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

Nichole Rock wrote:

Dianne Justeen wrote:

Joshua LeDuc wrote:Purchase or fashion a grate that you can put at the bottom of the pot that will keep a little separation between the jars and the bottom of the pot.

I use some extra rings from the mason jars on the pot's bottom.  Works great (pun intended) and provides good use for some of the rustier, nastier old rings while keeping the jars off the bottom.

That's such a good idea! Thank you! I've been saving the rings from some really old cans but I've been having trouble figuring out what to do with them. Now that I'm planning on practicing canning this fall/winter, this will be awesome!
How did you attach them to the bottom/each other? My first thought is soldering.

That's funny - I use old rings now too!  I tied them together in a circular patter with metal twist ties to fit the circumference of my pot!
1 month ago
I would like to add this tip.  Don't let the jars rattle around at the bottom of your water bath pot.  When the water is boiling hard, jars can shatter and you'll end up with a tomatoey mess!  Purchase or fashion a grate that you can put at the bottom of the pot that will keep a little separation between the jars and the bottom of the pot.
1 month ago
Andy, having put down cardboard and straw last summer (2019) and letting it sit all winter, this spring there were tons of worms under the cardboard.  I assume they were loving all of the decomposing grass and weeds in this layer.  I would say if you are planning on growing in an area that is currently lawn, just mow the grass short and put down the cardboard.  There will be plenty of organic material here that will start to decompose
1 month ago
Thanks for your advise S Bengi!  I did not add manure, only my own green/brown compost and a few loads of mushroom compost.  This may be residual from years of this area being a horse pasture.  I read somewhere that compacted soils can contribute to high P as well.  Not sure if this is true.  I don't even know whether or not the high P adversely affects the garden.  What's your take?  I do plan on adding some lime, but I'm not very keen on stopping the addition of compost due to high P and only adding bone meal or other N only fertilizer.  Without the constant addition of organic matter, I won't be able to build deep, fluffy soils.  
1 month ago
Thanks for that Leora.  So even several years later I will still see the results of prior horse manure?  Interesting.  I also read somewhere since this post that soil compaction as a result of horses and machinery might have something to do with the high levels.

How about bone meal?  I'm really not into cover cropping for a small vegetable garden.  Especially since I'm not tilling.
1 month ago

Hugo Morvan wrote:It has been another extremely dry and hot again this year. Thyme should be able to easily cope with that, but sadly it hasn't. I have tried to save as many as i could, but watering didn't even seem to help any more. I did a count today and about two hundred thyme plants survived in whole. I must have lost a hundred. The best filled out hedge was the one i have planted in autumn last year. The ones i planted in spring have seen losses of up to 50%.
I've learned of that mistake and have filled out three trays in which i hope to grow at least a 150 thyme plants to fill the empty places here and there.

Thanks for sharing!  I wish I had as much "thyme" to plant all of these like you!
1 month ago
Hey guys.  I just got my soil test results back, and I am having a hard time understanding some of these results.  History - last summer I laid down cardboard and straw in an old horse pasture that had not been used for anything for several years.  Lots of various broadleaf weeds and grasses had been growing in the location where I created this garden.  I sent in my soil, which is sandy loam to loam, to have it tested by the VA Tech extension office a while back and just got my results.  

First of all, why would my phosphorous and magnesium levels be very high, being that this was previously neglected pasture?  Are these very high levels fairly common?  Do I need to be worried and how would I amend if at all?

The bottom of the sheet gives me a lime recommendation.  Why would I add lime if the pH is 6?  Also, if I do want to add lime to a no-till garden, how does that work?  Just sprinkle some lime on top of the soil and let it work it's way in?  My soil is currently mulched heavily so I'm not sure how that would work.

The bottom of the sheet also gives me a fertilizer recommendation.  Being that I am fertillizing with my own compost, mushroom compost, and mulching with straw and shredded leaves, how do I compare these recommendations to the types of organic fertizlizers that I'm using?  Being that I'm high in P and a little high in K, what options for fertilizer do I have that are organic?

Thanks in advance for any sound feedback!

1 month ago
Larisa, are you planning on planting some of those 4 0'clocks like Redd suggested?  I am going to try planting those all over the garden next year and can't wait to see the results!
1 month ago

Mk Neal wrote:I would say I know the scent of most of my garden plants, and the common wild plants.

One that really stands out is alianthus the "tree of heaven."  It had a unique stink.  I can't say what it smells like except itself,  but it smells BAD.  There odor is very strong if you break through the skin at all when pulling up the seedlings, or if you step on one.

When I saw the forum topic, I immediately thought of the many tree of heaven trees on my property that I am trying to eliminate!
1 month ago

John F Dean wrote:Hi Joshua,

When we bought our tractor, my wife insisted on a front end loader. It is our most used attachment.  

Your wife sounds like a smart woman!!
2 months ago