Also, you can set out "traps" in the early spring and mid-summer. In Vermont, in April and July. These are toilet paper tubes, stuffed with cotton or dryer lint that is treated with permethrin. As you may know, permethrin is a synthetic form of pyrethrum, which is derived from chrysanthemums. Unlike pyrethrum, permethrin has some staying power, beyond a few minutes.
Mice pick up the cotton/lint and use it to line their nests. The ticks that feed on the mice are poisoned by the permethrin. The mice are unharmed.
Last summer, I was apparently bitten by a tick but it was never discovered. I suddenly developed severe headaches, which I sort of thought were a migraine. The headaches were nothing like my migraines, but I couldn't discern that. I was cognitively impaired. I couldn't figure out how to operate my thermometer. I knew I should see a doctor, but I lived too far from my doctor as I had just moved. I knew I was dehydrated, so I would drink some water then return to bed for a day.
Finally I dragged myself to the urgent care clinic. They sent me immediately to the ER. I was diagnosed with anaplasmosis (a tick-borne disease) and sepsis ("a serious condition resulting from the presence of harmful microorganisms in the blood or other tissues and the body’s response to their presence, potentially leading to the malfunctioning of various organs, shock, and death" (Oxford English Dict.) - think of the "cytokine storm" that often kills people with COVID-19).
So I am really serious about preventing tick bites. In my area (New England), ticks carry Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Erlichiosis, Babesiosis, Powassan Virus, and a recently discovered species Borrelia miyamotoi. None of these are diseases to fool around with. Anaplasmosis (indeed, several of these diseases) is easily treated with doxycycline, but (1) I didn't know I'd been bitten by a tick and (2) I was too impaired cognitively to take adequate care of myself, with a potentially fatal result.
Tuck your long pants into your socks. Check daily. Ideally, take your clothes off (and pop them in the dryer, if they aren't going to be washed - kills the ticks) on the porch and immediately take a shower, checking your body, particularly the warm and damp sections. I also wear Lyme-Eez gaiters (found on Amazon) which are infused with permethrin and go on over your socks and pants near the ankle.
Apologies for such a pesticide-laden post on permies. I don't want to die, is all. (And permethrin is considered fairly benign, as poisonous chemicals go.)
One thing that those of us who are white or from the dominant culture can do, is read and listen. A frequent complaint from people of color is that when they describe their experiences, white people disagree, or "explain" how it wasn't really racist.
There is an organization with chapters in most regions of the US called "Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)." It is an organization of white people who have decided that it is their responsibility to educate themselves about racism, rather than calling upon people of color to do so. Many people of color are exhausted from the task. Here is a list of readings by a SURJ chapter near me. It will be uncomfortable, and eye-opening, to read.
There are groups (quite possibly none near you, Elle) who teach anti-racism. Much of the early work is on letting go of the shame many of us white people feel when confronting our failings or limitations in combating racism. But the groups also teach non-scary ways to be an ally to people of color, people of marginalized sexual orientations or identities, people of minority religions, and so forth. Really super-helpful.
Something is feasting on all my kale seedlings (tiny things, coming up from seed). They are working on my greenhouse-seedlings, too, but 3 out of 4 of those still look strong. There are holes in the tiny turnips from seed, but they look like they can take it. And one cucumber; the rest were spared. Puzzling.
My order from Ty Ty has a 50% survival rate. They were planted on arrival. Lost are one mulberry, a Stanley plum, and an elderberry. The other elderberry, other mulberry, and an apple (larger) are leading out, reluctantly for the elderberry.
Sorry I can’t offer advice for bare-roots in the high desert!
I don't, but if I needed some, I would go to scholar.google.com. They catalog a huge swath of the scientific literature. It takes a few tries, usually, to get the right search terms, but I am confident that this is an excellent way to get what you need.
Lorinne, Please forgive me for starting a post addressed to you, then rambling on about other issues. I realize when I read your next post that it seemed as if I was lecturing you on the issue of self-protection vs. protection of others. Apologies! I was addressing the issue of leaving the mask in the car, and then wandered off topic. I certainly didn't mean that preachy tone!
I am waiting to see if my wood chips produce potatoes as fine as Trace's. I've been watering them a lot in our recent weather, because the wood chips aren't as deep there and seem to get a bit dry. We had a rain storm and I've had 2 days off from watering!
