Yes, I agree, the straight-edged metal flipper is a must. Thrift shops are great for those. I keep a tub of lard around just for adding to the seasoning after some spousal abuse. No, she doesn't get violent. She just doesn't like to rinse them out immediately, or have a concept of seasoning. The lard is more convenient than bacon fat, especially if I'm not in the mood for bacon.
Out of all the posts asking for help, this is the one I want to see the soil analysis the most. I think this mainly due to the severely polarized analysis of the description and pictures.
Second, what is the driving force behind wanting a water and nutrient demanding lawn in the middle of a desert? I know zig is required by local (military) codes. My parents live out in AZ. They moved there so they wouldn't have to have a lawn and had the perfect excuse not to. The desert landscape is unique and very beautiful in its own way. I understand wanting to make the desert green. But having a grass lawn that needs mowed, which increases its need for water and nutrients even more is absurd. There are other ways to green a desert. Then again, I've never heard of anyone claim that the government makes very many rational decisions.
I just want to record a thought for brainstorming and future reference. Since cob buildings aren't really understood by most local building departments, they generally aren't permitted structures. One way around this is by making the building smaller than the minimum area that requires a permit. This is fine for many people. However, if your family expands, this could present a problem. You could perhaps build multiple mini-buildings. The problem with this is when extreme cold or other inclement weather strikes, it can be taxing to travel between buildings.
My idea is to utilize tunnels or ditches with retaining walls, a roof and a floor to make passage between structures feasible at all times. A properly designed, built and drained tunnel or ditch would make a comfortable passage possible. Of course this wouldn't be very doable in areas with high water tables or shallow dirt over rock.
I hadn't heard of keyline/chisel plows before. I looked them up and liked the idea. The video I saw was a keyline plowing an unmowed grass field, with a crimper attached to the back of it. Much better than moldboarding/disking, and a step in the right direction. That might be a more economical route to achieve similar results as the post hole idea. The post hole idea is geared more toward smaller plots, like lawns and gardens. Dig a post hole as deep as possible, mix the excavated dirt 1:1 with compost. Back fill with the mix and leave a mound which should dissipate on its own. Then toss some seed on top. Its only really just an idea that Paul mentioned in the lawn care forum, not really tested afaik. I'd think with the keyline plow, you could spread compost over the field, then come back with the key line plow to open a few slits. The compost would then have an opening to trickle down in when it rains and by earthworm action. I think this would do essentially the same action, but with less time involved.
From what I've read, almost all varieties of dried beans (P. vulgaris) are heirlooms: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, et al. are heirlooms as much as Jacob's Cattle and Appaloosa. Even more so I think in some cases, as some of these date back to antiquity, and not just back 50 years as the heirloom standard goes.
Tropicdude: You might want to try quinoa. It is not a grass type grain. It is however gluten free. The both the grain and the greens are edible. Although I have yet to try growing it, I've heard it grows well and is very high yielding. It is a cool season crop. My wife and I find it is a delicious substitute for both rice and oatmeal in a variety of dishes. It stands alone quite well as a cooked grain side dish or as a base for an entree.
Travis: If your friend could be persuaded by scientific data, there is much to be learned via google. Purdue's extension service is one of the most reputed but most university extensions are very good as well. I started by googling cover crops to get a general idea about a variety of covers, then googled each on independently. Look for covers that can be interplanted to make a diverse cover that does several functions at once. Heres a couple of links I found this way: [url=http://ohioline.osu.edu/sag-fact/pdf/Oilseed_Radish.pdf]ohioline.osu.edu/sag-fact/pdf/Oilseed_Radish.pdf and http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/NEWSLTR/v7n1/sa-11.htm Keep in mind that forage and tillage radishes are technically of the oilseed type as well, but better suited for breaking soil. The oil seed radish may appeal to your friend because it could be a cash crop as well. Same with many other cover crops.
Melonie is exactly right. I forgot for a moment that we live in a global market whether we like or not. Imposing such a tax would only compound the problem while sending it offshore. Basically it would be sweeping it under the rug for someone else to deal with.
