You can grow it from a seed! I've done it, and many others on this site have done it. Plant fresh seeds from an apple that you like (preferably one from an orchard that you know has apple trees as the pollinizers, not crabapples). My experience has been that if I plant several apple seeds in containers of soil in the autumn, and keep them damp and cold for the winter, some will sprout in spring, and then I plant them out either that same year when they are a few inches tall, or keep them in the container for another year and plant them out the next year.
Since I first purchased PIE on Permies.com, I had these two features chosen and functioning:
Show, in a thread, how far you have viewed in the past
Navigate to the last post you have viewed
but for the past couple of days they don't seem to be functioning for me. When I click on a thread, it starts at the top, rather than at the "first unread" comment, and I can't see a green line showing how far I'd readup to previously.
I make my planters out of old buckets and other containers, but they are bigger than 2 litres. I use a hot nail to make drainage holes in the plastic. Two litres is too small for many things that I want to grow in containers. Also I've seen that drinks bottles deteriorate in the sun after a year or so, and start to crumble.
Chris Kott wrote:I have yet to hear a good reason as to why it is preferable to build out of straw bale than, say, rammed earth.
As I understand dewpoint and how heat is transferred through different media, the best option in a temperate climate is to insulate on both sides of the structure. For my money, that means nice, thick rammed earth walls with insulation inside and out, preferably an insulation that is dense and inedible, and sealed overtop with a waterproof earthen plaster.
Nothing for vermin of any kind to eat, no space in which they can nest, and a sandstone-like mass around two feet thick to burrow through to get inside; easier to find other accomodation.
I agree! I'm writing this as I sit in my rammed earth home, and until last year I lived in a campus of rammed earth and adobe brick buildings for 25 years. We have a climate with winters about as cold as northern New England. Two-foot thick rammed earth walls have proved to be both insulating and thermal mass. In our high desert environment, with passive solar design, it is just about enough. At the school it was a little colder indoors than I would have liked during Jan and Feb, and in my new house this past winter I used a little portable electric heater in the evenings in Jan and Feb. Other houses here are running their wood-stoves from October to March or April.
To be honest mice have been known to dig a tunnel through our rammed earth walls, but they don't seem to nest in there, or love it, or proliferate. Our tailoring-waste insulated ceilings, now, were another mouse heaven. But a friend of mine helped dismantle a year-old straw-bale wall in the US, and found the whole interior hollowed out by happy nesting mice.
AN OVERVIEW OF CLIMATIC EFFECTS ON CITRUS FLOWERING
AND FRUIT QUALITY IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD
...The low tropics ...Generally, citrus production in this
area is low and fruit are used primarily for local consumption resulting from the adverse effects of
hot, humid climates on fruit quality of most important citrus cultivars. Disease, pest and weed
pressures are especially severe throughout most of these regions....
... fruit quality for oranges and mandarins is poor ... but grapefruit and limes ... produce fruit with high internal quality. For example, even' Star
Ruby' grapefruit develops a deep red color at sea level in this region. External fruit quality (peel
blemishes) is a problem for fruit from the low tropics....
Dale Hodgins wrote:
There's no point in me washing in those flowery soaps, because I tend to rinse off quite well. Then I towel dry, so any residual deodorizer is pretty much lost.
The soap is not for its scent, but to get the sweaty smell out of armpits, and I think also to set back the bacteria that make the sweaty smell. Washing the armpits with soap, daily in hot weather or every couple of days in cold weather, along with wearing only natural fibres, will prevent nasty body odour on most people.
I've spent some winters in a cold climate with not much in the way of bathing facilities, so I learnt the habit of washing my pits with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or two. It acts just like having a soapy wash, and prevents body odour for a day or a few days.
Natural scent on top of nasty body odour is still nasty body odour, and is no substitute for bathing.
I am very happy to see any mushrooms growing in my mulch or wherever, but I won't eat them unless I had learned the ID from a local mushroom person. I do taste random plants, but as somebody wise said, toxic plants tend to tell you they are toxic by tasting bad, but some mushrooms do not have that courtesy, and may taste nice while killing you.
Dale Hodgins wrote:In a salad that contained vegetables and little pieces of fruit, the fruit seem to pop more, when mixed with the slightly bitter taste. The gourd was chopped up quite small when used in this way.
Wow, that sounds delicious! Is it a common salad in the Philippines? I've gotta try that!
They are a somewhat popular vegetable in India and the rest of the subcontinent, and I understand also in China and Chinese communities around the world. Pretty much everyone hates them at first, but many people suddenly switch to loving them after several tries.
25 feet is not at all too deep for a handpump. I lived with a handpump that was 80 feet deep for a few years. They are common in India -- I read once that one of the Indian designs of handpumps is popular in many countries. I know people who use handpumps more than 100 feet deep.
