Paul Eusey

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since Mar 28, 2021
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Recent posts by Paul Eusey

John F Dean wrote:Hi Carla,

While I hate sticky boards, when the mouse problem gets bad, I do use them.  I make a point of checking the sticky boards a minimum of 4x a day.  This has been an especially bad winter for mice on my property.  I have 3 cats that have been Largely indoors for the winter.  All 3 are mousers.  The problem is they will not get on counter tops and shelves ....their rules, not mine.  Of course, this provides a significant cat free zone.

Dogs and snakes John… Dogs are way better at catching rodents and it’s fairly easy to train them to do it. A toy mouse and a bag of treats tends to do it. I never understood dachshunds until I saw them take out ground squirrels in a friend’s almond and walnut orchards. They were also bred to hunt and take out badgers… They are impressive little hunters and one of the top breeds for killing rodents. Granted, Rat Terriers would be better at jumping up on the counters to catch rodents (and catching rodents is how they got the name).

How do you feel about snakes John? I’m a big fan of king snakes (and garter snakes, but they are for slug problems). King snakes are not venomous but they eat other venomous snakes (including rattle snakes), and they eat rodents too. They are fairly pricey if you get them through a pet store, but they live just about everywhere. You might be able to offer to buy them from local kids, or you can dig a couple heated burrows for the winter to attract any and all snakes in your area, and if you have local king snakes, they might show up. Predators like that will match your local rodent population within a few years and eliminate them.

The dogs are a sure bet and way better than cats. The snakes can follow the rodents into places where the dogs, cats, and chickens can’t go.
2 years ago

Burra Maluca wrote:

Paul Eusey wrote: Any named varietal of fruit anyone has ever eaten came from a cloned tree (not from seed).

Pretty sure that no-one would have bothered cloning or naming a fruit variety if they hadn't eaten a good fruit off a tree grown from seed.  They all started somewhere!

Yes, that is exactly right…

Which is why I wrote the following on that same post you quoted…

Paul Eusey wrote:

I like growing fruit trees from seeds because I have no idea what the fruit is going to be. Most of the time, the fruit isn’t as good as the named varietal fruit it came from, but its fun and interesting regardless. There is a very slight chance to get something brand new, that becomes the next great varietal. If that happens, then I will share with the world via grafting/cuttings/scions/ layering. And that is a fun idea because then I get to name it.


2 years ago

Kim Goodwin wrote:

They even talk about turning your fig into a multi-variety fig through grafting! I'd never thought of that.

Multi grafted trees were all the rage a few decades ago but have been waning in popularity. The problem is that one of the varietals usually ends up dominating the tree and affects the flavors and characteristics of the other grafts. On a fig, that might not matter as much, but on other types such as citrus or apple or even stone fruits it makes a big difference. (Sometimes certain rootstocks don’t play nice (in a similar fashion) with the grafted tree, which is part of the reason why certain named rootstocks are far more popular than others, they play nice and are much easier to be successful with).

Syracuse University Professor Sam Van Aken grafted 40 varietals of stone fruits onto a single tree (he was scrambling to save a couple old orchards before they tore the trees out and just needed to preserve the genetics so the varietals didn’t die out). His story got quite a bit of publicity, but it is very easy to duplicate. Most home store and nurseries only sell multi grated trees with 3 to 5 varietals, (although I haven’t seen the 5’s in a while, I have only seen the 3 varietal grafted trees in the past few years).

Here is a link to a story and video about Sam and his 40 varietal tree.

2 years ago

M Johnson wrote:I have an orchard with lots of varieties and types, with various ages of trees that I have planted over the past 5-6 years.

This year the bees made it over the winter, no late freeze came, and the trees are hitting a good age to produce.

And man are they packed!   Now I have to think about thinning for bigger fruit I think?

Any suggestions?  Does it depend on the type of fruit?


All fruit types, thin excess tree loads as early as you possibly can. Thin first for limb health because loosing limbs is costly. Some people add braces under overburdened limbs, but I don’t like that unless I am working with a very old tree that just needs a little help with a normal load.

Once you get everything thinned for limb health, then look at thinning for size. Trees that are packed, often cannot grow their fruit very large. This is where you need to get to know your trees better. Don’t be afraid to thin as they grow if you were too conservative on your original thinning. Loosing some fruit to save a good limb is well worth it, but getting the excess fruits off sooner is always better for everything, size, flavor, and tree health.

Shortly after blossoms drop, when you just start to see the fruit load is the best time to do an initial thinning, then check back in a couple weeks to make sure you didn’t miss too many on your first pass.

If you have a tree that continues to flower (like a pomegranate), then once you have a decent load you like on the tree, deadhead it until harvest. That will give you nice large pomegranates that are 2 to 3 times larger than any tree you didn’t manage. (It’s a huge difference, pun intended).

