The chill probably did them some good.
Typically garlic is planted in the fall. The cloves will send out some roots and leaves, then growth slows as the weather cools.
The plants need a frost to initiate division of the clove into several cloves to form a bulb.
Here in north Florida I've had winters with only a couple of light frosts. Garlic has failed to divide in mild winters. I've learned to put them in the fridge and freezer for a couple weeks before planting.
I've crunched some numbers around with different plans/ideas involved. I'm finding 10% to be a high rate of return in many scenarios, but the land has to be had for a song.
The best rate of return I'm finding is with owner-operators and sharecropping/cooperative efforts.
Famland LP uses economies of scale to their advantage. The scenarios I tinker with involve small plots with 1 to 200 owners.
Just a farm company can perform to some degree, but the return becomes the priority. This is fine when the investors are megafunds and pension plans.
When the a group of people organize to operate a farm, the ancillary benefits become the dominant factor in making the endeavor worthwhile.
I agree: Powdery mildew. This plant looks like its too late to save. It's typical for squash leaves. Watering squash in the evening does not allow time for the leaves to dry. The mildew is able to grow in the moist, cool night air.
Once you see it, remove the affected leaves. Put them in a hot or heating up compost pile. You may prefer to burn them.
To prevent it, you can try lightly spraying the leaves with a mix of baking soda and water, about a teaspoon per quart.
Leaf Mold! By all means, pile it on. I can't say enough good about it
Humans can get by on a diet of milk and potatoes. Together they provide a complete protein. Although you won't die of starvation, there's not much vitamin C...perhaps scurvy will become a problem. A variety of foods will offer more of those vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals the body needs. Plants are no different, nor are the microbes in the soil.
We can not live on bread alone. Plants can not live on N-P-K alone.
Too often I see and here growing systems that reduce complexity to barebones necessities. The County Extension Service is notorious for helping people 'improve' their soil by prescribing how much synthetic fertilizer and lime to add in order to bring the soil up to recommended levels. Have a look at the Garden Picture Exchange and see if plants are thriving.
Simplicity can grow a plant.
Complexity will grow abundance and nutrition in great diversity year after year.
Please don't misconstrue my zeal as bashing the idea of sand and sawdust. There are places in the world where it's the only thing available besides concrete and steel, which are VERY hard to grow anything in. In the absence of deep, rich, well drained loam in a tropical environment, using what resources are available and trying is better than doing nothing. From trying come learning. Learning develops an understanding of the myriad ways life works to promote more life.
Getting the word out is a key element in promoting this project. If you involved with facebook, share the link and help spread the idea.
Please make a donation, a dollar is fine and will be greatly appreciated. I want to see your name on the donation list!
The soil I have is 99% sand. I don't add synthetic fertilizers yet I still obtain a yield.
I can add inputs with grass clippings, compost, leaf mold, sticks and logs, and wood chips being available in good amount at no cost.
This Mittleider method employs a feeding/nutrient treatment which I need to take a closer look at. I'm sure it can be done organically, with liquid grass clipping fertilizer, compost tea, or some sort of blend. This is not in the highest spirit of permaculture, but it's surely not chemical growing.
A critical issue I face is the inability of the sand to hold water. Drainage combined with the heat of the Florida sun dries the soil to dust. I don't know how grass grows.
My attempts with hugelkulture, deep mulch, and massive amounts of inputs are proving highly effective in reducing my need for irrigation, but in the cool season (October through March) there is little rain. I can still raise crops, however without irrigation my yields will be significantly reduced.
In my experience, every plant has conditions which will produce a great yield. A One-Size-Fits-All approach to gardening isn't going to work for everything. Berries like more acid. Potatoes thrive in moisture, even with poor nutrients but if you give them nutrients they perform magically. Peppers want it hot. Beets want whatever I'm not offering-I can't grow a beet. Rosemary is indestructible. Broccoli is interesting in that it works like a pump. When the plant is done I cut off the growth to leave a stump. The roots keep on moving water from a foot down up to the surface where it runs back down to the soil, keeping the surface moist. Starting lettuce after broccoli does much better because the roots are shallow and that extra surface moisture gives them a boost.