I live in a place where growing plants can only happen with the help of irrigation, and we've used a storage pond for the past 20+ years. We also swim in it. We're not tropical, though, so some factors are very different from your situation.
The schedules of filling it for swimming/bathing, using it for necessary irrigation, draining it fully to break the mosquito life cycle, and keeping it full for storage for a later need, may clash. It can be a little hard to juggle all of those. But certainly better than not having it at all!
Vertical walls like the samples you showed above could be dangerous for non-swimmers who decide to go in for a bath. And are there dogs there? If they jump in could they get out? Vertical walls are also structurally harder to build strong enough to hold the weight of the water. If you could build it partway buried, and partly bermed up, with sloping walls, it might be safer. But it would take more space, which might become an issue depending on the land you end up getting. And it would allow more evaporation which might be less of an issue in the humid Philippines than in my location in the high desert, but we still find that sloped wall shape more desirable.
I'm sure you're more expert on this kind of detail than I am, but for breaking the mosquito life cycle, make sure to have the floor sloping with the drain at the lowest point.
Last year we had cement plastered our irrigation pond so it became more pleasant to swim in than the previously clay-bottomed version. So all our students were swimming in it daily, maybe 20 - 40 people using it over the course of a warm day, and I think ringworm (a skin fungus) went around. We were draining it every two days for irrigation, but maybe not fully because we don't have a mosquito problem most of the time. This might not be an issue for you with very few people bathing in it. Ours is much bigger than yours, but it still happened.
Kelly Hart wrote:... until last year when practically nothing wanted to grow. Many plants that had flourished other years barely grew; it was very disappointing.
Then one of the members of our local permaculture group mentioned that he had a very similar problem, and he attributed it to the accumulation of glysophate from straw he had purchased! I think that this might be my problem also, especially when I realized that the goat manure was likely contaminated with glysophate-laced hay fed to the goats, and even the commercial alfalfa pellets could have been contaminated.
Probably not glyphosate but an herbicide of the aminopyralid group. Glyphosate breaks down within a few months, but the sinister aminopyralid class of herbicides do not break down in in composting, or even in the digestive system of ruminants or other animals. They are used on hay and grains because they kill broad-leafed plants but leave the grass family alone. So nowadays manure, hay, straw, and compost made from any of these, are increasingly likely to be toxic to garden plants (other than corn, cereal grains, or grasses).
Luckily I've never had to do a big poison ivy removal like this, but I have done some other vine removal, just by pulling it up as much as possible every time it comes up, and trying to pull up as much roots as possible every time.
I AM very sensitive to poison ivy, and so was my father, and we have always used a method that is very effective for preventing the rash, if you know you might have been exposed. I've even pulled up the vines intentionally with bare hands, and then prevented the rash. The rash is caused by an oil called urushiol that gets from the plant on to your skin, and then over the course of several hours goes deeper into your skin and causes the rash, which as I'm sure you know, only shows up a few days later. The roots and dormant winter stems also can cause a horrendous rash too (ask me how I know). But if you wash the oil off very thoroughly with soap or detergent after you think you might have been exposed, you won't get the rash. You also have to think carefully about any ways you may have spread the oil onto something else that you might touch later, such as your shoes, or the insides of the sleeves of a jacket (ask me how I know that one), and make sure to wash everything that might be carrying the oil. You don't need special detergent. I've used whatever soap or detergent was around, and it works, but I'm very reactive and have some horrendous childhood memories of poison ivy, so I usually lather up and rinse down twice, and make sure to remove any relevant clothing directly into the washing machine. That always prevents the rash for me. I've even gone back to wipe down a doorknob with soap. When I do get the rash, it is always when I didn't know I was exposed and so I didn't wash in time. I don't know how many hours exactly is the cut-off time, but I always tried to do it within a couple of hours and it has seemed to work.
So you could do a massive cut-down-dig-up once, and then every time it resprouts, pull up all that you can find. Be sure to do it when you are wearing washable shoes or rubber sandals or something, and head straight to the washing machine and sink or shower afterwards.
Covering the whole area with a very light-proof tarp for the whole season might do the trick with hands off -- it does kill most plants, except a few that have vigorous root systems and can traverse and come out of the sides, out into the sun.
It sounds possible that your season of needing to cool your house will coincide with the sub-continent's hot dry summer of May and June, which are also the times of year when the sun is at it's highest, strongest, and longest daylight. So using excess to cool your house might be suitable. The more thermal mass you have in your house, the more stable the temperature will remain, for example, if you cool the house more in the daytime when there is excess solar power, and then turn off the electric cooling system at night.