The two-tier deal is basically what we have now. Albeit the higher priced organic solution isn't always better. Much of what is called organic is done with the same damaging techniques minus only the chemicals. Really it is just with different chemicals that are considered safe.
What would be needed is consumer education, but that will take a long time to produce results.
How about a dummy tax on produce from Big Ag to help mitigate the cost of scrubbing drinking water and other hazardous waste matters resulting from petro-farming? If the tax were to be put on all said produce, and cover all said expenses, would we be able to afford Big Ag's produce?
Travis, try convincing your friend to take a 1/4 acre or some other small section of the field and try your suggestions exclusively there. Meanwhile, he can keep on plowing and destroying the rest of his land to his heart's content. I doubt he can do it much more harm than has already been done. That small section should respond very well to some real TLC. It could provide the proof he needs. I understand his unwillingness to change. The unknown is scary. He needs to feed his family. A wise man once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Hopefully you can convince him to do something different for his own good.
There are special varieties of radish cultivated for soil improvement called tillage radish. These have an exceptionally vigorous taproot that extends below the main root body of the radish. I'd think about mixing those with some other brassicas, some legumes, and some grasses. Possibly somehow incorporate Paul's post-hole method for penetrating the hardpan.
Observe and try. That made me remember that a section of my yard gets standing water in it for several weeks just after the spring thaw and several more times shortly there after every spring. I might have to try growing some rice there this spring.
Last year I grew a mix of buckwheat and cowpea in an untilled sod of anonymous grass with red and white clovers (T. pratense, and repens), and various weeds. It turned out beyond my expections with minimal work other than planting and harvesting. I hand harvested the seeds of the cowpea and buckwheat. Then mowed it and left it in place as mulch. I plan on repeating the process again this year in that spot with just the cowpeas and sod. Next fall I plan to sow cereal rye for rotation after the cowpeas just before harvest.
If you don't want to use metallic looking mylar reflectors, you can use just about anything that is white. White reflects as well or better and is more diffuse. You don't have to worry about a fold or bend focusing sun rays haphazardly on your prized plants. Use bricks or stones and paint them white. White plates and dishes dishes. Anything white will work.
Back to the original question: are there any plants that won't work if you direct seed? I think that where there is a will there's a way. I'm going to try plant various things directly this year that I normally wouldn't.
The only other relatively cost effective *and* safe method of underground construction would be similar to the wood timber framing, but with structural steel beams and girders. But that would probably be the most expensive of the three. If you know you have sufficiently load bearing soil, you could skip the digging down which is very costly. This also avoids digging up unexpected obstacles, like boulders, or woolly mammoths. Nothing slows a project down like a good woolly mammoth to turn your construction site into an archaeological dig site. Build up with one of the mentioned building methods. Then bury the structure in soil. Of course the structure would have to be engineered to support the added soil. Voila! Instant underground structure. The advantages of the high-ground and the underground all in one. A hybrid could be done with a partially dug out hole in the ground topped with a buried structure that extends above.
Another, probably more practical way of moving the containers would be a semi tractor. These are far more ubiquitous than cranes. The containers have the built-in ability to have trailer wheels and landing gear mounted on their underside. Also more ubiquitous than cranes are fork lifts which can be used to mount and dismount landing gear and wheels. Forklifts can also be used to push trailer and container sections into place. One could also recycle old trailers for similar reuse. Although designated trailers are generally not as sturdy as shipping containers, they are designed to take quite a beating. They are just not designed to be stacked in addition to the requisite loading, that's the major difference. Many trailers have a wood plank or plywood floor with plastic or fiberglass laminated plywood sides in a metal frame, generally aluminum and steel.
It used to be the norm for people to carry a sidearm during their daily business. Some people have kept up that tradition. While there are some nasty hot headed types who do this, there are many more who are levelheaded and of the mind that the time they don't carry their gun is the time that they'll really need it. I think the man you may be dealing with could very well be the level headed type. The fact that he carries it openly shows he has nothing to hide by carrying it. The one's I'm scared of are the ones who either conceal, or openly play with their gun. The ones who conceal are trying to hide something. The ones who openly play with their gun are ignorant fools who are going to kill someone haphazardly. The ones who carry openly and keep it holstered unless needed are generally more level headed and reasonable, even the evil ones.
