1 part millet
2 part buckwheat
3/4 part amaranth
1/2 part flax
1 1/2 part wheat
1 1/2 part oats
1 1/2 part barley
2 parta field peas (black eyed is what I have access to, and I grind these roughly)
4 parts black oil sunflower seeds.
A ground kelp product for those minerals, occasionally DE but I'm not consistently committed to that.
The ratios are somewhat flexible. I do add water, probably a little more than 1 to 1, I don't measure. And I do ferment that mix.
Occasionally I offee some alfalfa. Of course I offer food scraps. On very cold mornings I warm the "mash" with some milk like hot cereal, and occasionally add butter.
I do attempt to do some composting with them, but I'm very much on the learning curve there.
Perfect Circle Farm in VT
Sacred Circle Farm in VT
Fedco Up in Maine.
Haven't tried Oikos yet but they're doing cool stuff.
There's a relict tree nursery outside of Philadelphia. As I understand it, the guy who started it had done some work with an agricultural station in Tennessee collecting some choice genetics of various tree crops. One can get their hands on some genetic material. Think really large walnuts and hickories, high sugar honey locusts etc. I can't find the link to the story with the folks names who catalogue it.
Twisted Tree Farm.
Tripple Brook Farm.
On FB there's a Northeast Scion Exchange group and folk seem to have a lot of knowledge and plant material.
There's a Castanea Dentata Society that's doing some genetic work to revive the species. They'll send you some trees, for a donation.
Geneva Agricultural Station in NY. I know some folk around here who make good use of various state college affiliated agricultural stations. I think it's Missouri's that a lotta folk use? Their stock seems to go quickly.
I'm technically in 5b too. This past year we had a wild drought. The general trend has been hotter and drier stretches punctuated by storms. How much time do you have for management? How easy is it to get mulch materials? Is there a water source on the property?
So this 250/1000 combo whetstone has served me well for a few years now. Axes and those Mora knives that come with the plastic sheaths.
I then polish with a 6000 grit king whetstone. Those are easier to find. Amazon used to carry the 250/1000 long whetstone at a really good price, like 25 bucks. I didn't search there for too long though.
It works for me. It's relatively inexpensive. Can be cut to make an "axe puck" with 6 inches left over for sharpening knives. I've found that it puts a fine enough edge on axes alone without the 6k grit.
Try making some compost tea/ferment with the chicken bedding?
First year with schools so I've never tried it. I heard of the idea from skillcult on YouTube. He basically just soaks the chicken manure in water until he wants to use it.
What's the USDA confirmed growing season like? I'm zone 5ish and I know a couple gardeners who succession plant corn until like mid June. If you added some water to the chicken bedding it might be useable, straight up, in a few weeks.
Hiya, I think whoever chooses to garden in the CG will be lucky. My community garden experience wasn't quite that.
I'm not really sure, at that scale, there's a better way to set up a relatively clean slate that then allows people to people.
Maybe set aside a smaller plot divided into a few different strategies for setting up a new garden in sod? That would then allow you to talk about those strategies and where to source the resources to employ them.
Eric has a lovely thread detailing his experiment. Around the same time I was doing something similar but with a different goal. I purchased spawn, and spread it in layers. Burlap sack--spawn--woodchips/leaves/small soil clods/. Repeat. I made about a 4 foot layered pile. That was 2 sacks wide. About a month later I spread that burlap on top of flipped sod and covered with woodchips. 4 to 12 inches deep. The woodchips were from a local tree company, not shredded just chipped.
NC, however you're planning to progress, considering making a "compost tea". It can be super involved with molasses and finished compost and all that good stuff. Or it could simply be a 5 gallon bucket with a fish tank aerator and some grass, leaves, soil. Spread as needed, however is convenient. That should help kick start soil biology.
I love that channel. I'm sure you could find some hand tool only projects to make use of that blown down timber.
Did you check part one? If I'm remembering correctly it shows how he prepared the sills and joists for the planks. And how he prepared the planks to be the same thickness. So the finished flooring is also his "subfloor". It would also give you an idea of the amount of work involved.
If you already have a sturdy subfloor I'm sure you could even do 3/4" (19 mm).
If you're installing over a subfloor you'd have to replicate the sills (which would be akin to the perimeter of the room) and the joists. I might call the joists "dovetailed dados"-- if you look up Paul Sellers on YouTube he has some videos on various housing dados and how to craft them.
