Nathan Watson

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since Oct 05, 2018
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Recent posts by Nathan Watson

It depends on what species it is.

I've sprouted many stonefruit seeds in the fridge. I have to wait until there's a taproot about an inch long, to where the seed itself is not touching the ground at all, before I take them out of the fridge and put them under the grow lights. If I plant them with the seed touching soil at room temperature, they will usually succumb to mold.
I know you already mentioned mint, but I was going to throw that out there anyways based on my own experience. Last year in my flower garden, I would observe yellow jackets constantly hovering around a small patch of mint. Every few minutes a bald faced hornet would come by, attack the yellow jacket, and carry it off to the nest. Then another yellow jacket would arrive and the cycle would repeat again. This was spearmint, a small patch about 5-8 inches in diameter and about a foot tall.

1 month ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
You definitely get what you select for. If you select for crops that only thrive when fertilized, or sprayed with chemicals, you might very well end up with crops that can't grow without fertilizers and poisons.

This is especially true with fruit trees. It doesn't make sense that after decades of breeding, we still don't have Apples and Peaches that are not prone to diseases. There actually *are* some varieties that have natural immunity to disease. For example,  Frost, Indian Free, Muir, and Q-1-8 are all resistant to Peach Leaf Curl *. Yet, the majority of Peach varieties grown are still vulnerable to this disease... if a new peach variety gets peach leaf curl during the breeding, they just spray it with fungicides and carry on with the breeding program as if it's a non issue. Disease resistance usually comes at a cost in productivity, so they are actually breeding for disease prone trees when they do this and selecting against disease resistance.

* Source
1 month ago
I've never heard of just dumping seeds on the ground and leaving them there. When I bought a variety pack of flowers, the instructions said to lightly rake it into the soil. Yes, the birds will eat some of the seeds. You'll likely see them eating your seeds for a few days. Eventually they'll eat the seeds that are easy to find, and move on to food elsewhere. They'll never find every last seed.

The biggest problem you'll encounter with this growing method is that it takes consistent sun and soil moisture to get some seeds to germinate. There was no spring season in Oregon last year or this year, it went from rain every day to baking hot sun every day. In spite of my watering the flower garden almost daily, the soil still dried out enough each day to stop many of the seeds from germinating. Some seeds such as California Poppy will germinate in spite of drying out each day on the soil surface, I got plenty of those. Other seeds preferring cool moist soil won't germinate as consistently. I had only one Lupin germinate last year, and none of them came back this year from last year's seeds. Mole plants, mint, even mullein, all failed to germinate. I got a few new lemon balm seeds that germinated.
There are some varieties of perennial wheat that you can buy. These would be great on the South facing wall and provide food for your chickens. '

One downside to perennial wheat is it can attract rodents, so you'll need to do something to deal with that potential problem.

Of course, it doesn't have to be just one plant, chickens prefer variety in their diets and will produce more nutritionally balanced eggs with a varied diet. If you let spinach go to seed, it will produce an abundant crop of seeds, and the spinach greens will also be good for your chickens. Chickweed, clover, miner's lettuce, there are all sorts of weeds and veggies you can grow that your chickens will love.
2 months ago
I would recommend having a realtor find you a property. They have access to a database known as MLS which lists every single property as soon as it comes on the market. Sites such as zillow are full of stale listings that have been on the market for a long time and haven't sold for one reason or another. A realtor will also look out for your own best interests. A good example would be a property with a lien on it that even the county didn't know about, you might not understand all that but they do, they will make sure you get the proper title insurance, they will know things about the neighborhood you don't know, the local climate and so forth.  Even make sure you aren't offering too much for a property. Most realtors build their name and reputation by having clients who stay in the local community and are satisfied in the long term, then refer their friends. Buying real estate on craigslist is risky, especially for a first time buyer with no experience in real estate or the local area.
2 months ago
I'm not aware of any method to trigger kiwi to flower again after they've already been damaged by frost. There are things you can do next year that will protect plants from frost and this will probably be the only solution. If the ground is mostly clear of weeds, grass, etc. under and close to your kiwi plants it will radiate more heat at night, preventing frost damage. Placing a few large rocks around the perimeter of your kiwi vines will also help, rocks tend to radiate lots of heat on a cold night and help prevent freezing.