Perhaps the greatest advantage to the sand is found in root growth. The sand is able to give way to the roots which can grow extensively in search of nutrients. In order for the roots to grow so well, there needs to be ample moisture and something to eat. Back to the debate over feeding the plants vs feeding the soil. I'm finding a deep and diverse mulch to be serving my needs well. As the mulch breaks down, the nutrients percolate down into the soil. Material with a high lignin content (sawdust, wood chips, leaf mold) supports the fungus. It's that fungus that makes nutrients available and moves it around to where it is needed.
Everything works together. Sand and sawdust is a start. Add more features to the method and the results will improve.
There is a system out there called the Mittleider Gardening Method [google]. I've not had the time to look into it in depth, although I have taken a close look at the irrigation aspect of the method and found it promising enough to start trying it out. This method incorporates some sort of fertility treatment with which I have not familiarized myself.
Efficiency of scale has made possible the steel mills, foundries, industry and mass production that has been the defining paradigm of the last century. Bring in the raw materials by the truck or train load, process the stuff continuously, build it by assembly line, and drop ship the finished product anywhere in the world overnight. Throw it away when its used up, get another one, better than the last. Growth of the economy and cheap energy have made goods cheap. There is so much stuff out there it boggles the mind as to what to do with it. The best answer we've come up with is to pile it all up and bury it?
Recycling has its place and is a key element in our future as high grade ores are depleted and energy prices continue to rise. The efficiency of scale has created a problem: closure and dismantling of small shops. Back in the day, blacksmithy was practiced in every town. Today it's almost a lost art. Silversmiths, coppersmiths, and goldsmiths are still out there, but if you need their services you'll be traveling a fair distance and paying top dollar. Taking a step back from centralized production to local production is a challenge, but it's going on now. The good food movement is perfect example, be it artisan bakeries, organic farms, or permaculture food forests. Transition and relocalization efforts are out there, in a simple but developing form.
25¢ for used bricks is a pretty good price.
50¢ may be the going rate in your area if the supply/demand is keeping it there. A pile of bricks sitting in a laydown yard isnt doing the owner any good until it moves out the gate.
You'll need around 3200 brick for a solid wall of that size. Consider putting in your own Want ad at your price for the quantity you need.
The Boy Scout merit badge system is recognition of a minimum level of competence in a particular area.
In my work, a person can be designated competent for a task (such as operating a backhoe). Who designates them as competent? Another competent person.
This handing down or passing on of knowledge and skill demands there be an initial competent person somewhere to get the ball rolling. In order to gain this initial designation, their work and knowledge can be juried.
I can make a pretty tasty chicken parmesan. Does this make me a chef? A gourmet?
If some people try my dish and agree that it is in fact pretty darn tasty, they might declare me to be a competent person for producing chicken parmesan.
This does not mean I'm a competent person for producing Chateaubriand steak served with béarnaise sauce. I would have to prove my competency for that field or endeavor.
In the meantime, I would be qualified to teach others how to prepare chicken parmesan.
Plenty of trades have a graduated level of mastery.
Apprentice...The new guy
Tradesman...Competency in 1 or more skills
Craftsman...Competence in several skills
Master...Competence in all skills associated with a craft
I repot into 16 oz cups. At a buck a plant, they fly out the door.
I have offered boxes for folks to put their plants in. However many the box will hold-that's how many they buy. Beer boxes are plentiful, free and fit a dozen plants.
Everyone has their own way of doing things. Either you figure it out on your own or imitate what someone else is doing. Greenhouses are not all that common so it may be hard to find someone to show you what's going on. There's nothing difficult here. This project took about 30 minutes because I was messing with a camera. To do it without the camera only takes a few minutes.
My cells and trays were getting pretty old and torn up so I picked up some replacements.
Let's get to work...clear off the potting bench, place a tray front and center.
