Meghan Orbek

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since Apr 23, 2013
Yonkers, NY/ Berkshires, MA USA
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Recent posts by Meghan Orbek

Wow that is a great link! Thanks.
3 years ago
Thanks, R.
I like amaranth working as a grass suppressor/windbreak/DA in the nursery bed, but I wouldn't want it to get too close to the trees. Some are so small they would get lost and shaded out. Also my place is vole/field mouse heaven, so I wonder if the amaranth stalks up against trees would create a cozy habitat from which those creatures might happily chew away the cambium of delicate saplings (this happens with grass without fail). That is the greatest danger to my young trees. There are lots of methods for preventing it, but all require time and attention. I sheet mulch around my trees and sow white Dutch clover which doesn't seem to harbor mice.

Doubtless the amaranth will be more robust each season as seed falls... I will report back about whether amaranth continues to help me strike a balance between not too much/enough protection.

I will re-emphasize here that an amaranth backdrop makes non-permie visitors impressed by an otherwise humble bed (and in my case, constantly strewn with ugly cardboard). There really is something to be said for that. In terms of engaging people with the landscape, I think amaranth by small trees is a win.
3 years ago
FYI there's a nice group of folks in Western MA doing stuff. A certain jolly fellow I know runs some nice community events out of his coffee shop in Pittsfield. Film screenings, etc. In fact I'd say Pittsfield is really getting on a roll permaculturally speaking. Keep us Berkshire folks in mind if you're interested in a meetup or whatever.
3 years ago
Regarding pondweed, my friends have a giant rake attached to a rope. They throw the rake out into the pond, then pull it back by the rope. They also have a little rowboat which I imagine helps. This method has worked for them for decades, and when I have worked in their garden, it is REALLY fun to have all that pondweed.

Regarding hugelkulture slope, there's a picture in sepp's book of a woman leisurely picking from a hugel with a basket... I think wearing a pink shirt. The idea is that the hugel is perfectly proportioned to her body so she can reach the garden- even at the top- without bending or leaning over much. Folks in wheelchairs should also ideally be able to reach the garden easily. The extreme slope is for maximum surface area and accessibility. If you don't care about that, it doesn't really matter. If you do, you're aiming for a hill that you can stand up straight at the base of, reach out your arm over, and touch the crest with your finger tips. That's STEEP! To achieve this, I recommend pinning branches on newly built and seeded beds (all in the same day- you will need an excavator) as described by a few people above. That's how Sepp taught us in Montana and he strongly emphasized that doing it differently is NOT his way.

I myself am enamoured with the Sepp Way, but I believe it will take me practice before I can recreate it by myself. Remember that he has been experimenting with this stuff on his giant farm for a loooong time. The way he explains is his favorite for the above reasons. Now you get to find your favorite. Looks like a bunch of folks have shared theirs in this thread. I always love to read Bryant's take on things, for example. So inspiring!
3 years ago
I know this thread is old, but I'm wondering what suppliers people have used (somewhat recently) for drip irrigation parts or kits. We are building a large rainwater collection system off the barn roof and I am planning to build a rather large drip system off of that for young trees and shrubs.

My initial online search brought me to a supplier with commercial grade expandable and customizable kits... However I am not finding that now. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
3 years ago
Careful with sunchokes...I wouldn't plant them unless I was okay with them taking over a place after a few years and staying forever. But then, I don't have pigs.
3 years ago
I'm so glad to read about amaranth winnowing. Thanks everyone!

Anyway I am using amaranth as a mini windbreak/dynamic accumulator on the north side of my nursery bed. The baby trees are small, and a couple feet away the amaranth row seemed to create a nice little vegetative wall for sunlight and moisture to bounce against. Delicata grew happily amongst the amaranth, so there will be more of that this year.

It's also noteworthy how handsome the red toned amaranth looked in an otherwise comely garden, with sunflowers and pumpkins behind it to the east of the tree saplings.
3 years ago
I'm also looking for things to go in the blueberry clumps on the south side of my old field mosaic. I'm hoping they'll play well with haskaps, lignon berry, high bush cranberry, ground cover roses... Or is it ill advised to mix bloobs with so many other shrubs?
3 years ago
Cool! I assume that outdoor design is for environments with temperate winters? I'm pretty sure it would freeze solid where I live.

I have an old trough in my basement for vermiculture. It's a big step up from (worm factory style) bins for me. This summer most scraps are going outdoors to the garden compost pile, but come winter i will refocus on the worms downstairs.

I got the trough idea from am old magazine. Some folks were using them for a bigger vermiculture operation in Hawaii?
3 years ago
Does anybody have access to a large fruiting female and the kindness in their heart to share some fallen berries via usps?
3 years ago