As for the inner workings of our mosquito spray program. I'm gonna start of by saying WNV simply has never been a threat here (last 15 years 1 confirmed case the woman recovered without complication). And yes, a dedicated group of citizens has since the beginning of the spraying program attempted to educate us on proper mosquito hygiene.
How it works in practice. Traps are set to test for mosquito borne diseases. The traps are laid mostly in prime mosquito breeding habitats in our area, which also happen to be sparsely populated. Mosquito counting-i.e. stick out your arm for 15 minutes--is also done to estimate the adult breeding population of known mosquitoes that transmit disease.
The traps and counts are collected by the director of the Mosquito Control program--who also happens to be a salesman for the company that sells the mosquito spray to our city. As things tend to happens the budget for the control program has mysteriously increased the past few years, despite a reduced amount of spraying.
The CDC sets certain thresholds for mosquito borne illness risk and has recommendations on when to spray. The director of our spraying program has recommended spraying at a lower threshold. Mostly the sprayings are done in neighborhoods near where the traps were set. And through perseverance the city was pressured into informing us of planned spraying.
Unfortunately those of us who do oppose the sprayings are still too few, even after a decade of informational campaigning and protesting. Too many folks just cant stand the threat of being bitten by a mosquito to recognize the many and myriad adverse consequences. This in a city with a terrible history of wanton industrial pollution, Superfund site level. So bad former factory grounds are basically quarantined, 40 years later. And it has me at a loss.
This issue kind of died for me as another sprang. Kinda tangential--my city demanded that I cut down sunflowers i planted alongside the road due to a complaint, and withheld my right to appeal said complaint. The sunflowers were the lowest hanging fruit (compared to enforcing speed limits and parking requirements) in this case.
I dont see myself as in the position where using energy to change the paradigm is worthwhile. This isnt my "forever property".
I'll continue to be present at city meetings on the issue.
And Christopher, if you want to resist holler and I'll send you research and reports done by a local journalist against mosquito spraying. He was pretty comprehensive. Your place may use different chemicals, but it may be a decent start?
In this series of videos Sean (of Edible Acres, Trumansburg, NY) is documenting a transition from woodland to future orchard on one of the Edible Acre properties.
Sean does a great job in all his videos of illuminating his thought process and exploring work flows that he's found valuable. There's a kernel of inspiration in all Edible Acres videos (for me at least). So don't forget to subscribe and visit his website; Edible Acres
Nothing really new to add here, just thought this process might be useful. It might not apply to your climate, where I am we have super wet springs.
Last growing season I covered grass with inoculated burlap sacks (requires a little foresight, I set up the inoculation for the bags about 5 weeks before I used them). Covered the burlap sacks with "weeds" when I had them.
Covered those sacks with anywhere from 3 to 12 inches of wood chips.
In those wood chips I made soil plugs, to the depth of the grass, and maybe 6 inches in diameter. The soil was a mix of big-box-store bagged soil and purchased compost.
Planted in soil plugs.
Burlap sacks--free from a local roaster (check whole foods stores, coops, etc, bulk grains often come in giant brown paper bags).
Bagged soil: 1.79 per 40 lb bag. Bought 10
Delivered compost: $50 per cubic yard bought 1
Mushroom spawn: 20 per #5 bag from Fedco (I wanted known spawn of edible mushrooms, maybe try store bought mushroom slurries?)
Total cost: 90 bucks for about 1000 square feet of bed space, but again I only planted into those "soil plugs". Took about a week to go from grass to planted beds, working 2-3 hours a day.
Squash, sunflowers, various herbs, bare root strawberries, lilies, scarlett runner beans, all flourished for me. All brassica lagged, they were planted too deep into summer and not watered enough maybe. Cucumbers looked promising until they wilted to cucumber beetle pressure.
Getting 2 out of the 5 health board members to vote against spraying at any risk threshold has been the culmination of about a decade of public outreach and education. Yet 3 members were still swayed by the blatant lying of the mosquito control programs director (who also happens to be a salesman for the company that sells the poison to our city).
I haven't spearheaded any of the outreach, I've just been present. Many of my neighbors appreciate the spraying, despite all the evidence against it. And others just don't care.
Seems like there are 2 actions to take, civil disobedience and/or litigation. While waiting for either to be effective any ideas for physical barriers, ways to render the poison inert, etc?
I live in a small city that sprays to control the population of mosquitoes that might potentially carry West Nile Virus.... .01-.49 in 100,000. That is the average annual incidence in my county as recorded by the CDC from data accumulated from 1999-2016. I'm exasperated with my local board of health that came to a weak compromise--that has been ignored by the director of the mosquito control program--even after the mountains of evidence showing both the real and dangerous consequences of the main adulticide used, and the utter lack of need to spray in the first place.
