Simon Gooder

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since Apr 22, 2019
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hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi foraging cooking ungarbage
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (7b)
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Recent posts by Simon Gooder

Just before planting the latest trees, I had read the "How to Plant Trees" chapter in Peter Bane's Permaculture Handbook. He suggests throwing down some cardboard to catch the soil from the tree-hole so it doesn't all disappear into the grass. This works well, and makes it easy to tip the cardboard at the end to pour the rest of the crumbs where you need them.
2 months ago
To Daniel - I've lined most of my beds with a short stack of partially rotting/punky alder wood, and the ground beetles seem to love it. Not sure how successful they are at keeping the slugs in check though - as the slugs sure are plentiful.

I've recently added 2 ducks to our little homestead for eggs/slug control, and at ust 4 weeks old they're already slug-eating machines, though they're only outside for short periods of time. I'm looking forward to getting them into a mini duck tractor when they're older to clear patches around the gardens!
3 months ago
Some of my radishes suffered root maggot damage this year. Not sure the details, but they only affected a small pot, so I picked them out of the soil, and that seemed to work.
I had the same experiences when looking for such a thing.

Last year during my down-time between jobs, I started putting together such a thing (I'm a designer with some programming skills by trade), and I was calling it Useful Plants, as the focus was on the actual uses of these plants. I ended up putting in several weeks' worth of work, and got a solid start on the application itself (it works, and you can create new users, add/edit plants, even pull from plant profiles from Wikipedia to get you started on a new plant profile).

Your thoughts on the features are very much in line with my own; I had built a small "related plants" section, which could suggest other plants - possibly more suitable or replaceable based on the layer or ecological function. The focus on the personal experience aspect would be huge as well.

Essentially, I have the platform running and the APIs and front-end and server-side stuff all built out, I'm just not hosting it, and it will require data entry.

I would love to collaborate on this if you want to explore this further! You can reply here, or send me an email at and we can discuss some more details!

3 months ago
I’m also in zone 7b and struggling with slugs, excess moisture (rain, rain, rain!), and mild temperatures.

This will be my second full growing season with real gardens and I’ve been able to complete a few experiments, and grow some things successfully despite the constraints.

Looks like I’m finally going to commit to staying here, so I’m looking to expand our production with new experiments over the coming years. We do get a good amount of forageable items around here (So many mushrooms), and there is salmon and halibut and cod to be caught right across the road from my property, and so many berries to collect throughout summer and fall (crow, salmon, salal, blueberry, huckleberry, thimble, Wild strawberry, lingonberry). We do alright in that regard, and enjoy making fermented beverages and baking with this surplus through the rest of the year.

Things that grow well, despite slugs and rain:
- arugula
- chives
- kale
- rhubarb
- raspberries
- plum (green gage, Italian plum)
- apple (Frankenstein)
- strawberries
- mint
- lemon balm

Useful green things that grow wild, and fill in the wild areas:
- red alder
- salmon berry
- thimbleberry
- salal
- stink currant
- pearly everlasting
- curly dock
- red huckleberry
- rhododendron (many types)
- miner’s lettuce
- pacific crab apple

Other things that I haven’t found use for yet:
- sedge
- buttercup
- 9,000 types of grass
- western hemlock
- red elderberry

Some things I’m experimenting with:
- carmine jewel cherries (growing and green for past 18 months, but still young)
- hazelnut shrubs (about 2 years old, still young and early to tell but most look happy)
- Saskatoon berry (still young, but some of them are growing very quickly)
- apples from seed
- Greenhouse growing annuals that don’t like being wet all the time (tomatoes, squash, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, carrots)

Some experiments I’m planning:
- growing loads of crabapple starts on which to graft more tasty varieties
- found a pair of old 25 ft tall green plum trees in overgrown field, attempted grafting onto my plum tree, and attempting to root some more of it
- French drains/micro swales on contour to guide water off low points
- capturing runoff into tiered rice garden

What works for you in your 7b? Any nuts or fruits working for you?
4 months ago
Saw your post about dropping money on Google Ads and the return. I dabble in e-commerce and do  a bit of marketing for various projects, and I’ve found (much cheaper) success with many of the lesser, yet more focused advertising networks.
Some specific ideas for you:

- Reddit: Targeting hobbyist, textiles, crafting, DIY, knitting subreddits
- Quora: Targeting questions about spinning, yarn, wool, dyeing textiles, etc.

These two are significantly cheaper than Google and I get great results of the ad is written just right. The targeting on these two networks is solid.
5 months ago
This is incredibly inspiring. You have so much going on for such a Northern Climate - it gives me hope for the future.

Your pink-flowered raspberry looks like a thimbleberry. We get those growing wild around here on the West Coast and they're one of my favourite fresh fruits.
6 months ago
I'm no expert, but I have the same issue, living on extremely heavy soil with a high water table. The yard slopes slightly, and there's an old overgrown "ditch" running down the lowest point, 20' before the gravel platform of the house (which drains nicely).

I've experimented with two different ideas over the past 2 years and I'll outline the experiences below.

1. I cut a 9-12" ditch (about 6-8" wide) running down one side of the hill, slightly on contour, but mostly along the edge of the "wild island" (which is an overgrown patch with old-growth stumps and such, which we kept for the wildlife habitat) as it was more convenient. This helped with drainage along the one side. Ideally, I would have cut a ditch on contour, feeding into the first ditch which runs down the hill. I didn't want to cut the ditch on contour, because this would cut the usable/cleared part of the side yard in half. I support in retrospect I should have added a french drain style ditch so as to not interrupt the usage too much. The main problem with this would be the grass. Grass roots would likely fill the french drain within a year and I'd have to be actively maintaining this ditch. I guess it might be worth it though...

TL;DR: Dig some shallow ditches as on-contour as possible.

2. When removing patches of sedge, and buried trash that the previous tenants buried/left in the yard, I was left with some holes. Some deeper than others. I patched these holes using pebbles and gravel from the beach across the street. A few of these holes happened to be near a low/wet spot in the yard, and once they were filled with gravel, the areas are no longer soggy after the rain!

TL;DR: Dig a pit in the wet spots and fill with gravel/sand/pebbles to enhance the drainage into the soil below.

As I'm writing this out, I'm realizing a combination of the two would suffice. I'm inspired to go work on this now...
6 months ago
A local "café" up here had made fermented nasturtium seed hot-sauce. Sort of like a salsa verde style. It went very well with their sourdough take on an eggs benedict!
6 months ago
We order a lot of our bulk goods from Organic Matters, out of Nelson BC. They’ve been great, but due to the recent pandemic they’ve been off-and-on.

6 months ago