So, I've had a Permies account for several years. kasimmon, Kirsten Simmons, not particularly active since I mostly lurk.
I bought the PV videos just now, and didn't realize I wasn't logged in. I used my farm email address, which apparently wasn't in the Permies system. And now I have another account, no idea what the password is since I didn't enter one...
Can I fix this? I'd rather be my original account with my new purchase, if possible. If not, how do I figure out what the password is to this new account before I'm automatically logged out and lose access to the content I just bought?
Thanks to anyone who can point me in the right direction!
Thank you so much for such a detailed answer! I actually take a low dose of losartan, and over the past several years it has reduced the width of my aorta to normal range. I'm a farmer, so I have a pretty decent diet and get plenty of sunshine, but I can definitely boost my consumption of bone broth. I'll do some research on the herbs you've suggested, talk to my doctor and go from there.
I read Nicole's thread with interest, as I've been diagnosed with Marfans and have been struggling with joints dislocating. I'm about to start physical therapy to try to strengthen the muscles around my elbow, as it's spent more time dislocated than properly located over the past year. Are there any herbs I could research that might help support my body during the process?
Somewhat odd question here - how would one go about selecting a scythe that fits well when one's height is still changing?
Odd part: I'm done growing. I have scoliosis and am working with a combination of chiropractor/posture therapist/massage therapist to straighten my spine. They estimate that I have 4 inches or so of curve to straighten out. It's actually working - very slowly, but I've gained a half inch in the past year.
With that in mind, how would my fit for a scythe change over time as my spine straightens and the proportion of my torso to overall height changes?
Alcaligenes viscolactis, a bacteria commonly found in water, consequently turns up in sun tea." If this is the case then wouldn't that bacteria be in my glass of just plain water?
It would, though my guess is that it's not present in water in high enough concentration to be harmful. Sun tea does provide a nice warm breeding ground for bacterial growth.
That said, Alcagenes isn't a threat for anyone with a functioning immune system. The bigger issue would be if your water were contaminated with a highly pathogenic bacteria. I personally love the taste of sun tea and like it better than cold brew, but I give my tea a quick boil after it's brewed outside. Just take the tea leaves out, let it boil for 5 min or so and it should be just as safe as hot brewed tea.
I'm down in Atlanta, and god do I feel you on the clay! My plan isn't 100% permaculture, but I'm hoping to see some soil improvement by the winter. Here's what I've done thus far:
1) Tilled the first couple of inches of soil and immediately sowed sudan grass, red clover and rye. That ran on its own for a few months.
2) Flagged down the guys trimming trees back from the power lines and had them dump two truckloads of ramial chips on my yard. I inoculated the wood with king stropharia mushrooms and spread it 6 inches thick across the majority of the yard. The mulch is holding in an enormous amount of water, and the sudan grass is already starting to poke back through. I left two spots unmulched - a 10x10 space where I'm letting the sudan grass grow to its full height (10ft) to see what the effect of just the cover crop mix is on the soil and a 10x15 space where I've planted sweet potatoes in amongst the cover crop.
I'm planning to sow some buckwheat in the mulch once I see it starting to break down. That should die back once it gets cooler, and then I can assess whether I've built any soil worth writing home about. There's a large tree in my yard that will be coming out this fall due to unfortunate placement above my sewer line, and that should open up sun for a small orchard and more garden space. I did a few raised beds this summer with the lasagna method for soil building, and while I'm hardly eating a full diet out of it, it supplements things nicely and I may be able to sell some of my excess shiso to some local restaurants. Bugs haven't been a huge issue, I think because everything the bugs would want (tomatoes, squash, etc) is hidden in the explosion of shiso!
You mentioned it's getting residual water from a leaky irrigation line? How much? That could definitely be a source of too much moisture, but I'm also wondering if the constant water percolation could be leaching minerals out of the soil around the tree.
I just finished a chicken coop using bamboo, and I wish I'd known that wire trick! We drilled holes and used 5 inch bolts, and the structure also has hardware cloth/chicken wire/pasture wire stapled to the bamboo. It's a bit of a pain to work with, but since it grows in my back yard, you can't beat the price!
This weekend I was gifted an awesome couch, an outdoor table and a few planters from a lady in the neighborhood who's moving to Vermont at the end of the week. My friend, boyfriend and roommate helped me move everything, and then stayed on to help me put up the wire and roof of the chicken coop, getting me back to the point that I can work on the project on my own. Then when I tried to buy them dinner in thanks, they refused.
