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Mike Lafay

pollinator
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since Aug 13, 2019
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France, 8b zone
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Recent posts by Mike Lafay

The few times I had muscle cramps, I was not eating a lot of veggies. If he's fit and eating a lot of proteins, he should make sure to also eat a lot of veggies. They will gives a lot of good things, not just the magnesium, or iron, or whatever everyone here is suggesting (I'm not implying that magnesium or individual supplement won't work; but vegetables will gives a wide variety of nutrients, which will be more easily available to the body; so instead of trying each nutrient one by one, having a load of them at once might give faster results).

It's not really a medicinal herb in itself, but let food be thy medicine ! If you can solve it at the root, that would be the best. Do he also stretch enough ? When do these cramps happen ?
3 weeks ago
Hello everyone,

As the season reach to an end, and as the ashwagandhas are completing their natural cycle, I have started today the harvest of the fruits. One fruit contain from 16 to 24 seeds... and I have probably a hundred and more fruits in front of me.

The root is the most used in western medicine, and the easiest part to use. Leaves and stem also have some uses, although they are not as popular in the West, same thing for the fruit and the seeds.

But as I'm separating the fruits from their calyces, I have under my way one part of the plant nobody seems to talk about, either on the "classic" internet nor on pubmed. Those calyces, surely they have some interesting properties ? I know that physalis calyces have some medicinal/hallucinogenic properties, what about the ashwagandhas calyces ?

I might try to make a tincture out of them and try it, but honestly I'm not confident enough to just jump in like that. And I have neither the time, neither the equipment nor the knowledge to do a pharmaceutical analysis of thoses calyces. Maybe one day ?

If anyone have information on how to use those calyces, that would be awesome. And that would mean yet another plant that can be used in its entirety.
3 weeks ago
If I can mix some plants that keep some aerial parts and some that lose them in the winter in the same container, that could solve the issue. However, surprisingly, I'm not outside much in the winter on the terrace so it should not be too much of an issue. Do you know any specific purpose pineapple sage has, for humans ? I have to admit that I tend to limit plants that are purely ornamental because of space, although I can still make a few exceptions for some.
1 month ago
I have far too many plants that need to come back inside, it's going to be an issue especially if it's a mini-tree. There are a few where I will try to mulch them a lot, but otherwise it's going to be too complicated.

As for the rosemary, I already have a big one in the ground, so I'd like to try something else.
1 month ago
Kiwi could be a nice one. However I tried to grow some last year, and they didn't grow much into my clayish soil. If you have any recommendation for growing it into containers I'm all ears.

I already have a few jiaogulan growing, but I'm not sure they would make a tall enough hedge. But they could be worth a try, with some trellis.
1 month ago
I think it's one of the problem with the lack of clear categories on the forum; I chose the category bio-intensive for my thread, hence the curious question and specification.

Bio-intensive gardening is a method where you also focus on growing healthy soil. The ratio I mentioned, 60/30/10 mean that basically, you try to grow about 60% of carbon-crop, 30% of calories crop, and the rest is plants that are mainly for the minerals or vitamin, or even other uses.

Carbon crops are those that produce some calories, but which produce a lot of bio-mass that when mature, has a lot of carbon that you can use to make compost for the garden. Wheat is one: correct calories but not a lot, and a LOT of biomass. Calories crops are those that gives the most calories, much more that carbon crops, but they give little to no bio-mass. Potatoes gives a lot of calories compared to wheat, grown in the same space (1 square feet of potatoes gives much more calories in less time than one square feet of wheat). But you get a tiny amount of biomass from potatoes. Then, the other crops, most often referred as vitamin/mineral crops, are things like lettuces, cabbages, carrots... you can't survive on eating those only in term of calories (5kg of carrots would gives you decent calories for a human for one day, but I assume you are not a bunny). However they gives precious vitamins and minerals.

There are some green manure used to avoid empty beds, and anything that can be composted for the nitrogen is of course used. But with the ton of carbon you get from the carbon crops, you actually have enough to make very good compost, with good carbon to nitrogen ratio.

