One of the things I like about the permaculture community is how open people are to the answer "it depends". Its hard to have an overarching resource or set of instructions for a community that likes to answer questions with "it depends" though.
The university program I took.... you finish first year, and think you know a lot about the world. By second year, you see that there is a lot still to learn, and think you will really know a lot by fourth year. By third year, you realize nobody really knows anything. By fourth year, you have a good idea of what you dont know, and are pretty good at asking the right questions. If you do a masters or a PHd, you get to be very good at knowing all the holes in the knowledge about one particular subject.
I think permaculture is the same. I suspect the greats of permaculture, the very successful people, are all VERY successful in their own personal area, and could be considered to have a PHD in farming their land. Highly specialized knowledge. But most of them are the first people to answer "it depends". They might be pretty knowledgable about what it depends ON, but it's pretty hard to tell someone else, working somewhere else, what to do, especially when you try and generalize advice.
Maybe, for your, what kind of bed should a beginner make question (which depends on LOTS of things), you could make a flow chart? Are you in a tropical area, are you in a dry area, how much time do you have to spend, etc, etc... it will be a big messy chart but maybe it would help someone. Or maybe a pro and con chart or.....
Me- I think I am still in second or third year still feeling around for where the holes are.
Just checked. My ground cherries and cucamelons are gone too, plus 1.5 naranjillas. I dont think its slugs? I havent seen any. It may be a combination of nibblers, as I noticed initially things seemed to be dying if my mother had gone around and tucked the mulch up against them, but now things are disappearing regardless of how they are mulched. I suspect squirrels or voles or something. In some cases, the whole rootball is gone. Almost all of my cabbage transplants are still around. I am very confused.
I am thinking of going to the feed store and buying some chicken wire or something and making a garden fence, I have never had issues with nightshades being eaten before, but if things are this voracious it doesn't bode well for my curcubits, which I always struggle with protecting early in the season.
Gah..... another 3 tomato plants gone overnight from the back mulched bed. I may need to do emergency measures and move the few survivors to the front bed, which has been more or less left alone by whatever devilish beast is preying on them. I dont have room for them, but oh well.
Thinking I had planted way too many, I gave away more than 50 tomato plants this year, plus some peppers, and planted about 25 tomatos and 10 peppers.
I planted two weeks ago, and so far at least 10 tomatos that I planted in the back have gone missing, including a few fancy types I bought from local people, not even a stem left sticking out the ground, and I am going to need to BUY tomato plants. Grrr.... i already bought peppers, and more than half the peppers I put out have disappeared too. And more seem to disappear each day
Not sure what kind of nibbler this is, but I DO NOT like them.
Yeah, my dogs have always been able to spit out things from pill pockets. I pop open their mouth, put the pill at the back of the throat, hold the mouth up and closed as they swallow, then give a treat (cheese or whatever). They are fine with it and lick their lips after the pill. A pillpocket also increases the time for the pill to work - we used to give gravol to one dog, who would take pills stuffed in things, but half an hour or more later in the car he'd throw up the gravol, still wrapped in the piece of cheese.
The heartworm meds are annoying, they come as chewables that are way too big to force the dog to swallow, but my dog turns her nose up at them. Those get broken into small pieces, and mixed with canned food, and if that doesn't work, shoved one piece at a time down the throat.
I wonder how remote and how much land you have? Also, are there existing problem bears, used to being fed from humans/human trash?
Most of the remote places I have visited incinerate their trash. Incinerators are usually kept at least a km from any sites of human habitation, and surrounded by 8 ft chain link fences with barbed wire on the top, and a similar gate. Bears still pass by that area more than usual, drawn by the lovely smell of garbage (usually incinerate weekly or biweekly).
If I were to try a community scale compost pile in bear country, I would want a similar setup, 1 km away from humans, 10 ft tall fences, well covered with straw or something.
For home scale composting- worm bins indoors or the garage might work. I have also had small compost piles while I was growing up. We were 1 km from the nearest neighbour and had outdoor dogs, so the bears never got close enough to discover the pile.
Anyone who thinks that controlling mosquitos is possible hasn't been to Northern Canada. Lovely untouched ecosystems with healthy marshes and bogs just screaming for blood.
