Jamin Grey

pollinator
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since Sep 15, 2018
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duck forest garden chicken cooking building
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Recent posts by Jamin Grey

I'd advise getting them as chicks, and get an extra goose. If one turns out to be male, murder it and eat it when it gets to a decent size. Even if you don't want to bother with evisceration, simply cutting out the breast meat is fairly easy.

I never had any geese, but I raise free-range ducks, turkeys, and chickens together. My two huge dogs (mastiff/pyrenees) keep the birds protected.

I'd suggest getting extra layer chickens. Different breeds vary in egg laying rates, but if you assume an average of a chicken laying 1 egg on four days of the week, and if you assume you use maybe two eggs per person per day, you'll want four layer birds per person. More like 5 layers per person, if you do any baking or anything else that uses eggs.

Even then, you'll still end up having to buy some eggs each winter when their egg laying rates drop to 2/week or lower, depending on how cold and dark your winters get.
1 week ago

Jarret Hynd wrote:my experience with half-buried logs is not quite the same. As I live in a temperate desert, maybe with similar spring/summer conditions to OP, the log is always in a state of wicking up moisture from the soil which is then taken from the log by all the hot ,dry winds. This not only dries up the surrounding soil but keeps the logs from decaying



Yeah, it's very climate-dependent, so YMMV. I get alot of spring and fall rain and hot dry summers.

Some people use cardboard as mulch and then complain it never rots and blocks oxygen to the roots of trees a decade later. Other people, like me, put cardboard down and it's fully decayed in a year. Ditto for woodchips - woodchips barely last me two years.
1 week ago

leila hamaya wrote:wow, thats convincing. i now really dont like the electoral college situation, where i have usually been pretty neutral on it.

i guess i didnt realize that it was that much more influence. i knew that the red states, the republicans...well this is really the only reason they are able to get more of the vote, and more representation than they actually should, because they represent a much smaller segment of the population. i just thought it was a much smaller gap.



How many voted for Trump (72 million)? How many for Biden (77 million) That's fairly close to 50-50, it's 52-48. And Biden won.

The country is consistently really close to 50-50 Republican/Democrat, in terms of actual received votes, ignoring third parties that never get more than about 5% combined.

Every eight years, we fairly consistently swap which party has the president. That is *staggeringly* fair.

People who want the electoral college eleminated want it so the party of the 52% *always* wins, so they can cram down a tyranny of a slim majority on the party of the 48%. That is staggeringly unfair. Letting the party representing 48% win the presidency 48% of the time is very reasonable. Making the party representing 52% win 100% of the time is very unreasonable.

(but understandable! I also want my viewpoints to also win, and viewpoints I dislike to never win. =P)

Our country was deliberately set up as a Republic of independent Democracies to deliberately avoid the tyrannies of pure Democracies.

If people really want better canidates, then we need a Ranked Choice voting system: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_voting

And if people really care about "what the country wants", then we have to first realize that both parties use popular policy proposals to get into office, and then use their power to enact unpopular things the majority don't want (in addition to the popular proposals that they ran on).

Imagine a system where no Democrat or Republican bill could go into law unless 50% of the public agreed with it. Half the Democrat and half the Republican policy objectives would be impossible to enact.

My proposal: you can get rid of the electoral college only if you do ranked choice voting **and** make all bills in the House and Senate require 65% of the House and Senate's vote. The latter would force bipartisan cooperation, and the former would help weaken the two-party duopoly.

Anything less, and I think people just want their party of 52% to win 100% of the time and see the electoral college as something that currently helps their opposition.
1 week ago
They say that the wood inside lasts about 5 years before it breaks down.
How long it takes to break down depends on your climate. For me, it was about 3 years, though my logs were more like 6" diameter, not huge trunks.

After that the bed will still be excellent right?

Yes, after it breaks down, the benefits will still be present for some time. The exact scientific formula to calculate how long the benefit lasts looks like this:  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

No need to add wood again, ever?

Burying logs/wood is very beneficial. Nevertheless, it's just one thing among many you can do to help the soil. You'll still want to, for example, mulch the top with woodchips or grass or straw (or cardboard) each year.

Growing something in dirt, even weeds, depletes the nutrients in the soil. Over time, you'll need to somehow replenish those nutrients. Large commercial farmers for example inject fertilizers into the ground when planting seeds. More eco-friendly gardeners find better ways of replenishing the soil. This could be through adding chicken manure, cow manure, horse manure, etc... to the soil, as well as mulching.

