Dennis Bangham

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since Feb 19, 2016
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I live at the bottom of a hill on a small rise (Toeslope). 1st horizon soil is Colbert, Cherty, Silty, Clay, Loam, 2nd silty clay loam (12 inches) and clay at 24 inches. Bedrock around 36 to 40 inches. Hydrologic soil group D. Mean precipitation 50 inches. Frost free period 180 to 220 days
Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
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Recent posts by Dennis Bangham

older chips (months+) tend to accumulate many types of fungi through the air.  Fungi tends to compete with other fungi.  For example to grow edible mushrooms on logs you need to heavily inoculate fresh logs before other unwanted fungi take hold.  
1 week ago
I remember Dr. Redhawk mentioning that pine chips are okay within a couple of months.  
1 week ago
I had a soil test done at Logan labs and paid for the Agronomist advice.  He recommended something called K-Mag.  This is for an orchard I am developing (1/2 acre).
I know Sul-Po-Mag also goes under may different names such as 0-0-22, also known as (aka) langbeinite, aka sulfate of potash-magnesia?  This is basically 22% soluble potash, 22% sulfur and 11% magnesium.
It seems to be a mined material (not sure) but I am having trouble getting any local nursery or Farmer Co-op to locate.
I live in North Alabama and could use a couple of 50 lb bags.
Any recommendations or alternatives?
1 week ago
Does anyone have a list of easy fruits to grow from cuttings and what is easy to propagate from Air Layering?

I am in Zone 7B (North Alabama) where the summers are hot and humid and long and the winters short and wet (down to 10F).  We often have late frosts.

I want to expand my orchard and am looking at growing from cuttings over the winter in my hot room.  I also want to air layer from the trees/vines I have.

2 weeks ago
I recently bought Pawpaw and American Persimmon from Missouri and Kentucky Departments of Conservation.
2 weeks ago
I live in North Alabama, so very similar environment (probably).  I treat those problems like They are part of the natural environment and I try to attract their predators.  Termites are controlled by regular ants, roaches are lizard and bird food.  Fire ants are terrible in my area but for some reason not in my yard. It maybe because my soil is very friable now that I have had chips down for 5+ years.
Since I get a lot of rain (70+ inches in 2020) my wood chips break down pretty fast and I can find fungi stands (orange and white) that have populated the wood chips.  I can not do a shovel full of soil with out one or more worms.
I did do a 6 inch barrier of gravel between the house and the chips.  Not sure if that has done anything though. We do find ants inside once in a while and I mix borax and sugar and also a cookie or snack as a control.  My wife goes after them with 10% ammonia.
2 weeks ago
I have used concrete blocks for raised beds for maybe 15 years.  Works great.  Note the term cinder block is very dated and was when the blocks were made by fly ask from coal power plants. Now they are made out of concrete. I don't think you will find a cinder block under 40 years old.  
Concrete block is quite safe and the dirt will settle in place eventually. I have found that I can remove the concrete blocks after 5 or 6 years after the root system is in place and the blocks can be used for another area.  For an annual bed they need to stay in place.
Anyone in the North Alabama area know where I can get a couple 50 lb bags of K-Mag (aka langbeinite).  
I had a soil test done at Logan Labs and their agronomist recommended I use K-Mag (Sul-po-Mag) on my new orchard.  
Is there a better alternative?
2 weeks ago

Garth Wunsch wrote:

Dennis Bangham wrote:I just completed a Jumbo compost bin for my future orchard.  Cattle panels used here 16 ft by 4 ft by 4 foot.  Should last me a while.

Are you not concerned about this going anaerobic? You have LOTS of beautiful wood chips. Have you considered a Johnson-Su Bioreactor setup. It will make an aerobic fungal rich compost, which is precisely what an orchard needs.

I am doing the hot composting method and it does get very hot.  I flip the piles using my small tractors front end loader.  Save a lot of back pain.  
I flipped the piles when it was below freezing and a lot of steam and a very interesting effect.  I would see small white glowing spots that I thought were ashes but they would cool down and turn back to black.  I wonder what is causing this.

After cooling off the piles I will distribute around my orchard and that should accumulate the bacteria and worms.
3 weeks ago