A single tray is pretty flimsy. Once filled with soil and water these will weigh 15-20 pounds. Breakage is a problem. When picked up the sides have a tendency to crack near the center, allowing water to drain and making them clumsy to lift. I double them up to offer strength. The old trays that are cracked or have holes worn through the corners can still earn their keep when used on the inside.
Place cells. Use them old ones first. These inserts will arrive connected as a sheet. As they are used, seeds will sprout at different time, some won't sprout at all. I find seperating the 6-packs makes for easy handling. They stack easily when space is at a premium.
I've been using these cells for years. They are not made to last forever. With the new cells on hand, when I come across busted inserts I take them out of service. The last time I bought some cells was in '07.
Fill the inserts with potting soil. My mix is about a third sand (what we call topsoil in Florida), around a third compost, around a gallon of peat moss, plus enough leaf mold to fill the rest of a wheelbarrel. All this is sifted through a 1/4" mesh. To the wheelbarrel I add a gallon bucket 50/50 blend of perlite and vermiculite. Mix it all up with a shovel, store in 5 gallon buckets. The perlite and vermiculite has been around for a few years. These are added to prevent compaction and to retain moisture. The compost and leaf mold retain plenty of moisture. The sand does not compact as would a clay soil. When my supply runs out, I'll skip the perlite and vermiculite. Leaf mold serves as an excellent substitute for peat moss, so I'll be leaving that out from now on. I scoop the soil from the bucket with a cup, dump it on the tray, spread it around with my hand.
If you missed a busted insert, it will let you know. Stored in buckets, this potting mix dries out and will flow freely.
I tamp down the soil by lifting the tray and setting it down with a gentle nudge. Fill low spots, scrape off high spots. It ain't gotta be perfect.
Starting some spinach today. This is Bloomsdale Long Standing. One of my seed suppliers is Sustainable Seed Company. Heirloom, open-pollinated, non-GMO, with Certified Organic available. I find their ethics, prices and customer service appealing.
I aim for the center of the cell. Close enough is good enough. A general rule of thumb is 1 cell, 1 seed. Just before I started this spinach I started some Amish Snap Peas. I could not get the volume of peas I wanted, just a single packet. That makes them Golden seeds and I need to maximize my yield in order to keep the cultivar going. When seeds are cheap and plentiful, several seeds per cell demands the additional step of thinning. I don't want the extra work. 1 cell, 1 seed. I'll transplant those plants that are worthy.
Sprinkle peat moss over the top. These trays will be in a warm, moist environment. The acidity of the peat moss retards algae growth. The perlite serves as a guide letting me know how much peat has been applied. I find a light dusting is all that is needed.
Add water to the tray. This potting mix is bone dry. It will slurp up half a gallon of water by tomorrow.
I use a pump sprayer to moisten the surface. The spray tip can be adjusted from stream to mist. I use more of a mist so the seeds don't get blasted away. The water in the tray will take time to wick up to reach the seeds. I spray the top because that's where the seeds are. Get em good and damp.
Add a label. Place the tray in a handy spot. These will show up in a few days.
This is 72 seeds. A germination rate of 85% suggests 60 plants. Experience says most of them will show up. I'll end up transplanting 65-70 into the beds. Starting seed in the greenhouse offers numerous advantages:
-Minimal seed use and seed cost. Sowed in the growing beds, the survival rate is reduced and more insect damage can result. These plants will spend a couple weeks at least in the protection of the greenhouse.
-I can water the seedlings in a small area quickly and with little water. If these spinach were started in the beds at optimum spacing they would take up 20 square feet. The tray takes up 2 square feet, and I can stack shelves. Even if I repot these plants into larger containers to give them more time hey still take up a fraction of the space they require in the beds.
-I can water the seedlings in a small area quickly and with little water. If these spinach were started in the beds at optimum spacing they would take up 20 square feet. The tray takes up 2 square feet, and I can stack shelves. Even if I repot these plants into larger containers to give them more time hey still take up a fraction of the space they require in the bed.
-When it is time to transplant, these plants will have roots several inches long, giving them excellent resistance to dry conditions. The Leaves and stems will be several inches high and can be mulched immediately. This gives them a survival advantage over weeds. Weeds will be shaded. Water and nutrients in the soil will be available for the crops.
