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Jeffrey Hodgins

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since Nov 14, 2011
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Recent posts by Jeffrey Hodgins

M.K. Dorje Jr. wrote:I like fava beans for semi-shady areas in my veggie garden and main orchard/fruit forest. They fix a lot of nitrogen, attract bees (especially bumble bees), tolerate quite a bit of shade, survive most winters, self-seed themselves and provide delicious protein that can easily be frozen or dried. It's my main companion plant for fruit trees guilds. Red clover and vetch are good for shady spots, too. Some people like Siberian pea shrub, but I'm not sure how well it grows in the shade.

Funny I have planted vetches in the shade before and they sometimes grow a bit but they never reseeded or produced an economically viable crop. I spread the seed on numerous occasions on all parts of the farm but it only naturalizes in the sunnier spots. I think Hawthorns are actinorhizal (n fixers) so I guess I'm lucky cause they compose about 30% of the canopy on the home farm.
6 years ago
This video shows how to identify Napier grass

This video shows how to plant it

Napier should also never be cut at the ground it should be cut at 6-8 inches from the ground and it should be cut before it becomes woody when it is 4-8 feet tall. Napier is also used in "Push Pull Farming" as a pest control for corn boar. The insects lay their eggs on it but the larva die, they also use discanthus (legume)
6 years ago
Ok but if we have dense foliage with a tall canopy then sun light induced evaporation is minimized. Then convection induced evaporation is also slowed due to the stagnation of air in the dense growth. Plus mulch barrier

Two factors to bare in mind are
1. With less air flow there is less CO2 coming in from the outside.
2. With less air flow pests, mold and fungus can also be a problem.
These are well known problems for many farmers around the world.

Any water is better than no water.
6 years ago
Scarification methods

A. Pour boiling water over seeds, about 1 litre water per 250 g of seeds or about five times as much water as seed, stir gently, pour off after 2 min (or as specified), replace with tap water and soak overnight.
B. Cover seeds with concentrated sulphuric acid, stir gently for recommended soaking time, pour off acid and rinse well in water.

C. Scratch or nick the round end of each seed with a file, knife or nail clipper. Do not cut the cotyledon.

D. Soak in cold/tepid water for 24 h.

The table that goes with this info is here
6 years ago
Scarlet runner bean has a large seed and can thus stretch through the shade and make it to the canopy where it can thrive. I have planted it near rows of trees trees that where over 15 feet tall and had a good crop, mind you the trees where in rows about 25 to 30 feet apart. The best way to plant them is not at the trunk of the tree but near a low branch or my personal favourite, Near (2 feet from) a peach or apple tree as they are smaller. Some pea type, like Vicia cracca can also climb trees but needs some direct light too. In general most legumes do not do well in the shade. My advice would be to grow the legumes in the sun and have lots of critters and fungus in the soil to move your NH3/NH4 around. Big critters move lots of nutrients over a large area (poop sound here).
6 years ago
Hydrocarbons in the soil decay, breaking and forming new water molecules in the process. Nitrification also creates new water molecules and so do many other reactions that happen all the time in living soil. These reactions are called dehydration reactions. Organic matter in soil does not only preserve water in the soil but there is a net gain of water through these diverse reactions. The water formed must condense in the soil or be consumed by organisms in order for this to have a beneficial effect on plants. Most of the reactions produce heat as a by product, so if the reactions happen to fast the soil temperature can get too warm for condensation to happen. A lot depends on the air to soil temperature ratio, you want soil that is cooler than the air if you are going to condense moisture. Shade helps a lot in getting soil temps low enough to create dew above the ground but we are also talking about condensation below the ground or below the mulch. Don't bother trying to prove me wrong about the net gain of H2O in hydrocarbon digestion I know that it is a fact.

Here are some examples but there are hunderds if not thousands more.

autotrophic respiration

Conversion of alcohols to ethers2 R-OH → R-O-R + H2O
Conversion of alcohols to alkenesR-CH2-CHOH-R → R-CH=CH-R + H2O

see this web site

Edited by moderator to shorten link
6 years ago
Here is a cool site with lots of feed info
6 years ago
Hardy Palm leaves as frost protection for Chayote and Chilacayote squash. The leaves are cut and placed standing up forming a space where the frost cannot penatrate use sticks poked in the grownd to secure the leaves. it is shady but the squash can handle shade during the vegetative growth.
6 years ago
The vetch smothers the weeds in the strawberry patch but the strawberry can survive this. The weed free strawberries flourish for a while after the vetch is cut. the vetch is feed for ruminants. In colder climates the berries may produce first and the vetch would be cut after. In my case I need to expariment more with the cutting date. strawberry season seems to start in nov. or dec. for me so I think I'll leave the vetch over it until august most annual weed seeds will have sprouted and died by then. I will try cutting a patch in september and one in july as well.
6 years ago
Pennisetum purpureum Also known as elephant grass it is tropical but the roots can survive light frosts. High iron content C4 grass. Yes I grow it, just starting and need to reproduce it. There are many hybrids, Cuba 22, King ect.
6 years ago