Lauren Ritz

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since Aug 18, 2018
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Recent posts by Lauren Ritz

I just looked at my pistachios and one pot (male starts) has half an inch of root sticking out the bottom! No new top growth yet.

I need to be careful and not jump the gun, so it won't get transplanted until at least next spring. My question is for people who have transplanted trees. So far I've mostly worked with 1) Already mature trees 2) Trees that can be easily replaced or 3) Trees that I start in the ground in their planned locaiton. I need some advice, since this is none of the three. Should I keep it inside, put it in the greenhouse (which I'm leaning toward) or leave it outside for the winter?

And would it be mature enough by next spring to survive? Or should I keep it in the pot for another year, JIC?
17 hours ago
I got about a dozen starts from 5 trees (two male, three female). The smaller cuttings rotted almost immediately. I have two left, one male and one female, as well as the hardwood cuttings that I'll leave over the winter. I'm not sure if they're still alive. It appears (from this one test) that the cuttings need humidity in the air but not much water in the soil. As soon as I took the male out of the humidity tent the new leaves dried up. If these don't take I'll try again next year with new wood.
1 day ago
If you're planning to plant them this year you want enough time before a solid freeze for the baby trees to establish their roots. I wouldn't transplant into pots, primarily because it's one more shock that they might not survive.

My own suggestion would be to wait until next spring if you can--many of them aren't going to survive the winter, and it's next to impossible to know which.
3 days ago
My purr-baby was 18 when he started going blind so we made him an indoor cat. He'd still sneak out, but only went as far as the porch. He died at 25. As long as they're happy, I see no reason to take drastic action.
1 week ago
This year's update.

I learned that temperature control is REALLY important for hydroponics. I finally figured out that the thing killing the plants was that the water got too hot. In order to control algae and such inside the buckets I wrapped them in black plastic bags. Since the project was in the sun, the plastic bags heated the water to well over 100 degrees (hot to the touch) and the roots died.

With that under control, the tomato recovered and fruited. Everything else was already dead.

I then put squash seeds in two of the buckets and this is what they currently look like:
1 week ago
In many states, you're not allowed to have solar unless it's attached to and feeding the electrical grid. There are exceptions for people who live in areas where the grid is unavailable. When I started researching solar I learned that there are two types of solar panels--grid tie, and standalone. Grid tie work ONLY when there is power flowing in from the grid. Once the grid goes down (power outage, whatever) the solar panels stop working. This is why most urban systems have a battery bank built in. People tend to get upset when their expensive system doesn't work when the power goes out.

When I expressed my concern that my mother was on oxygen and I couldn't have the power failing, the salesman said "Get a generator."
1 week ago

Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Hey Lauren,
Have you tried planting almond, plum, apricot, and apple seeds to see if they will sprout and survive the coming summer without any help?

Almond, apricot and apple, yes. I have one almond, three apples, two apricots, and an almond-peach cross that have all survived at least one summer/winter. I'll be planting more this winter. I will also be planting concord grape seeds to see what happens. I have yet to have a plum seedling survive. One of the apples was planted in a pot, the others started where they are.

Five seedling pears survived their first summer--we'll see how many survive their first winter. I'm hoping for two, but pears seem pretty finicky. I only have one that has survived more than a year, and I've planted many. The survivor is three years old and about a foot tall, the seedlings about two inches tall. Once they hit the two year boundary (two summers, two winters) they're usually pretty set.

The seedlings appear to want much more water than the mature trees, but they still survive without it.

The fires in the west are actually part of the pattern. Periodic fires clear out the forest debris, drop old wood forests, rejuvenate the land and allow the cycle to begin again. It's just a normal part of life. When fires are immediately suppressed, the understory remains choked with deadwood and brush, so rather than clearing a swath and then dying the fires continue to burn long after they would normally burn themselves out.

If brush cannot be cleared, clear cutting under power lines is not allowed, and people insist on living in areas where wildfires naturally flow, this is going to continue to happen.
1 week ago

Garrett Schantz wrote:Almonds use up quite a bit of water so they might not put out many nuts if the rainfall is low, maybe try and add a few more trees for diversity. Might be fun too. Maybe native maples? Could tap them in the future.

My mature almond tree still gave us quite a good harvest last fall. I watered deeply once a month during the summer. A higher percentage of empty and dried up nuts, but not too bad. This year I didn't water at all, but most of the blossoms were nipped by several freezes so it's an inconclusive test. The tree itself is looking great.

Plums the same, no watering this year and smaller fruit. I saw more late season fruit drop, but not unreasonable levels. No rain since early May. Take into account that these are MATURE trees. The 3rd year apple trees with no supplemental water are less than 2 feet tall and I lost both of the almond seedlings mid summer. I'll be planting more this winter.If even one out of 10 survives its first summer and first winter, I'm better off.

This is the grapes' third and fourth year (variously) with no supplemental water.

The 2nd year peach/almond cross came through the summer with flying colors under low/no water conditions.
1 week ago
All the permaculture "things" are meaningless if you never start.

Step 1, decide what you want. Not what you want to do, or how you want to do it, but what you want. Do you want a relaxation space? Do you want to feed yourself? Do you want an experiment space where you can try out all the "things"?
Step 2, create a design that fits where you currently are for that goal. Making plans for the space you plan to have someday is meaningless at this point.

Now, what is the first step toward that goal and that design? Once you get started I'm guessing you'll be able to fit most of the "things" in your design.
2 weeks ago