My dad has two electric bug zappers he leaves running all night. I dont no that they make a difference but the constant pzzt! Pzzt! Has put me to sleep many a night. He also swears by those coil smokers, even in the house, which I blame for my asthma. I would rather bug bites than asthma. He puts feeder goldfish in the rain barrel each year, but there are enough puddles in the woods it doesn't make a difference.
Bug nets, long pants (thick jeans or similar as they can bite through tight or thin clothes) tucked into thick socks in sandals or boots flannel shirts or a loose windbreaker, and a wide brimmed hat to hold the bug net away from the head. Those are the only effective solutions I have ever found for mosquitos, horse flies, black flies, deer flies, no see ums ,etc. Oh, that and winter :)
I gardened for half an hour this morning and only got a dozen bites wearing long pants, no socks, sandals, and a short sleeve shirt. There were almost no bugs by my standard, I live in town now :) Give it a month and I will have had enough bites that I no longer react to them, and then the insect protection is just because I hate the sound in my ear and the feeling of bugs on my skin.
Black flies, horse flies and deer flies dont like being indoors, but noseeums and mosquitos are fine with it. Make sure to keep unused chimney vents covered and not open the woodstove during the summer, and never leave the door open, and repair all holes in the screen promptly. Sleep with a blanket on covering your head even in 30 C because sweating is easier to sleep in than mosquitos buzzing in the ear. A tent over the bed is valuable in some years.
There is a new bug spray on the market in Canada, its icaridin based and I think it works better than the Deet, and if smells far less. I dont find deet does enough to bother putting up with the smell of it. My friends I camp with spray Deet every 10 min or so, I put it on twice a day and I dont see any difference in effectiveness, which is limited. There is a local citronella, lavender, eucalyptus and cedar oil based spray that seems to work as well as DEET. I like to apply DEeT or any other spray to my clothes (brim of hat, collar of flannel shirt, back of shirt/waistband, cuffs of pants) not my skin.
I started my seeds in potting mix on a heat mat maybe a month ago. I had a bit more than 50 % germination, but a few withered and died (including the bare seeded one ). They are all still on their first set of leaves, I want to keep them indoors for another week or two, but may transplant into larger pots now that most of the tomatos are out. I figure i will grow a few here in the front garden as a flower, and give a few to my dad as potted plants (he has an attached greenhouse, so can being them in for the fall if necessary).
Oh! I should mention that I had decent germination on the heat trays, but no germination without them, even after I moved those trays onto the heat mats later.
Planting day is finally here! I tempted the gods of winter and planted 1 week before last frost date, but the weather forecast looks like it won't drop below 5 C for the next 14 days, so, fingers crossed.
Half the tomatos went out last night (last years mulched beds) and I transplanted a bunch of perennials from a neighbour into last year's beds. Also in last year's beds, the garlic is up, the perennials are starting to bloom, the peas need to be trellised, and the lettuce has finally germinated.
(all but the flox is from the previous owner - and yes, that's chives in a flower bouquet )
In the new beds, the onions are doing well, the carrots have finally germinated, and today I planted out brocolli and cabbage starts and flour corn. Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain, I'll plant curcubit seeds, more carrots, parsnips, beets, onions (from started seed, not sets), and whatever else I am forgetting. I'll wait until one week after last frost for the rest of the tomatos, the ground cherries, and the peppers, so as not to provide too much temptation to the winter gods.
I was a bit over enthusiastic with seed starting this year, so far I've given away about 50+ tomato plants, and a dozen or so chili pepper plants, a few sweet peppers, cabbage and brocolli starts, and a couple ground cherries - 2 neighbours, 1 friend, 4 close relatives, and one distant relative who just lost her job. A few more things need homes - I may put them out with a free sign.
I now have 4 types of first year gardening beds that were originally sod, plus one more type I started last year.
(New garden beds)
I think I can comment already about what I prefer now... In order, from least hassle to most hassle...
- Cardboard then yard waste -20 x 25'? - (my favourite - easiest/fastest to construct, already starting to decompose, almost no weeds (only from some of the grass rakings I added)- but... can't use it for direct seeding small things this year, and it is a challenge to get enough yard waste and cardboard
- Cedar chip mulch over sod, irregular - aprox 20 x 50 (last years, mostly perennial flowers) - chips are slow to decompose, but easy, low maintenance.Can't use if for direct seeding small things in the first year, or areas that were mulched last fall, because of grass in waiting under the chips. Looks nice.