-Small seedlings can be consumed or destroyed easily by pests. A cutworm, for example, can take out a small plant. By setting out a larger plant, a cutworm may only knock off a couple of leaves. I'll have a chance to take action before the crop is laid waste.
-Space is at a premium. It takes considerable effort and resources to develop a growing bed, even with no-till methods. Using transplants there are no empty spaces. Plants can be placed at optimum distance. That limited space is put to use.
-Time is at a premium. As soon as one crop comes out, the next rotation can go right in, and do so with several weeks of growth. I can grow crops all year. If I knock a month of time off of each rotation, I can easily gain an entire crop each year.
-I can work in the greenhouse at night, during storms, and when it's just too damn cold out there.
The recent bathroom renovation is an example of the sort of thing I face around here:
The door was old and tired, had a hole in it, had a 3 inch gap at the bottom, didn't close easily and begged to be replaced. The 2 hinges were attached with a couple of roofing nails, a flathead wood screw, a phillips head drywall. screw and a couple of 3" long Canadian head screws. The hole in the frame where the knob latch would fit was a piece of scrap wood that had been shoved into a larger hole. Although drilled to receive the latch, it was not secured in place, hence the trouble in closing the door. Before installing the new door, the old door and frame had to be removed entirely. To remove the frame I had to remove the beadboard on the wall in the hallway. Before that could be removed, I had to remove the inadequate/unsightly trim board at the top. The ceiling dropping a couple of inches explained why that board had been installed.
The water heater was in the corner. Bathtub on one side, toilet on the other. There is an access panel on the outside. This was in surprisingly excellent condition except the thermostats were pointed away from the access panel. It wanted to be moved to a new location-a new closet behind the door. Disconnecting the power was easy enough. It was a bare wire running across the ground and through a bush. The plumbing was another story. The inlet side was galvanized pipe, later connected to PVC. The outlet side was CPVC, later connected to copper going to the tub and a grey tubing to the sink. There was no overflow pipe. The CPVC came off easily, what with the crack in it and all. My foot went through the rotted floor while moving it. To reconnect new plumbing, the galvanized adapter had to come off. The scene here is me standing on top of the tank while a buddy tried to wrench it off with the aid of a 5 foot iron bar. It was like we were dancing.
The tub was a masterpiece. The crack in the bottom combined with the leaky faucet and broken handle to inspire the renovation in the first place. Floor: gone. Drain: flowing freely onto the ground where the drain line had snapped off centuries ago. I did not mind removing the wall covering as it too was cracked plus covered with several applications of caulking-latex, silicon, I swear some of it was plumbers putty. Under the plastic surround was another layer of plastic surround. Under that, a layer of masonite. Under that was 1/4" painted wood panel, possibly original. Removing the tub was a simple matter of cutting it in half with a sawzall. It was a shame to cut it up, coulda used it for growing carrots. Floor: nonexistent. Joists: half gone. Wall: studs were well on their way to becoming humus. Since I have to perform major repairs on the wall, may as well replace that window while I'm at it.
The window came out with great ease. That is, once I removed the exterior trim and 2 sheets of exterior siding. I could have driven my truck through the side of the house. Cleaning up all the insulation blowing across the yard only took a couple of hours once it stopped raining.
Plumbing in the well house was leaking
Due to the additional load and wear the contactor switch went belly up
Went to make coffee
No fucking water
Jesus H Christ
Looked at well, switch is smoking
Look for parts, got some, need some
Look for tool, can't find cutter
PINK WHISKERED CHRIST
Go get parts and tools
Kneel down to dissassemble busted parts, learn that the leak has been going on for quite a while and have promoted growth of brambles
WEEPING JESUS ON THE CROSS
Wrench slips, bust pressure guage
Throw wrench, lose in brambles
Go get parts and tools
Put on male adapter, cross threaded, destroyed
Fuck You, Bitch. I got another one.
