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Eric Hanson

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Recent posts by Eric Hanson

Great thread!

A few years ago I went through machete phase as I was cleaning up debris in my woods. I had a pretty plain 18” machete one can buy at pretty much any store where you can buy a machete.  I think it was called a Gator saw back blade.  It was cheap and nothing special but I slashed through a lot or brambles and sawed through a lot of fallen branches.

I also found a reasonably decent bill hook that was great at gathering and clearing away lots of flexible brambles.

But the machete I would really like to get would be a kukri style machete.  I do have a cheap, short one, but it is great for chopping.  I just trimmed a tree using it and it is nice and light but chops almost as well as an axe.

Food for thought,

4 hours ago

Thanks for the update.  I suspect that if you had a rancid smell then you might have had to much water.  But I also think that putting the comfrey in the ground will give the comfrey access to more minerals and overall the mineral/water issue will work itself out.  I see good things coming from that comfrey despite a bumpy start.

Nice going,

16 hours ago
I will try to get a picture in.  But I have a little challenge first.  My gates are constructed of 2x4 lumber with a 48” square mesh in the middle of the frame.  This mesh is working great at keeping out the critters.  But to access the garden I lift out the gates—it was the easiest way to construct.  By now the sweet potato vines are crawling up the mesh and really holding the gates down!

I would like to add more fencing in the future to other gates, but I would like lighter construction and a swing-out gate.  The bed dimensions are 8’x16’.  Any suggestions?


Ahhh, I misunderstood your question.  You were talking about the plant end.  In that case, I say definitely do it if you can.  Personally I would go as broad a range as you possibly can get.  I strongly believe that the greater the diversity the better.  


Thanks for the link and the check on my understanding

3 days ago

That’s a great question unfortunately without a solid answer.  I am all about the the importance of soil fungi, but I am not quite so sanguine about the mycorrhizal fungi additives.

It makes sense that you could find a nice source of the appropriate fungi, take a little sample and transplant it into deficient areas.  But what I have been told (and I would love to be proven wrong about this) is that the specific species that are most desirable simply don’t grow well in a lab for easy harvest and distribution.

I am not saying that those little packets are bad, only that they may not give all the desired results.

But there is good news.  These species still exist, often in ditches and shelter belts.  I also understand that their spores still exist in soils just waiting for proper conditions to arrive.  The proper conditions being lack of herbicide, pesticides, fungicide, etc. in addition to not using chemical fertilizers.

Basically, a lot of areas have a “build it and they will come” situation.

So I say use those packets and hopefully the remnants of the appropriate fungi will re-emerge.

Good Luck,

3 days ago
I have 2 varieties, Covington and Beauregard.  

The Covington went in first, but a late cool snap killed of about half.  The Beauregard was a replacement.

Honestly, I planted too early, but local stores are inconsistent in stocking them—some years they do and some years they don’t.  The online sources run out early so I get them when I can and plant them ASAP.

Up till this summer I have never had a successful sweet potato crop.  Deer, rabbits and all sorts of critters feasted on the greens long before I could get the tubers.

But finally this year I got up my fencing around the bed, planted the sweet potato starts and kept the critters hungry.  By now I have half a bed covered in sprawling sweet potato vines and even crawling through the gates.  I just hope they don’t smother the tomatoes in the same bed.

I should have some nice sweet potatoes this fall.


I did a quick look at Plantone fertilizer.  They are all organic, I have used them in the past and liked them.

There are two versions that you might like.

#1. The original Plantone is a general garden fertilizer (comes in a brown bag).  The NKP rating is 5-3-3.  I have found this is a general all-round fertilizer, is easy to start with and generally covers a wide range of fertilization needs.  It is hard to go wrong with this one.

#2).  The second one I would recommend is Garden tone.  This comes in a green bag.  It is slightly optimized for fruit settings (by fruit, think tomatoes).  It’s NPK rating is 3-4-4.  It has not so much Nitrogen but a bit more Potassium and Phosphorus.  Considering that Potassium deficiency is a possible culprit, this might be a good option.

Realistically, either one is going to be a very balanced, well rounded fertilizer and should rapidly clear up any nutrient deficiency quickly.  Better yet, most of the nutrients are in a long release version so an application should last.

Food for thought,

3 days ago

Great observation!  

Nick, two options for potassium are green sand and if you are ok with it, urine.

Actually, there are a number of Plantone fertilizers that might help out.  They are organic, long acting fertilizers and probably one application will be sufficient.

Forget what I said about nitrogen, I agree with Artie and suggest a balanced fertilizer.

3 days ago
Ok, one practical piece of advice some will loathe.

We have two kids and learned on the first one that the diaper genie is a stink machine!  I know that it is supposed to cut down on odors, but we found the stink went right through the little baggie tube and the nursery STANK!  We could not clean the diaper genie to save our lives.  We tried every conceivable cleaner and it just would not work!  We eventually threw it out as it was starting to stink up not only the nursery but the whole house as well.

We replaced it with grocery store bags—the thin plastic ones that are good for one use and then get thrown away.  I didn’t like just throwing them away so they got a second use.  We started saving up every grocery bag we got and every wet or messy diaper went into a bag (actually two usually, just to be safe) and tossed them into the garbage.  Stink problem solved.

There is actually a Permies angel to this.  We had the bags anyways and they were eventually destined for the landfill (local recycling was not taking them).  We gave the baggies a second use, the re-use part of reduce, reuse, recycle.  And we stopped buying the plastic diaper genie tubes.  

We never even considered a diaper genie for our second child.

3 days ago