I'm not above civil disobedience, I know where this truck mounted sprayer is located.
But first, I thought I'd ask---does anyone have any good ideas on how I might block this poison spray from inundating my property?
I don't mean to hijack the thread. I just feel a couple things I need to say.
There's not any equivalency between pedestrians and cyclists, and car drivers. If someone walks into you, or hits you with their bike, ouch, curse their offspring/laugh, return to normal. If someone hits you with a car, you're dead. Is that a bias? Maybe.
In the U.S. "suburbanization" has made the car a culture. I personally could do with much less asphalt in my life, so I see a solution to be had. Doesn't mean I hate cars. It means I'd like to live in more vibrant places.
On my street people speed in cars every single day. There are consequences of that, even if there are no accidents;
children don't playing outside, they've been yelled at about being too close to the road too many times;
people don't chit chatting on the sidewalk;
there are maybe 4 gardens in front yards out of 60-ish houses and every house has the space to plant at least something.
Every single one of my neighbors has taken the time to mention how fast cars drive up and down our street--it's an entirely residential road, there's not even a speed limit posted.
So slowing down cars in my residential neighborhood isn't really about the cars. It's about the kind of neighborhood I would like to live in. I'd like more green space, "O look at that ugly asphalt". I'd like to see kids playing outside "O, look at that ugly asphalt". I'd like there to be a space my neighbors and I could partay together "O, look at that ugly asphalt".
Cars are necessary because of how we've designed the places we live not because the great Universal Architect spoke "and thus, Tractor Supply shall lay 5 miles from the nearesteth place of rest". We can live without cars, we have for millenia, I trust that collective, lived experience much more than Henry Ford.
Sometimes I think similar to what Brother Bronson said, or Ms Alderman.
Sometimes I think it's because the connection between restorative gardening being a solution for institutionalized racism is too abstract for some folk. (Gil Scott Heron puts it better in that song "Whitey on the Moon")
Sometimes I think; well, Slave traders didn't go to Africa looking for people to lay railroad track, they were looking for people to cultivate the soil and harvest crops; and having a garden might bring up painful confrontations of that history for some. (And for me personally, and also how I got into permaculture, ways to heal too the cool relief of shade from the harsh light of realization that someone sees my brown skin not for its rich suppleness.)
Is there anything peculiar about Permaculture that specifically puts off any single Black Person, or is unattractive to the Black Experience in America?
Naah, unless someone is deep into it right now and tries to play the "but foreign white guys are evil" card.
Obviously this is all "in general" thinking. Which isn't particularly helpful. Looking back on my experience, it sounds similar to Brother Bronson's. My family, both my black side and my white side, are in the grind right now. Trying to catch up with the Jones.
*I just wanted to add one very specific thing; I was born in the United States to parents who for all intents and purposes trace their lineage from the dawn of time itself to the United States. I can't speak for any other black experience in the African Diaspora. I can only speak on what it's like to be interested in restorative gardening, while brown skinned and living in Berkshire County, Ma.
I wanna mention Edible Acres again. Inspirational. Also a permaculture nursery. The waterways series and chicken composting series are awesome/
So some of these may not mention permaculture in their videos but I think the videos demonstrate useful skills.
Mr Chickadee ; woodwright
House Improvement ; for those of you like me who are giving your future self the now-gift of old home stewardship.
Chris Trump ; easy to follow KNF instructions
Twisted Tree Farm ; a NY based nurseryman with quick instructional videos on tree/shrub propagation among other things.
Stephen Hayes ; one of my go-tos for apple growing instructions on all kinds of varieties. Also has a fun to read appling-journal.
Onsek ; axewright
Kris Harbour ; I tuned in for his "whittlers wood roundhouse" series
RowanTaylor ; blacksmith whose page has been quiet for a bit, but is absolutely fun to watch.
Paul Sellers ; the inimitable carpenter Paul Sellers, who also has a pay to subscribe website. (Useful if like me you're looking for carpentry projects to practice your skills. I think there's a first time subscriber deal for the first year too.)
Richard Perkins ; permaculture farming efficiently monetized
Bealtaine Cottage ; sights and sounds from a permaculture homestead, a beautiful and inspirational property.
I was watching a video on making Korean Natural Farming IMO preparations/magnets/general soil biology loving...
And I thought to myself:
"hmm rice that makes sense, it's a staple crop where the gentleman Cho Ha-Kyu was developing his methods, but I wonder if other cereal crops would work. If there's a person who has experimented with that it's probably Bryant Redhawk on the permies forum."
My question to you is indeed, have you ever gotten curious about KNF and if so (and time willing) would you please share your experiments?
