Brian Jeffrey

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since Aug 19, 2012
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Rutland VT
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Recent posts by Brian Jeffrey

The oldest trees I planted are 4 years old in this food forest.  There are apples, pears, pawpaws, a persimmon, mayhaw, peach, various cherries and plums as fruit trees.  And currants, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and gooseberries in the shrub layer.  Black locusts are for crafting wood on a coppace as well as blackberry trellis and nitrogen fixing. One of the pears and the back row of berries are from the previous homeowner and 9 years old by now.  
9 months ago
Edit, I recommended youtube sorry.  

On netflix, I think Tiny House Nation is a good inspiration for tiny living.  "Rotten" is a good series to watch if you need more reasons to grow your own food.   Not too much in the way of technical documentaries for gardening or permaculture . . . .
    Tree pruning is coming up for me.  Aside from the usual seed searching and veg garden planning . . . my main winter efforts have been in collecting stone for yard infrastructure.  I am blessed to work at a marble quarry/shop with copious geometric leftovers to gather.

Ive made a 4' tall sun dial, as my fav thing so far with the stone.
3 years ago
Forest gardens for the WIN!  Helen yours looks  glorious.  The trees being "scraggly" almost has a better sense of proportion than overbearing large trees.  The pond is nice too, how did you create it?  

My forest garden is coming into its third year now, I cant imagine 11 years in.  Eating into the lawn each year, I have some experience with cardboard mulch.  My primary goal when I use cardboard is to smother tenacious bindweed/burdock/grass.  I only use brown unbleached cardboard with no glossy finish.  On top I throw any yard waste I have as the year goes on.   It works GREAT as a smothering mulch that allows undreneath it for living critters to make a bustling city of worms and mice and whatnot.  After a full year outside I can rip holes in the, now much more brittle and thin, cardboard to sow seeds.  Its 90% gone by the second spring.

The other soil building and weed control method I use is Daikon Radish.  A 20# sac of seed lasted all year.  For existing lawn, I would turn the sod upside down very sloppily and lumpy with a shovel.  And then sprinkle a thick layer of seeds into the area.  The thick mat of leaves is too fast and tall for the traumatized grass to regrow more than a wispy blade here or there.

Do you have a drawn plan for your layout?  Here is mine.  The purple labeled plants are in the ground right now.  The pencil only plants I have already purchased (bare root), and have decided where they will go.  

And the IRL results, the vantage point is upside down and reversed to the plans orientation. :)

An ending thought on forest gardening . . . . .Patience is the hardest, yet most powerful tool.  
3 years ago
Apples are my favorite and most wonderful fruit.  My spirit fruit.  An apple forum is my new home away from home :)

My dog calls apple season, "ball season".  its the cutest and also most arm tiring time of the year.  throwing endless balls(apples)
3 years ago
 Have you considered an old jacuzzi/hot tub? They are often free to anyone willing to take them after the heaters or water pumps break.  I have seen a few jacuzzi frog ponds before and they were big enough to support goldfish as pets and adopted wild frogs.  

3 years ago
  I eat tons of nettle leaves in spring.  To harvest I like to use a colander with a handle and scissors.  Using the colander to catch the trimmings, I will try to cut just the top few leaves and top node with as little stem as possible.  

    I have a little “trick move” where I open the scissors wide, straddle the stem below the area I want, then slide the scissors up to make an almost bouquet of the plant material I want, and snip! This saves me from snipping the leaves from the stem in the kitchen, and getting stung.  

    Once in the kitchen I like to use nettle like spinach or kale.  I’ll cook the whole leaves a bit to take the sting out, then chop as needed.  Nettle Sagg Paneer is my go to recipe.  Nettle does not cook into anything I’d call smooth like spinach, but the texture is not bad either.  
3 years ago
  I love using hand tools around the yard.  It is so quiet and close compared to battery or as tools.  HOWEVER with all the use my wooden handle has been drying up and splitting along the grain.  Ive tried soaking it in watered down glue, wrapping it with P-cord. . .nothing seems to keep the handle secure anymore.

    Is there a point where a handle just cant be salvaged, how does one go about making a new wooden handle for an old blade, its got about a 2" tang. I love my sickle, but dont love blood blisters.

- Pancake
3 years ago
Hi Permies, happy July!  The veggie garden is starting to kick into high gear lately.  The lettuce bed is still producing abundantly despite slugs and snails being prevalent over the whole garden area.  There is always a little leaf damage, but it never is so bad I wouldn't eat it.  I have already eaten more from just this one lettuce patch so far than all the greens last year. 

And a fun slugs eye view :)

     The two all star beds this year have a healthy mix of greens, squashes, and tomatoes.  Both these beds were planted with starts, not direct seeded, except for the tomatoes, they were volunteers.  The mix of vining squash with taller tomatoes and greens gives a wonderfully picturesque image of a veggie polyculture.  

The onion and lettuce bed has been transitioning to an onion and cherry tomato bed.  There is an army of volunteers coming up fast from last year.  I am happy enough to let them grow, with a little thinning.  The lettuce is hanging on in the shade under it all.  Nice big leaves for sandwiches :)

The other beds are still a mix of peas and direct sown greens.  Along with the kale and spinach, a layer of clover grew.  With the intense competition it has dwarfed all the plants, essentially giving me a long term source of baby kale and spinach for fresh raw eating.  The clover is a nice bonus in flavor and vitamins. 

Overall everything is going much better than I had hoped for this year.  The garden has been providing food, entertainment, and therapy.  I'll leave you all with a portrait photo of a couple garden residents. 

Thanks for reading Permies!
3 years ago