RANT/PLAINTIVE CRY: I have tried harvesting the seed exactly once, and it was enough to make me think perhaps I am only suited to urban life and must abandon my permie fantasies. Or slit my wrists, jump off a bridge or something. OK, so you take a seed head and you rub it between your palms. A ton of eensy weensy seed falls out all over the place mixed in with a much, much bigger quantity of amaranth fuzz and flakey bits. Now don't get me wrong, the amaranth fuzz is amazing -- soft, fluffy yet resilient -- has anyone tried using this for pillow stuffing? But I digress. Let's assume that I actually wanted some amaranth seed I could eat. Or plant next season. Or whatever. So there's the problem that I now have a huge bowl full of combined seeds, flakes and fluff. So I try to find some YouTube videos on what to do next. And I discover that on YouTube there aren't anywhere near enough serious, well-produced videos about what to do with a big bowl of amaranth fluff. [NOTE: BIG OPPORTUNITY for any of you who want to become rock stars of the amaranth-winnowing community.] Anyway, the most convincing of the uninspiring videos I saw was of a guy who plopped a couple of handfuls of the fluff mixture on a paper plate and blew on it. A few good edits made it look like it took one minute instead of ten to separate the seeds from the other stuff. I tried it and blew everything all over the kitchen. I swept it up and tried again, this time very gently, and by constantly rotating the plate and blowing gently for about ten minutes, I got my yield of about a tablespoon of seeds. Great, I thought, all I have to do is repeat this another 150 times, say from now until a week from Monday, and I might have as much as half a kilo of amaranth, which if I'm careful could last me for -- 4 meals? Yippee, after only 10 days of winnowing!
OMG, yes, this times 1000!! Last season was my first growing amaranth, and I blew away more seeds than chaff in my attempts to winnow! I'll have to try out something like what Larisa posted when it comes time to harvest next year.
I can't speak to cherries, peaches or plums, but I've been researching apples lately and since they mostly require a pollinator you're not guaranteed to get anything like the parent fruit. It's the equivalent of sexual reproduction in humans - sometimes the kid looks like the parents, and sometimes you wonder whether there's been a hospital mix up.
From a genetic diversity standpoint, this is great, and we need people to plant apple seeds to hedge our bets against monolithic agriculture and the red 'delicious'. Apparently at one point in the US there were over 14,000 varieties of apple, helped along by Johnny Appleseed (who planted actual seeds, not grafts on rootstock). That said, for the permie who's working with a small space, planting a seed and waiting 5 years to find out that it's a dud really sucks. To guarantee eating quality, I'd suggest learning how to graft and creating your own custom tree with as many fruit varieties as you want.
I got a copy of Shanleya's Quest in exchange for my review, and I used it to attempt to identify the plants growing in and around my new house. I know what the average person would pick up about plants from a PDC and several years of growing - no specific training in botany. I have no children and didn't have access to any during my review period, but I have worked with elementary aged students in a garden setting in the past.
On first impression, the book is gorgeous. The illustrations and colors jump off the page, and there are so many details tucked into each page that I suspect I'll continue to notice new details each time I pass through.
The book opens with Grandmother telling her grandchildren a creation story, complete with a kind but absent Father Sun and Mother Moon, and an analogy of The Great Tree to introduce the idea of phylogenetic trees. Water rises on Earth as The Great Tree grows, creating islands in which families of plants thrive. Then the story turns to Shanleya and her quest to find and gather plants from each of the island families. On each island she remembers the identifying information her grandfather has told her, relating it on the page and in her conversations with the Guardian of each island.
I found myself wishing for more details on each family, and for more families to be described - though in the context of the story I think it would have gotten tedious. Shanleya gathers plants from the mint, parsley, mustard, pea, lily, grass, rose and aster families. As a children's book, I think that's as much as you'd want to realistically tackle. The story wouldn't work well if you tried to include more.
For my purposes - identifying plants around my house - the book was useful for about 2/3 of the plants I've found. I've identified items from the grass, pea and rose families, but haven't been able to narrow down further unless it was a plant that I knew specifically already. The book relies heavily on flowers for identification, and that's not particularly useful in December (even if we have had the warmest fall on record). I also have a lot of trees, bushes and ferns, none of which appear to be in any of the families in the book.