Now, in replicating those sills and joists, it would be wise to fasten them to your subfloor. Like others here have suggested countersink your screwheads and cover with wood plugs.
The ingenuity of that flooring system is it's possible, as the floor shrinks, to add additional planks to tighten the floor, without having to remove the entire floor.
I think it would be similarly difficult to use wavy boards, as others have said, but they could be shorter--so possibly a little easier?
Great point Eliot. As someone who uses mostly hand tools I may be underestimating the potential dangers of a table saw.
That perspective--noob enough to have an idea and no idea how good or bad it is--really asks us to do our research. (Like ahem "hugelswales" or drinking turpentine to kill intestinal worms.) If we are willing to put that time in, and maybe be a little stubborn about our idea, we might stumble upon something.
For various reasons I wasn't planning to grow any veg this year just flowers and some herbs. Plans have changed.
All I have is topsoil. Not particularly weed free, but really nice tilth. The stuff just under about a season old woodchip mulch. So I've used it, and so far so good. For what it's worth, topsoil grew monarda from seed to flower last season, and pretty decent volunteer tomatoes. And so far watering has been easy, no prolonged puddling.
I'm relatively limited on nutrition I can give them too. Coffee grinds and compost tea, are what I've got on hand.
I suspect transplanting will be a little difficult, and I already suck at it. But we shall see.
Eric I struggle with squash and pumpkins too. For pretty much the same reasons. And can grow summer squash that fruit as large as my thigh.
That's usually true, but not always, and when it isn't true I think there are a couple of complicating factors like location, plant genetics, pest-predator cycles, luck, etc.
Butternut and acorn have been vigorous and productive and still eventually succumb to the yellowing, mushy vine. Usually late enough in the season I consider it a win, and sometimes can even blame the cold.
The huge but is that I'm not sure the yellowing, mushy vine is caused by those grey squash bugs. Their population is easy enough to control. You can find their eggs before they hatch. Luckily those eggs are easy to spot. Coppery colored with a metallic sheen that pop when squished. Almost always located on the underside of leaves in a cruck of the veins, rarely on the vine stem too.
I'm told it's also possible to control population with later planting dates--after they emerge in the spring. A local market melon grower uses later planting dates to stymie these. (He plants later--up until the 2nd week of July-mostly to hamper his bane, cucumber beetles. Muskmelons are significantly more vulnerable than squashes.)
They're sap suckers those squash bugs, not vine borers.
There is such a thing as a squash vine borer. Melittia cucurbitae is the scientific name. I think they're the yellowing, mushy vine culprits. I can't speak to population control but there are a couple cultural practices that may help.
Squash can root from the leaf nodes on vines. Cover those nodes with inoculated chips/dirt as the plant expands. Honestly I never think the roots get large enough to support a single squash, but it probably helps? I can't say this is definitively the reason I get squash, I can't disqualify it either.
Another suggestion is to use aluminium foil (or another physical barrier) to cover the main stem where it meets the soil. Can't speak to this effective as I haven't tried it. I would do it as I transplant, cover a couple inches of above ground vine and an inch of two of vine below the soil.
The white powdery stuff on the leaves is likely powdery mildew. I do use milk to knock it back, like 1 part milk to 9 parts water. The milk mixture is really effective to limit it's spread, especially if you catch it early. Spray every part of the plant you can. It might work as a preventative, I have never been that on top of my squash game though.
I rediscovered this thread. Probably too late to be of any use. My inoculation experiment worked beyond what i could have imagined at the start.
The burlap sacs were inoculated in about a months time. Soon enough that I was able to sheet mulch with them to establish brand new beds (the same spring I started them). They were layed on top of gently forked sod, and covered with like 6-12 inches of chips. Which were in turn inoculated by the following spring--more intensely where the water flowed into the chip bed from the sidewalk. I jumped on that and made mini swales and would set pieces of wood on the sidewall when it rained to collect water in them.
Those beds do have some weed pressure from grasses. I've transitioned them to pollinator habitat so I'm lax with weeding. Coincidentally I trialed the soil plug idea too. It's become kind of a go to way to establish new beds for me.
I also used them to inoculate pathways (between raised beds/hugel-pits) I filled with chips. In those areas i got a flush of mushrooms the fall after establishing them. The same growing season! It was wild. A turn of events saw me reestablish the lawn the following season, but mushrooms still flush where the pathways were.
Those sheet mulched beds have inoculated many many more garden beds since. I'll have to dig around in them once they warm up bit to see what the woodchips look like now.
