s. lowe

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since Jul 05, 2017
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Recent posts by s. lowe

Jen, the pictures look to  me like severe damage from fungus gnat larvae. They look like termites and munch tunnels into  the root crown and stem right at soil level.

The adults kind of look like little mosquitoes or gnats (they are gnats). They lay their eggs in moist soil. I have. Lost plants to them and it sounds very similar to what happened to you.

One thing you can do is leave the soil at the base of plants unmulched and try to keep it dry. You could also try to keep DE dusted around the base of plants. Another effective option is to water with a BT (bacillus thuriniensis (sp?)) product. That bacteria predates fungus gnat eggs. And lastly, you can get sticky traps for the adults that you just stake up in the garden.

One last thing, and it may  be too late this time, you should cover the area around a plant that dies and gets pulled from fungus gnats with cardboard to inhibit the new adults from getting out of the soil and laying more eggs. They're a pain but you can totally eliminate them without gnarly sprays, the garden that taught me all about them produced without damage for several years after the year the gnats wrought their havoc
I just rinse the gear well right after use and make sure to run a fair amount of fresh water through the sprayer. Seems to work well enough
2 years ago
Congratulations Joseph! It's an amazing book and I'll be putting in my order today.
2 years ago
Grow bags are my favorite choice at very large sizes. Anything above 5 gallons I would go with a grow bag in just about every situation where I couldn't be in the ground or in a more permanent bed.

5 gallons and lower its a question of what the plants are and what you're environment is like. Smaller grow bags dry out very fast in warm dry climates. They can be a benefit for growing things like cacti in cooler, damper climates, and I have heard convincing arguments from people who are growing commercially and want to feed aggressively, basically mimicking a soilless type system. I don't go in for that agronomic theory to begin with but the argument isn't without merit.

I mainly use them to house perennials that I want to he able to take with me but know that it will be a while before they can go into the ground and the grow bags minimize root binding.
I've grown them for several years and am also in a cool, moist maritime climate. I use. Them for the seed oil. I think I started with seed from Territorial seed co. In the past I have started them in soil blocks and transplanted. I didn't have time or mental space for that this year so I just direct seeded two days ago in with my 3 sisters. This year I planted the "emerald naked" variety from the experimental farm network.

My plan is to see how. They do and plant a mix of their seeds and my saved seed from 2 years ago going forward. I did notice that these seeds were  much thinner. Than what I have saved
2 years ago
Ya you can melt them down and remake crazy .multicolored crayons too. If you get a silicon ice/candy mold you can make them any shape you want. Tons of fun
3 years ago

Nancy Reading wrote:
S. Lowe said

on its own it is unlikely to last more than 2 seasons before it breaks down and won't really hold any appreciable amount of water in the soil.

I'll add my experience of using newspaper here.  When I was planting the tree field I tried to mulch around the new trees with newspaper covered with haylage.  It was partially successful, but I was short on haylage, so I have acquired piles of newspapers in various places.  These aren't buried, although they get grown over by the creeping grass.  Even after 5 years you can split the newspapers and read them, although degraded at the edges and weathered on the exposed surfaces, they are surprisingly durable.  I'm now using them as path substrates, covered with wood chippings.  I even wonder whether they have been treated with an anti fungal agent, although they do grow some sort of fungal growth after a while, and I can't see why they would bother for short term media like that.

That's very interesting Nancy, and obviously not what I'd expect. Did those newspapers get irrigation over the top at all? And how wet is your environment?  Now I want to bury a newspaper just to see what it does!

But really my thoughts came from a garden where I laid newspaper down and then covered with woodchips for paths and even after one season they were very much disintegrated. That was a place in Michigan with ample water
3 years ago
Putting aside issues of what sort of toxic gick might be contained in any random books, the biggest short.coming that books (or cardboard, school notes, packaging material, etc...) have for replacing wood is that they won't last.nearly as long or soak up nearly as much water as true, full, logs and branches. That kind of material could be appropriate to use as filler.between the bulky wood pieces but on its own it is unlikely to last more than 2 seasons before it breaks down and won't really hold any appreciable amount of water in the soil.
3 years ago

William Bronson wrote: We just started a huge pot of bone broth, I'm hoping to get plenty of softened bone from the process.
Does anyone know if it will still have phosphorus in it?

My understanding is that the physical matrix of bones is comprised mainly of calcium and phosphorus. I know that the point of bone broth is to extract the minerals, but I'd suspect that what's left is still fairly high in phos.
Elle, I know you've talked about trying lots of different things so perhaps you've gone this route before, but if  I'm look king at investing money into a garden I'm looking at investing in high quality innoculants. That might mean investing in commercial products from reputable companies or it might mean investing in the equipment and inputs to make your own high quality biologicals. The combo of organic matter and robust soil biology seems to be the way forward with heavy clay soils. I've seen annual gains of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch into solid red clay at the border of engineered soil holes that were juiced regularly with compost teas. The hard red clay would turn into a light brown, very crumbly texture.