The book also came with a card game, and like the book, the design and quality are beautiful. The cards are a nice weight, and there are gorgeous photos on each card. Elpel has designed five games that can be played with anywhere from 2 to 8 players. You do need to know the basics of each family before playing the game, but there's a quick 8-10 word description of each family for quick reference if you're playing with people who aren't familiar with the families in the game. I brought this with me when I traveled to my parent's place for Christmas and recruited my family to help me test the game.
One thing to know about my family and this particular Christmas - my sister-in-law’s parents are visiting from Bulgaria, and they speak very little English. Dori acted as translator, and we played the memory matching version of the game. It says a lot about the design of the cards and game that Dori’s mother was able to beat all of us, despite claiming that she would play much better at 6 or 7 am instead of pm!
In summary - a great book for what it is - a primer and game to make learning the characteristics of the largest plant families fun and easy. Even my father and brother were making correct guesses at plant families by the end of the game. This isn’t a comprehensive guide to plant identification; it’s a way to move people from completely ignorant to somewhat knowledgeable and interested. It’s probably easiest to engage children in the book, but I had little difficulty pulling my adult family into the game. The book would be a great student curriculum paired with an actual garden or semi-wild green space - if I ever find myself in the position to teach in the garden again, I'll definitely reach for it. Until then, for my own continuing education, I think it's time to order myself a copy of "Botany in a Day"
She does one each year with a community partner - it's one weekend a month starting in September and running through March, with December off. The class works together to create a full site plan for the community partner, so you get the experience of doing larger site design. Last year she partnered with the town of Pine Lake, so we actually got to do municipal level permaculture design. Really cool experience.
I took Brandy's PDC last year, and there's a decent number of permaculture peeps in the ATL area. Some of us have been tossing around the idea of starting up a monthly potluck or get together since there doesn't appear to be a regular forum for like minded folks to get together and talk regularly. I've found the growing community in Atlanta to be pretty fragmented - lots of really cool projects, but also lots of people who don't know what else is going on outside of their own circles.
GA Organics does great work, but I have to say it's the only conference I've ever had difficulty talking to people at. I'd introduce myself, ask questions, etc, and get warm smiles and zero effort to pull the new person into the conversation. Very odd, as I rarely have trouble at other events where I know very few people.
Say you plant a mix of three kinds of seeds over the whole place and you get different results around the property - those differing results might highlight things you would miss if you had not uniformly planted the area.
Excellent point. I shall cover crop away and report back on the results.
I can only speak to what worked for me in that I tended to build my beds up on top of the clay, rather than try to transform it into something not best suited for making bricks and mud plaster.
Interesting - I've done this before with a variation of lasagna gardening, but in an old soccer field where I hit sandstone within 3 inches of the surface. I didn't know about hugelkultur then, so everything broke down into a gorgeous soil about 3 inches deep that required daily watering since none of the roots could go down deep.
My own experience growing on clay in East Tennessee suggests that cover crops can be part of the transition to good soil. I've used (and use) buckwheat, beans (various sorts -- pintos etc. -- bought by the pound at the grocery/coop), and turnips, for composting in place. To me it seems like as long as you're not wasting money or expending your energy in unpleasant ways, there's not really a downside to starting cover crops as soon as you can: they're plants like any others and won't necessarily prevent you from observing.
What else has been part of your transition, Chip?
This is the seventh winter I have been at it, and I'm now noticing that the ground has a spongy, springy feel to it, like walking on a mattress. Judging by the abundance of worm casts left at the surface, my dirt is turning into soil. When I first dug my hugels, I came across many June bug larvae, but few worms. That has turned around, and I can hardly find any grubs for the chickens, but there sure is an abundance of worms.
I've noticed some sponginess this week, but it's also rained 8+ inches in the past two weeks so it's hard to tell exactly what's going on. I may well have gotten a boost, soil wise, from the fact that the previous owners rented the house and it doesn't look like the tenants did much maintenance. Someone clearly loved the yard at some point, based on the overgrown oak leaf hydrangeas, ferns and Japanese maples scattered around the property. There are places where it's pure clay under the weed cover, but others where there appears to be some topsoil. I even stepped on something that might have been a mole tunnel last night.
I'd actually quite like the exercise of working out what remediations might be best on the basis of the results, so feel free to get back to me on it.
I'll definitely be sending in several soil samples, and I'd love thoughts on the results! It's just one of many things that haven't taken priority over fun things like unpacking boxes, fixing leaking kitchen faucets and making sure the mysterious extra line under the gas stove is capped properly.