- Sod removal - 5 x 20' - very weed free, but hard work to do manually. Top dressed with manure. Can use for small seeded things first year, the same day sod is removed. Would consider renting a machine to do this if I want to expand the mulch free garden in the future, as my preferred method of turning grass to carrots and lettuce in one year.
- Traditional tilled garden - 13x 50' - rototilled 3 times, 2 weeks apart, raked to remove grass 2 times, a small amount of manure tilled in today. A LOT of work/persistence, and there will be weeds. I am hoping on a day when the soil is drier I can scuffle hoe a bit and kill more weeds.
- Newspaper + manure - waste of time - 3x 5- Newspaper is fiddly, blows in the wind even with lots of rocks/boards and manure on top, then shifts and lets weeds through. I added a second layer of newspaper today to try and smother the copious weeds. Cardboard is much easier/faster, does a better job. Won't do this again.
I am debating buying a dozen or so square bales of straw to keep the weeds down on the tilled garden.
After all this - no wonder people give up on a gardening, and say having a large garden is a lot of work! Using the traditional method (starting by tilling the grass under) is probably one of the more labour intensive methods, and STILL doesn't give you good, weed free soil without a lot of ongoing effort. I am so very glad I discovered mulch a few gardens ago.
First - i'll say that I understand overbearing and controlling fathers. Mine has told me again today that I should continue working the same job I hate until I'm 65, and never quit. I'd probably jump off a bridge long before I'd reach 65 if I took his advice :) So i won't.
When I was 21, I had recently graduated university, lived on my own, and was too cheap to buy car, too young to rent one. I moved into an apartment 8 km from my work, and public transit took 45 min, sometimes 1.5 hrs each direction.
But I had a bike. A decent bike, with a good rack on the back, a set of very cheap panniers, and some bungie cords meant I could live independently without worrying. I biked 16 km a day in total, to and from work. I biked to the grocery store, I biked to go garage saleing, I picked up small furniture on the side of the road with that thing. A bike is an amazing thing, it's independence on wheels.
I only had a tiny top of stairs landing to grow food that first summer, so I bought two over the railing boxes, a large square planter, and bags of compost, and drove them home on the back of the bike. The garden centre was about 1.5 km away, and I had to walk the bike home, because I couldn't balance it. That year I grew herbs peppers and flowers in the railing boxes, and tomatos in the planter. I top dressed and fed with vermicompost, and had plenty of tomatos and herbs, it was a bit shady so not too many peppers. It looked pretty, because of the flowers. The summer before that, I lived with my sister, and wasn't allowed to garden. I grew tomatos and herbs in large pots in her backyard, and culinary herbs with one or two flours in planters in her front yard. I got tons of compliments, and my sister never guessed that I was snacking off the front planters too!
The following year, I had a community garden. It was about 6 km away, and by that time I owned a car, but occasionally on weekends I would bike over. I'd strap my gardening tools and a container to bring home produce to the back of the bike, and off I'd go. A bike is a magical thing.
Put up flyers in your neighbourhood- anyone interested in letting me garden in exchange for produce? Within biking distance, I'm certain someone (or maybe several someones) would be willing.
I have a 20 year old feather duvet with a cotton cover. I'm very pleased with it, and keep a cotton cover on it. At the end of the season, before i put it away, I wash in the washing machine, throw it in the dryer on low/air dry with some balls to dry it.
I've considered buying duvets with wool or silk filling, but they are pricey... I have had no issues with cats and feather duvets (other than them hogging it)!
I also have a feather pillow - these need to be replaced a bit more often, I think, but mine is 4 years now. I'd consider wool filled pillows too.
For summer, I have 100 % cotton blankets and a cheap down and feather with cotton cover duvet I bought from Ikea.
Norma- one thing I have been considering for my moms dog, whose nails are quite long and therefore easy to quick, is training to use a scratch board. Basically it's a piece of sandpaper on an angled board that you train the dog to scratch at, thus shortening their own nails. You have to be careful as some will scratch until the nails or paws bleed, and its any harder to teach them to scratch the back nails, but maybe something like that would help?
I have always cut our dogs nails, I dont think any of them have ever been brought to the vet or groomers to get it done!
Here's what I have learned....
