Josh Garbo

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since Jun 01, 2018
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forest garden fungi urban chicken woodworking homestead
Skills: Tree planting, felling, wood splitting, seeding, coppicing/pollarding, bulb-planting, clearing brush, creating fells, simple raised beds, tree ID, woodland modification, 12V camper van solar design and build.

Learning: Mediterranean climate design, cooking, European, Jewish, and Native American folk religion/spiritual practices, Python coding, data science math/stats/linear algebra.

Want to learn: pond-building, earthworks, grafting, mycology, laser level work, creating earthworks in a forest, Colorado and Oregon tree ID and ecosystem design, strawbale and wofati construction, co-living/commune design guide, geospatial design/imagery/lidar/contours.
Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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Recent posts by Josh Garbo

I hand tilled the clay with a pickaxe and shovel, added a lot of chips that had composted somewhat for about a year, and then took the broadfork to it.  It really does break down; can just take time.
15 hours ago
I'm actually trying to introduce it on a few dead trees for aesthetics and wild-life habitat.  Also trying to get it growing on the corners of my home to get it up on the gutters and (maybe) eventually shade my home.  Very small so far; will be years before it it is a pro (or a con).
2 days ago
Bumping this - also curious if anyone has had success with a Wofati/Oehler structure in a temperate climate getting 20-50 inches of rain/year.  Separate question - what is more efficient/cheaper in such a climate; a strawbale home or a wofati?
4 days ago
I just planted a bunch of elephant grass rhizomes, which are suppoed to grow up to 10-12 ft tall and expand slowly 4 inches in diameter/year.  Goals were mainly privacy/windbreak.  Will see how dense that gets.
1 week ago

I've used this, but you can also just observe at different points of the day and season, and different spots in the property.  
1 week ago
I felt like resurrecting this topic, because I was curious and researching the Cascadia ecosystem.  Would using deciduous trees instead of conifers help with avoiding water-logging in the winter (more sun to dry up the ground and support grass/bushes/small plants)?  Agree that you want to increase your aeration and organic matter within the soil, like with keyline plowing, without building swales on countour that would create huge wetlands in the summer (it's ok to have household rainwater collection and ponds - potentially fed by swales).  What about fire-proofing in this ecosystem?  Would going with deciduous over conifers help in this respect?  What about using something like a ditch-witch to create many small but deep swales?
1 week ago
That's helpful info on Osage Orange.  I tried using live willow states from these folks last spring.  They came in well, but deer browsed them down a lot.  Trying to build living arches.

Also planting bamboo in certain areas for hedges, but because of how it spreads you have to use it in small clusters.  Trying to buy elephant grass from these people to use as hedge.

Turns out that deer love browsing my hollies, so they are of limited hedging use.  I'm getting a lot of Black Locust from (came up great last year, good quality, easy to plant in poor soil, just used a drill-mounted auger to loosen up the soil, no need to even break out a shovel).

Anyway, with the Osage Orange; do you interweave the branches or just let them grow naturally?  Are the fruits good for wildlife?  Can you trim them to a moderate height?
1 month ago
Hi Ruth, thanks for the offer, but I'm happy to order some too. Does it compost completely sealed?

Current idea is to use a large IBC tote, with top open, drainage holes in bottom opening into a small pit, lots of worms, screen on top (but open to accept rain), black tarp over it in winter for warmth, maybe some grass seeds in there during summer.
3 months ago
I was thinking more about running a relatively large DC water heater (200 -300W) element inside a fairly large wooden oven (lined with tinfoil big enough for a big roasting pan, maybe 3 cubic ft) and line that whole assembly with 2-4 inches of poly-iso foam with a lid.  The goal would be to get it to baking temps for breads, etc, but could also be used as a slow cooker for meats/veggies if the temps did not make it that high.  You could also let it sit for a while to cook longer.  

3 months ago
I can't really retrofit my home toilet septic line too well; however, I wondered if this could be done on a smaller scale with an inside worm box.  That would help with worm survival and also make human usage more pleasant (no one wants to sit in a cold outhouse during the winter!).  Wonder if a 4ft wide/long, 2ft high box (with a bucket toilet on top) would work.  That would be 32 sq ft of wood chips and worms, with drainage on the bottom (the drainage could get gross).  I'd probably limit the liquid waste going in to the system, unless the worms like it damp.  Then I'd add soil, decomposing wood chips, leaves (in fall), and maybe cardboard to the pile.
3 months ago