Since I'm not planning on growing next season and the consensus seems to be that there's no harm to cover cropping, I think I'm inclined to put down an initial mix of crimson clover, turnips and lupin. Maybe some comfrey as well, since I do have access to a good source. I'll get some soil testing done and take steps on remediation from there based on what the results are. If things go according to plan, I'll have chickens next spring to add their manure to the mix, and then next fall I can take stock of the soil and decide whether to build up some beds or run with what I have.
I just bought a house on a third of an acre in Atlanta. I've committed to observing the space for a year before I make any major design decisions, but I already know that my soil is GA clay. Is there any disadvantage to doing cover crop rotations to build soil biomass during the year that I'm observing the space? Or would I potentially obscure details that I'd want to take into account in my design if I put down cover crops?
Oh hey, I'm in the book review grid! I'd love to review Shanleya's Quest - in fact, I'm moving into a new house next week and I want to ID all the plants as I do my initial site assessment. Since I'm not great with plant ID, I can use the book as I'm working through the site and give an on the ground review.
Fascinating thread! Looks like the rescues out west see a lot of cuy - almost a third of the available animals on the LA rescue page are cuy. (http://www.laguineapigrescue.com/) I'd guess there's even more of them to be found on Craigslist and such in that area, and you'd sidestep the intense interest that would come with adopting from a rescue.
So... which enterprising permie in the southwest is going to start collecting and breeding cuy? I bet it would make a nice side income.
You don't need to dig them out exactly at 4 months - it depends on whether you want them to be smaller or more football sized. I'm in Atlanta, and tend to leave them until the nights start dropping below 40. You just need to dig them out before the first frost, but I find they're sweeter with a bit of cold.
Current tomatoes are a huge volunteer for me in Atlanta - I was evicted from a garden space a few years ago, took some of the dirt I'd built with me, and had current tomatoes sprout from a pot the next spring! This year I had to pull a dozen or more from all over the (new) garden space. Next year I'll plan ahead and pot up the extras to sell on Craigslist.
Collards, kale and Jerusalem artichoke volunteer reliably enough that we've corralled them into their own spaces and let them go crazy. I've also got some lettuce that reseeds reliably, pineapple ground cherries, and buckwheat. This year we also have what looks like a volunteer spaghetti squash. I'd love to trade seeds with others who have volunteering veggies!
Lyle Estill (http://lyleestill.com/) did something along these lines before he got into biofuels. I don't remember the exact details, but I think he was selling 10 acres home sites in a larger zoned neighborhood. He ended up having issues with some of the people who had bought space and had to extract himself from the project. Shoot him an email and ask - he'd probably be happy to talk through the pitfalls with you. (Our families have been friends since the 90s, and I was in middle school when he went into this particular endeavor - hence the lack of details on my part.)
I'm not speaking as someone who's raised rabbits, but my understanding is that you would need to design to address their desire to burrow - both to keep them in their designated space for the 4 week period, and to extract them to move from space to space. Perhaps someone with more experience can chime in here?
This is one of the very few books that I've purchased within seconds of hearing that it existed. Elizabeth 'U' does a great job of not only explaining all the possible funding sources, but she gives her honest opinion on each option. It's hard to find anyone willing to say, for example, that the effort needed to stay within the requirements of government grants is rarely worth the cash reward. Elizabeth also walks through the various regulations that various food businesses might brush up against. There are also plenty of examples of businesses that have pursued each funding type.
('U' is in quotes because apparently there is some rule intending to prevent folks from using 'u' for the word you.)
When I was creating my business plan, I pulled the wholesale organic prices (US source when available) for Atlanta and included them in my calculations with the caveat that they were likely underestimates since I plan to market directly to the consumer and cut out the middleman. Then I recorded prices for on a few trips to various farmers markets to test that assumption, and found it was generally true. Since I'd rather have underestimates of prices than overestimates, I've kept the lower numbers - we'll see how that works out once I get some land and start growing things!
Atlanta's actually decent in this regard. I've got a lot more research to do, but there's a nice loophole for 'pet' livestock. So the smaller breeds - kunekune pigs, babydoll sheep, nigerian dwarf goats - are fair game with established examples. And chickens/roosters are allowed. Most of it is the size of the lot, and then it's also possible to get an agricultural business zoning that allows much more flexibility on said larger lot sizes.
Yeah, definitely going to have living fences planned and planted from day one. I think we may just have to accept some loss of stock to humans as an initial price of business, since I doubt we'll have the funding to secure the entire space from the beginning with dead fence. Nor do I want the place walled off like Fort Knox; the goal over time is to become a valued part of the community.
