cynda williams

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since Nov 18, 2019
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Recent posts by cynda williams

On the subject of wood ashes in potato beds...wood ashes often cause scab on potatoes. I have had first hand experience, so I can say that my potatoes grown with wood ashes had scab. These were mostly the purple variety, they are prone to scab anyway. But half the row had wood ashes, the other half didn't. The wood ash treated part of the row had a lot more scab than the part that wasn't treated. Just saying...
Hey Permies, This is a reply to the "no-dig" potatoes thread. I grew potatoes in STRAW one year. I got the straw from a neighbor who grows it for his strawberries. My planting method was similar, however I put the soil amendments in and tiled prior to planting. I allowed the potato cuts to "cure" for two days in the dark prior to planting. I didn't put any dirt over the potato cuts, just straw. I laid soaker hose over the straw for irrigation, but never needed it. When the plants grew tall, I put another layer of straw. I had thought of leaves but didn't have any put aside that year. I had NO potato beetles, no insects of any kind bothering the potatoes! The best thing was there was no dirt to wash off the potatoes! The skins were tender, not tough. I cured them prior to storing. I was amazed at the size of some of the varieties. They stored well into March before sprouting. The idea of not having to wash potatoes is fantastic! Everyone should give this method a try. I think dry leaves would work better than soggy leaves, but having no experience with leaves, I can only guess...Thanks for sharing this great potato idea!
Deer will jump two fences spaced apart...the trick is to figure out how far apart the fences need to be. There are a couple of ways I have used to keep deer away...

Swiss Chard planted in a wide swath outside your garden fence may deter them with distraction. Deer love Swiss Chard! The trick is go keep the deer from eating the Chard as it grows. Chard needs nitrogen to grow fast, deer hate the smell of blood. So, I have had success with sprinkling blood meal on areas around the garden and on the chard as it grows.

I have used nylon stockings, cut into 8-10" lengths, tie off one end, put about 1/2 cup blood meal in the stocking, tie off the other end and hang these bags on branches of fruit trees and fence posts. This has kept the deer from rubbing bark off newly planted trees. When the blood meal gets wet, it will form a clump in the stocking. To refresh the blood meal, just squeeze the stocking to loosen up the blood meal. The bags will need to be replaced every several months. But his has worked for me.

Blood meal will draw other animals, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, chipmunks, probably opossums. Bunnies don't like blood meal.

If you have a good deal of clover in the surrounding areas outside the fence, deer may go for the clover and leave the garden.

However, good fencing, blood meal, chard planted outside the fence in combination may work.

If you can't keep them out, give them something better on the menu!
5 months ago
Hey permies, After reading some posts on the subject of juglone effects on many plants...and reading that mycelia might help, I found this article. Seems mycelia may enhance the travels of juglone. Am I reading this wrong?

Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon where plants have harmful effects on growth of surrounding plants through the production of chemical substances. Here we focus on allelochemical processes which operate belowground, can influence plant interactions and therefore potentially affect plant community structure. Soil hyphae of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may enhance transport processes in the soil matrix by providing direct connections between plants facilitating infochemical exchange.

In a two-component field study we showed that soil hyphae likely play a crucial role in movement of allelochemicals in natural soils and greatly expand bioactive zones by providing effective transport pathways for chemical compounds. First, we tested the effects of Juglans regia leaf litter extract addition in intact or disrupted hyphal networks and simultaneously determined growth reducing effects on sensitive Lycopersicon lycopersicum plants. Second, we analyzed the effect of juglone on tomato by directly adding leaf litter. In both approaches we found an increase of juglone transport if a hyphal network was present, resulting in reduced growth of target plants.

Our results, together with previous work, add to the body of evidence for hyphae of soil fungi playing an important role in the transfer of allelochemicals and effectively acting as transport highways in the field. We suggest that hyphal connections, mostly formed by AMF, increase the effectiveness of allelochemicals in natural systems and can play a crucial role in chemical interaction processes in the soil.

8 months ago
Hey Permie folks...of bird interest...

Bluebirds don't often nest in wooded areas. They prefer the "edge" of a pasture or meadow. Sometimes, they may nest in your front yard if you offer them the proper situation. Try searching bluebirds across america website. The Audubon society will offer free plans on acceptable bluebird housing. Bluebirds are pretty fussy about their housing and will reject any that are not made to specs. They are often predated by English Sparrows, Starlings and Tree Swallows. There is a lot of information available online o how to construct and place housing for Bluebirds. But the correct number of houses placed 50 feet apart will be necessary.

The hole in your manufactured house is just too large to protect Bluebirds from Starlings. The proper opening should be drilled to the correct diameter. If you have made the hole too large, you can construct another proper sized hole from a larger piece of wood and screw that over the hole. The thickness of the added wood will offer more protection from predators such as raccoons, other larger birds (such as Purple headed Grackles) from reaching inside the nest and pulling the hatchlings out. Once a nest has been compromised by predators, the Bluebirds won't come back to that site. Ever. And word will travel throughout the Bluebird community that your place isn't safe.

To prevent predators from climbing up any pole to reach the house, you can put up a barrier of sheet metal on the pole. Or a squirrel baffle. If you offer housing, you must be sure you have done all possible to prevent predation.