Definitely buy styptic powder. It lasts forever, isnt that expensive, and is great for piece of mind as quicked nails bleed like crazy!
As the former owner of a 175 lb St. Bernard, the trick is to make them enjoy it. We used to do one nail - snip!- one treat shoved in mouth. The first time, you can just do one nail per foot. Eventually, you can relax to one treat per two nails, then one treat per foot, then a treat at the end. I can do my standard poodles nails as she snoozes lying on her side, with no treats now. I do still give her a treat every few sessions.
The other trick is... use the right sized clippers. Two big, and they are easy to over cut, too small, and they crush rather than cut. We used to use small side cutters for one dog.
I like to do a few angles cuts around the quick, rather than one straight across. It helps the quick move back faster and is less rough, and looks better.
With dogs who are struggling - you can pick up a different paw, and they forget to tug the one you are cutting. Or I like to give a brisk shake of the paw, which often settles it down.
Also - a dog can get hurt just from cutting close to the quick, no blood, which is why a lot of dogs hate it I think. You know that sensation when you cut your nails too short?
With black nails, you can inspect and see a black centre thing after you make a cut. If you see that, STOP, do not cut further. Eventually you get so you can tell just by the shape of the nail where to cut.
If the dogs nails are very long, it's better to shave just a bit every 3 days, instead of trying to cut a lot and making it uncomfortable.
I second Leilas suggestion about the drop spindles, I dont spin but have been tempted by the kits a lot.
For the wool.... I wonder if it would help if you put a picture of the sheep it came from on the page. There is a local lady who sells alpaca wool, and includes a cute tag with a picture of the alpaca and its name. I think it adds a really memorable touch, and shows it's not just someone reselling commercial wool.
I have to admit I hate most paper pots and prefer to use and reuse plastic ones.
It may be too late for this year, to order plant pots, so how about solo cups? I have used both the paper and the plastic ones and they work beautifully for tomato seedlings because they are so deep, and are readily available in large quantities. The waxed paper ones work well for just a few weeks.
Just checked- 50 solo cups at Walmart in Canada is $4, so less than 10 c per pot.
One of my questions I have is "how did you grow/earn money, without irritating your readers with "buy this" banners, Amazon affiliate/"everything in this post is sponsored" stuff.
I feel like, but have no proof, that avoiding the offputting ad-ness of a lot of other sites has helped grow your following. I probably wouldn't be here regularly if "Buy my ebook!" Was a banner ad I had to turn off every time I open the the site, but dont mind the tiny ads at all. I havent bought anything from you but have bought something from a staff member. But then- i also have never bought off of a "Buy this thing! Sign up for my newsletter!" Full page banner ad either.
I know you have mentioned most things you do cost money, the few that make money pay for the rest, I just feel like I dont understand how websites are less-obviously monetized can make money. Starting a small website about things that interest me is an "if I get laid off" goal but I am so off put by the way most small websites are run right now (yet, in my dream world, the website would pay for itself eventually).
Edit- maybe it's the ratio? Like 1 ad per 100 useful pieces of info, instead of 20% ads?
Very interested in this discussion too. I have always been interested in cover crops but thought where we live is too cold, as snow and hard frost comes fairly quickly, often the day the last tomato is picked, but then there is a long period in the spring where the soil sits bare waiting for last frost. I have always worried about having to weed them out if spring planted.
Do you have cover crops you recommend for spring planting?
My budget for this year (second year gardening here) is about $500, including seeds, manure, rototilling a new bed, potting soil for seed starting, etc. Not really "budget" gardening, but not as extravagant as I could be if i thought i was living here long term. So far I have spent about $350, trying to figure out where I will get the most for my remaining money. Last year was a bit more, but we bought a lot of wood chip mulch and tools. A butternut squash is about $8 in the local store right now, potatos are more than $1/lb, so although that sounds like a lot, we will get far more in produce than we put in.