That's not exactly inoculating a pile of wood chips, but I imagine those inoculated sacks could be used to inoculate wood chip piles in a similar way. I'm going to attempt such this growing season--we can share notes.
I must have missed it in the previous thread, but I thought I'd ask again, what's the finished pile destined for?
Mike, yes, that's what I mean. I was just giving a little unnecessary context.
Thanks James. I'm pretty positive I initially started at the wrong end. I'll give it a go from the other side. For this advice I think you deserve an apple, I don't have any--please take this virtual, virtual apple with my thanks.
Redhawk; Generally anything that has been discovered in the same layer as the plaster and lathing I call original. Definitely not conclusive or anything. Eventually I'll get around to the library and see if anything comes up for this place.
Hello everyone! I have a query I'd like to put in front of the forum. Cue the obligatory "where does this actually belong" sentence/question.
My partner and I just moved into our new to us starter home. Definitely in need of some elbow grease. And I'm currently in need of some advice.
In an upstairs bedroom, a former porch turned into "inside space" has tongue and groove cedar flooring, nailed to the (wiiide-plank cedar) flooring beneath. It's pretty old. Like original to our 1890s house old. It could stay in its place, and I'm inclined to look past the dip, sand and oil the floor. Future buyers might not to be so forgiving/appreciative; and directly beneath the floor we have to run wiring for downstairs lights.
If, and right now it is a big if, I wanted to remove the tongue and groove cedar flooring does anyone have tips/tricks/advice?
Foolishly I attempted to pry up a couple pieces with a crowbar. Should I just suck it up and remove the nails individually?
(Preliminary thinking is the cedar could find a new occupation as a beadboard accent wall in a bathroom.)
I haven't looked too much into how espalier or cordon effects yields. I'd think because we are pruning wood that would produce fruit buds we'd also be limiting the yield--but we can also fit many more trees per acre, than even dwarf sized trees.
The draw of cordons/espalier for me though is context. I'm on a .25 acre urban lot, and I'd like to try as many varieties out as possible. I think the main time crunch is the need for support and the summer pruning-seshes.
I'm all for grafting. Considerably less expensive--for me at least. Usually more variety. It opens up the ability to have multiple species on one tree (if your goal is pollination just make sure to check the approximate flowering times for the varieties so they overlap).
You can buy rootstock once, and then indefinitely propagate it yourself (check out the twisted tree youtube channel for more on that, I linked below).
There's even this cool technique you can do called inter-stem grafting. Which gives the size and early production of a dwarf, but the roots of a half/full standard. (Skillcult has a video out on this, as well as a video on common household items needed for grafting. linked that below too.)
Do you have the time to intensively manage the fruit trees you plant?
You mentioned the area is fenced. Can you use the fence as a trellis, and espalier/cordon the fruit trees? For cordons, the key is to use "spur-bearing" varieties, as opposed to "tip bearing" ones.
I saw a back-to-eden style garden tour on a youtube video, and the gentleman had planted various apples throughout his veggie garden. He even planted potatoes directly underneath their canopy. I think the key to his success was the, approximately, 33 foot layer of broken down wood chips he had built up; and that he pruned his trees with an open center which allowed a lot of light to reach the veggies underneath.
Is grafting an option for you? That could open up a few more possibilities.
The growing season of 2017 saw me taking advantage of the local community gardening plots and the municipal woodchip pile.
The community garden has a stubborn policy of not allowing mulch materials, or any organic matter, to be left on the soil surface. They really like to till, it's a more elderly group, and they value their independence and diversity of techniques. Enough of my sarcasm though.
So at the end of the growing season I had about a cubic meter pile of woodchips just hanging out. I thought to myself, "here's your chance to try some thermophilic composting Kamaar". I added whatever green stuff was growing around my house, that I had chopped from my plot, a lot of comfrey, and some sunflower meal that I had leftover from my first season of growing (2016). Ended up being half woodchips and half green-esque material.
My experience is that the pile indeed got hot. For about 3-4 days. I'd then add more greens and it would heat up for another 2-3 days. I continued this for a month and in the end woodchips looked much the same. What had broken down was the fava bean stalks, tomato stalks, comfrey etc etc.
The pile of woodchips I mulched with for 2017 was twice the size of the pile I attempted to compost. The woodchips broke down more in the garden as a mulch than in my compost pile. If I had used manures that might have been different. If I had more greens it might have been different.
My plan for this upcoming year is to use that "failed" compost pile as mulch (and import many tons more woodchips), and see if I can inoculate the woodchips with King Stropharia mushroom spawn. My anecdata is that woodchips break down faster as a mulch than in a compost pile.