So happy to come across this again, and see your mushroom compost Chronicle.
Folk smarter than I could compare vermicomposting and other composting methods based on biology, chemistry and what not. Folk more fastidious than I might have yield comparisons they could share.
My 2 cents is, if like me you're committed to vermicomposting, leverage it to the greatest extent you can.
In my situation that was using vermicompost as the major component in my seed starting mix (along with charcoal and peat moss). It saved me an embarrassing amount of money, and it gave me the opportunity to start plants earlier, which expanded the types of vegetables and plants I could grow. My second major use was to make vermicompost teas--made me feel like a mad scientist, covered the cost of admission for me.
Using it like that made it seem like I had a lot more than what I actually did. Probably 30-40ish gallons a year. My system was also essentially stand alone--I transported vegetable scraps, during fall garden clean up and winter mainly, to 4 bins in my basement filled with worms.
When my situation changed and I no longer had time for management that system petered out, and I set the worms free in my garden. It was "brittle" so to speak.
So my advice is, if you can find a way, incorporate vermicomposting into other systems. Some ideas I'm curious to try;
--As a pre filter/grease trap for greywater from the kitchen sink (I suppose the pattern-type would be something like "biological filter, capable of withstanding concentrated fertility and occasional anaerobic conditions").
--As an ancillary component of chicken composting systems. (The youtube channel Edible Acres explores this).
--As a way to manage small amounts of ruminant manure, over winter in cold climates, if time and material a limited (the youtube channel Oxbow Farms gave me that idea).
--a stand alone system whose main output is childhood education. That would be personally worthwhile for me. Even if only 1 young person was inspired.
Maybe there's something useful to you here. I'd love to hear more about your system. You're generating so much! (To me.)
Travis brings up a good point about heat and humidity variations affecting handles.
To that point people have shared stories with me about previous generations of timbermen soaking their axes in various oils during the "off season".
Kinda like the question Rufus posed, and something I've done on the last couple axes I've hung. (Re hung bits off previously failed handles.)
It's an assumption, but I think metal wedges were one response to the effects of those seasonal variations.
My limited experience has been that I can get a lot better at the process of making handles, and that there are many more factors beyond metal wedge or not that affect a given handle's performance.
And sometimes those factors align differently than I expect. An older store bought hickory handle essentially snapped in half within the eye of the axe--wood that throughout the handle appeared in fine condition.
A partially dried mystery-wood, but-probably-hard-maple-handle coated with tung oil, without a metal wedge hasn't loosened in 3 years. And has kinda been abused.
Given that experience, of many a failed handle, I use wooden wedges because it's a little easier to modify the handle and hang when/if I need to. As a novice I personally accept that until my craftsmanship improves handles are disposable items.
As for pretty-certain-ties; oil probably swells the wood, if you can get enough in the handle. Metal wedges definitely expand the wood within the eye, and can also split the handle too.
But for saving that old wine rack. What kind of varnish did you use?
If whatever you end up using doesn't stick to the wine rack, it might be worth scraping the varnish off the wood. Card scraper, spokeshave, broken piece of glass, the edge of a knife, the spine of a knife (maybe drawfiled to make something like a right angle).
I'm pretty sure as long as the varnish you used wasn't an oil of some type you'll be able to remove it somewhat easily. Which makes me wonder if a drying oil would be an effective treatment for wood. Maybe. But, a like wash is probably more failfproof.
I am currently in a living situation I don't expect to be in for many years.
Luckily I had areas free of knotweed so I started gardening there. During that first season I covered the knotweed with black plastic, spring-summer-fall-winter.
The next year I covered the area with two layers of burlap, a layer of cardboard, and then as much mulch as I could get my hands on (leaves and woodchips). Then I made small circles and added soil and planted in those.
It's working well enough, I still have to pull some shoots, but I'm lazy and have done that maybe 4 times this season. The plants I planted are doing pretty good.
I don't expect that to be a "set it and forget it" solution, but I was able to grow stuff well enough.
James, I hope to hear more about your progress in your community.
Especially how you've assembled this coalition of public organizations with larger private citizens willing to make use of their properties.
How were those people with private land encouraged to start experimenting with growing food? Have you applied for any grants, if you have what's the process like? What's your plan for food distribution, storage and processing?
My bad y'all my intention wasn't to suggest permaculture is just another term for reversing potential climate catastrophe. Or that it was even a primary goal--or even just a potential side effect.
