Anna Demb

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since Nov 17, 2011
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Recent posts by Anna Demb

We live in town and don't have animals and started using bokashi a couple of years ago. It works well for us because we can put all our food scraps into it, including meat and fat, it doesn't smell so we can keep the buckets indoors over the frozen winter and then in the spring bury them in the gardens or under leaf piles to help the leaves compost faster. At first I was using the commercial, pricy EM, but now I'm making my own out of yogurt whey and using coffee chaff (free) instead of the traditional rice bran (costly) and it's working fine and finishes much more quickly and easily than our compost piles. Simple and efficient once the buckets are built. The garden waste still goes into a compost pile.
2 months ago
I'm also a professional book editor, and Tereza's advice seems sound to me. Journals and newspapers usually use different styling than for books, but for book style, I can also recommend The Canadian Style by Dundern Press, The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, and, if you want to go more British, New Oxford Style Manual. I mostly edit USA manuscripts, and for those I use The Chicago Manual of Style.
5 months ago

Sounds like a good system Anna - do you think the seaweed helps get everything breaking down faster?

Yes, the seaweed helps keep things moist if it's underneath and encourages the worms. But if it's layered too thick, it can get anerobic. Mixed in with leaves on top of the cardboard, the seaweed helps keep the leaves  from matting, and they break down faster together. If we can stand to do the work, shredding the leaves with a lawn mower or a weed wacker keeps them from matting and makes everything  much better.

Anyone else have thoughts on fall leaves under cardboard?

I'd be concerned about matting if they're all alone under there. On the other hand, an important job of the stuff under the cardboard is to attract worms, and sometimes leaves can do that. Also if there are a lot of seeds mixed in (like with our obnoxious Norway maples), putting them under the cardboard would help keep them from sprouting all over the place.
6 months ago
Here in the moist Northeast, sheet mulch with, from bottom to top, seaweed and chopped weeds, cardboard, then about 5 or 6 inches of more seaweed mixed with woodchips or leaves (preferably chopped) works well for us. We cut holes in the cardboard for seedlings. Then second year we usually clear aside the mulch temporarily, use the broadfork to loosen things up a little bit, then plant and replace/add mulch. No tilling ever, but some cultivating to yank out dandelions (sometimes) and buttercups.  
6 months ago

Travis Johnson wrote:

Still, growing up all I ever heard from my Grandparents was how cold and drafty their house was. It was not insulated at all, so as we are about to move into it (this weekend!) I ripped out the drywall and super insulated it. My cost for all that? A mere $500. My Grandparents spent more than that in a single year just buying oil! Can you imagine how much oil was bought in the last 70 years trying to keep that house warm? It absolutely boggles my mind that no one ever insulated that house!

Travis, I too live in a drafty old Maine house. Are your walls 4" thick? What did you insulate them with to make them superinsulated?
8 months ago
Hau Redhawk,

Thank you so much for this information. Finally those esoteric preparations begin to make sense to me. Do you make your own EM with rice and milk?  I've been experimenting with bokashi using various inoculants like yogurt whey and extra kefir grains and also trying out more locally available substitutes for rice bran like buckwheat hulls and coffee chaff (too early to make any conclusions yet). Anyone else doing these things?

Anyhow, now I'm inspired to try your recipes! Thank you again.
1 year ago
this year I planted corn in a strawberry bed among the berries and snap peas on the edge. The peas did well, but the corn was stunted, I guess because the strawberries moved in and took over (there was plenty of room when I planted them). These are full-sized Sparkle strawberries.  

I also have the little wild strawberries growing all over the yard. They were growing when we moved here, so I don't know what kind they are. They make a great ground cover, bear over a long period of time, and are delicious. Amazingly, I found a ripe berry on one in November here in midcoast Maine. It was a mild fall, but still! They spread like crazy, but non-runner varieties exist if that would suit you better.

The wild berries also grow around an apple tree among some other things like peppermint, yarrow, chives, daffodils, and walking onions. The apple hasn't been fruiting well, but I'm not sure of the cause—could be a soil or pruning problem. My peach tree, with similar plants and  full-size strawberries a little distance away and no wild ones, is fruiting great.
1 year ago
I reviewed Mycorrhizal Planet for Publishers Weekly when it first came out. It's PW lenght and style so not as specific and focused as a review I would do here, but it might be somewhat helpful:
1 year ago
Ann Ralph's book Grow a Little Fruit Tree is a guide to growing and pruning full-sized fruit and nut trees to make them harvestable without a ladder and fit a large number of them into a small space. Much of the book is based on Dave Wilson Nursery's techniques mentioned by O. Donnelley, as well as Ralph's own experience.
2 years ago
The MOFGA seed swap/scion exchange in Unity, Maine, is one of the highlights of my gardening year. All kinds of seeds, both common and unusual, lots of apple, pear, and other scion and usually cuttings for things like elderberry, grapes, and willow, and lately even fermentation starters like yogurt and kombucha. There are also free workshops on grafting and other relevant topics. Fedco is there with grafting supplies and rootstocks for sale.