L. Jones

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since Apr 29, 2012
NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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Recent posts by L. Jones

As many a hippie found out 40 years ago: You'll be trading one form of stress for another, especially if you don't have a "real job" with income and are depending on crops for food/income.

fer-instance: A late freeze sucks in your garden, but can be the end of a farm, if you don't have adequate reserves. In proper permaculture methodology you have many things and some make it through and you don't have the same issue a mono-crop farmer does, but it's not so uncommon for there still to be one crop you are a lot more economically dependent on than others - and you'll also have a job getting well-diversified and feeding yourselves in "a year or two" with little experience. Substitute freeze with plague of pests, drought, floods, hurricane irene, etc...or several in the same year.

Consider a job with "not as good pay" that is still a job (preferably with benefits - no health insurance is one of the very expensive stresses of not having a normal job) that allows you to live NOT in a major metro area. That will ease the transition (and you may find that you have more money, too - major metro areas are expensive to live in, and are preventing you from growing your own food.)
6 years ago
What size are the rectangles? Without even having that information, the fact that they squeeze through says:

Fence with smaller holes (for instance, what is more normally called "chicken wire" - available with a variety of hexagoanal openings down to 1" (there may be smaller but that's the smallest I normally see). That is usually cheaper than "hardware cloth" which is available in 1/2", 1/4" and 1/8" square openings (perhaps 3/8" too.)

They may tunnel, (so you may need to bury fence - but they often don't, unless the fence has half-a-hole under it to start with) and will exploit any little gaps around/under gates, etc.

You could try electric fencing, but that close to the ground it would be frustrating to maintain, and probably only fully effective if they touched it with their noses.

Dogs, some cats, and various methods of catching them for humans to eat are other options. Be aware of local parasite/disease issues, what to look for and how to deal with them. Put up a handy perch for owls?
6 years ago

Craig Dobbelyu wrote: AND... The results are the same: Tomato don't fall over!

...and yet you skipped right over needing to tie the tomato in in this analysis, though it does figure in your first reply. Twisting and tying. Pruning, perhaps. Every few days when the growing is good. They are not peas, hops, beans or grapes - even melons do a better job grabbing onto things.

Put up a cage around a tomato, it grows up and fills the cage. No human intervention is required. The occasional leader may go sideways and break, but a sucker will fill the cage. If you have time to fiddle, you can push the leaders back in if they go astray, and prune if you like, too. But you don't have to, and you still end up with a cage full of tomato plant, and tomatoes in and out of it.

Put up a stake by a tomato, AND...it falls over, runs across the ground, and sets fruit on the ground.

Unless, of course, you want to spend time throughout the growing season holding it up. That adds up to a HUGE amount of time. Tiny bits of time, but many, many tiny bits of time.

Cage - End of season, pull up the whole thing, pull the plant out the bottom - 15 seconds, tops; 5 if you don't wait once it's dead and let it get crunchy.

If it takes you hours to make tomato cages from 6 inch remesh, you're doing it wrong. Measuring 8 feet is about as hard as counting to 16, and takes even less time than that after the first piece is cut.

But hey, do what you like, no offense taken - there's plenty of folks that love to fuss with tying tomatoes to stakes. I'm comfortably not one of them, because the way I do it is is FAR less work. I prefer to spend my tomato plant time picking fruit.
6 years ago
Stakes, natural or otherwise, are way too much bother/work/fuss IMHO.

A good inexpensive cage is ~8 feet (long) by 5 foot (wide) 6 inch by 6 inch concrete reinforcing wire. Roll it up to make a 5 foot high by ~2-1/2 foot diameter cage, which has holes big enough to reach into. Longer or shorter for larger or smaller cages - that seems to be a good size IME. Wire a few sections of rebar to the bottom for staking it in place. If you have infinite time I suppose you could make something similar from willow, and have it rot out every year or so, but I don't have infinite time, and reinforcing mesh is cheap for the job (and lasts a good many years.)

6 years ago
The second picture is a peony in front, with a tree behind, left side.

Many trees look very similar at this stage. Even with enough detail in the picture, it would be difficult to be certain what it (or they, since I don't see a peony in the back of the first picture) are.
6 years ago
They are generally farming aphids (which tend to match the green of the leaves and can be hard to spot) and as such I consider them "not helpful" and get out the tanglefoot. I suppose it could be possible that yours are directly going for sap from the leaves - I'd still call that not helpful and do something about it.

Peppermint has no effect on ants here - they happily build nests in it. Tansy supposedly does, but I'd suggest growing a patch far from anything you love too much and chopping/mulching with the tops to see if your ants care about that, or ignore it. It can be a tad aggressive. Mom put a bit in a flowerbed once, and we had a monoblock of the the stuff taking over that bed for a long time. A serious effort was required to remove it. I can't recall if that actually affected the ants there.
6 years ago
Band: The Fools

Song title: Life sucks, then you die

The content of the song includes: power tools, appendages, power tools applied to appendages, a barn that needs fixing...
6 years ago
Supposedly (Per Bill Mollison) daikon radish will poke those holes for you. Worth an inexpensive try. Whoops, i alreaady said that in this thread. Sorry. Delete?
6 years ago