s. lowe

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since Jul 05, 2017
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Recent posts by s. lowe

I used to work diligently to maintain a separate worm bin. I ultimately found it to be a tremendous pain in the neck that didn't really return enough worm castings to make it worth while.
My current system involves a hard plastic compost bin and a drill  hole filled trashcan next to it that was started with some worms in the base. Now I toss the occasional bit of yard waste in the worm can and often move some partially composted stuff from the bottom of the compost bin into the worm can since the small compost bin doesn't really keep up with our compost production.
I haven't emptied anything out of the worm can in the 6 months I've had it but from some experimental probing I've done it appears that the 2/3 full can is almost fully vermicompost and I am planning to use some of the black gold in the spring.

Tl;Dr worm castings are wonderfully valuable, but its certainly worth it to find a low effort system to produce them because you can easily sink a ton of effort into a system
1 hour ago
PH is likely not the problem, we grow in 5.6-5.8 soil and grow all kinds of veggies well.
My guess would be a trace mineral deficiency or imbalance. If you can swing a soil test that could tell you a lot. Or you could just apply a broad spectrum trace mineral supplement like glacial rrock dust or azomite. Without a soil test you're sort of just throwing things against a wall and seeing what sticks. It could be something simple but unusual like a copper deficiency but you can only really guess without a soil test
14 hours ago

Chris Kott wrote:I don't know if the farmers' markets around you guys sell a product like this, but I have come to see powdered moss mixture being sold in cartons. The directions suggest that you can pour in buttermilk, or sometimes just water, shake, and apply to any surface to which it will adhere, and it will live with varying degrees of success.

I would love for there to be a powdered moss mix we could take and apply to prepared concrete or brick surfaces, with misters or gravity-fed greywater drippers, where that's all we'd have to do, and it would thrive.

It is on my list of things to do to start experimenting with the stuff.


Chris if you look on YouTube there are lots of folks describing how to make this "moss paint", generally seem a like a blend of local mosses with some kind of cultured dairy to the desired consistency. I think ill add this experiment to my winter to do list.
That said, what you're describing earlier I envision as more of a separate lattice sitting just off the wall to create air flow and so that if any work needs to be done on the covered infrastructure it can be moved without being destroyed
1 day ago
For what it's worth, UC Berkeley did a study about urban foraging and after picking leafy greens at various places around the city they found that even leaves from right near very busy roads could be washed with water and safely consumed. Their main advice was to avoid roots and fungi because of accumulation of soil toxins but leaves seemed to only have surface contamination that could be washed off with water

Here's a story about the study with links

1 day ago

marsha val wrote:Did you use seeds or plants?  How did your zucchini taste? Thanks!

the summer squash were all transplants, but that has more to do with timing for our climate and concern about active composting of the hay bale burning the seedlings. We did plant corn seeds just for fun and they all sprouted fine but didn't grow well (I think because of their shallowish roots not finding good purchase in the hay). The squash tasted fine.
I think you are on the right path to spread it out thickly now and then planting directly into that mulch layer, either seeds or starts. The only time I would worry about the mold would be while actively moving it, not so great to breathe in. As far as damaging fungi, it's inevitable when you break it up that you will do some damage but it's resilient stuff and the choice meal that is rotty hay will quickly attract new microbeasties to replace any that die off in the move
I have successfully grown zucchini directly in hay bales. It took a good bit more watering than just in the ground but that was our way of dealing with a conundrum similar to yours. We just planted into the old bales, grew in them for a year, and then either loosely spread the much more rotted bale in the fall or, in one location, buried a small row of bales under a layer of used potting soil we got from a neighbor and a layer of wood chips to make a small mound garden that hosted a variety of flowers and root vegetables quite well the following year
It would seem you just have to meet the  forest where it's at in succession and start planting useful-to-you plants that fit those successional niches. That.might be root or.herb plants that prefer deep shade, it might be eventual over story trees that need the dense forest to sprout in, it could be any number of things depending on the specific site situation.
The main thing to me is that you have two options, either start introducing plants you want that match the forests current stage OR create disruptions that set the forest back to the stage of succession you want for the trees plants you want to introduce
2 days ago
I noticed a similar bloom this year but it was so light that for two mornings in a row I was convinced it was frost, by the third morning I knew it hadn't been frosty cold so I looked closer and found an amazing, gorgeous mycelial mass underneath the one patch I fiddled with
2 days ago
I would certainly not raze the mounds. Is it possible that you can let the chickens loose on the mounds? That and/or heavy mulching like you layed out sound like a great path forward. At 3 years old those puppies are just hitting their stride, and it would be a shame to knock them down now
3 days ago
looks a lot like an oyster that is just a bit past it's prime. Hard to tell from just two photos but i would certainly guess it's an oyster
3 days ago