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Jake Esselstyn

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since Apr 21, 2020
South Louisiana, 9A
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Recent posts by Jake Esselstyn

Thanks for the suggestions. Owen Wormser's book answered all my questions.
2 months ago

Amy Gardener wrote:
How about including this thread in the goats forum?

That's fine with me if they might be useful somehow. I can see them being useful in converting brush or forest to meadow, but I can't picture them helping to convert lawn. That said, I've no experience raising goats.

Thanks for the 5 acres and a dream rec! I'll check it out.
3 months ago
Thanks for the recommendation, Rachel! I'll check this out soon. I had overlooked this book before, thinking it was more of an argument for converting lawns to meadows. Now, I see that it's a how-to manual, which is what I need. I just hope it has some application to larger-scale conversions. I've done some small-scale conversion in my current suburban yard, but can't imagine using that kind of labor-intensive approach at the scale of a couple acres.
3 months ago
We've been thinking about moving out of the city to have more garden space and the opportunity to raise some small animals for eggs, meat, and manure for the garden. After spending a fair amount of time browsing potential properties online, it seems that many of our options involve a house surrounded by a large lawn covering 2-4 acres. It's warm and wet here so grass grows nearly year round; I have no interest in maintaining large lawns. Rather, I'm imagining converting one of these into a mix of garden beds and fruit trees with meadow under and around the trees and in any areas we'd not be using intensively.

My questions:
1. How to convert lawn to meadow at this scale? Can I just stop mowing and hope for the best? I assume I'd need to take a more hands-on approach, but I'm hoping to minimize inputs of time and money. I would prefer a process that doesn't take years, but I recognize that may be incompatible with my low-input wish.
2. What kind of equipment is needed to mow a meadow annually? Would I need to mow more than annually to keep woody vegetation out?
3. There are probably some good books that cover this topic. What can you recommend?

Thanks in advance for your help!
3 months ago
Thank you all for your input. I went to the expensive grocer and bought some organic potatoes. They're in the pantry, getting dosed with ethylene. I will not worry about disease until it is a problem.
A couple years ago I planted a native honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) on a trellis and a couple salvias and hyssops underneath. The hummers love the honeyscuckle and salvia, both of which have long bloom seasons here. They mostly ignored the hyssops. But alas, the honeysuckle seems to be sucking up all the nutrients out of the soil. The salvias are now struggling and the hyssops are dead. I need to find some good hummingbird forage plants that can tolerate a little shade and can compete with honeysuckle roots. Maybe the native scarlet sage would do better than the hybrid salvias I planted.
8 months ago
Thanks Douglas. I was a bit worried about disease, but have considered throwing caution to the wind. If it's likely already in the soil, then that would simplify things greatly.
I live in the mild Southeastern U.S. and should be able to grow potatoes in the fall. But I can only find seed potatoes in the early spring. Does anyone know of a source?

Grow Organic (https://www.groworganic.com/collections/fall-potatoes) sells them, but they won't ship to the east during the fall. Amazon seems to have them, but they're $13/lb.
Insect populations have been plummeting for years. Birds need to eat.
8 months ago