j. bruce

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since Apr 05, 2005
York, PA
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Recent posts by j. bruce

Jacke's forest garden book is a good source for temperate zone permies

I second that.  Anyone looking for specific examples of forest garden style permaculture in a temperate climate is going to love the Dave Jacke "Edible Forest Gardens" book series.  Some highlights that i enjoyed were the chicken tractor (Mother Earth News has an adaptation, but i like the illustration and permaculture focus), Petal Gardens under trees, and real explanation of building polycultures.  Really, that book has more information than anyone can digest in a reading, but what i really enjoyed was the attention to garden planning and analysis of other established permaculture gardens.
10 years ago
Found this...

Soils for successful moss propagation:

* For containers to grow moss from pulverized moss for the sole purpose of transplanting: Use builder’s sand and weed-free compost in equal parts (Schenk 98 ).
* For containers where moss sods will be transplanted (i.e. EcoRoofs): Use 1/3 acidic loam, 1/3 builder’s sand, and 1/3 humus with an additional sprinkling of medium-sized water absorbent polymer crystals (Schenk 133). Besides mixing the crystals into the soil, layer a 1/2” of hydrated crystals at the bottom of the container; this will increase the longevity of the moss by harboring it from drought (Schenk 135).
* To stimulate moss growth, treat soil with one of the following: fertilizer, egg whites mixed with water, plain milk, unsalted buttermilk, or beer (Schenk 60). When using fertilizers, make sure that there are no traces of calcium as it kills moss (Schenk 133).
* Most moss prefer soil with a pH level around 5.5. Soil can be acidified to this pH by covering the ground with any of the following, followed by a sprinkling of water to adhere particles to the soil: powered sulfur, powered skim milk, powered aluminum sulfate, or rhododendron fertilizer (Schenk 81).
* To prepare soil for moss inhabitation, keep the ground weeded and smoothly raked, as well as free of leaf liter and other debris (Schenk 85).

Methods of propagation:

* Simply transplant moss from one like area to another (Schenk 89). Plant hand-sized moss sods at spaced intervals of 1’ (30cm.), fix in place with bobby pins or flat, wooden toothpicks bent into a “v”, and wait for the moss’s growth to fill in the barren areas (Schenk 91, 115, 158). Moss should be watered daily until it has acclimated to the site. (Schenk 136)
* Take dried, collected samples of moss and pulverize them by rubbing them across a mesh screen, with openings of 1/4” – 3/8” (Schenk 156).
* Make a “moss-mud slurry” by adding 1 lb. of leaf mold, acidic garden loam or barnyard manure to a large jar and then add water until the jar is 2/3 of the way full. Cap the jar securely and shake vigorously until the contents are well mixed; allow contents to settle. Pour off the water, along with whatever’s floating in it. Scoop one cup of the slurry into a blender and blend with a pancake-sized sod of moist moss. Pour the moss-mud slurry directly onto soil or onto a brick resting in a plate of water; moss grown on the brick can be transplanted to soil later (Schenk 158).

15 years ago
errrr, rock mulch though... usually people just like to have that their way... barron, instead of natures way, living. Seems to be the preference, which i understand because if you've ever tried to string trim in or around rock mulch, you will wish it was bare as well!
15 years ago
Just thought of something else... you don't happen to have any Black Walnut trees around, do you? I've heard of sprays made with the seed matter that can spread the jugulone around, serving as an effective herbicide/pesticide.
15 years ago
you could also make a smuthering weed barrier... i'm not so certain that you'd want to do that above your rocks.... maybe remove some and put the newspaper/cardboard down and shovel them back on... maybe that's too hard, but all the same, you could generate some form of supressing barrier. Like i said, if you wanted to get rid of the grass, a barrier of some kind would work temporarily, but i'd assume that it would all come back as soon as the barrier was removed.

I'd also think that an overdose of nitrogen, similar to what paul had just mentioned, would "burn" out the grass. Again, as soon as the soil levels normalize it'll just come back.
15 years ago
I was wondering if there is a good way to propagate wild moss at home....

I've heard that you just take the moss and chop it up with some buttermilk/sour milk and just spread that around.... is that something that would work? Is there a specific soil acidity/alcilinity that is preferable? Just wondering here....
15 years ago
hmmm, i'm in the process of sheetmulching right now. The same principals are applied. The "okay" soil was covered with 1-3" of hay and straw, then covered with cardbord, on top of that I'm laying 4-5" of mushroom compost and topsoil. After all of that, i'm going to apply some form of mulch, most likely straw as i've taken to it's appearance. I'm hoping things will grow here. i guess i'll have to see!
15 years ago
An aproximation. My time estimation is poor. It takes 45 minutes to do my parent's lawn which is aproximately 5000sq/ft
15 years ago
If your question is "Is a (cyclic) manual mower harder to use than a standard push mower?" Then the answer is no. If you get a good one the cut is quick and it's easy to push. But i think you've fallen victim to a common misconseption.... Those cyclic mowers aren't cheap!!!

10,000 sq/ft isn't too big (in my opinion) to mow with a manual mower.... if it's square, hell, it's only 100ft x 100ft. For the young and spritley (myself) that would only take 2 hrs with one of those manual mowers, assuming the blades are sharp. That's another thing about those mowers: If the blades aren't sharp, you don't cut well at all. The difference is that you are actually making a cut instead of taking a whack at it with something sharp and knocking it over. Maybe i'm being a little ambitious about the time.

Paul has a good idea. Maybe backyard agroforestry might be something you should look into.
15 years ago
This may sound a bit.... obnoxious, but i assure you that the intent is good...

Have you tried using the principals of permaculture to remedy your problem?

Getting rid of:

Ants - Catnip, Mint, onion, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tansy, Wormwood.

Aphids - Anise, Catnip, Chives, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Garlic (works with Roses, why not Apples?) Marigold, Mint, Mustard, Nasturtium, Onion, Oregano, Petunia, Sunflower.

I've heard that chives around the base of a tree will disuade ants from climbing the trunk.... I've heard this goes double for tansy, although i've never planted that. If the ants get into my strawberry patch this year, you can bet i'll try it out though.
15 years ago