Megan Wantoch

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since Apr 03, 2012
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Northern England
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Recent posts by Megan Wantoch

Pigeon poop is awesome. It almost makes it worthwhile to keep the little vandals. I'm not sure what you mean by toxic- like most manures, it shouldn't be used fresh, directly on plants. I compost mine. If you're worried about toxicity to humans, it's always possible that it could contain some human pathogens, but its no more dangerous than chicken poop. Unless you're collecting from urban pigeons in which case I guess it could have added nasties.
11 years ago
Ooh, and H. syriacus is hardier too, thanks Tyler! Anyone grown it?
11 years ago
I've heard munching with rhubarb leaves will prevent infestation (though not stop it once they get going). Spraying with rhubarb leaf 'tea' works on lots of bugs, particularly soft-bodied ones, but I try to avoid it if I can as I'm not sure how it affects the beneficials.
11 years ago
I don't know much about corn, but I did read that too much nitrogen in the soil can cause it to fall over. I think it's to do with the plants not having to make a big root system to get enough. Then again, I was under the impression that its a pretty heavy feeder, so I don't know how much is too much.
11 years ago
Some studies (sorry, can't remember where) indicate that turning doesn't speed it up, and that its better to incorporate air pockets when you build the pile and then leave it alone. I use egg cartons and toilet roll inners (one folded and put inside another for more structure) and my compost is pretty fast.

I'm jealous of your garter snakes!
11 years ago
We were told by a tree nursery guy that "family trees" are a bit of a disaster, but I can't remember why.

This guy:

plants several trees in the same hole. It apparently makes one tree-shape made of multiple little trees. I'm really intrigued by the idea- has anybody tried or seen this approach?
11 years ago
It does mean that raw salads haven't really caught on there :p

I might be weird, by I actually found the humanure handbook really good reading- was going to skim but ended up reading it all. I highly recommend it.

He lets his cure for one year, but he also monitors the temperature. If I remember right, he recommends leaving it for two if the source is suspect (eg. known disease in the humans producing the manure), the process is suspect (compost not reaching thermophilic stage), or if you just want to be extra safe. He uses his on everything including his lettuces.
11 years ago
Whereabouts are you? That'll make a big difference to what perennials are suitable. Fruit trees definitely a good idea, also nuts. Don't know how big the space is but you could maybe grow things to provide a yield other than food, like fuel and/or weaving/building materials.

You could also grow things for biomass/compost, eg. Comfrey, so it wouldn't matter if the dogs shred it you can rake up the leaves and use them (and comfrey will survive that).

Don't know if this would work, but you could maybe grow some vining crops, like squash, by making a sturdy pyramid/teepee shaped trellis structure. The seeds/seedlings could be planted inside the structure where they'd be safe from dogs, and the plants would grow up out of harms way. Just a thought:)
11 years ago
It could certainly be used for something, even if not deemed fit for food crops, and it would be, imo, a hugely preferable alternative to the current system which uses huge amounts of water, energy and money to convert a valuable resource into toxic waste.

I think we're a long, long way from getting the general populace to see it that way though. I agree that starting small (at home) is probably the way to go, although it does exclude people in urban situations with nowhere for a humanure pile.

Is there any such thing as communal compost in urban areas now? That seems like it would be easier to get people on board with. Could be another starting place.

11 years ago