The way I worded a potential solution definitely sounded a lot like an infomercial: "try this and we will have world peace."
I was just curious too. Like hypothetically everyone on Earth is already practicing some form of permaculture. What then might be the frictions we're looking to smooth, or the depths we're exploring, the roles we play, etc. Do we have the language today to explain what that world of tomorrow might look like?
But it seems like, for myself at least, the starting position doesn't fundamentally alter the desire to practice permaculture. And ya know, it's kinda fun too.
What if someone found a hilariously inexpensive and fast (and beautiful, and regenerative and stimulating and purposeful and in short good) way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? And a very simple solution to the problem of carbon emissions?
What's the motivation then to practice permaculture, or some form of regenerative ag?
As for the inner workings of our mosquito spray program. I'm gonna start of by saying WNV simply has never been a threat here (last 15 years 1 confirmed case the woman recovered without complication). And yes, a dedicated group of citizens has since the beginning of the spraying program attempted to educate us on proper mosquito hygiene.
How it works in practice. Traps are set to test for mosquito borne diseases. The traps are laid mostly in prime mosquito breeding habitats in our area, which also happen to be sparsely populated. Mosquito counting-i.e. stick out your arm for 15 minutes--is also done to estimate the adult breeding population of known mosquitoes that transmit disease.
The traps and counts are collected by the director of the Mosquito Control program--who also happens to be a salesman for the company that sells the mosquito spray to our city. As things tend to happens the budget for the control program has mysteriously increased the past few years, despite a reduced amount of spraying.
The CDC sets certain thresholds for mosquito borne illness risk and has recommendations on when to spray. The director of our spraying program has recommended spraying at a lower threshold. Mostly the sprayings are done in neighborhoods near where the traps were set. And through perseverance the city was pressured into informing us of planned spraying.
Unfortunately those of us who do oppose the sprayings are still too few, even after a decade of informational campaigning and protesting. Too many folks just cant stand the threat of being bitten by a mosquito to recognize the many and myriad adverse consequences. This in a city with a terrible history of wanton industrial pollution, Superfund site level. So bad former factory grounds are basically quarantined, 40 years later. And it has me at a loss.
This issue kind of died for me as another sprang. Kinda tangential--my city demanded that I cut down sunflowers i planted alongside the road due to a complaint, and withheld my right to appeal said complaint. The sunflowers were the lowest hanging fruit (compared to enforcing speed limits and parking requirements) in this case.
I dont see myself as in the position where using energy to change the paradigm is worthwhile. This isnt my "forever property".
I'll continue to be present at city meetings on the issue.
And Christopher, if you want to resist holler and I'll send you research and reports done by a local journalist against mosquito spraying. He was pretty comprehensive. Your place may use different chemicals, but it may be a decent start?
In this series of videos Sean (of Edible Acres, Trumansburg, NY) is documenting a transition from woodland to future orchard on one of the Edible Acre properties.
Sean does a great job in all his videos of illuminating his thought process and exploring work flows that he's found valuable. There's a kernel of inspiration in all Edible Acres videos (for me at least). So don't forget to subscribe and visit his website; Edible Acres
Nothing really new to add here, just thought this process might be useful. It might not apply to your climate, where I am we have super wet springs.
Last growing season I covered grass with inoculated burlap sacks (requires a little foresight, I set up the inoculation for the bags about 5 weeks before I used them). Covered the burlap sacks with "weeds" when I had them.
Covered those sacks with anywhere from 3 to 12 inches of wood chips.
In those wood chips I made soil plugs, to the depth of the grass, and maybe 6 inches in diameter. The soil was a mix of big-box-store bagged soil and purchased compost.
Planted in soil plugs.
Burlap sacks--free from a local roaster (check whole foods stores, coops, etc, bulk grains often come in giant brown paper bags).
Bagged soil: 1.79 per 40 lb bag. Bought 10
Delivered compost: $50 per cubic yard bought 1
Mushroom spawn: 20 per #5 bag from Fedco (I wanted known spawn of edible mushrooms, maybe try store bought mushroom slurries?)
Total cost: 90 bucks for about 1000 square feet of bed space, but again I only planted into those "soil plugs". Took about a week to go from grass to planted beds, working 2-3 hours a day.
Squash, sunflowers, various herbs, bare root strawberries, lilies, scarlett runner beans, all flourished for me. All brassica lagged, they were planted too deep into summer and not watered enough maybe. Cucumbers looked promising until they wilted to cucumber beetle pressure.