I walked the Bluebirds Across America trail in Huntington, Vermont in the mid-1990's. There were over 50 houses on a two mile trail. It was interesting to see who would nest in these manufactured houses. There were chickadees, tree swallows, wrens and flying squirrels!

Houses must be cleaned out each spring, after the worst of the winter is over. Bluebirds will scout for acceptable housing in late winter. I have heard they are already scouting in my area (south coastal Mass). If nesting material is left from the previous nesting season, parasites may linger and infest the new hatchlings. Mites is the largest killer of newly hatched birds. But the previous season's nesting material should be left in winter. In severe storms, Bluebird families will seek shelter in nest boxes. The left behind nesting material will offer some insulation from the harsh winds and heavy snow.

All constructed houses should have the proper opening size. All houses should be easily opened for yearly clean out. Roofs should be water proof. Do not paint houses. Use rough-cut lumber for construction of houses.

More information is available online. I hope this helps.
9 months ago
I would remove the stick, clean the wound out and apply RAW honey to the open wound. Keep the bird in a confined space (sounds like a dog kennel is a great idea) with towels on the bottom. Other bedding will attach itself to the open wound. Change towels daily. Feed high protein foods (small pieces of raw meat is good, hard-cooked eggs also) along with regular feed. Re-examine the wound twice daily for several days to check on healing. RAW honey has antibacterial properties and will assist healing as well as reducing pain. Don't use hydrogen peroxide other than to clean the wound initially for it inhibits regrowth of new flesh.

Be sure the bird doesn't have any lice or mites. Collect eggs promptly to prevent egg eating.

I had a pullet who was hawked on her head, completely exposing the skull. I thought she was done, but applied RAW honey to the open wound, confined her for several months. The wound healed and she went out with the flock in a few months. She laid her first egg before the wound was totally closed. It seemed that the torn-away flesh grew up her skull as time went by. The honey became solid, almost like a helmet over the open wound. It was quite amazing!

Offer treats, cut into small pieces of any greens you have available. The most important issue is to keep the open wound clean and hope that the wound heals from the inside out and not close up before the wound has a chance to close from the inside out, preventing infection.

Good luck!

The Chicken Guru
10 months ago
I am new to this forum, but I was looking at some pix of small insects that seem to be bothering some chickens. There was a pix of some bugs on a lid of some type, I guess. First, where is this chicken? In what part of the country? In the USA? No location is given with posts, so I am in the dark. However, these blood-sucking insects look a lot like nymph ticks. Has anyone thought to take some of the bugs to your local extension for correct ID? If they are in fact ticks, they can do severe damage to poultry due to blood loss. The loss of feathers is probably due to the bird scratching in an attempt to remove the ticks. I assume the birds are free-range?

I would try Neem oil in a carrier oil...olive, grape, corn, canola oil. 25% Neem to 75% carrier oil. Mix well Neem oil goes solid at temps below 74 degrees, so keep the mixture warm prior to application. If you can, spread the oil on the affected area. Try to remove any ticks (?) attached to the skin. There are also something called "stick tight fleas" that might be the infestation. I have not personally seen these bugs, so I can't ID them, but they will also make birds sick due to blood loss. Seems ducks don't have so much of a problem if they have access to swimming areas. There are several diseases that affect chickens, you might want to find a good book at the library and check out the symptoms to see what is the issue rather than to try to treat them before you know what the issue is. DE is good for keeping vermin off birds, but not so great if there is already an infestation. Neem oil will work best for removing any lice, mites. I have never seen a tick on any of my birds and I had many turkeys, ducks and chickens.

If you suspect an infestation of vermin in the coop, completely clean out the coop, nesting boxes down to bare. Scrape roosts, a wire brush works well. Clean any areas of heavy build-up. Sweep clean. I have used a shop vac to clean out corners and crevices. This is a serious house-cleaning job. If you have any questions regarding disease in the house, use white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide...after a good housecleaning, spray vinegar to the point of drip, the follow with a spray of hydrogen peroxide. Do not mix the two together, it is similar to mixing bleach and ammonia and will give off killer gasses. I used a one gallon pump up sprayer. Be sure to get under roosts and inside nest boxes. Allow to dry. The spread DE on the floor and bottom of any areas in the poultry house. Sweep the DE into cracks. Use clean bedding on the floor and nesting boxes...sprinkle some DE on top of the clean bedding.

If you have lice or mites, you have to PAINT THE ROOSTS AND WALLS WITH OIL to smother the insects. Old veggie oil (DON'T USE RECYCLED COOKING OIL!!!) painted on all surfaces will smother any insects. Then spread DE as I have suggested. Be sure you have FOOD GRADE DE, pool grade is not the same.

Set up some dust bath areas that are protected from rain or wetness. Add plenty of DE to the dust bath. I have found that elemental sulfur, wood ashes and DE make a nice dust bath with clean sand. The dust baths should stay dry or they will become ineffective.

BTW, DE is very good for intestinal parasites. I have been very successful at worming my flocks with DE in their foods. Internally, it doesn't have to be dry. I have mixed about 1/3 cup DE into four quarts of layer pellets as a remedy. Feed this mix for several days (3-4 days), then wait two weeks and feed the mix again. If you are not feeding dry feed, you can mix it in with any foods. wet or dry.

I was Certified Organic for poultry, grains and garlic for nine years. These remedies in this post are all organically accepted and will not harm poultry.

1 year ago