Save seeds. Each year I grow from my own saved seeds, things seem to produce better. I think it has as much to do with epigenetics as genetics. A package of heirloom tomato seeds or a few starts might be $5. If I save the seed, the next year, I can grow that plant again basically for free and use the money for something else. I didn't buy any tomato seeds this year and my only commercial pepper seeds were gifts. I bought no new pepo squash or melon seeds, did add new cucumbers and maxima squash. I havent reduced the amount of money I spend on seeds yet, but have increased how much I can grow with the same budget! If I was on a tighter budget, I could have grown fewer varieties of each thing, but I am still trialing to find things that work. You dont have to buy fancy seed starting cells either. I use a lot of egg cartons, cream cartons, plastic trays, and other things scavenged from the recycling bin. Also- although i love the heirlooms and unique varieties, for things like carrots and onions, you can get 1000s of typical variety seeds for a few cents more than a few hundred heirloom seeds at some of the big seed companies, enough to last a few years for me.
Mulch. Depending on your climate, mulch might make your gardening far easier! Water, and my willingness to water things is a bigger factor for me than soil fertility. Mulch doesn't have to be expensive. The best mulch I ever got was free used mushroom compost from a local mushroom farm- carried home in buckets and more wrapped up in a tarp in the back of my car. It kept the soil moister, was weed free, and provided nutrients. But I also like wood chips and straw, both of which can be cheap. Manure can be picked up for free on local buy and sell sites. I have an alert set right now until one pops up that's close enough. A truck would help, but my small car works fine. Also- I have been surprised to discover posting wanted ads works! Just got my garden rototiller from placing an ad, picked up other stuff the same way . This year I have a large bed mulched almost entirely with yard waste from the neighbors and waste cardboard collected over the winter. Completely free, unless I decide to add manure to break it down further.
Like Anita said, get good quality tools- I prefer heavy steel heads, not flimsy modern stuff. But that doesn't have to cost too much. All but my garden rake and scuffle hoe came from my grandmother or garage/estate sales and cost $5 or less- and my grandmother is after me to get a "better garden rake" as the best one I could find in the local stores ($40) has too heavy a handle and she considers it worthless. She thinks the same about my scuffle hoe! For me, a nice spade, a trowel, a garden rake, a leaf rake, a digging fork, a large and a small hoe/scuffle hoe are probably the minimum, but we do have more than that, and some duplicates. I will be looking at mail order $100 + tools to replace anything that breaks if I can't garage sale it, but my used tools work just fine.
Mike Haasl wrote:Thanks John, I do have the offer of a tractor with a tiller. I'm worried that, based on personal experience, the tiller will cut the sod into a bajillion pieces and then some fraction of those pieces will be close enough to the surface to return to life. Then all my new gardeners will have to stay on top of plucking the chunks of sod before they get re-established. On my own large garden we "harvested" a couple wheelbarrows full of small sod pieces. I'm not sure I want to rely on new gardeners to stay on top of that task.
But it would keep all the soil and fertility on the plots so it's definitely an option...
I have had the same experience with tilling (in a neglected community garden bed I had one year that was tilled once) in the spring) - but this year we are doing something different than I have done on my own beds.
I am gardening with my mother, who is a traditional "rototill and weed it" kind of gardener. Based on her experience with starting new beds, we are doing one rototilled bed in a grass area.We just had the first till, then raked out all the grass. We will till it again one more time in a month, a week or so before planting and rake out any surficial grass again, then hoe out any other grass on planting day. Admittedly not ideal for soil health - but it should do a good job of killing the grass. Our new 15 x 50' bed took maybe 2 person-hours split over a few days to rake? My family has always tilled multiple times in the spring on a new bed, to kill any grass that pops back up.
I am quite happy with the garden I made though cutting sod and removing it, but it's a lot of work. Hope it's easier with the right tool! I would scalp it with a lawnmower set as low as possible before starting, then take 2" or so off to get the rhizomes roots.
As for what to do with the sod - do you need a new root cellar? I was fascinated as a child by the sod houses the pioneers used to make on the prairies - you could make a small one with all that sod as a storage area that would just melt back into the ground when you are done.
Very glad to hear I am not alone on this. A month to start is normal?! Wow.
I have been throwing a lot more troops- I mean seeds - at it this year than usual, determined to manage it ( I usually give up and buy transplants). I guess I will keep going, although my ability to focus is strained by trying to keep things moist and not rotting for a month.
I wonder if it is variety dependent/something that could be bred for? The chilis were so fast. I would cheerfully buy pepper seeds if they were marketed as "easy to start".
This year, my mother planted a bunch of saved seeds from last year in little pots with seed starting mix. Only one type managed to grow ("stripey sweet bell"). The tomatos planted at the same time did great!
