I'm having my most successful year yet with tomatoes and it seems like our CSA farmers are having success too. Usually, I can take care of our fresh tomato production with pizza, sandwiches, and salads, but I'm feeling overwhelmed. Here are some of my ideas to research for using up the tomatoes:
Pizza/pasta sauce (can it maybe?)
I'm sure my harvest is tiny compared to what some of ya'll bring in. How do you handle a glut of tomatoes?
Shark week can sneak up on a gal, especially if she's in a new or stressful (even in a good way) situation. I don't use pads, but I keep some in the main bathroom in case a guest needs them because I've been in that situation. It would be hospitable to provide some biodegradable pads in a basket near the toilet for the women caught by surprise. Not sure if you've done this before since I haven't been to your place.
I had a similar mold problem with a load of woodchips we got. We had to move the pile of chips to distribute it around the property and we noticed a lot of dust coming off the pile. The next day my husband and I both had sore throats! We used masks from then forward while moving that pile and our throats got better. I'm not sure what could have been in that pile to affect us so much; I assumed it was mold, but that's just a hunch.
The chips are on paths and around trees now. Everything seems to be doing fine. It was just moving the pile initially that caused the health problem.
I would like to be a late 1800s American pioneer like some of my ancestors or maybe not. I enjoy growing food, making clothes, or making stuff in general. I also appreciate the fact that if my garden fails, we won't starve. I can still go to the store if I have to.
Basically, I enjoy doing things like the American pioneers, but I'm also thankful my survival doesn't depend on it.
You all should also look into history-bounding. There's a wide range of definitions, but a lot of it is about incorporating historical clothing items into everyday wear. I'm working on a cotton button-down dress from a 1950's reproduction pattern right now. I like the look and practicality of the dress itself, but the fabric waste from making something fitted is crazy! All fabric will be saved for quilts of course. I'll go for something older and less fitted for my next project.
I've started to think of my weeds as bonus harvests:
-Dandelion gets eaten, but I'm not as confident identifying other wild edibles yet.
-The invasive ficus trees that refuse to die make helpfully long sticks that I slash back and stack loosely over newly planted seeds to help keep critters out.
-Noxious weeds can go in the rot bucket to make liquid fertilizer until the fight is out of them. Then they go into regular compost.
-Most anything else goes into regular compost and really helps bulk it up. If I'm feeling lazy, I'll just pull it up and leave it as mulch where it is.
We still have a bit of what I call "compromise lawn" that my husband likes to mow and the lawn is moving into my woodchipped garden paths and beds. It got to the point that the path was almost all grass. I used a pitchfork to get those chips out and moved them to another part of the yard where the grass is patchy then replaced with fresh chips. I'll probably need to do it again next year, but that beat back the grass quite a bit. It was a small area, but it only came out to about an hour of work.
Old owners had several beds mulched with river rock with weed cloth underneath. Of course, the grass has gotten in there too. Those have been a pain to take out. Besides the rocks, the weed cloth falls apart in my hands getting bits of plastic everywhere and the grass anchors it to the ground. Go with wood chips (and cardboard if you want extra security). If you're going to have to fork it out and redo it every couple of years anyway, might as well do it with something relatively easy and cheap to replace.
I do presentations at churches on how to spot and handle child abuse. I have a bunch of literature that I bulk ordered or people have given to me that I put out for people to take if they are interested. The same could be done at sustainability/permaculture/etc. talks in one's local area. Even if you're not the person giving the talk, the person who is giving the talk might agree to let you put out copies or raffle them off to attendees. That way you only have to talk to one person, but several people get copies.
I'm sure this is common sense by now for most experienced permies, but I had an epiphany today.
