Brenda Groth wrote:
...also I let the hoary alyssum grow outside of the garden proper, as it is a great trap crop bof some kind of beetle that has a read body with some dark black marks on either side..no not ladybugs.
Hoary alyssum - I found a hoary alyssum plant growing in some very poor ground (compacted gravel), and for some reason I thought it was a clover. Then I read how toxic it is to horses, etc. But I don't have horses, and I'm not baling hay, so I guess I'm thinking that this hoary alyssum is where it's supposed to be, helping push back the less desirable foxtail grass, thistles, and wild parsnip that previously dominated that area (and may again). I just thought it was pretty. Now, three years from now, if I'm drowning in hoary alyssum, I might not feel the same way. I wonder if those bugs you mentioned are Red Milkweed Bugs (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus) or some other long-horned beetle.
We, too, are transforming a lawn into a growing landscape using wood chips on cardboard.
I understand that some folks want to avoid inks and whatever else, and so they don't use cardboard as a mulch. I get that. That's why I don't use those shiny boxes with multi-color inks and pretty pictures of the products that once were inside of them, but I do use nice big boring old brown cardboard boxes as mulch. They break down fast after smothering that gol-durn crabgrass, and then wood mulch hopefully helps smother the next year's seed bank.
Last summer, I planted round 1 of trees/shrubs in the "lawn" and then laid down cardboard, further mulching with 5"-6" of locally sourced wood chips. This year we'll expand that with round 2 trees/shrubs, and we'll plant lovely edibles/medicinals/show-offs in last year's round 1 project by just pushing back the wood mulch and digging in.
Regarding cardboard mulch: I believe in using what I have, when I can. Back in the city, the nice trash men and recyclers took away practically everything, including our flattened cardboard boxes. But now in the country, I am wealthy with cardboard from moving to the country and various "country living" shipments. Yesterday I received a shipment for seed-starting supplies - it came in a cardboard box within a cardboard box! Sure, I could drive all these boxes to a landfill and make them somebody else's problem (aka "kicking the can down the road"), or I can deal with the cardboard myself and let nature do its thing.
After all, my cats don't need too many cardboard forts. They start getting ideas...
Great thread. I've just taken over a 5-acre parcel with about 3 acres in pasture. Mind you, this is definitely in the country. In the heart of the Roundup Ready "corn and bean" country. Even so, I notice the neighboring farms are diligent about mowing. A neighbor stopped over tonight to make sure I'm not making meth introduce himself. He mentioned that the previous owner kept everything mowed. I had just been out on the mower and was feeling pretty good about the amount of mowing I did. (NOTE: like many others on this thread, I am planting in phases to reduce the need for mowing.) The power of "lawn shame" was palpable. Tall grass is like an untucked shirt, apparently.
So, added to the list of 'why people mow', I would suggest that, in certain cultures, conformity is community. If you don't do it like the former occupant used to do it, the entire social structure may unravel. Dogs will turn feral. Deer will steal your truck keys and try to run you down. Giant rats will clog your septic system. All because you didn't mow your land.
The one consolation I have is mowing on my Husqvarna zero-turn mower is kind of fun, but I don't want to have that kind of fun two or three days a week in the summer. I don't have a tractor, and I don't want one as I'm not particularly mechanical, so mowing the pastures seems like a huge waste...however, I don't want it turn into a thicket - not without it being at least a planned permaculture thicket! I'm thinking a herd of brush-clearing goats who keep everything trimmed in the summer and then take a nice vacation to Phoenix in the winter would do the trick. Or maybe an apocalypse of wood mulch.
We are about ready to try out our copper alembic still for the first time using lemon balm and peppermint as they're producing the most biomass in the garden right now. Anyone have experience with an alembic still?
Robert Hayes wrote:Oak, maple, privet, chestnut, willow & holly, are some of the varieties used in traditional hedge work. Willow and Elderberry might just become rooted now if you just poke them into the ground. You can see 1000 year old hedge fencing in UK. This might be a slow fence unless you've got a standing thicket right where you'd like your fence. Devon or Leeds, for instance, this spring you can take a great course on this craft for £60 - or for free if you are "on benefits". You'll have to hop over the pond to get there however. Or study a few videos about hedgelaying maybe?
Thank you for sharing those videos, Robert! Nice to have options - and visual 'how-to's'.
I could really see the value of PDC training held directly in your growing area, with a support network, etc. Until I connect with permies in my new area (southeastern Minnesota), I'm scouring the forums here, and I just ordered Sepp Holzer's Permaculture book. But definitely, a one-to-one connection and training with real-life, local permies has got to be worth something. And here's a thought: maybe the transaction doesn't have to be money. Could be a labor exchange. Goods exchange - whatever. Let's think outside of the squarish cardboard container.
Howdy, I see a lot of discussions on threads about cover crops, pasture mixes, and sourcing seed, but I didn't see Albert Lea Seed listed as a resource for those of us in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois. They're located in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and definitely worth a look. Family owned, local, and independent. Seed suited for Midwestern properties.
To be fair, I am biased, because I work there, but I went to work there because their corn and soybean lines are all non-GMO. They have plenty of organic options for organically certified farms, too, with more coming every year.
I'm excited about the frosty berseem clover I got there this year. I'm testing Frosty Berseem this year in a cover crop mix in the garden. Apparently it germinates in soil at about 35 degrees Farhenheit.
In addition to the big farm crops like corn and soybeans, Albert Lea Seed sells alfalfa, winter rye, oats, barley, wheat, emmer, triticale, clovers, timothy, a lot of forages, millet, hairy vetch...I'm just poking through their catalog as I type here. There's a lot more.