Ask the local police what they would suggest you do. I'm sure they've handled disputes like this before. Nip it in the bud. You can't let their dogs terrorize you and your land. Try to make friends with these people. Friends carrying guns are far better than enemies carrying guns. Perhaps they don't realize their error. Or perhaps they are indifferent. After all, how often have your animals trespassed on their land?
I've read the idea with the weed burners is merely to damage the flesh of the plant, not to burn it completely by setting fire to it. If you burn it completely the reaction of the plant will be as if you merely cut off its top. It will grow back. However, if you merely burst the surface layer of plant cells, it sets off a chain reaction, killing the plant, roots and all. The desired look is more like boiled veggies, not veggie ala charcoal.
Caveat, I have never used a weed burner. This is a result of the research I did when I was considering buying one. No personal experience here.
Yes, I inoculated the seed. I plan on inoculating at least one more time to ensure a stable culture in the soil. For irrigation, you can bury terracotta pots with the bottoms plugged. Cover the top with a plate or something to stop evaporation. Fill the pots with water and it will leech out and moisten the soil nearby. Fill the pots as necessary.
Bird, so your swales both redirect, and store water. Nice concept. I've used seed balls and pellets made with clay that I dig from the ground. I got a nice harvest of cowpeas in pellets broadcast by hand over grass sod that was cut low just before planting. If I were to do it again, I'd double or triple my planting density. The cowpeas seemed to thrive where they were densely planted and grew weak by themselves. I used 1 pound on a 500sqft area. I yielded 2 pounds, but i did no work other than planting and harvesting. I also planted late in the season. I think I'll plant a month earlier, this time in May. I'll see what my yield ratio is this year.
Rose: The pads are the "leaves" or green vegetative water storing parts of the cactus. Basically you peel them and cook them. Do a google search for "cooking prickly pear pads". You'll get some recipes and ideas from there. TCLynx: From what I've been researching, you just cut off a pad and stick it in soil. Don't water, as it stores enough to root itself. Watering apparently can lead to rotting, instead of rooting.
Hens and chicks are something that I know about growing. Set and forget. We had some growing on a cypress stump covered in gravel. I love prickly pear fruits. Would you be willing to trade some plants? I currently only have seeds, and a limited selection: From packets from past seed season from Jung Seed Co: Tomato - Heirloom paste - Opalka Melon - Heirloom cantelope - Amish Saved seed: Pea - Snow Pea - Sandy Tomato - Heirloom cherry - Koralik Tomato - OP drying - Principe Borghese Cowpea - Heirloom - Pink Eyed Purple Hull
I could also send post paid packaging, or other arrangement.
Wow... that is some neat stuff. I can see agri-tractors as definitely being operated viably on electric power. Highway semi-truck tractors on the other hand, not so much, but that is a different story all together.
How easy is this to grow indoors for the winter? I like cacti and my mom used to grow some, but I don't think she had any prickly pear when she still lived here in Indiana. I would love to add a cactus to my garden.
Is it not nature to tend toward homeostasis or equilibrium? I think it was humanity's desire for more that led to excess in the first place. Wanting more than sustainability is an oxymoron. Alas, it is also human nature.
kpeavy, another good reason for covering your pots is evaporation. You could rig a pipe with a floating indicator to A: help locate pots, B: tell you when they need water, and C: provide a fill point without having to dig up your buried pots.