I live in zone 8 in North Texas and I've noticed over the past couple of years that we'll have a dry stretch in the middle of the summer for 4-6 weeks. Highs are in the 90s (at least) and we have little to no rain. At some point, the weather seems to "break" it doesn't happen all at once, but we'll get a good rain storm again, temps will go down (they may go up again but mostly down). Now, here's the thing. The planting charts don't know when this is going to happen. The planting chart may say I can start this or that in mid August because sometimes the break has happened by then. Sometimes it hasn't and I'm spending a lot of time (and city water) trying to get seedlings to come up. The point is, it's better to wait for that first rain before planting otherwise I'm just working against nature.
Thank you for coming to my observation talk. If any of you live in a hot-2-growing-season climate like mine and have a trick for when to start in the spring, I'm all ears.
I was moving some old bundles of sticks to make a hugelkulture mound a couple of days ago when I felt the tell-tale sensation of burning on my (probably less protected than they should have been because I was trying to get away with flip flops) feet. I couldn't find the actual mound in the brush pile I'd been working on, but there were definitely fire ants all over my foot.
Fire ants love a good wood pile and the hugel would likely be no different. My early encounter revealed a problem. How could I garden in what was essentially a pile of wood covered in dirt without being eaten alive by fire ants? If a mosquito problem is really a lack of dragonfly problem, what is the equivalent for fire ants? I need to significantly reduce their numbers in what would otherwise be an ideal fire ant habitat. Is there a way to do that or is hugelkulture just not a good solution in my context?
I found a couple of other forums mentioning various methods for fire ant control. The best takeaway is that robust soil microbiology (esp. sugar-loving microbes) may be the dragonfly equivalent for fire ants. I've used orange oil mound drenches before with success, but I would rather discourage the fire ants than kill them after I find them (usually with my foot). This post offers some good suggestions of mound drenches AND preventatives: http://www.thegardenacademy.com/pests-diseases/fire-ants-organic-program/
My plan is to add dried molasses as I build the pile and incorporate horticultural molasses as a regular spray application. Will keep you all posted on how this works. Of course, I welcome any constructive criticism on my plan.
I suspect you've already fixed your book by now, but in case anyone is reading the thread for bookbinding ideas:
Lorinne Anderson wrote:Clear packing tape is how I fixed that on several of mine. Initially down the spine, then folded excess smooth on each side. Liked it so much I ended up doing spine and both front and back covers on a bunch of my most used paperbacks.
When I worked in a public library, we had a special book tape that we would use to reinforce the spines of paperbacks, but at home I use a high quality clear packing tape. Works the same.
If you really want to protect it more, you can use a lamination sheet and laminate the entire cover, but all of this means adding plastic to your book.
I've also experimented with adding a hard cover. Cut pieces of cardboard to be a couple of millimetres longer than both sides and the spine. Wrap in fabric (I like to use linen scraps). Glue book into your newly made cover using endpapers. Look at the structure of a hardcover book that you already have to get the sense of how this goes together. The problem is that you lose any cover art, but there are usually a few blank pages in the book at the front and back. You can cut off the old cover and glue it back on to one of those blank pages in the main book block.
Orange oil can remove sticky residue from a book if you get a bit messy, but you have to be careful. As another poster here said, it can also dissolve the binding glue.
I will also add that libraries expect paperbacks to last through approximately 7 readers. They just aren't meant to last. Putting a hard cover on helps, but take into account that paperbacks are printed on cheap newsprint too.
It can be very discouraging to attempt an all-or-nothing approach to zero waste. However, even making a few small steps in that direction can have an impact. A lot of people making small steps potentially makes a greater impact than a few people going completely zero-waste. A lot of resources I've found advocate an all-or-nothing approach. I was brainstorming this afternoon about how a newbie could start making steps toward zero waste, hopefully in ways that aren't so intimidating. Building a Better World takes this approach, but I'm attempting to put it in a more condensed list format along with some of my ideas. I broke the ideas out into categories. The steps are listed from easiest to implement to hardest. Goal was to reduce waste exiting the home or resources being consumed by the home as much as possible.