For myself, I don't do a very good job of being consistent, but some garden beds I bury fish, chicken intestines, turkey carcasses, and etc... in the beds. I don't have any vegetable scraps (my chickens get them), but other gardeners bury their compostable waste into the beds (for example, google "keyhole garden beds" for the general concept, where a compost bin is integrated into the garden bed) - this can be as easy as just using your hand to make a trench, adding your kitchen waste into the trench, and covering it back up. Other gardeners have a compost pile, and each year add some of their compost to the garden bed.

Since weeds also deplete soil, keep down weeds (by mulching, or cardboard, or whatever), helps keep the soil better for longer.
Exposed dirt also gets baked by the sun, and seems to suffer, so mulching does a double-whamy benefit (triple-whamy, when you consider how it absorbs and releases moisture, reducing water needs).

Will my nasty tan clay be sweet dark earth by then?

Your clayish soil will be improved dramatically, but likely won't look like (or at least won't remain like) what you're describing. It'll bring it alot closer, though.

Your soil doesn't need to be perfect, but anything you can do (even inconsistently / infrequently) is fantastic! And burying logs like that works great!

Anything else you can toss in the beds while burying the logs would also help. Kitchen scraps, manure, lawn clippings, leaves, fish, dead animals, any garden waste from this past growing season (e.g. dead tomato plants), leaves, etc... all is great stuff.

Just wondering what to expect after all the wood is gone.

You can expect the soil to be greatly improved, but almost nothing in gardening is "do once and now your garden is magic forever", alas! =(...

Burying logs is fantastic. Definitely one of the better things to do.

What you can expect is definite improvement in the quality of the soil. Another thing you can expect, is the dirt level in the raised beds will sink down, fairly dramatically. The first year you'll probably drop 20%, mostly just from the loose dirt compacting from rain, but over the next few years as the logs decay, it'll gradually drop another 10-20% or so. This is actually great, though, as it provides room in your bed for you in a future winter to revitalize the beds by e.g. put another layer of small branches covered by more dirt, next winter, as well as space for plenty of mulch when you're able to. My hugel bed I think dropped nearly 50%. At least 40%. The bulk of it in the first year.

I don't want to discourage you from doing it - it's fantastic, and you definitely should do it.
But I also don't want you to think it'll last forever (but it will benefit for multiple years!).
Nor do I want you to think that it'll take your soil to perfection on it's own (but it will be a major improvement).

It's one of the better tools available, and one of the longer-lasting ones.

One thing you can do on your older beds is even just rest a log on top of your old beds, just half-buried, half-exposed. Not as a great as a full hugel bed, but for supplementing existing beds, I've been surprised by how well that worked.
1 week ago
Thanks Joseph & Steve - I definitely don't want to pamper them, and want them to be low-maintenance.

Thanks also for sharing that hardiness graph - it looks like the grapes I planted are hardy enough, except for one Crimson Seedless:

Plant speciesSeason plantedEstimated years to fruitSupplierFruiting seasonHardiness
Somerset Seedless (Red, table)Spring, 20202-4StarkbrosAugustHardy -30°F
Somerset Seedless (Red, table)Spring, 20202-4StarkbrosAugustHardy -30°F
Lakemont Seedless (Green, table)Summer, 20202-4StarkbrosLate AugustHardy -15°F
Lakemont Seedless (Green, table)Summer, 20202-4StarkbrosLate AugustHardy -15°F
Saint Theresa Seedless (Purple, table)Summer, 20202-4StarkbrosEarly SeptemberHardy -30°F
T210A Crimson Seedless (Red, table)Summer, 20202-4eBayOctoberNot Hardy, only 0°F (USDA 7)
Golden Muscat (Green, wine or table, seeded)Fall, 20202-4StarkbrosEarly SeptemberHardy -15°F

What I'll do is just wrap the base of the vines with some plastic (around a cage, so the plastic isn't actually touching) to add a tiny amount of protection, but just for the first year. After that, they can sink or swim on their own.

Well, I guess that answered my question well - thanks again, gents.


I need to get an earlier grape in there as well - something that fruits in July would be great, but I'm having difficulty finding species that fruit that early.
1 week ago
I bury everything straight in my garden beds: lamb intestines, turkey and chicken and duck intestines, and even entire turkey carcasses or whole turkeys w/ feathers that died of unnatural causes.

They break down very fast. Digging 10" down in my bed this fall to bury sheep guts, I encountered the tiny almost-entirely gone bones of entire >20lb adult turkeys from last fall. Everything was fully composted, except a few small crumbly bones (i.e. the final 10% of the bones, 90% of bones already entirely composted).
2 weeks ago
1. What, to you, is the most pressing environmental problem?
Carbon in the atnosphere.

