Myron Platte

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since Jan 28, 2020
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kids hugelkultur purity forest garden foraging trees chicken earthworks medical herbs rocket stoves homestead
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Recent posts by Myron Platte

    I took too many pictures, here are some more of them. One of them is a pic of my primary fertilizer regime of a brew of weeds from the bed, along with the only tool I use to interact with the bed: a small, home-forged rice knife. (My brother made the knife. I put the handle on it)

    To use the fertilizer, I pour half the liquid in the jar into the near-full watering can, then refill the jar from the watering can. Then I empty the watering can onto the hugelbeet. Occasionally, I add some more weeds to it. The idea is that I’m breeding anaerobes that eat all those nutrients in the weeds, and then I’m introducing the anaerobes into an aerobic environment, where they die, and the aerobes  scarf up those easily available nutrients.

    I use the mini rice knife as a kind of hoe, to disturb an area and make a seed bed, or to chop and drop groundcover, or to harvest stuff, if I need to do it especially delicately.
3 days ago
Jay, This is Russia. If anyone keeps ducks, the go-to is Muscovies, anyway. Don’t worry, they’ll get in there, somehow. But in this case, I just need to give my friend a slug solution. A bit of a gateway drug, ya’ know? He’s already a gardener, but hasn’t learned to look at things through a permaculture lens, yet.
3 days ago
    I built this hugelbeet in the fall of 2020. I wanted to list a bunch of cool stuff about it. Last year, as expected, it kinda never got off the ground, although I did incorporate some kitchen scraps and what not into it, to provide the needed nitrogen boost.

    In back of the garden bed itself, I dug an in-ground worm farm. Basically, I put some cow manure and quite a lot of kitchen scraps in a pit, and threw in some red worms that had been eating the cow manure, hoping they were compost worms. Turns out, they were. They stuck around until now, and continue to eat stuff I throw into that pit.

    I presume that earthworms have been dipping into the compost worm castings and spreading those nutrients further in their own castings, because I haven’t had to harvest castings once.

    Last year, I transplanted dead nettle into the garden bed, without being sure what they were, but knowing that they were edible, because they have square stems and opposite leaves. Now, along with Bishop’s weed, another wonderful wild edible, it is the primary soil stabilizer for this garden bed.

    I planted some lupine seeds last year, and they are really getting going this year. Some clover is gaining a foothold, as well. I’m using these perennials as a framework within which I can basically do a kind of square foot (more like square decimeter) gardening.

    This year the onion starts (for greens) are really taking off. Really, everything that I planted is doing great so far. Brassicas, lettuce, beets etc. Most things, I plant and then forget about, so when they come up, it’s a pleasant surprise. Last fall, I let a huge lambsquarter plant go to seed and did some seed spreading myself, so I have lambsquarter coming up everywhere. I actually removed some of it, to replace it with kale and other greens. Sunflowers are sprouting all over the backslopes, towards the apple tree under whose dripline the hugelbeet is situated, and the comfrey I planted is just exploding.

    We found a vacated mouse hole in the side of the hugelbeet. I know it is vacated, because it was pointed out to me by my brother, who saw a bumblebee flying into it. So now there’s a bumblebee colony in my garden, thanks to not tilling, attracting rodents, and keeping active mouse-killers (cats)! How awesome is that?

    Burdock is another welcome weed I have. It’s pretty much analogous to carrots, as a biennial root crop.
3 days ago

Jay Angler wrote:

Andrew Mayflower wrote:If you want a duck that will provide lean meat, and go broody at the drop of a feather for any eggs (so chicken, turkey, etc eggs are as good as ducks to them) Muscovy ducks may be your ticket.  They're the only domestic duck not descended from Mallards.  They're originally a native, wild South American breed, IIRC.



Yes, but most of my Muscovy turn their bills up at slugs. My Khakies hoover them up and look at me as if to say, "What - that's all?" and that includes the huge slugs that grow here on the Wet Coast - not just those wimpy little grey ones. Ducks also tend to be more garden compatible than chickens, who I agree, are generally not keen on slugs.

Being raised by real mom's in the great outdoors is a help, and I've been told that Golden 300's aren't keen slug eaters, but if you put ex-factory farm birds out for an hour or two so they start to get hungry and then show up with a container of slugs and start tossing them to the ducks, that may help them figure it out. Make *sure* they've got lots of water handy the first time, as they may need it to help until they figure out the technique. Our slugs seem to have a "reaction" to danger which is to produce a bunch of extra slime. My ducks seem to figure that out and realize the way to go is with a quick grab and swallow!

