Mike Turner

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since Sep 23, 2009
Upstate SC
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Recent posts by Mike Turner

My sheep will eat the immature fruit whenever it grows out into their pasture and will sometimes eat the leaves if we have a summer drought and the grass in the pasture isn’t growing.
Seminole is the best climbing squash I have ever grown.   Here in upstate SC it will run 50 feet in all directions from the planting site (including up, if a tree is nearby) during my growing season and is not bothered by the borers and other pests that make maxima squash impossible to grow here.  In its native southern FL it can continue growing for years and cover acres of land if left to its own devices.

Hester Winterbourne wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:

what's the name of that giant plant that burns you severely if you even touch it, and grows about 10-15 feet tall? it's up in Canada?  that's a good one to know about.  It looks a little like Queen Anne's Lace, but it's bigger.

That'll be Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum.  Many members of that family are poisonous or hazardous, and some people who are more sensitive than others will get a skin reaction even from common hogweed, but Giant is the really nasty one.  It's an offence to cause it to grow in the wild here.

The skin reaction caused by contact with the leaves and stems of giant hogweed, parsnips, and some other members of the carrot family is caused by phytophotosensitivety where the plant sap you get on your skin after contact with the plant reacts with sunlight to cause an extreme sunburn-like rash to the skin.  When I have to work with these plants, I do all of my work just before dusk when the sun is low in the sky and be sure to wash my skin before getting out in the sun on the next day.
3 weeks ago
I'm in upstate South Carolina, but in the part of the state with the lowest amount of rainfall and I get summer droughts most years.  I have never irrigated my groves after the first year or two following transplant.  I set out my transplants in the winter, and irrigate if needed during the first summer or two.  I only irrigated the newly started groves if the leaves curl during the day and didn't recover by evening, but on most of my starting groves I never had to irrigate.  My bamboo groves are 25 to 35 feet high and it took about 5 years to get them to a size where most of the leaves were above livestock browsing height.  You'll need to keep the livestock fenced out of the developing bamboo grove until they get large and tall enough so the livestock can't reach the leaves.  It would be best to start your groves on the moister parts of your property and let them spread into the dryer parts once established.  Bamboo will tolerate wind once they get established as a grove, but the initial transplants would be somewhat sensitive to wind and might need a windscreen.

Of the bamboo species I am growing, Phyllostachys makinoi and Phyllostachys rubromarginata are the most drought tolerant and I read that makinoi has been growing well in the Las Vegas area.  Running bamboo is the absolutely the best plant for stopping erosion on hillsides and gullies.  Controlling the spread of running bamboo is not a problem in a pasture setting since the livestock will eat every shoot that they can find, so you will need to fence off the areas where you want the grove to get established during the spring shooting season.  I surround my groves with a fence with gates in it and close the gates to keep them out during the shooting season.
2 months ago
Running bamboos are the best for livestock shade because the canes are spaced far enough apart that the livestock can walk in among them, although every few years I'll go through the grove in late winter to thin out the canes if they get to growing too close together.  The leaves on these thinned out canes provide great livestock feed at a time of the year when they have mostly eaten down the stockpiled grass on the pastures and then the leaf-stripped canes can be used as support structures in the vegetable garden and for making brush fences.

The canes of clumping bamboos grow too close together for the stock to get in between (they would need to be planted spaced out like orchard trees) and they don't form the uniformly dense overhead canopy over a broad area that you can get with a running bamboo.
2 months ago
That particular bamboo grove is Phyllostachys makinoi, but I also have groves of Phyllostachys rubromarginata and Phyllostachys aurea in other pastures.  All of these are running bamboos, but their spread is contained by the stock eating any shoots that come up outside of the fence that blocks them out of the grove during the 4 week spring shooting season.  For the remainder of the year they have free access to the grove's interior.
2 months ago
The sheep seen in the photo are the overflow from the interior of the bamboo grove. There are about 50 sheep hidden back inside that grove chilling in the cooler temperatures within.  Inside the grove you can feel a slight draft settling down from overhead as the cooler transpired air sinks down from the canopy.  These sheep have access to both bamboo and woods shade in their pasture, but they prefer the bamboo shade since it is cooler then the shade in the woods.
2 months ago
Dense shade in bamboo grove. My chickens and sheep love to hang out in the bamboo groves out in.my pastures.
3 months ago
One nice thing about a bamboo grove is that it provides a cool place for people and livestock to hang out on a hot summer day.  The transpiration from the millions of leaves in the bamboo canopy acts like a giant swamp cooler, making the interior of the grove noticeably cooler than out in the open away from the grove or in nearby forests. On windless days you can literally feel the cool air sinking down on you from the dense mass of leaves over your head.  I recently took a thermocouple thermometer out to a mature Phyllostachys aurea koi grove and measured 86 degrees F in the interior of the grove when it was 91 degrees F under the shade on some nearby Kentucky coffee trees and the outside thermometer in the shade at the house was reading 94 degrees F.
3 months ago
Runner beans, like fava beans, won't set pods when daytime temperatures get in the 80's F or higher.