So i took saved seeds AND purchased seeds, and attempted to get them to start with paper towel and moisture in a warm spot. The chili peppers (purchased seeds) started. Nothing else. I started some tomatos and ground cherries in the same container, and they did great!
So now I threw everything on a makeshift seed mat (dog heated bed)- a few things SEEMED to start to sprout, so I planted them out, in pots on the seed warming mat. Nothing started - except a few more chili peppers. I figured the seeds were rotten/bad after 3 weeks of trying to start them.
So I started fresh with moisture, on the seed mat - three types of purchased seed, 5 types of self saved seed. More than a week later - (2 weeks later?) still no signs of life.
Pearl- what a great idea! I wouldn't have considered adding how to use plant instructions.
My mother does a version of this. She has all her receipts for major repairs/systems, warranty docs, etc in a binder. She gives the binder to the next owner (she may remove the receipts). A typed description of what was done for each. When it comes time to sell, it's really impressive to potential purchasers, the real estate agent, inspectors, etc. She also leaves written instructions on how the pump works, where shutoffs are, etc. All plant tags are saved in a folder, and she is bugging me to do a labeled diagram of where things are planted as well.
My dads house... well, I wish the previous owners had done this. So many questions, and the original owners are long dead.
When I eventually manage to buy - stupid COVID!- I hope I am organized enough to something even vaguely similar.
My spectacular mother has been sewing masks. She started with the pleated style with much grumbling about how annoying they are to sew. I asked her to make some of the fitted style Craft passion pattern masks shown earlier in this thread. She has been making masks with old pillow case fabric against the skin and thick scrap flannel outside.
She says the craft passion masks are more difficult but also more satisfying to sew than the pleated style, as they look better when they are done. She has modified the pattern to attach a nose piece under a piece of twill tape, as she thought their pattern was too fiddly. I like them much better for fit as they dont ride up and stab me under the eyes.
She did make a larger -than-pattern sized pair for my father (when you start sewing masks for your ex husband, that's when you know you are worried about the pandemic) as the men's size is the right size for my wide Eastern European face, and would be too small for him.
The most comfortable and easiest straps so far are the Craft passion suggested tshirt yarn ones. Enough elasticity to stay on, easy to sew, and very adjustable. Ribbon slides, cloth straps aren't tight enough, elastic hurts. I like how it slides through the casing and you only need to tie one bow. And that all you need to do is tear a strip off an old tshirt and BAM! Strap is made.
So far she has sewn 6 craft passion style masks, and 6 pleated masks.
I bought seeds from OSC before the shutdown, but also now Stokes (thorold, on) and annapolis seeds. Stokes is running slowly but sends updates and my order should arrive tomorrow. Annapolis has yet to send me an update.
Canadian tire is doing online/phone orders and many hardware and feed stores are doing curbside pickup.
I have also been sharing excess seeds and seedlings with neighbors.
I am celiac, so can't comment on wheat, rye, barley, or spelt... but I have the same question.
I am trying hulless oats this year, have read mixed reviews on how well they hull. I think I saw hulless barley also available, Kate?
I will also be planting flour corn, which should be relatively easy to process ( probably wont nixtamalize) , and am trying quinoa and amaranth, maybe millet, and some beans. All of these are things I use as 'flour'.
Just a little of each to see what grows well and how easy it is to process.
It looks like if I go with manual, I should seriously consider the country living mill based on the glowing reviews, but a wonder junior may also be okay. I have tasked my dad into digging through the junk collection, as I am looking into this, I have a vague memory as of 15 years ago or so we had some sort of Corona style grinder from a garage sale. The question is did it move with us or not....
I am considering my own laziness, and thinking about electric. As a lot of the recipes I use take 5 cups of flour, I am more likely to use it if its electric. The Komo and the wondermill seem to be the easiest to find, though the nutrimill is also available.
Those of you with the whisper/wonder mills, what do you think of them (other than the noise level?)
Are you trying to appeal to the non vegetable eaters? If so, I would consider ground cherries, sun berries, and melons. Yum! Like annual berries, and the ground cherries can even be stored for a while and just get sweeter.
Otherwise cucumbers and zucchini would be my choice, then peppers.
Does anyone here use and recommend a particular flour mill?
