ryan112ryan McCoy

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since Aug 23, 2010
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Recent posts by ryan112ryan McCoy

I found it worked a lot better when i right clicked on the button and did save as. Downloaded no problem
12 years ago
Last January I decided to try out some Jerusalem Artichokes in the garden, I planted them in the spring and just harvested them this past week.  All I can say is wow!

Jerusalem Artichokes are the ginger looking tubers, lower left bucket

I planted them about 3 feet apart in some rows of mine and just left them there.  A few weeks later I had these potato looking plants, which then shot up to 10 foot tall semi-wood stalks.  Then they stayed there, all season long.  The flowers bloomed and then the plant died a few weeks later.  I literally didn't have to do anything all season except drop a drip tape and mulched over it.   I came back, lopped off the stalks with a machete (which will be great for nitrogen in composting) and dug out the plants. 

Most of the Jerusalem Artichokes stuck to the root ball.  I shook off as much dirt as I could and then laid them out and power washed the root balls so that there was just the Jerusalem Artichokes and roots left.  It was easy picking from there.  I had a group of Foodies that really wanted them and was able to sell them at a pretty penny and keep some for me.  I love these things, I can't wait to grow more!

Questions for folks who have grown these before.  I have one plant still in the ground (dead) and I wanted to use most of the tubers to replant for next year. 

  • [li]Do I need to do anything for next year to make sure they are viable? [/li]
    [li]Do they need to be a certain size to sprout?  [/li]
    [li]Should I dig them up now for next year or leave them in the ground and just pull them out when I am ready to plant the row?[/li]

  • 12 years ago
    I love meetup.com it is such a great way to meet people who share the same interests.  I run two groups here in Charlotte, NC.

    Charlotte Gardeners and Permaculturalists

    Charlotte Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Living

    12 years ago
    I think I need to reiterate two things: time frame and creation of matter.

    A system, no matter how large, has a finite (countable) amount of everything.  Period.  

  • [li]A good system might be able to tap into more, open up access to more, but it all was ALREADY available resources[/li]
    [li]A system cannot create matter[/li]
    [li]In any physical or chemical change, matter is neither created nor destroyed but merely changed from one form to another.[/li]
    [li]conversion from one to another creates heat, which is lost into atmosphere[/li]
    [li]Heat is created at every step of the way, growth, human exertion to plant, growth, absorption of nutrients, exertion in harvest, preparation of food, consumption, digestion, excretion, composting, returning to land[/li]
    [li]That is a lot of heat created that over time adds up and we can't get back 100%[/li]

  • The time frame most here are considering is too short:

  • [li]We need to consider not 100 years, but 100 million years[/li]
    [li]Because of the above, eventually we lose a small portion over time[/li]
    [li]This loss is cumulative over millions of years, eventual degrading too much[/li]

  • 12 years ago
    I was thinking about things that I have read in permaculture one, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, bio-intensive books etc. and there is one thing that bothers me about it.  Even with this realization, I still plan to pursue permaculture endeavors, but I have to ask....

    Is on-site sustainability possible?

    What I mean by "on-site" is once you have setup your system, is it possible from that point on to meet the needs of maintaining soil fertility from things only on that site indefinitely?  In this scenario I am assume a very very large plot of land and you bringing in a lot of initial inputs (sheet mulch, manures, compost, top soil, rock dusts, organic amendments).  Living very very low impact, very modest and growing just enough to meet your true needs.

    I am beginning to think that it is not actually possible, because any human impact, is eventually detrimental.

    Here is my thought pattern, almost like a math proof if you will...

    Your soils, organic matter, bio mass, etc. on the property are a finite amount.   However vast and mind bogglingly large, they at some point have a quantity.   

    We also know that energy coming into a system has a limited quantity.  Also technically speaking, even though this is imperceivably slow, the sun's output is gradually declining and will some day be reduced to nothing. 

    When plants grow, they require nutrients, this transfer from soil to plant is pretty efficient, but technically it is not 100% efficient.  This means for each plant we grow, we lose a small portion of nutrients. 

    We know from Biomass Efficiency transfer principles of tropic levels, that each level is only 10% effcient meaning we lose 90% of inputs each level.  For example (theoretical for demo only) 

    Plant (100 calories)  ->  Bird (10 Calories) -> Human (1 calorie)

    We also know that the law of thermo dynamics that once we convert something to heat (digestion of food) we can never regain the initial energy.

    So in an ideal system we have a native edible plant that we grow.  We eat some part of it, say 10%.  So the 90% left we compost, which creates heat, meaning that only a portion of the nutrients from the original plant is around.  We apply the compost and the next plant only can use a portion of it because of inefficiencies.  Now that 10% we ate, we compost the human waste (humanure techniques), but our digestion process and composting process only returns a portion of the nutrients to the soil. 

    In the end, the plant that took the nutrients from the soil, only returned 60, 70, 80, 90, or even 99% of the original nutrients, but the point is, that it is physically impossible to return 100%.

    Mitigation of loss:
    We do a lot in permaculture to return nutrients in the soil.  Composting, using residues, Humanure, resting fields, natural approaches to farming, reducing or eliminating our consumption of meats. 

    We use nitrogen fixers like legumes to capture nutrients from the air and store in the form of soluble nitrogen.

    We work to capture and store energy in unique ways at a level that might be higher than normal. 

    Ultimately a negative impact is created:

    However small, however slow, it seems to me that our outputs out weigh the inputs.  This is because the inputs are finite and the outputs are growing cumulatively.  Permaculture is certainly better than how we doing things now in our world (for the majority of it), but I think there needs to be some recognition to the fact that no matter how we live, us living has a negative impact.  Humanity isn't sustainable.

    That said with very small populations in the world (a few million world wide) that migrates every decade or so, it might be able to slow this process down so much it is almost a non issue.   
    12 years ago
    Hey all!  I wanted to try working with some row covers (Agribon cover and 9 gauge wire hoops) and I have two questions.

    Where is the cheapest place to purchase the wire/hoops to support the cloth?

    Does anyone have a good guide for someone starting out using row covers?

    Finally any other info on the subject would be great
    12 years ago
    This is pretty awesome!  what a great find! 
    12 years ago
    I run a community garden here and we are looking to figure out the best way to shred leaves to mulch next year.  Where I live everyone bags their leave in plastic bags and set them on the curb, we just drive around and can get 500 huge bags of leaves in 1-2 hours.  So what is the  best way to quickly and easily shred leaves at this volume?
    12 years ago
    First off, I recommend keeping this open and free, ads are certainly fine.

    I think it would be useful to have some search parameters when looking at guilds already assembled.  I'd suggest a search function that lets you search by:
    -Region/climate guild is in use
    -allow me to put in one plant and see what others pair it with
    - others

    Another thing I would recommend is allow a way for people to input sources to purchase seeds/plants/cuttings for a particular plant.  I often run into the issue where someone recommends a particular type of plant, but I can't see to find it anywhere locally or online.  Remember too that people from Australia, UK, USA and others might be accessing it, sources for plants in the UK don't do much good for people in the USA.  Kind of along the same lines, somehow make it so you can't just put in the plant name, have it that it is specific.  For example not comfrey, but russian comfrey. The other varieties aren't as good IMO. 

    13 years ago

    H Ludi Tyler wrote:
    Major downside:  Very few communities actually doing anything.

    Is that a result of their approach or a result of people not doing things?
    13 years ago