Jason Matthew

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since May 22, 2011
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Recent posts by Jason Matthew

I have been considering a living fence all along our property line. I am leaning toward hollies as the main shrub/small tree to keep the neighbors and predators out. Oak, magnolia, and sweet gum are already propagating themselves all over the place. I would love to have black locust as a nitrogen fixer, but we already have mimosa growing everywhere there is some sunlight. I guess my choices for this area are:

Sweet Gum

They are already here and growing just fine.

2 months ago
I have 10 species of running bamboo on our 5 acres. The groves are still small except for the Golden bamboo which is over 30 years old. Several folks have already mentioned the ditch method to contain the bamboo. A ditch needs maintenance twice a year in the spring and fall to cut any rhizomes that jump the ditch. I say ditch, but usually it is a trench filled with mulch or sand. You drag a pick through it and cut the rhizomes. I

Honestly, for your situation, a line of Leyland cypress or Emerald arbovitae planted 15 or 20 feet off the fenceline would work best. They can grow 3 feet a year and will block the view in 5 years.

If you must have bamboo, plant it 40 or 50 feet off the fenceline and trench around the area where you want it to stay. Phylostachus edulis or Phylostachus bambusoides will grow up to 70 feet tall and 4 or more inches in diameter.
3 years ago

My peaches do not even grow to that size. They seem to start and then abort before they are the size of a quarter. The stone does not even form before they drop off. Also, they are more shriveled, almost desiccated by the look of them.
6 years ago
Greetings fellow Permies,

I am wondering what the problem is in my food forest. I have 6000 square feet that was formerly sod. I have dug two hugelculture/swale mounds across most of the length of this area over the last two years. I have cover cropped it twice with Grow Organics sod buster and soil builder seed blends. There is drainage through this area off two buildings and an asphalt driveway. I think the swales are catching and spreading most of this water now. Probably many thousands of gallons over the course of a year.

Everything flowers out beautifully, but fruit production is mediocre to non-existant. My largest peach tree is full, lush, has nice peaches on it, then they all shrivel up and drop off. It is just on the downward side of my first swale. I had a few peaches on most of my trees, then they all seemed to disappear. I am sure there are squirrels that are taking some of them, but that does not explain what is happening to my largest peach. This area is a rectangle cut out of the forest. It gets good morning sun, and the middle gets a lot of afternoon sun. My biggest peach is toward the top and probably gets sun up to about 2:00. The blueberries are doing fantastic this year (middle). The apples are 4 years old and have not given me fruit yet. I got peaches last year from my trees in this area, except for the largest one.

So, what is going on? Are my trees not getting enough sun? Are they getting to much water draining through the area? Is there some mineral deficiency of which I am not aware? The grass, weeds, flowers, vegetables, and unknown trees are lush and grow fine. There are mimosa trees on three sides, and I have to cut down seedling mimosas at least twice a year to keep them from taking over. I think there is plenty of nitrogen in the soil. Maybe to much nitrogen in the soil?

Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated.


6 years ago
This topic is interesting to me because I have been on the Primal/paleo diet for about 9 weeks. I have lost about 3 inches off my waistline in that time. As someone else mentioned, it is your food forest, you can grow what you want. I am going to find a breed of small hog that will consume some portion of my fruit production and convert it into fat and protein for me. I
8 years ago
What species should I be using in zone 7b here in GA?

I purchased cover crop seeds last fall that contained multiple species of nitrogen fixers and deep tap rooted plants for breaking up compaction. I am two years into creating my forest garden, and I am trying to keep some areas available for annual vegetables. I now find myself chopping and dropping (mostly vetch) these plants around the base of my trees and blueberries. I had thought about allowing alternating rows to be filled with nitrogen fixers. The vetch seems to be very aggressive and is probably not my best choice. I will wait and see how it fares during the heat of the summer. I realize that most people are using comfrey, but I have heard that it is also rather aggressive.
8 years ago
Last year I laid out the straw and manure from my chickens in rows that I then double dug. I covered the rows with leaves and let them mellow for most of the year. When I got back around to them, the worm population along the rows was incredible. All of the straw and most of the leaves had been completely decomposed and turned into humus and worm castings. It grew vegetables like magic.
8 years ago
I am an entomologist. I have eaten honeybee larvae, mealworms, moth larvae, fried ants, roasted crickets dipped in chocolate and other things I have forgotten. I ate them for the novelty factor. The moth larvae were part of a trail mix and were not noticeable. The honeybee larvae tasted like little drops of honey, and the mealworms were stir fried and had a nut-like flavor. These are the insects I could stand to eat.
8 years ago
I double dug three garden rows last year and added straw from the chicken coop and run. The results were nothing less than amazing. Having said that, I seeded cover crops from Grow Organic in the fall, using both the soil builder and sod buster seed mixes. Double digging heavy clay is slow exhausting work, and as someone already mentioned, you cannot create a permanent change in the soil profile. In order to maintain the organic matter, you are going to need to mulch and amend continuously. I believe that cover crops can do most of the work for us.
8 years ago
I believe you would do just fine with Grow Organic soil builder seed mix. You get eight or more nitrogen fixing species. I mixed the soil builder and sod buster seed mixes in the fall and covered most of my garden area, I them munched with a thin layer of straw and got great germination. I am chomping at the bit to get going for spring.

8 years ago