I ordered and had 5 tons of composted horse manure delivered to my house. Now I'm reading about issues with Grazon and other herbicides that are in hay that could damage any tomatoes and beans I try to grow in soil treated with manure from animals who have eaten contaminated hay. I put in a call to the man I bought my manure from but honestly I doubt I'll get a straight answer. He said he keeps nearly 30 horse so I'm sure he's not growing all his own hay. And while I don't really know this guy I have a hard time believing he'll track down the info from his suppliers so I can know whether or not his manure he's selling will kill or stunt the plants of people he sells to. I guess I'm just cynical. I can try and find out myself with the manure but it involves several weeks growing beans in soil with the manure to see if it's bad or not. In the meantime my plan has been to spread the manure NOW all over the garden so I'll be ready to plant in a month.
I guess this is partly just a vent. I'm as much bothered by the idea of being out $160 for contaminated manure as I am just sick to death of dealing with crappy soil that NEEDS a lot of amendment and I have such a hard time finding good clean healthy straw, hay, manure etc in large and cheap enough quantities to improved thousands of square feet of garden space. I'm sick of these stinking poisons in my air, soil and water that we have to work so hard to avoid and then sneak up on us in a thousand different ways regardless. I love to garden but struggle with poor health and am trying to make my life and gardening easier. 5 tons of horse manure was supposed to help do that and now I just created more work for myself instead of less.
My husband is one of those people that graduated with a computer science degree right as the tech bubble burst. He was not able to get a job in his field. He ended up with a crappy job at Enterprise. He slaved away there for I think it was 7 years before he lost his job there right in the middle of the crash in the fall of 2008. It was awful at the time. But it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to us. He had to act fast to make a living so he starting putting his computer programming skills to work and getting jobs online. It's been 3 years since he started. We now make well over 3 times what he made before he lost his job and he simply doesn't even have enough time to keep up with the demand he has for what he does. But we are totally preparing for a large continuous decline in the economy and investing in our home and land.
We aren't investing in the stock market because honestly we don't know how to play that game. Our goal is to pay off our home, invest in solar and a well and whatever it takes to remove our dependence on the system. We are slowly increasing our gardens on our 1 acre. It's not an ideal acre. It's very hilly but it's what we have and we'd prefer to live in a more suburban area. It decreases our dependency on a car. We live across the street from my parents who have an over an acre and will probably end up owning that acre in the process of needing to support them in their old age. We don't ever expect to achieve real self sufficiency but we do think that working the soil is excellent for our mental and physical health and besides being a total joy to do it it's also a way to prepare for retirement. Our goal is to be debt free and as self supporting as we can be on our one acre and continuing to find ways to support ourselves without being subject to the whims of a large heartless corporation. We intend to do this regardless of what really ends up happening with the economy or peak oil because we think it's in our best interest to do this. We are investing in our soil and expect a great return on our investment. I'm thinking of that blog article someone shared recently on the return on investment we get growing food.
I only registered two weeks ago and it said to use a real name but it didnt' have to be your own so long as you didn't admit one way or the other. I thought that was said in this thread as well. The point being it's a place with "real" people not Bertha Buttcheeks and Bacon Grease McCoy. I don't entirely get it but that's what's been stated and if you are bothered by using your "real" name I don't understand why not just take the opportunity to be able to do what you are asked while still respecting your privacy online. It's sort of beside the point whether any of us thinks this makes sense to us, right? We aren't calling the shots or paying for the forum. But I don't see how it's dishonest. It's never been considered dishonest to use a handle online. What's dishonest about being asked to use a handle that doesn't seem like one?
Sorry, I was being tongue in cheek wy my remarks. Paul has posted elsewhere that the site was automatically giving the names of either Hatfield or McCoy when there was no other last name listed. It sounds to me like you ought to be able to change your first name of "heathensteven" though. But I've not actually tried to figure it out myself.
