Jen Fulkerson

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since Jul 09, 2019
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N. California
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Recent posts by Jen Fulkerson

Thank you Teresa Risvold and Joylynn Hardesty.  I had no idea what coppacing and pollarding where, and now I do, so thanks.  I think this is a great solution, not only does it appease your guilt over cutting down a tree, gives you much needed sun light, but I seem to think willow is one of those trees that is almost impossible to get rid of any way.  Several years ago I removed a crape myrtle.  I dug it up roots and all Hahahaha.  For many years I did my best to kill the shoots that sprout up everywhere.  Back then I didn't know any better and even used round-up, and even that didn't do the trick.  Now I just cut it as close to the ground as I can and call it good.  I'm not 100% sure, but it seems to me willows will act the same.  
I know how you feel. I hate to cut down trees.  My son has no such problem, and we have heated discussions on it occasionally.  He cut the old Walnut tree behind my garden when I was at work about 3 or 4 years ago.  I was so mad!  He didn't understand why I was mad, we have more walnut tree's, and that one was mostly dead anyway.  Now instead of a sickly English walnut behind my garden I have a robust black walnut creating a lot of shad in my garden as well.  (you all probably know, but just incase English walnut are graphed onto black walnut because it has a better root stalk.)  It wouldn't surprise me if my son cut it down again, but if he doesn't (probably to avoid the world needs trees lecture)  I will have to give this tree a major hair cut.  You got to do what you got to do.  Good luck to you.  Let there be light.
Last year I planted 4 kinds of loose leaf.  3 were so bitter no one would eat it but the chickens.  1 was ok, but still bitter. I live in N. California zone 9b. Now is the time to grow heat sensitive crops, like peas, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, etc..  I want to plant lettuce again this fall, I will water more in hopes that will help.  I was thinking that different lettuces has different flavors. I thought I would ask my permies friends what kind of lettuce do you enjoy growing and eating?  Thanks, happy gardening.
3 days ago
I keep a garden binder.  I guess it depends on who you are. I enjoy adding to and looking over my garden binder, especially when I can't be in the garden.  I think it's very helpful.  I planted 4 kinds of lettuce.  Only one was eatable and it grew and grew.  Now I can plant that one and try new ones avoiding the lettuce we didn't like.  I use graph paper and draw my garden, and other places I plant.  It isn't perfect, but it's good enough.  One thing I know about myself is I'm not going to remember.  I love variety, so the only way I'm going to keep adding new things is to know what is already there.  I like to ring my trees with wood chips (not touching the tree of course)  You could put a big rock in the wood chips and write with a permanent marker or paint on it.  It wont last for ever, but I wouldn't think it would need to be touched up more then once a year or so.  Good luck.
1 week ago
I started with my first worm bin in May of 2019.  It took for ever to be able to harvest worm castings. (8 or 9 months)  My worms didn't die, they didn't seem to increase in population. I was quite disappointed.  I wasn't sure if I was doing something wrong, or the hype on the internet was misleading.  In end of February beginning of March of 2020 I pulled out 50 worms of different sizes and put them in a very small bucket (maybe 2 gallon size?)  The bedding was made up of shredded cardboard, compost, and some 2 year old wood chips.  I kept it moist and just put a box on top.  The plan was to give the worms to my friend, so I wasn't worried about it not being big enough, or about no holes in the bottom, being too damp, ect. ect.  Covid hit and instead of having the worms in there temp home for a day or two they were in there for a couple of months.  At that point my friend decided not to take the worms.  I bought and set up a second bin.  What I discovered were tons of worms!  I was amazed how many there were.  Some of the answer may be close proximity.  But I noticed the bin was kind of wet in at least 1/2 to 3/4 from the bottom.  I started to rethink and do more research.  What I decided was I was keeping my bedding to dry.  I think the damp sponge is off.  You don't want the worms swimming, but now that I keep my bin more wet, there are a lot more worms and I can harvest the worm castings about ever 3 months.  
For the most part I think you are doing most everything right.  I would take the advise given and not dig around in the bin any more then you have to.  Try a little more water.  I see on the internet people feed there worms every day, but I don't know how they don't have smelly slimy bins.  I feed mine once a week.  That seem to be when they start getting low on food scraps.  I think adding food scraps is relative and just something you have to experiment with until you figure what works for you.  I haven't tried high protein, sound interesting, maybe something to try.  I have read about rice, and in the info I got with my worms from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm said worms love corn meal.  They don't get this stuff often, but I figure a varied diet is good for the worms and probably beneficial to the castings.  I'm going to attach a video I watched that drove home I wasn't using enough water in my bin.  Good luck.