So in terms of slug control, khakies are probably my best bet.

I know how awesome Muscovies are, but I need specifically a slug solution.
4 days ago

Laurel Jones wrote:My ducks never really developed a taste for slugs, but perhaps that's because they didn't have access to them as ducklings.I've heard this is abnormal however, but figured it was worth the mention in case the ducks you end up with don't go for them.  



So my question for you, Laurel, is: what duck breed do you have? Have you tried teaching them how delicious slugs are?
4 days ago
Thanks, guys! That’s what I wanted to know. Although I’m hoping I can find out what breed of ducks that is, G Fredan.
4 days ago
I have a friend who has a slug problem. The six-inch-long omnivorous cannibalistic Spanish slugs with loads of slime, that only live one year, but lay hundreds of eggs. He’s given up. He thinks the slugs are inedible to animals because of the slime. He’s wrong, of course. Hedgehogs apparently do eat them, and I just saw someone on this forum say that ducks will eat them. My question for you is this: will ducks eat them with prejudice, and really hurt the population? Or will geese be better, or do I need another animal? What animal simply can’t get enough of giant slugs?

To be fair, they aren’t giant in the spring. This is a big plus. The slugs are really tiny when they come out. So if we can hit the population hard in the spring, that will do just fine, as well.
4 days ago
I don’t know that very high calcium is necessarily a problem. I can’t imagine be as bad as low calcium. In your case, I would plant lots of things that uptake calcium, and lots of things that attract birds. Tomatoes really want calcium. I know of an anecdote about a volunteer tomato plant that was growing out of a crack in a dolomite driveway, and it gave the best harvest of the best tomatoes. Sunflowers are a great example of a bird attractor. The birds flying in will carry phosphorus with them.

    I wouldn’t focus of the calcium levels as a problem, if I were you. You have a limestone substrate, so they will be high whether you like it or not. You primarily need to improve your nitrogen, phosphate and organic matter levels. High-biomass nitrogen fixers that attract bugs and birds and like your soil pH are the name of the game. Coppice or pollard. That will get your soil built up.

If you wanted to plant something that prefers acidity, you could find a couple species of conifer that both acidify the soil and tolerate your current pH.
3 weeks ago
My parents discovered they loved gardening when I was three years old. They moved several states over when I was five, to try to make a farming business out of it, on rented land. (All organic. Mama and Papa were especially into nutrient dense farming.) We had some success, so we bought land with a house, and tried to extend it right out. At the most critical time, we were hit by a drought, and the CSA we had going basically failed. We tried a few other things, but we had lost a lot of money on that CSA operation, and we were cautious about going back into the market. We planted a bunch of fruit trees in the front yard.

Then, Papa up and decided to take Geoff Lawton’s online PDC. He had heard the word permaculture flying around somewhere, and just got interested enough to do it. I sat in with him for the whole thing. I was fascinated. The earthworks part especially interested me. It reminded me of the games I would play with my six siblings on the driveway with a garden hose and sticks and dirt and bits of sod. That sank in over the rest of my childhood, helping to dig swales, grow onions and potatoes and sheep and chickens and planting black locusts and going into the field at 4 in the morning to help Papa survey. Life in America got really stifling, so we moved to Russia in October of 2019. Around this time permaculture just became really, really important to me. I had always had a kind of instinctive disgust for pollution and waste, and for utter dependency on the system which really hates us in it’s heart of hearts, and permaculture gave me something I could do about that. I watched the PDC videos all over, from the DVD’s Papa had, then designed a friends’ property and Papa certified me, on the day before my eighteenth birthday. I have been guerrilla gardening since then, and also just plain old gardening. But I really want to become a professional designer. Only now this opportunity is presenting itself in a big way. But don’t count your chickens before they hatch! I’ll let you know if/when it works out.

Permaculture has given me a direction for my burning love for nature, and my burning anger and disgust for senseless destruction. Not to mention my romantic idealism and dreams of a life never broken by the anti-human system.
3 weeks ago
Thistles generally indicate copper and iron are unavailable. This may be from pH.
4 weeks ago