The following can give you a loose idea of what it takes to move product over the road by truck. I am a mechanic who works on diesel semi trucks. Our fleet commonly carries 40,000 lb loads, with a common fuel consumption of 6 mpg carrying those loads. This info is based on long-haul over the road trucks. On that info I will base the following. I had to do some conversions as the needed info wasn't always in the same units of measure. 40,000 lbs is 18,143,694.8 grams. The calories of tomatos is based on a single, large 3" tomato weighing 182 grams, which contains 33 calories. That is 99,691 tomatos per load for a total food calorie value of 3,289,803 calories per truckload, based on model tomato. On the above stated fuel consumption of a loaded truck, it will go 100 miles on 16.6666 gal of fuel. A gallon of diesel fuel contains 32,907,454 calories. This is 548,457,566 calories to transport 3,289,803 calories worth of tomatos a distance of 100 miles. How's that for inefficiency? 166 times the calories transported. There are many variables affecting the actual mileage, but I don't see anyway that the outcomes would vary enough to even come close to breaking even. Think about a truckload of tomatos from California to the midwest? From Merced Co. California to Indianapolis, In is 2256 miles. Thats 12,373,202,688 calories consumed by transport.
Deston Lee wrote: first clue of a problem in line leaks-hows your bill been looking?
A high water bill would only indicate a leak on the house side of the water meter, which is almost always in the house. A street side break would be the most likely event here, and wouldn't show up in the water bill. That is if it is a water line break.
Check with the utility. Usually, at least around here, it is the Utility's responsibility for leaks on the street side of the meter.
I second Paul's response. Build diversity. Milky spore can be part of that diversity, as well as the beer/hooch, if you so desire to be experimental. I don't think either are necessary. I wouldn't be too concerned with the chemicals that have been applied, as long as you've stopped the application of such permanently. A couple years ago I moved into my house, which had a neglected yard. Various so-called "weeds" and things growing sparsely due to neglect. I've left the weeds and started fertilizing. I've noticed grubs in my yard, but only around the perimeter near lawns that get the chemical treatments.
Let the grubs be. I think they'll go away once you get away from the chemicals and get more stuff growing. From your posts I assume you are transitioning your lawn from grass only to a variety. Grubs like grass. Weak grass. Grass weakened by chemicals. Let things such as plantain, dandelion, clover and such grow with your grass in the lawn. Don't kill them with chemicals, this only weakens your lawn and makes a haven for pests such as your grubs, which then attract the moles. This kind of reminds me of the movie Caddy-Shack for some reason.
Jami, try making 1x or 2x lumber frames to fit your windows and place them around your current beds. They don't have to cover the entire bed. You can grow hardier stuff around them or just wait until warmer weather to plant around them.
Note to self: get those old recovered windows out of the garage and into the garden. Great winter project! I have about a half dozen windows recovered from a friend's remodel project. I kept them just for the purpose of making cold frames but they've been gathering dust for a few years.
I guess I had a warped sense of what fallow means. What I mean is that when you plow, you are left with bare soil until what whatever you planted starts growing. Even then, you have bare soil in between plants unless you go to the trouble of mulching or inter-planting with a cover-crop. In any case, I would think the idea of having bare soil for any length of time is a bad thing. Rotating cover crops between resource hog crops would allow the ground to remain productive. Soybeans, cowpeas, any number of other legumes would be advantageous to the soil, and would eliminate the need to lie fallow. Am I wrong? The only advantage to a farmer that I can see is when some bureaucrat steps in and decides to pay the farmer to leave his land fallow. Why work when he's paid not to?
I've found that I have something in common with mulching mowers. I'd much rather roll through piles of leaves than cut grass. If you think about it, the grass is usually much more dense than a pile of leaves. Add to that leaves are dry dead plant material, vs. grass which is green and growing. Great way to add OM to the lawn without having to rake, compost and then spread back out to do essentially the same thing as mulching them direct in.
We still have two or three more mowings down here in Indiana. Can't wait for the snow! I'd rather throw snow balls than mow grass!
That's the part the tends to thicken up the deposits on the underside of my deck, I think. My favorite part of mowing my "wastelands" (the part in the far back of my property that I hardly take care of that didn't get seeded very well that the big/ugly/woody/what-have-you weeds own) is mowing over the dead, thick, straw-almost-woody weeds, imagining them kind of sandblasting my underdeck and chute as they blow around and out.
Imagining is one thing. Does that actually work? I hate lifting my deck to clean out the buildup. If it does, I might have to find a vacant, overgrown lot to mow.