Pun on male adapter, works, install remaining plumbing, new contactor, new guage, flip breaker on, water blowing all over the place, cement did not hold in a spot
Cut out a section, install new parts, turn back on, plumbing holds but water gushing from faucet that was hit and opened when old wrench slipped.
Fuckin God Damn
Tighten the bushing, everythig working right, pressure holding. Throw all remain parts, tools, materials into the brambles.
I Fucking hate carpentry work.
I'm thinking alternate uses. Rather than clothing, I wonder if the stuff can be applied to other items such as exterior walls, roofing, fence posts.
There is a product out there with a name something like 'ultra super dry' (found it) that repels mud and slop when applied to surfaces. I did the math on what it would cost to treat my house and found the price prohibitive.
This sort of product would be handy for protecting some outdoor items if the price is right.
How about a canvas awning, a tent, stones in a walkway, work boots or glass in a greenhouse?
Can it turn a regular jacket into a rain suit?
Will it keep water off the driveway or a vehicle, especially in freezing weather?
I'd be curious if the product will leach out of the item to which it is applied and if there are any environmental concerns.
The ultra everdry stuff runs a hundred bucks for a couple quarts.
If this fabric softener comes in at 10 bucks a quart, it's affordable for experimentation.
Sometime in the last week or two someone dropped off another load of wood chips. I don't know if this was because of the chip drop site or if the guys that dropped a few loads earlier this year were working in the area. I'ts out there, just wish I had the time to work with it!
Apples are a means of rewarding forum members who have gone above and beyond typical participation, and for those who have performed special projects for Permies.com.
They are also a means of awarding special recognition for posts that offer keen insight, specialized knowledge, are especially helpful or motivating.
Eric Stewart, Director of Kinship Urban Farm in New Port Richie, Florida has started a Gofundme Project. Kinship Urban Farm is growing fresh vegetables behind the Habitat For Humanity for several years. Eric Stewart brings competent leadership to a group of volunteers who grow clean, wholesome food for the community and offers instructional courses several times throughout the year.
The objective is to build and equip a nursery for raising 10,000 seedlings every month. These will be used to grow several more community gardens, private home gardens, and support the continued success of the Kinship Urban Farm. I've been there personally and can speak to the efforts and progress of the operation and the dedication of the people involved. This place has everything going on and serves as a testiment to what can be done in a small space in an urban setting: backyard laying hens, tank raised tilapia, composting, vermicomposting, raised beds, biodynamic planting, SPIN Farming, a farmer's market, classes and seminars, irrigation techniques, plus the involvement of kids and community members all round the Tampa area.
Your donation will be put to good use. The goal is $5000, but all donations will get through even if the goal is not met.
Meeting and exceeding the goal would be AWESOME.
Please spare a couple of bucks for a good cause!
Edited to add the link. Can you believe I left it out? Where is my head?
Those old ivy covered cottages have great eye appeal, but there is a problem that is often overlooked. Ivy holds on to structures with a tendril kind thing that can corrode the surface it is holding to. Grapes employ a twisting tendril (correct me if I'm wrong). While it is not acting chemically, the growth and expansion of these tendrills can get into small cracks and crevices and enlarge them. Bigger hole, more rain damage. A home is a considerable investment for most folks. Protecting it would be prudent.
Erecting a trellis gives the vines something to hold onto without endangering the home. In order to access the wall of the home, 2-3 feet would allow a person to move behind it. 3-4 feet offers room to move with lush vine growth.