Was this not always in the registration info? I only registered maybe two weeks ago and when I did it specifically said I had to use my real name or a real sounding name and not admit that it was not my real name. I'm baffled why this is such a big deal if it's in fact been such a long standing policy? I guess the problem is that it's been a policy on paper but just not been enforced?
We love fermentation as well, Jamie. I've been fermenting foods for years. My problem is about the only place I have that it's cold enough to store it is in a fridge. Are you building a root cellar that will be cold enough?
I have a nice canner but hate the long drawn out process and heating up the house. I'm totally a prepper or at least a prepper wanna be. It goes along with wanting to be self sufficient. I might not be able to grow it all but I can certainly store it and reduce our dependence on the grocery store. We store grains and bean and oil and honey in buckets. And we store a lot of meat in the freezer. Other than that I plan on mostly storing vegetables in the garden. I grow vegetables year round and under pvc hoops and plastic in the winter. I hope to have even more out there next winter! Right now I have leeks, fennel, cilantro, varieties of lettuce, radishes, beets and spinach.
Charles Kelm wrote:Thanks for the tip Ivan. I will order the kohlrabi. I am putting together an order with Fedco seeds, who I have found to be the very least expensive of the ethical seed companies, and I was happy to see that they have Kohlrabi Gigante as well. You get 4 times the seed for half the price (about fifty cents a gram at Fedco vs: about $4 a gram at Nichols).
ivan. wrote:I got three tree collards cuttings from Bountiful in the fall and planted them outside, each in its own big pot. The folks at Bountiful told me they should root overwinter and come up just fine in the spring. Their information coincides exactly with Assuncao's in Burra Maluca's comment.
Another brassica of Portuguese origin is the annual couve tronchuda. This looks like collards but is a smooth-leaved kale. This is, simply put, an outstanding vegetable that everyone should try at least once.
I heard about getting them from Bountiful from John Kohler and was hoping to buy from them next time they are available. I can't wait. They look and sound great.
We have Khaki Campbells. I don't really think they are easier on the garden than chickens personally. They will obliterate green leafies. They love my tomatoes and will steal them all. They love green bean plants too and will wipe those out not by trampling them but by eating the plants down. I was hoping against hope they'd be easier on the garden than some of the other ducks we've had but they aren't. Maybe with a lot more guidance and training it would work out better but honestly I have too many things going on to do that. I'm planning to fence in our back vegetable garden area entirely next month and also fence in a larger area for the ducks. They really ruined large sections of my garden last year. I still love the ducks and think they are worth having but IME they won't eat the bugs without enjoying most of the other veg too. I've heard guineas will eat the bugs and leave the plants. So far I have had terrible luck getting them to even survive. I have one lone guinea and I had hoped to get her IN the garden and get a few more guineas next year. But the noise so far is pretty hideous and we might not be able to do that.
Thanks, John. I know it's all too easy to think that if I only had X, Y and Z it'd solve my problems. I'm hoping making the most of what we have will provide that real sense of accomplishment like you said.
I was just curious if anyone else had experienced this. We are in North GA. Normally we have a lot of butterflies in our yard every year. I plant a lot of plants that attract them. This past year however we had probably a quarter of the butterfly population we've grown accustomed too. I do have out door cats. But they didn't seem to affect the population the years before that. I have no idea if they developed a taste for butterflies and I maybe missed it. But I'd think I'd see the butterflies in the yard before being killed. But I just wasn't seeing them this year. I found an article saying a lot of Monarchs had been killed due to cold in Mexico but I'm not sure if there was something affecting the butterfly population as a whole and thought I'd see if others had noticed a change.
Fascinating, John. Was this system of yours expensive to set up? I read an article recently of someone who had a fish farming set up in the Northern US recently. It was really interesting but it didn't seem like they were getting out of it what they'd put into it. The set up cost was very expensive and they didn't seem to be raising near the amount of fish you were raising. I think a large part of the expense was them setting up a shed that was heated during the winter. They'd initially grown the fish inside but quickly outgrew that. That would be unnecessary presumably in the tropics. How quickly could you recoup your costs with the kind of set up you had?