Corn and buckwheat completely fulfill the definition of a carbon crop, as well as wheat, rye, amaranth, quinoa... Tomatos are more in the vitamin/minerals (10%), when they die in autumn there's not that much biomass and it's more nitrogen rich than needed for the carbon part of the compost. As for poplar, well I can't plant tree since I'm renting.


EDIT: An example, I think milk thistle might be interesting (it's not mentioned anywhere in the resources I have on bio-intensive; yet its seeds are medicinal as well as its leaves, and produces huge stem which seems good for composting, so it could serve as a carbon crop.
Hopefully it clarify the original post.. If you have more question I can answer them, although I was the one asking questions at first
1 month ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

Mike Lafay wrote:Wheat will be there for the winter. Honestly I think I'm just going to accept the fact that it takes some work to process. I'll also try a few other winter grains, like barley and rye.



Wheat is easy to harvest, and clean. For an hour's labor, I can feed myself for a week. For a week's labor, I can feed myself for a year. And it's shelf-stable. Western civilization was only possible because people started harvesting wheat by hand.





Do you have some approximate quantity of how much wheat you consume in a week/year ?
Hello permies,

As you can see from the amount of post I'm making this week, I'm spending a bit less time in the garden.

I am planning next year to change how my terrace is organized, and it include having some private space, where there are huge plants blocking the view of part of the terrace, meaning that those plants would need to be 1.5m high ideally, and must fit in a container. Bonus point if their root are not going to dig in the terrace. Having an ashwagandha and a squash ggrow into the terrace was funny, but if I end up with trees in it, I won't laugh. So basically, a privacy hedge, edible (fedge) and/or medicinal (medge). Those terms on a search engine are just not recognized properly unfortunately.

To sum up what I'm looking for:
  • can grow in container
  • is about 1.5m tall
  • have a purpose like being edible, medicinal, entheobotanical
  • optionally have roots that will not go too deep
  • optionally if it can somewhat keep leaves in winter


  • Basically, I have a few ideas. First, having some trellis set up and having climbing plants. The ideas I have, for the climbing plants include:
  • Cucumber - edible
  • Luffas - being autonomous in sponge is one of my life goal
  • Passifolora - for its medicinal properties
  • Goji - for its yumminess/medicinal properties
  • Grape vine - becausshhh wine is shhe best thing eva
  • Akebia Kinata - heard it was nice
  • Schisandra sinensis - for its adaptogen properties


  • I have only some experience with cucumbers,  luffas and goji, so perhaps those plants wouldn't be nice in a container and for the privacy part.

    There are also a few other potential, for a hedge/fedge/medge, which are not climbing, but tall on their own:
  • Mimulus - look nice and seem to be edible
  • Solidago - powerful medicinal
  • Nandina domestica - medicinal
  • Berberis - medicinal
  • Ceanothus americanus - medicinal
  • Camelia Sinensis - seems to attract british people


  • What are your thoughts, experience ? Any other plants that could be nice ? Are there some of my ideas which should be avoided ? The smaller the container can be, the better, although I perfectly understand that a happy plant need a lot of space; some are just less needy in this area.
    1 month ago
    Hello permies,

    Since I will be focusing on biointensive next season, and since I don't have enough surface to be autonomous from my food production and also want to produce medicinal plants, I want to experiment a few things which are not specifically mentioned in the grow bio-intensive resources, as far as I know.

    You need about 60% carbon plant to get enough bio-mass for compost. 30 for calories, and 10 for vitamins, medicinals, etc. I might go toward 50% carbon, at least if it's all grains. However this year I grew milk thistle, and the plants got pretty big, and didn't seem to make a stem too hard for composting (maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not gonna dig up the compost pile yet to find out).

    I want to produce a lot of medicinal plants (in general, not really any specific one), and I am not a huge fan of growing grain yet.

    To sum it up: what plants would make great alternative for carbon production ? Bio-intensive use grains, pseudo-grain, cereals; but are there other interesting plants that could fit a similar purpose ? Ideally they would be annuals. holy thistle seem like a good one; artemisia annua produce a stem that is too woody... If it's not a "classic" grain, it's a valid answer here.
    1 month ago