If your dog is amenable to such training, the ideal would be to train her to poop on the newspaper/cardboard/junk mail. Maybe you'd have to slip it under her when she squats, and train her not to get startled and run away. Then just fold it up and off you go.
If you have any outdoor space, I heard someone tell about their worm bin for dog poop in a tropical country (Taiwan). He said he buried a bottomless bucket or similar pipe in the garden, with a lid. He put in some worm bedding material and some composting worms, then he just adds the poop from his two dogs every day. I think I remember him saying that the poop just disappears and you never have to move or empty the bin, and that he'd been using it for 10 years when he told us about it. Nearby plants or trees can use the nutrients. Or if preferred, after a couple of years you could pull up the bucket or pipe, dig a new spot in the garden for it, and cover the old spot with some soil from digging the new spot. Since worms can easily compost paper, newspaper, and cardboard, you could drop the whole package into the sunken worm bin.
The idea of growing fungus in a medium that is in contact with wood that has to be protected from allowing fungus to grow seems difficult. Is it maybe the wrong material for the wrong use in the wrong place? One possibility is accept it and use wood, a fairly rot resistant type, knowing that it will rot out after "several" years as you said above, in which case maybe by then you'll be wanting a design change anyway? Another idea is using a non-wood material like bricks, stones, concrete, or digging down into the earth?
Mike Jay wrote:
Two of the biggest challenges in our area for sunken greenhouses (I believe/suspect) are:
1. Low winter sun angle leads to long shadows on south side
Yes, I agree, I am not a fan of sunken greenhouses. We made only one, and the shade thrown in midwinter was ridiculous, obviated the point of having a greenhouse! And we're a lot further south than you. Your sun is a lot lower than ours is.
Similarly, in such a northerly latitude, you won't get a lot of useful sunlight from the north side, especially in winter when you would want it.
Don't forget a good way to increase the warmth of growing beds is to set up some kind of additional cover over them inside the greenhouse, that you can close on the coldest nights of the year. Since there's no wind inside the greenhouse those can be very simple, not fixed or tied down.
I agree with Tyler above. My greenhouse often gets aphids in the winter when it's all under a greenhouse. It seems to be correlated with the plants having too much nutrition in the soil, and definitely when it gets very hot in the greenhouse and if there isn't enough ventilation. I squish the aphids by hand where are just a few, and that helps to keep them under control. Also watering more frequently to both reduce wilting and maybe reduce the intense nutrition in the soil. When the greenhouse comes off in early summer the aphids invariably reduce back to very few or none really visible.
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Thekla, I had not heard that about rayon. I always assumed rayon was made from polyester, or other synthetics (?), and not plant fibers. Could it be that there are multiple kinds of rayon fabric?
Yes, I always understood rayon to be made from wood fibers with a pretty intense chemical process, and that's what wikipedia says too. BTW "bamboo" cloth is similar.
Devin Lavign wrote: You might also try the grounding strip hanging from your car to the ground. That would be a more permanent solution as well but seems the most invasive due to adding something to the vehicle.
If you just hang a little chain under your car, that dangles to ground level, that's not invasive or a real alteration to the car. Seems simple enough to me. But I don't know if it would actually solve the problem.
If they are plastic that is not rated as UV resistant, it's possible that some of the outdoor uses, if in direct sun, could cause them to deteriorate after a year or two. We had some leftover PVC pipes, about 6 inches dia, and I used them outdoors but they started turning dark where the sun hits them in the first year, and getting little cracks last year.
Article in Common Dreams:
Boston City Council Passes Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance by Andrea Germanos, staff writer
The GFPP, sponsored by Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, affects public food purchasers, the largest of which is the Boston Public Schools, which has a $18 million food budget.
As noted in the ordinance, the purchasers will follow a set of standards in order to
Support small and mid-sized agricultural and food processing operations within the local area or region;
Support producers that employ sustainable production systems that reduce or eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers; avoid the use of hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering; conserve soil and water; protect and enhance wildlife habitat and biodiversity; and reduce on-farm energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions;
Protect workers' rights to freedom of association, to organize a union and collectively bargain in order to better ensure safe and healthy working conditions, fair compensation,and access to health insurance and affordable child care for all food chain workers;
Ensure farmers a fair price for their products that covers the cost of production and fair remuneration for their management and labor;
Provide healthy and humane care for farm animals; and
Promote health and well-being by offering generous portions of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains; reducing salt, added sugars, fats, and oils; and by eliminating artificial additives.
The ordinance will also
Encourage prospective food vendors to invest in our disadvantaged and minority communities by including in procurement requests preferences for prospective vendors who demonstrate a track record of hiring and investing in local disadvantaged communities; provide living wages to all their employees, including frontline foodworkers; are local minority, disabled, and/or women-owned businesses; and are local producers and processors operating in low-income communities and employing non-toxic, environmentally sustainable methods...