I think it's part truth and party myth regarding the apple seeds. Some plant material contains iodine but the levels are entirely dependent on the level of iodine on the soil so there can't be any guaranteed level of iodine from apple seeds. Iodine is rare in most/many soils. High or low soil iodine it's way lower than sea sources. The toxins in our food and water also cause much greater levels of iodine needed because the toxins clog the iodine receptors. I hope I explained that accurately. I'm hypothyroid and have been experimenting with increasing my personal intake of iodine. I need a lot and am still increasing the levels.
I'm just curious, John but could you explain more how roof top gardening would play a part in it being about 1,500 sq ft per person to maintain health? Does it make a difference there whether the food is grown in the ground vs the roof? Where I live I think roof top gardening would be extremely water intensive.
Ok, I've only read through the first page but when I was younger I had no problems peeing outside and did it rather frequently. For many years I refused to ever use a public restroom. It was easier when I could go hours and hours without needing to pee. I'm now a whopping 36yo but I've had 6 kids and I'm fatter. Things change. It's way easy to pee in a free flowing skirt. If I'm wearing a pair of jeans it's just freaking awkward to try and squat and not pee on my jeans meanwhile I'm concerned someone will see my large white ass or that I might lose my balance with my pants around my ankles and fall down. It'd be bad enough to be found squatting and peeing with my pants around my ankles and another thing entirely to be caught off guard, falling head over heels fully exposed and not able to get my pants up quick enough. There. That's my nightmare scenario. I'd definitely gladly pee when we are out and about outside if I could find someone genuine privacy but I rarely find the situation and I've tried. I have no privacy in my yard either because I really don't want to my pee in front of my kids as they are getting older. I'm pretty sure they'd be horrified. lol Also I do not find shake and dry to be so easy any more. I don't seem to dry that quickly anymore that or I have less tolerance for a damp crotch leading to chafing.
I just need to buy one of those things so I can pee standing up. I'd love that. I'd take an empty jar out with us and just collect my urine in that.
Oh, thank you for this! I just added it to my cart. I've never owned any of her books but How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back was one of the first gardening books I ever read as a young teen. She was very inspiring and I tried mulching for the first time that year.
Honora Holmes wrote:I know I'm new and don't know where everyone is coming from but I really hate it when people pontificate based on a theory and one or two people they've read about vs actually proving that theory in practice. They aren't the same things.
I hear ya and agree. It's come up quite a bit in the short time I've been here.
My chickens will not lay eggs well no matter how many tons of food scraps I give them or how much free ranging they get. They just don't. It's not that simple. Also the more freedom you give your chickens to forage and provide the needed calories exclusively from your land the more exposure to predators.
I do sort of disagree with this though. It probably depends on the breed of chicken and on your land. I have lots of land and mostly Chanteclers which are good foragers. They are also a dual purpose bird so I don't expect them to lay as well as layers. For 3 seasons I barely give them any grain and the yolks are crazy orange. I have 3 livestock guard dogs so my losses have been minimal.
Thanks. The more my chickens are able to forage the better their yolks are for sure! To be clear my chickens certainly will lay eggs with little no extra feed. The problem is we get far less eggs that way and that means less calories raised on our land in the form of eggs so more calories come from off the land to make that up. And part of our problem is the more freedom I give them then the more predator problems I end up with and then lose a large chunk of my flock. It's been 11 years so far and unless my birds are very tightly locked up in a very very secure enclosure and bird run we only have a period of peace before another massacre. I keep a motley crew of birds. Many different breeds we have bought and some our chickens have hatched. The home grown birds are our best foragers and best able to protect themselves and most likely to decide to live in a tree top and hide their ages around the yard during the day! My kids enjoy the surprises though.
I am ok with not being totally self sufficient right now. We do eat our own eggs and some of our chicken is grown here. I also buy most of our pork and beef from a small farmer who raises their cattle on grass. And I buy all our cows milk from another farmer. I like supporting local farmers. One day when there is only 2 of us here it will probably be easier to produce more of our own. Meanwhile I am hoping to get bees in the next year or two and more goats.