I planted purple potatoes. Anthocyanins, you know.
We are so fortunate to live in a tiny town in Vermont. There has been large-scale cooperation with the governor's shutdown and regulations. There is a tiny infection rate. I do not need to strip down, sterilize my mask, and so forth when I come in the door. I shop mostly at places with curbside buying and are otherwise uncrowded. I rarely come closer than six feet from anyone.
I am well aware that I'm privileged in this; I don't need to go to work, I certainly don't need to wear a mask all day at work, and I absolutely don't need to ride a subway to work. I can shop at small village markets by putting in my order and picking it up on the shop's porch. I am wearing the mask with care for myself (sanitizing my hands and wiping down the car handles as soon as I get back in), but mostly with care for others. Nobody is breathing on me, thank goodness. We have all been educated that the masks primarily protect others and, depending on the type of mask, generally provide little protection for ourselves.
In my experience, different seedlings need different treatment. I started comfrey too early and they were a good size when it was time to harden off, but they needed constant attention. In the first week they couldn’t last an hour most days. They hardened off very slowly.
This year’s seedlings from the greenhouse were fine with half a day, then a whole day outside. Finally quit all that and stuck ‘em in the ground.
In my very limited experience, the black raspberries that grow on poor soil don’t produce many berries, and they are tiny. I had wild black raspberries grow on my garden made of tons of leaves, which became magnificent soil, and they produced slightly bigger, and certainly more, berries.
I put my (purple) potatoes in the ground a bit later than I could have, but before our last-frost date. I ran out of space, too, so instuck them into the wood chips (about 12” deep) in my new food forest. The wood chips already have a good web of
Mycelium developing. The potatoes aren’t peeking out yet, but my fingers are crossed!
Around here, there is quite a variety of items being used as "masks." A bandana is popular, as was a ski mask before the weather turned tropical last week. There are internet instructions for making a "no-sew" mask. There are hundreds for sale on Etsy, where I bought a nice pleated one with a choice of fabric patterns. I just keep mine in the car and put it on when entering a store or going indoors in any way. I'm fortunate to live in a rural area, and in a state where the governor has taken a data-driven, evidence-based approach, resulting in remarkably low infection and death rates.
I support the medical arguments for wearing a mask, but with caution not to drop the most effective measures ("social distancing," hand-washing, face non-touching, avoiding crowds).
I also support the expression of care for others evident in wearing masks. People-care, remember? We are surrounded by people with autoimmune disorders, lung disease, heart conditions, diabetes, and advanced age who are likely to die if they catch this. You can't tell by looking. At 66, I'm technically in a high-risk group, although I don't feel like it. But common sense tells me to take extra good care of myself and keep my distance. This is easy in my life - I'm not a grocery clerk or nurse practitioner. I try to thank the people who come to work despite the risk, and take care of them by wearing my mask and keeping my distance.
Even if we are suspicious of government, of modern Western medicine, and of the dominant culture, we can still express our care for each other (and minimize the spread of this deadly virus) by wearing masks.
I haven’t had the problems with wood chips experienced by others. I do have difficulty with chips falling onto newly seeded areas of soil, but I haven’t found it insurmountable. It is a pain picking out the chips, but this is only an issue while planting.
It could be because my beds were new last year, filled with rotten wood, yard waste, weeds, some compost, and some bagged stuff from the garden center. I think there were plenty of nutrients and the vegetables responded appropriately. I’ve been relieved to read RedHawk’s thread about the “Urban Myth” of wood chips robbing nitrogen from the soil, and other reassuring research, since I can’t keep my wood chips out of the soil.
I haven’t had a problem with squirrels, rabbits, or birds. I was worried about my chickens creating havoc, and I didn’t want to fence them out of the whole garden area. I took some ideas from a book called (something like) Gardening with Chickens by Jessie Bloom. Photo below. This chicken guard uses 2” x 4” welded wire fencing and has been the most effective thing I tried. The idea is that once the plants are larger, the chickens can’t destroy them and will ignore them mostly, in favor of eating bugs and the occasional cherry tomato. (I plan for robust tomato cages so I can keep most of my cherry tomatoes!)
We never see rabbits around here, and only see squirrels beneath the bird feeder in winter. It’s a rural area, with larger predators (a bear took one of my chickens). Maybe that accounts for the lack of small garden-wreckers. Who knows? I didn’t have thee chicken guards last year. Biggest pest problem was cabbage worms.
