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Patrick Humphrey

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since Dec 07, 2019
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Recent posts by Patrick Humphrey

Jan White wrote:This is tough. I lived surrounded by cherry orchards for a few years. My dog got an autoimmune disease and almost died. I had to send him to live with my parents until we could get out of there. Every time he came back, it flared back up.

Cherries get sprayed a lot, too. But sometimes what they were spraying was fertilizer or something pretty innocuous. The orchard where I was would send emails out to surrounding properties telling you what they were spraying and when, so you could make sure your windows were closed that day or whatever. Maybe there's something like that you could access, too.

Seeing how sick my dog got was pretty telling. Even though my other dog and my husband and I were fine, there was obviously very bad stuff in the environment that we were being exposed to every day. I couldn't wait to move.

Sorry for the double post. I am sorry to hear about your dog. I hope he is doing much better, im glad you got him and your family out of there. We already had two outdoor pasture guinea pigs die and the vet suspected pesticide poisoning. :(

The farmers here seem like they could care less to notify anyone. They spray in the middle of the day when cars are driving by 10ft from their spraying. We've had to run inside many times just to avoid it.
There are schools in the area that directly border the groves and they will spray in the middle of the day while the kids are in school.

The only recourse we have found is a possible fine which is under $100 and is a huge bureaucratic mess just to make a complaint.

5 months ago
Thank you everyone for all the replies and ideas. My gut has been telling me we need to move no matter what and its good to hear some other people say the same thing. Makes me feel less crazy about taking it so seriously. Most friends and family just seem to blow it off as not a big deal.
5 months ago
My family lives near thousands and thousands of acres of citrus trees (mainly oranges) in Florida.

When we found this house we didn't realize how bad the spraying of pesticides would be. During peak season (September - May) the plot across from us sprays two, three, sometimes four days a week.
That's just one plot across from us that we can hear and see spraying. Not to mention the other ten thousand acres behind him.

Looking into pesticide drift and the different kinds used on different crops, it seems like citrus is one of the worst crops to be near. A pesticide that causes brain damage that was previously banned has recently been unbanned. I am worried for my family, particularly my 1 year old son. Even our well water has to have a special filter by law to filter out previously used toxic chemicals that have leached into the soil and water table.

We don't have many resources to just get up and move to a new spot quickly. We love our home, but I feel like we are being forced to leave due to the unsafe conditions.

If anyone has any ideas or recommendations I would greatly appreciate reading them. Thanks for the help
5 months ago

Eric Nar wrote:I'm in the arid desert and want to store water with earthworks. The soil is sandy and dry, so I wanted to sheet mulch to build soil.
I was wondering, even though sheet mulching is so you dont have to dig, I was thinking that sheet mulching would work to store (absorb) water like basins and build soil at the same time.
Is it worth it to dig a foot or two for a sunken sheet mulched bed?

Also for sheet mulching, cardboard-manure-straw..that works?  can I use alfalfa hay instead of strawbales? I have free access to manure, but not straw


Im in Florida were the soil is very similar, sandy as heck with no organic matter.

For mulching I would definitely recommend woodchips. That's what many people do around here and it helps the soil a lot. The finer particles sift down into the soil and the larger pieces break down on top and help with water retention. Woodchips/mulching are free around here too you just have to go pick it up

Also check out this thread about sheet mulching

1 year ago
I wonder if it would be possible to keep a tree in the same pot for years and just prune it so it doesn't grow much?

We were thinking about trying it next year but also worried it would make a huge mess.

or just plant it outdoors and have a true permaculture Christmas

Has anyone ever tried this before? Do you still have the tree?
1 year ago

Rufus Laggren wrote:Thanks for  the idea, Patrick.

That sounds real workable. Might help my sister considerably. <g>


No problem! Let me know if you have any questions about it and I will try to help out.
1 year ago
I live in Florida which seems to have a similar climate to where you are at. Very hot, humid and harsh to grow in. Its hard and always a challenge. What we have to do here in Florida is grow in the winter season.

If you are in an area that doesnt get snow or very hard freeze you can practically grow anything during the winter. Our season here in from around August/September to June and we stop growing in the summer because it is too hot and there are too many bugs.

We do have to water almost every single day when it is hot. But when the weather cools down we can get away with water every few days. Our soil is extremely sandy and holds no moisture, so your clay might be better in this situation.

We use drip irrigation for our tomatoes and cucumbers but overhead for all our greens, root crops etc because it really helps to cool them down. Watering in the middle of a hot sunny day helps to get the heat off of the plants and lets them reset.

1 year ago

Barb Allen wrote:

Patrick Humphrey wrote:I live in Florida where its hot as heck and we have some red russian kale that is still going. The stalk is super high but it is still creating leaves at the top. Ive never had any go to flower yet surprisingly.  I need to clear it out but i dont want to get rid of it LOL

Hi Patrick, I have had great success MOVING Kale plants (even in late August!) - at almost any time in their life! So you might try moving your red russian somewhere where it can just keep going and not be in the way.  You might also try cutting some back to 6 or 8" and seeing if they will resprout a top. Most kinds that I grow do this very well.

And - I forget who asked about it continuing on after flowering -- My experience has been good with this as well!  I have even let really special plants go to seed, collected the seed, and cut off the seed stalks and had them just continue on.  I find kale one of the toughest most useful long producing plants in my garden. I get the wonderful flower sprouts to eat in spring - and always let some flower for the bees - and harvest leaves for me and the chickens all year round!  If one of the plants gets aphids at the top around the new leaves (a common phenomena), I just break the whole top off and give it to the chickens - who love the aphids as well as the kale!   I have plants that are going on 5 yrs. old...  If you break the tops off they will branch out instead of making a tall skinny plant. They you have short bushy plants with many more leaves and tasty bud heads in the spring.  A great plant to experiment with!

Thats a great idea! transplanting it to another area makes sense. I am attached to this kale now because its been here so long, would hate to just throw it away to the chickens. LOL Maybe i should try to break the top off? The bottom is so bare and almost callus so I am worried that would prevent it from sprouting new leaves near the bottom. Thanks for the reply - Patrick

Rufus Laggren wrote:Is the twine staked at the bottom?

Did those tomatoes just crawl up the twine by themselves or did they need lots of guidance?


I just tied the twine around the main stem and use the leaves and branches to catch it and create friction. Works pretty well for how easy it is.
They do need guidance and a little pruning to get going. Its simple to wrap the twine around the stalk really quick every week. We prune near the bottom and let the top branches just flop out. It gets messy but its just for fun and we are overrun with tomatoes right now. The bad thing about that cheap twine is that is doesnt last long and sometimes breaks or rots too early.
Thanks for checking it out
1 year ago
I can vouch for this. I live in Florida where its hot as heck and we have some red russian kale that is still going. The stalk is super high but it is still creating leaves at the top. Ive never had any go to flower yet surprisingly.  I need to clear it out but i dont want to get rid of it LOL