I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm excited to find these forums. Gardening is my passion. I love it. I've been gardening for 20 years this year and my hopes and dreams all involve gardens. I was introduced to permaculture 4 or 5 years ago via Gaia's Garden, Sepp Holzer's youtube videos (I got his new book for Christmas) and Fukuoka. I have an acre of hilly land in North Georgia with my husband, 6 kids, 2 goats, 4 cats, many chickens and ducks and one lone loud guinea hen. I always thought I wanted a lot of land. But at this point what I'm really hoping for is to take my hilly acre of poor Georgia clay and turn it into a mini food paradise. I like the challenge of taking something crappy and turning it into something beautiful.
I have experimented with hugelkultur beds and swales. My front yard is one steep hill and I'm working on terracing it by hand and putting in hugelkultur beds. It's awful soil and next to nothing besides dandelions and sorrel grows in it. But we've planted a lot of fruit trees and berry bushes and I'm slowing working on transforming it. It's been amazing to watch the change in areas that were basically bare dirt and are now lush and green. I realized today reading Sepp's new book that I'm not putting my swales in at the wrong angle though and I need to adjust things. :/ I battle deer so I'm having to fence in part of my gardens as well. I'm also using pvc pipe frames like mini hoop houses over raised beds. I put plastic on them in the winter to grow more food and then deer netting in the summer to keep out deer, cats, ducks and chickens. Right now animal pests are one of my biggest problems. I'm trying to figure out how to handle the terraces/swales on the front hill. I need to plant things that most animals will leave alone. Last year I started off with potatoes and lots of greens.
Our back 1/5 of an acre is wooded. But we back up to a highway that is clearing a swathe of land and that will include that 1/5 of an acre. I plan to try and terrace it and put in a food forest and maybe fence ducks in there. We really enjoy our ducks and they are much better foragers than our chickens have been.
Anyway, I'm glad to meet everyone and look forward to learning and talking to other people who share my interests!
Well, I agree with Hemingway. And I didn't see anyone here really disprove his point. There is a world of difference between calculating calories in crops and talking about how much of it you can theoretically grow vs actually doing it. I think it's silly to try and counteract his argument with theories and not actual circumstances. One person mentioned someone they know who does most of it? That little bit of olive oil is not small potatoes when it comes to considered calories used daily. It just sort of proves his point...this is a permies board and no one here can honestly claim any real major let alone complete self sufficiency. There is a world of difference between having X amount of trees on your property and then those trees actually being mature and truly providing you with the theoretically calories you can get from them.
I no longer truly think I can be self sufficient. I do want to grow as much as I can. I love it. I love gardening. I love growing my own food. It's almost a compulsion for me. I could never not garden. But I know my soil still needs large amounts of amendments to not only provide more food but provide truly nutrient dense food. I'll never be able to grow my own iodine source though. And though I have chickens I do have to buy feed. I also don't have enough land to support my goats to provide enough milk for my whole family. And I'm not just working on the theory that if I throw some chickens out there in my food forest then I'll have eggs and meat. I've tried. My chickens will not lay eggs well no matter how many tons of food scraps I give them or how much free ranging they get. They just don't. It's not that simple. Also the more freedom you give your chickens to forage and provide the needed calories exclusively from your land the more exposure to predators. I'm sorry if I sound rude here. I know I'm new and don't know where everyone is coming from but I really hate it when people pontificate based on a theory and one or two people they've read about vs actually proving that theory in practice. They aren't the same things.
And I don't think it really helps attract people by exaggerating what can be done based not on real experience but more theory. It's been a long time since any of us actually had any truly self sufficient ancestors and it requires a lot of land to even come close to that. I don't think the article was discouraging. Realism and pointing out our need to work together shouldn't really be discouraging. I'm glad I can buy my coconut oil from a farmer who can grow coconuts!