Getting back to Paul's OP, 100 benefits to 20 people sharing a home:
1 Save Money
2 Sense of Community
3 Better stuff
4 Better food
5 Shared Responsibilities
6 Collective labor reduces individual labor
8 More skills available
9 More ideas
10 Project completion
12 Emotional support
13 Reduced burden
14 Human insurance
16 Efficient utilization of space
17 diverse demographic profile
18 Delegated responsibilities
20 Hired staff
21 Meal service
22 Routine chores are scheduled
23 Reduced housekeeping workload
25 Social events
26 Hierarchical command structure
27 Compartmental decision making
28 Generalized participatory policy development
29 Reduced per capita infrastructure
30 Personal and social development, particularly in youths
32 Enhanced access to resources
34 Individuality is promoted
37 Enhanced creativity
38 Emergency Assistance
40 Reduced redundancy
42 Energy efficiency
43 Minimal footprint
45 Someone to share with/from/among
46 Opportunity for personal development
47 Fun, positive interaction
48 Personal enrichment (using the definition of joy, not cash)
49 Self empowerment
50 Greater control of our own destiny
51 Reduced struggle
52 Money and making ends meet is removed as an obstacle
53 Everyone is on the same team
54 Abundant food
55 Better food prices
56 Better food preparation
57 HOT TUB
58 Development of basic skills (Jocelyn Campbell: Make note!)
59 Development of organization and management skills
60 2 ovens
61 Commercial kitchen
62 Life long friends
63 Trust is promoted
64 Shared homecare costs
65 Looking after each other
In the situation I described back in college, we had a strong and vibrant social program. While impromptu parties and keggers were common, plenty of the guys were intently focused on their own goals and spent much of their time studying, applying for jobs, and furthering their educational and occupational goals. Even these hardcore guys needed a break now and then. The Social Committee added formal structure to a seemingly feral group. As an example:
Perhaps the largest planned event of the year. Held in the fall. Starts at 3 PM, ends at 3 AM. Find a date, have a good time, get away from your desk. At all times we put our best foot forward.
The guys on the Social Committee take care of setting up tables, ordering supplies, arranging busses/reservations/tickets, and putting together a series of events for the evening.
3-5 PM Cocktails
Semi Formal in the main house first floor for Undergrads and Graduate members of the fraternity, their guests, as well as faculty at the college, neighbors and dignitaries.
A greeter at the door welcomes guests and announces their arrival. A bar is set up to serve cocktails, a table offers light appetizers. Someone played the piano.
Dinner at a local restaurant, entree selected ahead of time. We board busses and shuttle to the destination. Usually a 3 course dinner service with a selection of prime rib, chicken, or seafood. I recall Shrimp Cocktail being popular, with mousse for dessert. Following dinner the President of our Fraternity would introduce a couple of guest speakers. I recall the Dean of the University, Mayor of Troy, and a couple of our own grads.
An adventure was planned.
Between dinner and the event time was allowed to change out of our wardrobe if necessary. One year we all went on a hayride and enjoyed a bonfire. Another year we boarded a ship and cruised the Hudson River.
This was a less formal event as lots of folks were dropping out from a long day of socializing. The bar was open, a buffet table was available with entrees and snacks. A champagne fountain flowed endlessly. Lots of talking, singing and fellowship.
A late spring afternoon and evening affair beginning at a nearby state park beside the lake. Volleyball, BBQ, egg toss, 3 legged race, picnicing, with friends, families and parents invited.
Late afternoon involved a semi-formal cocktail gathering at the house. Tours of the campus and house for families and guests. Lots of picture taking.
Evening saw an open bar with music and dancing. For some guys looking at graduation, this is the last organized event they will enjoy as a brotherhood before moving on. The photo albums come out.
Grad V Undergrad Hockey Game
A mid-winter tradition going on for decades. You might bring a date to this one.
We reserved the hockey arena for our own use for a few hours and ITS ON. The undergrads have the advantage of youth. The grads have experience and much better equipment. Regardless of who wins, everyone goes home together for a large time. Cigars on the porch, music in the basement, food on the first floor. Captain of the losing team usually suffers dishonor such as an ice bucket (with lots of food coloring) being dumped on his head when he gets to the entrance steps.
These events are successful year after year. Tradition is part of the reason. Putting on a suit and behaving yourself adds an air of dignity. Having a date marked on a calendar gives everyone something to look forward to. Getting on a bus and going somewhere together identifies everyone as part of that group. For some of these guys, going to the store is a road trip. These events get them out of town and add memories. These events promote bonding, alleviate the daily stress of studying, taking tests, writing papers, and making the grade. It's a chance to unwind, let off some steam, and get away from it all, if only for a day.