If this is still a consistent problem every year, you may want to try planting kiwi plants in locations that will protect them from frost. If you remove the lower branches off a conifer, the space below it will be sheltered. The branches of the tree will reflect heat back down, and the space underneath it will be less prone to frost. A vine planted next to a cliff or steep mountain side will also get more radiation from the ground on cold nights.

2 months ago

Eugenio Ramos wrote:We can today start shredding that plastic thats every where and utilizing a 3D printer for plastic, well the limit would be your imagination.

Please take into consideration if you have the space in making a plastic shredder then a extruder to generate the filament in order to create all sorts of things from useful to entertaining.  Quite frankly I'm expecting some kayak and canoe even paddle boats.

3D printing of recycled plastic

I guarantee you can do something with this plastic.

Even fuel

These pieces of equipment can be built in a garage.  To convert to fuel its a very interesting pot it's no longer a secret.

When all this equipment  is ready Open source the heck out of it

Free software


Repetier host
Matter Control


If you need help let me know.


Melting certain kinds of plastic can create toxic fumes so you'd have to figure an environmentally friendly and safe way to melt the plastic into filament. If you're an entrepreneur, you want to start that company recycling plastic into filament for 3d printers, you can do your due diligence then go for it. But be careful about just tinkering around in your garage with this stuff. In general, plastic recycling is something that should be left to businesses with the knowledge and experience to do so safely and legally.
2 months ago

Sam Liégeois wrote:Hey everybody,

I recently planted some fruit trees I grafted this winter.
At the moment I'm noticing that some of the leaves (especially these from plums) have a light reddish color (see pic).
Could someone tell me if this is normal or if the plants are expressing some sort of deficiency?

Thanks in advance!

Kind regards,


Many trees have pigments such as red, purple, and yellow in them. For most species, you can't see these pigments at all during spring or summer, you just see green. You can only see the pigments in fall when there is no longer any chlorophyll in the leaves covering up the other colors.

Plums are rather unique in that they tend to have far more pigment in their leaves than other trees. Growing wild, they often have purple foliage. Some varieties are also grown as ornamentals for their purple leaves. Even a "green" plum tree will often show purple pigment in the fresh, new foliage during spring. As these leaves get bigger and greener, the purple color will go away until it comes back again in the fall. Completely normal, your plum trees are healthy.
2 months ago

Steven Rivera wrote: Hello everyone! I am trying to figure out how many Fruit trees, if pruned correctly, could I fit in a 1000 square-foot area in an urban backyard setting?  I have been researching intensive planting of fruit trees and have drawn a layout of my garden to try and figure this out. But....  since I have never planted any fruit trees I have no clue as to how big how big these bareroot fruit trees can get if pruned to stay small early on. I want to plant as many trees as possible. I mainly want to plant apple, and peach but would love to fit in some other fruit trees.

Tree spacing is a simple matter of math and geometry. The most basic thing to remember is trees aren't square, so make sure you don't plant them in square rows and columns like this:
Row 1:  * * * *
Row 2:  * * * *
Row 3:  * * * *

If you drive by a commercial orchard, you'll see they plant them in alternating positions instead, like this:
Row 1: * * * *
Row 2:  * * * *
Row 3: * * * *

That way there is more space between the trees in Row 1 and row 2, and between the trees in row and row 3. Now you can move the rows closer together and still keep the required distance between the individual trees in each row.

Of course, it's going to be more complicated fitting a bunch off different sized trees together. The label of each tree should tell you the spacing it requires, in feet, from the next tree. Use labels, use math, use grid paper, create a sketch showing exactly where each tree goes and make sure each tree has the spacing it needs. Draw a circle for each tree.

What most people do to control the size of a tree is buy a tree grafted to the correct rootstock.  ​When the rootstock has reached its mature size, the roots will stop growing, which means the whole tree will stop growing (the roots and the top of the tree grow together). Because the tree has reached its mature size, it puts all of its energy into making fruit.

If you rely on pruning to limit the size of a tree, then it continues to put an excessive amount of energy into growing, at the cost of fruit production. You'll still get some fruit, but not as much as if you bought rootstock that limited the tree to its desired size.
2 months ago