Joshua LeDuc

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since Mar 25, 2019
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dog forest garden trees cooking food preservation homestead
On 4/20/19 my wife and I moved out to an old farm on 27 acres from the suburbs. Starting over is a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'm planning on developing a robust vegetable garden, orchard (food forest), and want to get some livestock.
King William, VA
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Recent posts by Joshua LeDuc

Keep your political views to yourself when talking to your neighbors if you don't know them very well.  You might need their help some day!
2 days ago
TJ, I was planning on putting some monarda in the guilds.  I will keep an eye on it.  

Yep, that's the plan with the comfrey.  Eventually I want to wrap the perimeter with the comfrey to keep out rhizome grasses and other weeds.  
1 month ago
Lisa, yes I am well aware of mint spreading.  I have one patch in the corner of my quarter acre food forest, so I'm not super concerned if it spreads.  Maybe I'm underestimating how much it spreads though.  I did think about putting sheet piles in the ground around this patch if it gets to be too much but I will keep an eye on it.  As far as the oregano, I have had the same patch for 12 years and have never had an issue with it spreading a whole lot.  
1 month ago
TJ, thanks.  I will check it out.  I've been to that place a couple times and have purchased some things from them.  Nice to have a place like that so close to home!
1 month ago
Hi all!  I wanted to post an update on my garden.  Along with my raised bed vegetable garden, I have been diligently creating a food forest just behind (or to the north) of the vegetable garden.  I just planted 13 more trees this past weekend, so now have most of my "pioneer" species in place.  Now I need to start working on guilds around the trees.  I have already started planting some comfrey, Egyptian walking onions and daffodils around many of these trees, and have also ordered some horseradish, rhubarb, Jerusalem artichoke, sorrel, and sweet sicily for the guilds as well.  I also have some mint, thyme, sage, and oregano interplanted in the beds.  I plan on adding some nitrogen fixing shrubs like goji berry, and more wildflowers (especially those like queen anne's lace and fennel).  

As many of you are the experts and have been doing this type of thing for years, I would appreciate any and all input on my plan and progress.  Keeping up with weeding is a concern to me.  I have added about 10 yards of wood chip mulch in the beds, but am already seeing small weeds that have seeded right into the mulch.   Also, how do you all keep an inventory on what you have planted in your food forest?  I think it would be difficult to add all of the small herbs, groundcovers, flowers, etc. to this map as is will become too "busy" or congested.  One idea I thought about was to create separate larger scale maps of the individual guilds for each tree.  
1 month ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:I ended up planting 4 names hybrids which were quite expensive two years ago. They have gotten big enough to take cuttings this winter. I am not picky about growth habit and they have not yet produced. So I can’t comment on the success of this idea, but it was in my price range and a test to see if it could be massively expanded. As part of this my propagating technique is, um, rustic. Basically rooting hormone on a fresh cut second year stem, then into a deep bed of composted wood chips. I’m doing about 500 cuttings this winter. Total time outlay was a couple hours. I have other posts on here regarding propagating the lazy way with hardwood cuttings, and I’ll update when they manifest survival or failure. I’m doing several different species this year and have no idea which will perform. I started with goumi and serviceberry and that was great, so now it’s a broader experiment.

Hey TJ, which hybrids did you plant here in Virginia?  I just planted 5 in my newly created food forest, but they were just called "American Hazelnut" when I purchased the bare root seedlings from Cold Stream Farm.  I did not know that there were hybrids more suited to Virginia.  Do you think I made a big mistake with what I planted?
1 month ago
According to Mother Earth News, a Chinese greenhouse is masonry on 3 sides and only the south lets in light.  The large thermal mass of the masonry keeps the air warmer for longer during cold nights!
2 months ago

Leigh Tate wrote:

Joshua LeDuc wrote:Leigh/All, I'm in Virginia, zone 7B.  I planted some ginger in one of my beds over the summer, assuming that in this region it would over winter outside.  Is this not correct?

Joshua, I think it depends on the variety you have. The tropical variety (Zingiber officinale), thrives in zones 9 - 12 and doesn't seem to like temps lower than 50°F. This is the standard culinary kind. But there are some hardier varieties that are said to overwinter up to zone 7. I started mine from grocery store rhizomes, and so treat them as tender tropicals. In fact, one winter I lost all my ginger because I stored their pot on the back porch, where it got too cold for them. (Very sad!).

If you don't know what type you have, you could experiment by storing some inside over winter, and leaving some well mulched outside.

Thank you for that Leigh!  Good idea - have a control sample!  My wife will be thrilled when I bring another plant inside!  Lol....
2 months ago

Tereza Okava wrote:Even as warm as 9b it goes dormant, and doesn`t seem to wake up with heat (we`ve had a really weird year so far) or moisture, maybe it goes by daylight hours or some other hocus pocus that I don`t perceive. Ginger is definitely a "does what it darn pleases" kind of plant around here (I spent last year trying to coax some out of a big barrel full of good soft dirt and compost, regular watering, etc. It refused to cooperate. This year a tiny bit of root I must have missed is now just starting taking over the same barrel, which I replanted with mint. Stayed dormant for at least 4 months of moisture and nice tending. My tomatoes, cukes and zucchini have been going since maybe the first week of September, when it first got hot, so it took its sweet time.

Gotcha - I guess my question is if the ginger will die if I leave it outside in Virginia 7B
2 months ago

Leigh Tate wrote:

Tina Hillel wrote: Maybe I'll let it overwinter near woodstove and see if it gets bigger since it does look kinda small from what I can tell without digging it up.

It will go dormant over winter, so expect it die back. It's okay to let the soil dry out some during the dormant stage; not bone dry, but definitely not soggy. It seems to get bigger in subsequent years.

Leigh/All, I'm in Virginia, zone 7B.  I planted some ginger in one of my beds over the summer, assuming that in this region it would over winter outside.  Is this not correct?
2 months ago