-If it's yellow, let it mellow (game changer for me to see this suggestion one time in a blog post; it saves over half of your flushing water without being an inconvenience at all. So many more people could implement this even if the other steps are too intimidating)
-Collect urine in a separate bucket for use in the garden or pee directly in the garden/compost pile
-Compost humanure or use a dry outhouse
-Start a food digester or bokashi bucket. Find a convenient composting process with the goal of no organic matter in the trash.
-Buy food only in reuseable/compostable/recyclable containers
-produce food at home (0 food miles and no transport packaging) (Can be incremental; not an all or nothing)
-Tune up vehicles for fuel efficiency (because some of us still need a car and this is the least intrusive step)
-Choose efficient routes (minimize taking "special trips" for things)
-Carpool and ride share
-Work from home full/part time
-Take public transport
-Take a walk or ride a bike
All of these can be incremental. I work away from home part-time and consolidate my schedule to make fewer car trips into the office (unfortunately there isn't a convenient carpool or public transport). If I need to go downtown, I ride the train. I have a couple of friends within walking distance if I want to visit.
-Repair what you have
-Buy second hand
-Buy natural fabrics (will compost when they wear out; esp important for foundationware like undies and better for you too)
-Buy from organic/sustainable companies
-Repair what you have and clean with non-toxic cleaners (a good cleaning can make something look like new)
-Buy second hand
-When something new is needed, invest in sustainable pieces that can be repaired and up-kept for a long time
-Check for and repair leaks and use water wisely
-Cooking water and washing water goes in the garden (water that is already in a bucket and can go into the garden instead of down the drain)
-Invest in rain barrels and cisterns
-Install simple grey water systems (bucket under the sink)
-Install whole house grey water reclamation system
Misc. Household Goods
-Donate or sell useable items that you don't need anymore (I see too much of this rotting on the curb for bulk waste to clean up when it probably could have been used for something)
-Repair what you have before buying
-Borrow from a friend if you only need the item briefly
-Buy second hand
-Buy from a sustainable company
-Turn off appliances when not in use
-Use the smallest appliance to accomplish your goal (toaster oven vs. regular oven) (also goes with Paul's point about heating the person rather than heating the whole room)
-Can this be accomplished without an electric appliance? (solar oven vs. electric oven)
-Store and use your own energy (solar battery cell)
A little background: I'm in Texas so heating is rarely an issue. Most of the time wrapping up in blankets or using a heating pad is plenty. On the other hand, it is in the 90s or higher for a good chunk of the year. Using a smaller appliance to heat our food and napping through the hottest part of the day to conserve energy is very helpful for bringing down our AC electricity use. Our appliances are all electric (not gas) so I don't have insight on that. I'm a baby permie compared to some of you who have been fighting this good fight for a while, so I know there is much to learn. I'm eager to see what other incremental suggestions this community could come up with.
A month ago, I put down a thick layer of wood chips on part of our yard to start a Back to Eden/food forest garden. According to the local nurseries, the best time to put in our anchor trees/shrubs is around January. In the mean time, I wanted to plant some annuals to make good use of the space.
I planted some melons and pumpkins for a fall harvest by digging a furrow in the wood chips down to the native soil, adding a couple of inches of compost and planting in that. Those plants seem to be doing well, but I about killed my back hoeing back those chips. I still have half of the space available for growing and some plans for what I's like to plant next month for the fall garden.
In hugelculture, my understanding is one makes a berm over wood chips and branches with compost/dirt then plants in the berm. I'm wondering if I could get away with piling finished compost on top of the chips and planting in those rather than pulling them back to plant. Anyone with hugelculture or wood chip experience want to weigh in?
First time poster here. I've started some pumpkins and winter squash for a fall harvest in zone 8a. I'm ready to fight the good fight against squash vine borer because I lost my half dozen yellow squash to them earlier this year. I want to use floating row covers as part of my pest management strategy, but the "summer" row covers I'm finding for sale online won't get here for over a month.
So here's the question: are there home made options for floating row covers?
The material has to be very breathable and light because our temps are in the low 100s F right now. I'm considering using old cotton bed sheets, but wanted to see if someone else had used them or had another suggestion.