PS If you have to many food scraps for warm, you could always get a couple of chickens.  They eat almost anything and give you egg.  Just a thought.
1 week ago
Thank you both, I will just rinse the leaves off once a week or so.  
I grew up in Everett Washington.  The ash I'm getting here is nothing compared to what we got when My Saint Helens blew.  I was a kid, but remember the thick blanket of ash that covered everything.  
Thanks again, happy gardening.
1 week ago
Thanks Eric.  I was just thinking with the tub I will have a bit more control.  I will keep watering what is in the chips, maybe I will get lucky. Thanks again.
1 week ago
Eric the first batch I got I layered it the way you told me with wood chips, and put wet cardboard on top of some of it.  I made a sort of path around tomato plants.  Not only do I think I didn't keep it moist enough, I wonder if my kids walked on it not remembering I put the mushrooms there.  The new batch I ordered has not arrived yet.  It should be here soon, that is why I'm trying decide what I want to do with it so I will be ready.
1 week ago
I bought wine cap sawdust this spring.  I planted (seeded it, spread it? I don't know what the proper term is but you know what I mean) like it was suggested.  I'm not sure I kept it watered enough.  I didn't want to be to invasive, but in one spot I carefully removed the wood and looked to see if the mycelium was taking over.  There was some, but not much.  I'm not giving up.  But it is so hot and dry during the summer, and I have lots of other things to water, pluse I didn't mark it very well, so I think I know where I put it, but if I'm off a little, then it definitely didn't get enough water. So even though I should not have spent the money I ordered wine cap sawdust again.  It should arrive any day now.  I was thinking about buying a bin, (I will probably dig a hole and put the bin in the ground with just the top rim sticking out, so it doesn't dry out so fast.) putting holes in the bottom.  Filling it half way with a mixture of compost, wood chips, straw, and shredded card board.  then adding the spawn, then wood chips then spawn then straw, then more wood, straw cardboard on top.  I was thinking I would put this black screen material on top.  It will let air and water through, but give it some shade.  My thinking is this way I will know where it is and it will be easy to keep moist.  Hopefully in a year or so the tub will be tons to mycelium, and I can remove 1/2.  Place it in places I hope to be able to grow mushrooms.  With the second 1/2 I would repeat the same process as I started with.  If this works I should be able to have lots of wine cap mushrooms in the future, and maybe even be able to share with my family and friends.  What do you think?  Will it work?  Would you do something different?  I'm looking forward to your wisdom.  Thanks
1 week ago
I am one of the lucky people in California.  The fires are close enough to make breathing difficult and it looks like it is snowing ash, but my family and home are safe, so I'm not complaining, a lot of people have it much worse.  I haven't been spending much time outside, but today I had to water my garden.  In the evening I sprayed the ash off of the plants.  It's not tons of ash, but there is a light dusting on everything.  I know some people use ash in there garden, I never have, it always seemed a bit risky to me.  Do I need to do anything to counter act the ash?  I can't afford to have my soil tested, so I don't know what the ph is. I'm looking forward to your thoughts.  If you are a person in the fire zone, know my thoughts and best wishes are with you.   Thanks
Sam I didn't answer your post when I first noticed it hoping someone more knowledgeable would answer you. At this point I hate to leave you hanging, so I will give it my best shot.  I am so sorry you are having this problem!  It is so much work to build a hugelkultur, I hate the thought of having to rip it apart and start over.  The good news is even though every part of the plant is poisonous it doesn't make the soil toxic.  It is still safe to eat fruits and veggies grown in your hugel, just make sure you wash it first.  It doesn't sound like oleander root that easy, you have just some how created the right conditions. As far as I can see you have three main options.  1. Take the hugel apart, and rebuilt minus oleander.  2. Let the oleander grow and ether keep cutting it off at ground level, or pull it out. (I personally don't know how persistent it is.  I have a crap myrtle I removed roots and all ha ha to expand my rose garden.  I have been battling that for years. Before I stopped using round-up I even put that on it several time, I still have to cut, pull, and dig that stupid crape myrtle all summer long.)  3. Do nothing and hope you get a heavy frost that kills the oleander before it grows into something.  I am lazy and always have more to do than time, so for me I would wait and see what happens. If the oleander grows in to little saplings, I would try to pull it out, and if that didn't work, I would cut it at ground level.  I read if you keep cutting the saplings eventually the root looses vigor and dies.  I'm so sorry there is really no good answer.  I still hope someone with first hand knowledge will answer this post for you.  Good luck to you Sam.  Keep us posted and let us know what you decide to do and how it works out for you.  
3 weeks ago