This year’s garden is full of tiny plants, except for the asparagus. But here are some other pix. First, DH built beautiful new trellises. I have 2 varieties of heirloom pole beans, butternut and buttercup squash, and pickling and slicing cukes.
Second photo is the chickens cleaning up at the end of the season. Good job, hens!
Finally, a shot of the flowers nearby in full bloom. This year the lupines are blooming already! And one of my centaurea montana.
You might arrange to give fresh produce to your local food pantry, if you have one. You would be less likely to compete with the farmers’ market and these services are getting lots of traffic!
In our tiny town (pop. 690) the usually sleepy Food Shelf had 30 cars parked in front. A parking lot that holds 10 if everyone parks carefully and creatively. In very small Springfield, Vermont, my husband drove by the Food Shelf and thought there must have been 100 cars in line.
I believe that cheap is the mother of many great gardening techniques, especially the old-fashioned ones that keep making the rounds, like manure. So simple, really - eat plants, poop, fertilize, plants grow, and so forth. Leaves and wood chips mimic the forest floor, home of the blackest, most beautiful soil there is. And they're cheap, or free!
Despite your excellent pictures, I'm still having a little trouble following the whole process. But, you can layer your trees/logs right on top of each other - you don't need to make a full sandwich with all the other ingredients for each layer of logs. Although you'll still be trying to fill in all the cracks (you can use twigs, small branches, leaves, in addition to the dirt).
I'm going to flag this topic so some more knowledgeable people can come and address the new dilemma. But no, you haven't ruined it!
Rereading, maybe I did misunderstand - the garden will be at the top, not on the slope? Oops. Funny how you don't spot these things until after you press "submit!"
I agree with Tyler that you likely won't need to import soil. A light coating of grass clippings would make a lovely mulch for the new garden, and continue to deliver nitrogen every time you added it. But take care not to smother the seedlings.
I think that making your first hugelkultur garden on a slope will be difficult. (Forgive me if I misunderstand your plans - I couldn't quite follow.) I don't think you should try to even out the slope with the logs, but instead dig into the side of the hill and make a flat surface to lay the logs on. The sod that you dig out is a good layer after you fill in the gaps in the wood and put in your wood chips. You put the sod on upside down. Leaf mold on top of that. If you need little cups of soil to plant in (depending on the consistency of the leaf mold), you shouldn't need much.
Many people have great luck with Chipdrop. I did not, but by calling a few arborists in my area I found one (who is a neighbor!) who brings me all the chips I want.
Either way, sounds good! I would plant seedlings into the bed if I could, including some spreading ground-cover type plants, to keep it from washing away in a big rainstorm. If you tried to start the whole thing from seed, the rain might wreck your plans before the seeds get going. You can easily start seeds in paper cups, old egg cartons, or any number of containers inside.
I'm adding to my list. I just posted on my local small-town web list that "It's that time again, for a grandparent to request to borrow a crib or buy a used on for impending visit of grandbaby." Such posts are pretty routine for our little community.
You don't say where you are, or your USDA zone. It could help! For example, I see black ground covering, and if you live where it's very hot, that might be raising the temperature a bit. But I agree, new transplants can wilt due to the stress of the changes.
My uninoculated wood chips have mycelium running throughout. (Un-innoculated by me, that is.) Last summer I was able to harvest wonderful soil from the paths between my beds, which were built on construction sand that supported a weed here and there (and then the Bermuda grass arrived). In other words, amazing fertility from wood chips just sitting there!
No avoiding the fact that this is easier to do with money. But a good start is either gardening where you are (and thus learning permaculture principles and how to grow food), or getting a job in a rural area, moving there, and setting about getting yourself some land. It's all a process, and the process (while hard) is mostly all good. We are all on the road; none of us has arrived.
I am hopeful that this pandemic will cause others to take a second look at our wasteful, harmful, stupid-consumerist way of living, and seek alternatives.
Karl, Unhelpfully, I can't remember where I read this, but there was research that showed the wood chips only took Nitrogen from the very top of the soil.
I can't seem to keep my wood chips and soil completely separated, so I use the urinary route! My plants have seemed quite well-fed, despite this. Also adding chicken bedding in the fall, so there's that.