Further to my last post regarding buying gluten free flour in bulk (best option right now is a $700 minimum order, but could also buy other gluten free/healthy foods products, and split the order with other celiac relatives), I am now seriously considering a grain mill. To be honest, I have wanted one for years but been off put by the price.
8 kg of rice is the same price as 1 kg of rice flour, and other gluten free grains are 2-3x cheaper as whole grains than flour.
Plus, quality would be better for the whole grain stuff like brown rice flour, sorghum, quinoa, bean flours, etc which are often rancid, and finding whole grains is easier than gluten free flour right now.
My criteria would be
- Grinds coarse and fine flour
- Can grind beans and corn
- Prefer stone burrs
- Would be great if it was dual purpose and could handle oily things too.
I am torn between a manual mill and an electric mill, definitely would want nothing with fancy LCD screens or other gadgetry that will break.
The closest I have seen is the Wondermill Junior Deluxe, but it seems to be out of stock in Canada.
Trace- I used to agree with you, I am a dog lover, and usually blame the owners not the dogs, and think no dog should be let to run loose, and many dogs are inappropriate for dog parks. I had never met one, and figured it was just the "aggressive, breed, scary" stuff I see with German shepherds and many other breeds I like.
Pitbulls are rare here, and far from the most common breed I meet, but experience has led to me being wary of every pitbull and mix as the majority of bad experiences I have had is with pitbulls. At this point, I suspect it's a bad breeding problem as well as a bad owner problem.
I have met a dozen or so in less than 2 years, and every single one has been dog aggressive, and many have made me fear for myself as well as my dog when I am walking or at the park. Saddest for me was a 1 year old who I quite liked that overnight started to try and chase down my dog (and others) at the park and was subsequently banned. Scariest was either the off leash pitbull that ran up to us on a walk that the owner was afraid of, or when a group of tourists brought three purebred staffies to the park who ran at me and snarled at me until called off, (i was there first) ran and tried to pin my dog multiple times, and I had to demand the owners take their dogs and leave. They apparently came back later and got in a fight with another dog.
I think the owners are definitely to blame , but somehow I rarely have the same issues with the other "dangerous" and more common breeds and their crosses- shepherds, dobermans, rottweilers, malinois, akitas, cane corsos, huskies, etc. I like quite a few of those breeds. I meet bad dogs and some bad owners in these breeds, but nowhere near 100%. And most of the owners of "aggressive" members of those breeds I meet have them very well trained, kept on a close leash in public, not let loose to run down the street or brought to dog parks, and are well aware that their dog is a risk if not well managed.
I am sure there are decent pitbulls and owners- you probably are one. I just have yet to meet one on the streets or at the park here.
Can I suggest you get a game camera? It wouldn't save your goats in case of attack, but it would mean if anything happens you can prove who/what did it. Make sure you keep sale records for the cost of your goats and when you sell kids so you can prove value.
Nothing worse than a pack of dogs - we had two of our own who joined in with 3 guest dogs to try and kill our cat. They had never participated in chasing the cat before or since.
I know in some places in Canada right now there is an issue with the SPCA no longer dealing with animal complaints, and no one to turn to.
I loath pitbulls. Had no opinion before I got a dog and started going to dog parks. Illegal here in Ontario, and the ones I meet are dog aggressive and should NOT be allowed to run loose on the street/brought to a dog park. (Sadly, that's the two places I have met them, despite "no pitbull" signs). I guess it selects for idiots for owners when you have to break the law to own one, and when the only place I meet them is where they shouldn't be!
Daron -excellent point about existing flower beds being good places to tuck veggies. All of my existing beds are heavily mulched perennial flower beds which I stick annual vegetables into- last year it kept two people in about half the veggies we could eat.
J - I also let idealism get in the way of practicality. I normally would never till/remove sod, so it will be interesting to see how these traditionally constructed beds compare to my no till. I have made this one as a compromise with my mother.... my mulched beds, which I know will work, and she is skeptical of, and her traditional bare beds, which she knows will work, and I am a bit skeptical of.
Please, keep the ideas coming! There are a out as many ways to start a garden as there are gardeners, and all work better for different locations/available tools/crops/climates, etc
My cardboard is now fully mulched with either sod, leaves, or some of the contents of my neighbour's "garden waste" pile, and I've widened the bed by a few feet. I've only taken about half of my neighbour's pile and have sod left to turn, so now I'm looking for more cardboard.