Good Luck!
2 years ago

Jenny Ives wrote:I would like to cultivate a hedgerow along my fence line. Think it would be a fabulous way of inroducing bioduvesrsitt. Habitat for critters and birds; wind screen; privacy screen.  

Currently only a diamond mesh fence between us and our neighbour.

It will have Walnut in it for the pesticide potentially coming from next door.

What else could I plant?

Zone 10
Mediterranean climate

Looking forward to reading your suggestions.  

Hey Jenny,

I’d like to help you out but I would need a ton more info before so could even begin to make any real recommendations. What, where, when, why, and how… Soil type? Irrigation? Formal or informal? What is it that you actually want from the hedge? Height, width, edible, floral (if so, when do you want it to bloom and do you have a preferred flower color), evergreen, preferred foliage color, etc. what do you consider to be a hedge? What is the sun orientation? You mentioned walnuts, which would need methodical pruning in order to allow anything to grow under them. Are there walnuts there already or are you going to plant them and grow them along with the hedgerow? Are you looking to attract pheasant?/other game birds? etc. Do you have a picture of the look you are hoping to achieve. Some plants can quickly destroy a chain link fence, is that a concern? Is it a shared fence with a neighbor or do you own the entire fence? Do you want the hedgerow set back from the fence so your neighbor doesn’t have to trim it or will you be trimming all sides of it? There are so many unknowns that I could recommend thousands of plants, bushes, trees that you probably wouldn’t want or wouldn’t work. Arborvitae, boxwood, Red-Tipped Photinia, Forsythia, Weigela, these are more traditional suburban choices. Hazelnut or pineapple guava (Feijoa), are good edible choices for some areas. Do you prefer local native plants? Etc. You can go as crazy as you want if you are prepared to do the work, but if you are looking for easy maintenance then you have to listen to the land and give it an acceptable choice. So… Just some things to think about.

Good Luck!

2 years ago
This post is over 2 years old…

Also, had a buddy do so all sorts of experimenting with aircrete and while it is a fairly interesting material (I helped him with a fair amount of the testing), it’s extremely weak and fragile. He tried all sorts of add ins to reinforce it, but it was all very weak and sustained damage very easily. We checked for compressive as well as shear strength and it was fairly pathetic. Not sure how much structural integrity and durability a layer of stucco might add, but I might lean more towards the earth bag beehive designs, Cobb, etc. Portland cement is not a green material anyway, so I think we can do better with the alternatives…

Here is a YouTube video I found from a guy on Vancouver Island, BC where he did some similar experiments in making aircrete planter boxes. His channel is called man about tools and he has several videos on aircrete and films himself doing some basic DIY stress testing of the aircrete. So his findings mirrored what I found.

Good luck!

2 years ago
I’m confused… I’ve had outdoor kitchens for decades. I cook in my outdoor kitchen year round. Anything that would normally stink up the house is cooked in my outdoor kitchen, (bacon, fish, etc). It’s extra cooking areas for holiday gatherings, and it doesn’t heat the house in the summer. I have multiple grills, smokers, rotisserie’s, a convection oven (for summer time pies and baking). Fire pit, wood fired oven, etc.

It’s a covered and screened area so I can use it in foul weather and not worry about mosquitoes and flies in the summer.

So here is where I am confused… Why the excavation? I suspect there is a reason for something I missed. It seems like an area that would flood with water in a rainstorm and unnecessary (hence my confusion).

2 years ago

Taylor Shaw wrote:Hello everyone. I have been having some ordeals in the compost department. I received a delivery of compost and it reeks of ammonia. I emailed the company told them the deal and they said, oh no problem go ahead and plant, it will be fine. I read that the ammonia smell is coming from putting too much green material into the pile. If someone could break down the science behind green material vs brown and how that makes/prevents/balances levels of ammonia. Also, what do you think, will the seeds I planted germinate?  

Sounds like non organic compost in which they might have added some chem fertilizers like ammonium nitrate or urea. Finished compost should smell like sweet earth with zero foul odors, which is one of the ways to know it’s ready to use. I don’t trust anything that comes from people I don’t know. I have composted a lot of animal bedding materials that were well inoculated with manure and urine and never once had my compost piles smell bad. Manure from animals recently wormed will kill earth worms. Compost, straw, or hay treated with glyphosate can destroy a garden. It’s stories like this that reinforce my desire to make all my own compost and source materials only from those I trust completely. I wouldn’t use that compost, but then again, I would have never bought it, so it’s a very biased opinion (a bias I prefer to have). What you choose to do is entirely up to you. If they added something like a chem fertilizer, that they thought was a good idea, I would think they would have said so when you contacted them about the ammonia smell.

Good luck!
2 years ago