2. Are you alarmed by the proliferation of plastic in the environment?

Not really. I'm bothered by the pollution in manufacturing it, and I'm bothered by the harm the plastics themselves do to wildlife e.g. in the ocean, but I think both are relatively easily solvable problems we are already making decent strides towards, compared to some other pressing issues.

3. Do you take any actions to reduce your use of plastic?

Sure, anyone doing any sort of gardening is reducing their consumption of store-bought goods that are often packaged in plastic.

3b. If so, what?

Pressure canning food, gardening, using less plastic bags when shopping by asking cashiers not to bag most my purchases.

4. Do you support government mandated plastic bans?

No. I think most things we'd replace it with will either be prohibitively expensive and pollute more, or else weigh more - like glass - thus using even more gas to transport.

I'd rather have the government incentive or mandate superior recycling plans that should actually decrease carbon pollution, less polluting manufacturing of the plastics, and less packaging used overall.

Any government mandating uses up public goodwill for potential other mandates. Think of it as the government having X units of tolerable regulation to spend, so it better spend it wisely, not on every idea people think might be good.

6. Do you think reusables are too  dangerous in the time of coronavirus?


I don't even comprehend the thought process behind this. Willy-nilly government regulation is dangerous. Companies choosing to use renewables or the public demanding it in a free market isn't dangerous.

7.Do you agree that efforts to reduce waste should be suspended or cancelled in light of the pandemic?


No. This pandemic really isn't all that bad as far as pandemics go. Think of it as a practice pandemic.

In what way would suspending waste reduction help fight the pandemic? How are the two related? I'm very very far from an environmentalist (or even humanist), but again, the thought process of this question is just alien to me. On its surface it appears like an non sequitur, making me think I'm missing an argument or reasoning you've read and assume I've also read, and neglected to provide.

It's like half the data or reasoning behind the question is missing ("[[given X and Y]], do you agree efforts to reduce waste...").
2 weeks ago
I planted several grape vines this year; my first grape vines ever.

I live in USDA zone 6A, meaning potentially down to -10°F on the worst night of the year. After 10 years, the worst I noticed was -4°F, but let us assume -10°F.

What winter protection doth I actually need for my vines?

I'm growing them up an arbor I built for them (4 ft wide, 7 ft tall, 40 ft long). I was hoping to grow them up the arbor and keep them up their, let them thicken into trees. (I'd prune it, and control the spurs for proper grape protection, but it'd have a single trunk).

I see online everyone saying to lay the vine down and bury it. That seems only realistic for the first year. Surely it'd thicken and get stiffer with each passing year - how do people lay it down each year?

I really really don't want to take it down from the arbor each year, only to train it up again. Is that really necessary?

(most my grapes are American table grape species, so they should be hardier than European varieties, I think)
2 weeks ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

Jamin Grey wrote:They were growing all over each other, so cross-pollination shouldn't have been a problem



Doesn't matter how close they are growing together. Tomatillos require an animal to move pollen from one plant to a different plant that isn't closely related.



Are you saying I need two separate species of Tomatillo? e.g. Toma Verde and another variety?
2 weeks ago

Dan Boone wrote:

Jamin Grey wrote:
Some of the husks were on their way to producing, with half-sized fruit (toxic, iirc).



My head snapped around at the suggestion of toxicity in small fruit, because most of mine didn't fill the husk this year and I've been eating them like mad.  (I roast them with other vegetables.)

I'd be interested in any more information anybody has on this.

A quick bit of Googling turns up many pages with one-line warnings like "immature small fruit are thought to be toxic" or "are considered toxic" -- but never a page that speaks with any particular authority or cites a source.



I just threw in the "toxic" comment to head off any army of people rappelling down onto the forums and warning me not to eat them.

I also have zero concrete details on tomatillos. My guess is it's exaggerated. Almost everything is toxic - like apple seeds; that doesn't mean humans are keeling over every year. =D

Jen Swanson wrote:Considering the bigger, later to fruit plant probably took up some of the tomatoes' fertilizer through it's roots, is it possible your tomatillos got too much fertilizer?



Your description fits my scenario well, except I don't see how it could've gotten fertilizer. Except for when starting them as seeds, they don't receive liquid fertilizer, and the only real food they get is when I first plant them, I have crushed eggshells, a hunk of fish, and a cup or two of aged chicken manure in the hole they are planted in. That's in May. From May to October is 5-6 months with only water (including rain, which has a little nitrogen in it).

My soil is "okay", but nowhere near the black loose soil one sees on blogs and youtube videos.
(I probably ought to fertilize more, my tomato harvest wasn't too great this year)

So I can't see how mine would have been overfertilized.
2 weeks ago