real close to each other. Ideally the tree rows are north-south if the slope of the land allows. You plant many nitrogen fixers and pioneer trees and fruit trees. Then after 2-5 years you start coppicing the nurse trees, ie. cutting them back heavily and leaving the cut wood around your fruit trees as mulch (you can chip it if you can get a chipper). I also strongly advise  to create an evergreen hedge around the land (yew, cypress, laurel, etc.) - or at least from north, south and west. This will shelter the plants, reduce the strength of the winds, reduce evaporation, create a microclimate. I would plant clovers in between the trees. You really only need to cut clovers twice or thrice a year and put the cuttings around the trees, or as you said feed the sheep with it. 

In our climate birch, poplar, alder, willow, russian olive, mulberry ( Mulberry leaves are great animal feed as well!), black locust, albizia julibrissin are great nurse/pioneer/coppice trees. Some maple, ash and oak is OK, but they grow too big and overshadow everything. I would plant my big trees on the northern end of the land. White clover, red clover, crimson clover are great in between the rows.

As for the sheep: we really need rest periods between grazings, so I would use a portable (electric?) fence and let them eat the grasses/clovers only after a minimum rest period of 2 months. Otherwise the "pasture" will weaken. So you can create various paddocks, graze them for a few days on 200m2, then for a few days on the next 200m2 and so on.

I wish you good luck with this venture.


GoSouthYoungins

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1189 on: February 04, 2021, 08:48:14 PM »
Neven,

I'm doing something similar now. Just bought a new house on some land. Our goats and chickens will graze pastures and we are putting in a small food forest along with more traditional gardening and "3 sisters" plots.

The overall idea is to create as much soil as possible with as little external inputs, while feeding the family.

There is a beautiful irony that the best thing for an individual to do to combat climate change, is also the best thing to do if you think climate change is going to collapse the current economic system.
big time oops

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1190 on: February 05, 2021, 10:13:26 PM »

There is a beautiful irony that the best thing for an individual to do to combat climate change, is also the best thing to do if you think climate change is going to collapse the current economic system.

And as a bonus you get rewarded by extremely delicious fruits and vegetables. Not a bad deal if you ask me :)


uniquorn

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1191 on: February 06, 2021, 12:09:05 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

Feedback on potatoes and garlic: The potatoes sprouted well but did get hit by frost and died back. We only had half a dozen -2C nights but it was enough. Maybe they will re-sprout. The garlic has done well and is well ahead of our regular crop. The cloves were very small though (too small to peel)  so we'll see what happens in a few months. It's very mild here so I'm thinking about early flax and coriandre (hasn't worked as a summer crop for a few years)

We already have a lot of hazel but a neighbour has been inspired enough to take some cuttings.

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1192 on: February 07, 2021, 05:45:21 PM »
Hello,

I have a question regarding lamb's lettuce (DE : Feldsalat, FR : mäche), it works quite well, but I have two different types of behavior.

Some grow strait and I take the leaves on the sides.
Other have different "heads", and I pick the heads that are big enough to be eaten.

The behavior with the multiple heads is much easier to harvest. Is there something specific that has to be done in order to promote it ?

Thanks,

Etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1193 on: March 10, 2021, 08:18:45 PM »
Hey everyone!

Spring is upon us. I have already planted some new trees and berries. Prepared all the vegetable beds, coppiced many trees (will be chipped down soon), pruned the fruit trees and ornamentals, planted in the mini-greenhouse (radishes, salads and broccolis came up a few days ago), made some hügel-beds and did many more things.

Get working, a glorious summer and fall with huge harvests and beautiful shapes, colours and flowers will be the result!
:)

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1194 on: March 13, 2021, 10:29:07 PM »
Well, I have spent some time to build a greenhouse with the old windows of my parents in law. I hope it will help. It is not completely finished, so I used some plastic to close the last holes in order to be ready for the planting season.

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1195 on: March 14, 2021, 07:21:35 AM »
Etienne,

This is great! My experience with cold frames/unheated greenhouses is that it gives you 3-4 weeks at the beginning of the planting season, so you can plant things directly that much earlier. And in our/your climate it makes it possible to harvest greens during the whole winter.

Also, growing transplants (eg. warm-loving tomatoes, melons, but also broccolis, etc.) in an unheated greenhouse is much better than inside our homes, as greenhouse-grown transplants are much stronger as they experience bigger temperature swings and if you open the doors during the day (which you will have to anyway on sunny days or the plants could cook!), they experience wind as well. Theses tranpslants are very hardy and need no pampering.

(Inside a very simple cold frame I grow my transplants I usually see nighttime temperatures 2-3C above outside temps, but daytime it could be 10-20 C more if the sun shines strongly)

So, all in all, great job!

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1196 on: March 14, 2021, 08:01:39 AM »
Thanks.
The first thing I realized is that collecting rain water is much more useful than before.

El Cid

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1197 on: March 14, 2021, 01:58:45 PM »
Thanks.
The first thing I realized is that collecting rain water is much more useful than before.

Since the roof of your greenhouse is slanted that should not be difficult!

etienne

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1198 on: April 09, 2021, 07:08:51 AM »
Hello,

I have a question regarding lamb's lettuce (DE : Feldsalat, FR : mäche), it works quite well, but I have two different types of behavior.

Some grow strait and I take the leaves on the sides.
Other have different "heads", and I pick the heads that are big enough to be eaten.

The behavior with the multiple heads is much easier to harvest. Is there something specific that has to be done in order to promote it ?

Thanks,

Etienne

The lamb's lettuce is great now. It looks like the ones I harvested during the winter have multiple heads. I was able to get some 3 times during the winter, and now I can have salad everyday. Looks like it is a race between my plate and the flowering.