You did just give me a thought, though - there are a couple of companies in the area that clear land with sheep and goats, and I've seen them in urban spaces with LGDs. I should reach out to them to ask how they handle barking and liability.
Semi-hypothetical environment - ie, doesn't exist yet, but I'm working towards it and it may see reality in the next year.
I'm starting an entrepreneur's incubator on an urban permaculture farm. We'll have between 1 and 5 acres (still negotiating the exact location for the pilot site) and the number/type of animals will vary accordingly - either chickens and ducks on the low end to a flock plus a few goats on the high end. I'm planning to use rotational paddocks to clear brush and build soil, so fencing will be electric. Natural predators are hawks, raccoons, maybe the occasional coyote, fox, or roaming dog. But we're also likely to have to deal with human 'predation' - all of our potential locations are in low income neighborhoods, and it will take time to build community ties. I'm not thinking hungry folks stealing animals so much as unemployed teens taking potshots.
My brainstorms include a mix of structural and guardian approaches - keeping animals further from the property lines in the initial months, planting thorny yet prolific raspberry hedges on the borders and putting the word out that the fruit is free for the taking to build community relationships while simultaneously deterring trespassers, keeping guardians of some sort with the animals, etc. The type of guardian would have to take into account the location, as well - dog bites are not good community outreach, regardless of whether the person bitten is trespassing.
Thoughts on the best way to address the range of predators?
As a beginner permie, I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns. There are more detailed books out there, but I love how this one breaks the concepts of permaculture into easily digestible chunks, and also includes examples of how things succeed and fail. There's a story in the book about how the author had issues with deer on a rural property, and successfully grew a wild food hedge to funnel the deer around his food garden and on their way. But then when his neighbor started feeding the deer, they were approaching his garden from another direction and the hedge no longer worked. The environment and energies had shifted, and thus his approach needed to shift.
I also like how the book offers options for both annual and perennial guilds. I don't have land myself (yet!), but I'm working with a woman in the neighborhood who has food beds in her front yard. We're mostly growing annuals, and I've been using the ideas from the book to reduce our pest loads and increase harvest. Our okra grew over 10 feet tall when I planted pole beans to climb up the okra "trees", and sweet potatoes did an amazing job of keeping the soil moist for corn after our squash fell to borers and bean beetles. I'm interested in ultimately starting a business using permaculture principles, and while I do want to pull in lots of perennials, I also recognize that the market currently demands annuals and it will take time to train customers to new foods. Having examples of annual "permaculture" and, more importantly, understanding how plants can support each other in both annual and perennial systems has already increased our yields in one small yard and will be invaluable when I get into my business.
As I've gotten further into permaculture (halfway through a PDC now) I'm seeing places where Gaia's Garden glosses over certain landscape elements, especially relating to water and the changes that can be made to a landscape to optimize water retention and production. But I also recognize that the audience isn't ready for that level of detail - it's an introductory permaculture book, and if it started by telling folks to go find contours and rent a backhoe, most would go find something else to read!
Others have mentioned the awesome tables and appendices in this book, and I'll second/third/fourth/etc that praise. I've used the cover crop tables multiple times to find the best options for various seasons, soils and sunlight. There's lists of plants, resources for tools and seeds, further reading - lots of things that I'll be referring to regularly over the next several years in my adventures as a permaculture goofball.
I spent months trying to get it into the books stuff, but it only messed up the page for all those months. I had five FBA support people telling me how easy it would be and then the last FBA person saying "you can't do that".
Expanding on the description as a glob of text - not only is it a glob, it's not a very informative glob. As a potential buyer, I don't care what topics map to which cards in the traditional deck. I don't care that it was the highest grossing kickstarter in playing cards (though that does intrigue me). I want to know why I should buy these over a book or a DVD or some other garden-related educational item.
I just ordered a set (yes, the price is an important variable, but be careful with overusing promotions and devaluing your offering). It should come in on Tuesday, so I'll take a stab at some copy for the description when I actually have them in front of me. I'd also look at your categories. If I remember correctly, Amazon lets you choose several categories for your item and that affects how it shows up in search. Items categorized as garden related or educational are going to show up more highly than items like yours that are related and have great reviews but don't have the 'correct' category for amazons search algorithm. Toys and a Games is an incredibly crowded field, and one that doesn't really fit what you're offering. I don't remember the category options off hand, but that's worth looking into.