Debbie Marsh

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since Oct 29, 2011
Piedmont, NC, zone 7
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Recent posts by Debbie Marsh

Tea tree oil is a good fungus remedy. I used it on my son's ringworm years ago - very effective. But I'd think it would be kinda expensive if needed in a large area.
8 years ago
While taking some horticulture classes, we learned that the spider plants - commonly sold in hanging baskets - will die if given too much tap water. This is because they are more sensitive to flouride than most common houseplants. If you let tap water set, uncovered, for 24 hours, or more, both the chlorine and flouride dissipates.
8 years ago
I've used the old-fashioned speckleware for years. As we've been trying to eliminate use of plastic, and I keep breaking glass pitchers, I've just resorted to buying a second speckleware coffee pot to make my iced tea in - one to hold, while the other is being cleaned, and storing tap water to age out the chlorine and flouride. When it's warm enough, I even make sun tea in the darker coffee pot. This led me to using a small dark speckleware pan to thaw and heat my frozen food in the sun - a bowl of frozen chili is actually hot enough to eat after a few hours! I haven't tried using the red or lighter blue pots & pans in the sun. This is without even using a solar oven. If it's windy, or not real warm outside, I kind of cheat, and enclose the pot/pan in a plastic oven bag, and set it on a coffee can I painted black. I'm really trying to eliminate plastic, but I just can't find a glass enclosure large enough. I seem to get better results when the sun is NOT at it's highest in the summer - when it's lower, more sunrays hit the side of the containter. I have used an old camp mirror set up behind the pot, when the sun is pretty high, to reflect more light onto the side. Any meal heated this way eliminates scorching, and never dries out - the moisture is wonderful (especially when I've indulged and used Arby's coupons to buy multiples) for sandwiches - the bread is always soft, but never soggy. For Christmas, when I have more food than my fridge will hold, I use my honkin' big speckleware pots to store food outdoors - the thin walls cool very quickly. I learned years ago that a particular parson's table set over each of these pots, with their lids turned upside down, with a planter on top of the table, will keep night critters at bay.
8 years ago
One way to mechanize would be to use a cement mixer for the initial mixing for cob.  Most of us won't have access to the big ones on a truck, so that leaves the portable ones, from which a single batch probably won't be enough to complete a project of any size.  One idea may be to create a frame for the thermal mass stucture, then pour each batch into it, so there is a combination of creating the structure, while it does a primary cure - in place.   I'm thinking of how I can create a rocket/thermal mass stove in the basement that will be portable.  I live in one of those 1970's ranchers, and will be putting it up for sale in the future - I seriously doubt that one of these heaters would be a welcome sight to a prospective buyer.  I get that a stove can be portable, but the accompanying thermal mass of any length would be problematic.  I'm thinking of salvaged industrial ductwork to dump cob into, over stove pipe buried in the middle.  I'm wondering how heavy, & what kind of wheeled platform it could be installed upon. 
9 years ago
Found this site today - luv it, luv it!  Daisy, I looked at the video, I'm not sure that little thing would take you much past November.  It may be too late this  year, but I'd try a raised bed, with an insulator (hay bales?) around it, and then top it off with the mini-hoop house.  Of course, close monitoring will keep your greens from cooking after the sun comes up.  You should get a thermometer in there - check the temp every sunrise to get a feel on how cold it gets in there.  Remember, the greens will keel over when they get too cold, but that doesn't mean they are dead - they self monitor, and drop their moisture to the roots even at freezing.  They should perk up after the sun hits them.  Keep us posted.
9 years ago