L. Johnson

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since Nov 26, 2020
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hugelkultur kids forest garden trees cooking woodworking
I'm worried about the future of humanity on Earth and that has led me to views aligned with many of the permaculture principles.
I live and work in rural Japan and do my best to live a responsible life.
Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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Recent posts by L. Johnson

Well, first hand I have seen a few buildings and structures with these boards. I can't say how old they are, but they certainly don't weather the same way as raw wood does. Japanese builders use a lot of raw cedar, permies would be happy. It ages and discolors pretty quickly, even if it lasts a long time. The burnt stuff doesn't change...

I don't see charred cedar a whole lot, probably because it's time consuming, energy intensive, and most buildings are made around here with the intention of being rebuilt in 15-20 years anyway.
2 days ago
In any case, please document your results. I know for myself I'm considering some minor outdoor structures using non-treated wood, and have a hard time finding documented results. Lots of "I'm going to do this..." and then maybe enough time hasn't elapsed to post results, or perhaps they worked so perfectly they forgot to post about it.

Would also love to know what kind of soil you're going to put them in, how deep, in a gravel bed or pure dirt, how much rainfall you get, etc...

If you have the time and space of mind to post it all of course (I know I have a hard time with that level of documentation)

Cheers and good luck with your fencing!
3 days ago
I've been experimenting with using arched garden supports from one raised bed's edge to another, and then tying jute string to make a net between them. It's working well for my cucumbers, and creates an arch over my pathways, saving space in the garden bed itself. It's not working as well for my kabocha, they don't seem to like to climb so much, more of a sprawling species.

I really like the arch idea for whatever possible though, it makes finding the harvest ready products much easier.

Sorry, I don't have any pics right now, I haven't been able to get out into my garden much these past few weeks.
Same as Skandi, I've had peas germinate while still in the pod on the vine. So I'd venture a guess as to yes as long as they are mature enough.
Ah, on another note there are some cool things happening within this field around me:

Our library has a "Book Repair Day". You can bring one book and they will repair it, cover it, and finish it as they would a library book.

A museum in a city near by has a "Toy Doctor" event that happens every now and then, you can bring a toy and if it is repairable and parts can be found they will repair one toy for you on the day.

Seeding these ideas, or publicizing them especially through libraries, museums and other public facilities can definitely spread the culture.

Rental workshops, Maker labs, robotics classrooms, and other technology oriented spaces would also be a great place to host similar events. The more makers and repairers and tinkerers get people excited, the more people will get on the bandwagon.
1 week ago
I try to be a driver of repair culture... but it is hard, and disheartening. Even reasonably priced goods these days are largely built out of plastic.

We have a little globe that lights up in the dark and shows constellations. Part of the plastic in the base snapped. I was sure it was finished, but after taking it apart and finding some hardware small enough I managed to get it together again.

What I learned from fixing it is: Things are made with marketability as the foremost priority. That means cheap and good looking. That means plastic and weak.

I think when we go to buy things with longevity in mind, our priority needs to be look at the materials used and see if you can find the screws holding it together.

Even type of plastic matters a lot. Some plastics will adhere readily to glues and epoxies, and some just melt or will not.

Another thing I've learned is that people get put off from repairs when their repairs fail. And they often fail because they used cheap repair materials - inappropriate glues, tapes, and hardware. Learning about materials is core to all of this.
1 week ago
Chayote vines are very productive. I got over 50 squashes from these last year.
2 weeks ago
I'm just now realizing how many vegetables around me are perennial.

Some are popular elsewhere like #1 and 2

1. 菊芋 (Kikuimo / Sunchokes / Jerusalem Artichokes)
2. Asparagus
3. Watercress
4. 明日葉 (Ashitaba)
5. つるむらさき (Malabar Spinach)
6. 長芋 and 山芋 (Nagaimo and Yamaimo or Chinese and Japanese yams respectively)
7. ハヤトウリ (Chayote / Merlion)

To boot, I actually like all of those, though I haven't tried ashitaba yet.

I am going to let a few of the vines I suspect may be yamaimo vines actually grow this year and see if they produce edible bulbils called むかご (mukago) here. If they do that's yet another plant that I thought was a weed that I was wasting my time cutting.

I've also heard that leaving garlic in the ground essentially turns it into a perennial, so I'm in the trial phase of that.

I need to plant #1, 2, 4, and 5.

Combine those with a variety of fruit trees and that's a pretty solid low-maintenance perennial food garden.

People talk about perennial kale, spinach, and walking onions too... but I don't hear many people planting those around here, so we'll get to them in later experiments...

2 weeks ago
I only have one grape vine in my garden, and I just re-discovered it climbing a tree after I thought it had died from typhoon damage a couple years ago. I trained it up my car shade this year and it produced a lot of grapes but I seem to be losing about 10-20% to black rot. I was surprised because that must mean the fungus is already present...

So you just pick em off, huh... I'll try that.
2 weeks ago
Do you have any problems with black rot?
2 weeks ago