If you find a way to break those chips down in a hot compost pile, please share. It's the least expensive and most readily available source of carbon for me; and I for one would be most interested in, more-successful-than-mine, attempts at composting chips.
I live smack dab in the middle of the Berkshires and in my adventures to find a little piece of land to call home I've looked at a lot of places in eastern New York. Rensselaer and Columbia Counties.
The general landscape is a valley with the Taconic Mountain Range to the East and the Hudson River to the West. From my research, waaaaaaay back when, a glacier moved through the valley and compacted a layer of soil that's anywhere from soil surface level to 25"-ish inches deep.
This compacted layer of soil is known as a "fragipan" and basically nothing can move through it. Not tree roots, not water. The freeze-thaw cycle doesn't break it up. Often the soil on top of it is fertile (in the various ways soils around here can be fertile). The main issue is that water during late winter/spring thaw will "pond" on top of the fragipan (and around here that means potentially major leach field issues).
I don't own a plow or tractor and often I was looking at plots of land around 5 acres. For me human powered tools were insufficient. I'm came across a number of studies researching how to break up fragipans, as this kind of soil layer is also an issue in place throughout the Great Plains. Scientist found that Annual Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum) roots exuded a compound that broke up the fragipan, allowing their roots to grow into it. Crops planted afterwards would follow the pathways created by the Rye Grass roots.
Here's a link; https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/276892/
Not having purchased a piece of land I never got to test the fragipan layer and see what elements it was missing, but like others have said, I have read that calcium is effective in remediating the tilth of compacted clay soils.
I recently bumped into a talk by Elaine Ingham on youtube. Her premise is that a lack of balance between fungi and bacteria in the soil can favor weed growth, and lock up "nitrogen" in the soil in the form of nitrate, in our annual gardens. A fascinating and easily digestible take on soils science. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWeenFw_xV4&t=442s
She definitely has encouraged me to experiment with inoculating my soils with stropharia rugosoannulate.
A short synopsis of his technique; He collects pollen and cross pollinates by hand the varieties/traits he's looking to experiment with; he then collects the seeds from the apples that grow; he plants those seeds out in high density nurseries; and then he grafts the whips onto (likely) dwarfing rootstocks to speed up their fruit set.
That's a good, if laborious, way of (relatively) quickly encouraging the traits in apples you're looking for. I plan on emulating it once I have the space. I've heard the cider rumblings coming out of Hudson recently as well--I'm on the NY-Ma border. In the future I'd be down to collaborate on some apple breeding madness.
One of many ways to respond to cities "nutrient-crisis". Not quite my cup of tea, I'm a land-ape by nature, I guess.
I could imagine "farms" like this stretching along the Eastern Seaboard (for us U.S. based folk).
Probably gonna take another one of those cultural changes we all recognize are needed.
If you haven't already, check with the park's department in your town. They might have a pile of arborist chips free for the shoveling.
While I haven't had any issues with disease from wood chips, I also don't have any trees or woody shrubs. But I have been told my the care-taker at the community gardens that wood chips couldn't be used for that reason. Being obstinate I looked into it, and the results swayed the care-taker's mind. https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/
I'd second vermicomposting, after setting it up it's free.
I started with three rubbermaid storage totes and have since combined them into one giant plastic/rubber watering tank. I've been stuffing it with charcoal recently and then using it as a seed starting mix, probably the highest value I can get from it directly--composting tea as a secondary product. A lot of times it's a feast or famish situation with my worms and they've proven to be resourceful.
The downsides are I haven't figured out a realistic set up for drainage so I occasionally flip that ish to distribute that liquid throughout the castings, and it is tedious separating the worms out of the castings. It's simple, every few months I get 2 or 3 five gallon buckets of material, and it really freaks people in my hood out when I tell em I breed worms to eat.
She root grafted scions, left 5-6 buds above the grafting union and wrapped the union in a way that is likely to cause girdling (guaranteed in her experience). Then she planted the grafted trees with 2-3 buds above the soil, or piled sawdust around the tree (stooling).
Her thought is that the grafted rootstock nurses the scion, and then begins to fail due to the girdle-wrapping and the scion grows it's own roots. She hasn't posted an update yet regarding her results.
Her website is a gem for anyone interested in growing apples.
Aiight. Any experiences with crop rotation in a polyculture?
Theoretically it might be redundant. Theoretically it might be beneficial. Theoretically crop rotation in a polyculture might confuse pest bugs so much that there are too few prey species to support healthy predator populations (this may be sarcasm).
This will/was* be my "control" year in terms of gardening. No polyculture, no applied permaculture. Just a relatively healthy soil and rows of veggies.
I can imagine a system of planting beneficial species near one another and then rotating those guilds through a system.