I originally intended for this thread to be tips on how to start a first year garden - so today I documented what I did, in hopes it helps someone else.
For removing the sod - I've been using an edger and a digging fork. A digging fork is similar to a pitch fork, but instead of being used to toss things, it's used to lever things out of the ground. Also good for potatos, etc
The tools for removing sod:
Preparing the bed!!!
I first cut the outside of a block with the edger, levering the soil up a bit and loosening as I go - I usually cut large strips horizontally and vertically, as much as I plan to accomplish in one day, into narrow pieces a bit bigger than 1 fork width wide by 2 fork widths long. I made these smaller so i could pick them up one handed while holding my phone to photograph.
I then use a digging fork to lever up and loosen the sod block - usually I just need to pry at 1-2 sides, and it pops out.
I can then pick up the block with my fork by stabbing it, then lightly shake it to shake some of the good dirt back into the bed, and put it in a wheelbarrow or directly on my adjacent cardboard area to serve as mulch.
I've double dug in the past, and kept the sod in, but I find I get WAY too many weeds - and I hate weeding.
Didn't take pictures of this, but I raked out any leftover pieces of grass and picked some of the small stones with a garden rake. I'm lazy, so there's still a lot of stone in there. I then spread a feed bag full of manure on the prepared area, and raked it in with the rake to mix the soil. I don't fuss having leaves or bits of my mulch fall into the bed, it's just more organic matter.
Preparing for planting
Today i planted the first stuff in this bed - onion sets! My gardening's a bit... unique because i am hand digging this, so I want to plant as closely as possible, and I hate bending to weed.
I figured out how far I can comfortably reach with my rake, and put a board across the bed a bit further than that. This means, I can stand on the board, or on the garden edge and reach with a rake to weed the rows in between without having to tromp through the plants. The board also minimizes compression of the soil, and demarcates the boundaries of different planting areas. Think of it as traditional gardening meets square foot gardening...
I then set up a string line for my first row. I plant in rows, because bitter experience has taught me they are way easier to weed, and I use a string line, because I can't sow a straight row (or cut sod in a straight line, but that's beside the point) to save my soul. The instructions on the package said to plant 3" apart, with 15" between rows (this gives you plenty of room to stand) Nope. I'm hand digging, and am lazy!
I planted the first row, then laid my favourite hoe (a scuffle hoe) next to it, and set the next row about 1.5 hoe widths wide. this means it will be easy to weed without bending, but much closer spaced than "traditional" spacing. So long as the rows are wide enough I can get a hoe between them, and wider than the in-row spacing, I'm happy. I can stand on the boards on either end of my mini-bed and reach to weed.
I put a board down between the rows as I sow them so I can walk in the garden without compressing the soil.
Today I was planting on onion sets, so I held a handful of sets in my left hand, poked a small hole with my right hand and popped in an onion set. At the end of the row, I lightly scuff the soil to slightly cover the onion sets with my hand.
When I was a kid, my dad always insisted that those chocolate eggs were really bunny droppings.
Would you mind bringing some REAL bunny droppings this year? Maybe mixed with bedding? You see, I an starting a garden and really short on nitrogen sources. You dont even have to wrap them in foil (in fact, I would really prefer if you didnt). They dont even have to be new bunny droppings, last years would be fine.
We are social distancing, so you can just leave them on the porch, no need to bring them inside.
Does anyone have any good online order sources for bulk (~20 kg) gluten free flour? Preferably Canadian sources, as international shipping is very slow these days and the exchange rate is unpredictable.
I've tried ordering from the local bulk food store for the last week, but the owner has yet to get back to me with a quote.
Google found me Cannelle Boulangerie in Quebec, but their website contact form and info email address is down, which I find suspicious.
As an FYI, here in Canada it is/has been best practice, probably code, for decades to put flagging tape buried in the ground about a foot above buried electrical wires etc. That way, when you hit the tape you know to STOP. I didn't know that before I saw it, so sharing in case someone else is unaware.
Always fun when you hit that stuff on a job in a location where the site records dont show it and the utility marker didn't mark. Also great fun when stuff is 20-100 m over from where the plans say it is.
Call before you dig folks, and never trust site plans!