(Sorry, not about grocery stores, but some good news about large scale food business in Boston, the area the original post was based in)
Great post! I'd like to hear from people who have added powdered greens, which ones you like best and why. I have access to dried nettles, dried buckwheat greens, and other dried greens (some kind of lettuce, and some kind of mustard or Chinese cabbage).
I live in a region where pretty much everyone makes homemade pasta every day for at least one meal, but I don't do it at home, putting my dough efforts into bread and my pasta cravings into commercial dried pasta.
But I do sometimes make lasagna noodles, which are about as easy as using dried lasagna noodles, if dough is something you make easily and casually. It's easier to roll out a sheet of dough to fit the available pan than to either boil commercial lasagna noodles, cool them, and then use them, or as I used to always do, use dry commercial lasagna noodles raw but then have trouble making them fit the available pan. I find whole wheat lasagna comes out fine. My lasagna fillings and sauces are as varied as your pasta sauces above so I won't detail those. Basically I use what I've got and hope it all comes together. I've been thinking it might be nice, less messy when serving, to roll up serving-sized rolls of filling and smothering them in sauce, but I haven't tried it yet.
Hank Fletcher wrote:I'm still a bit lost on this issue. What as a sprout/microgreen is edible...raw? Can you eat pretty much anything raw as long as it isn't a full plant?...at least I don't think I have ever heard of anyone eating carrot tops around harvest time, but posts I have seen on here are suggesting growing and eating carrot/beet sprouts.
My rule of thumb is if the seed is edible and the leaves are edible, both raw, then I might give the sprouts a try.
Yes, carrot tops are edible. You can use them like parsley, but they taste like carrots. They're more fibrous than parsley so not widely used. I think I saw them in a pesto recipe or something, and I sometimes nibble a carrot leaf in the garden for no good reason. But carrot seeds (like parsley) are notoriously slow to germinate, so they wouldn't be a very easy or convenient sprout.
In addition to some of the items suggested above, I've sprouted fennel seeds and coriander seeds, and I think I sprouted onion seeds but I don't remember eating them so maybe I didn't. I've sprouted many different kinds of beans and peas, but later saw on this website that some of their seeds when eaten raw have anti-nutrients, so in the future I think I'll stick to the traditional sprouting legumes mentioned in the table above.
My suggestion from experience would be not to mix different seeds together in the sprouting container because some germinate much faster than others, and it's hard to pick the sprouts out of the seeds that need to stay in there.
The aminopyralid class of herbicides is very persistent even through the composting process, and even through the digestive system of ruminants. Most of the other herbicides largely break down within weeks or months, either in the presence of sunlight or with the biological processes in the soil. If you can find out what was used there, you could decide: if it's something that breaks down in a few months, then maybe it's worth applying compost and mulch and giving it a go with the wildflowers.
Angela Wilcox wrote:We have an abundance of broom sedge growing in the field. Can broom sedge be used as cover material in a humanure hacienda?
Yes, I think that sounds like what I saw recommended in the Humanure Handbook. Maybe you'd want to harvest it and dry it for a while, or harvest a year's supply while it is dormant, so that it is a carbon-heavy item rather than green, when it might still be a nitrogen-heavy item? But then maybe seeds would be an issue? I don't know.
Fuel or starter in a wood stove. Instead of starting a fire with paper, you can keep a can of oil near the woodstove, dunk the ends of kindling in oil, and then you'll find they light even without paper. I've seen it often here where I've lived for 26 years: rural families here don't buy or subscribe to newspapers, so starting fires with paper was never a thing, really, in the past.
In my two potted lemon trees, whenever they start yellowing a bit, I tuck one serving of used coffee grounds under the mulch on the pot and they green right up. It never causes fertilizer burn (as happens with even the most diluted urine I've tried, or with small chunks of cow manure I've stuffed under there).
I don't remember the details, but I think Dale Hodgins on this forum had a whole long thread about the (great) progress of a new garden that he and his friends fertilized exclusively with used coffee grounds, last summer or the year before.
In practice, used coffee grounds don't seem to harm plants and do seem to help. Of course excessive amounts might be harmful, but that's true of everything!
In my region almost nothing would grow without irrigation, and the unirrigated areas of desert are extremely barren. So I'm all for flood irrigation, the traditional irrigation here. But my own personal garden has been small and not positioned on a stream or canal, so for years I hauled water for it. Now I've got a little more space and a hose, as well as a canal I can access. I have absolutely become devoted to mulch, but it works fine when you're pouring water onto the mulch from a container or hose. But it is a but tricky with flood irrigation, which can float the mulch off into a corner. I"m not sure how I'll deal with that.