Merry Bolling

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since May 24, 2013
USA, Arkansas, zone 7b
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Recent posts by Merry Bolling

Trying to help instill a love of nature to my homeschooled grandchildren. Your book will be a wonderful resource!
1 month ago
When I lived in Houston, my back yard would flood from a nearby creek, but most of the year it was dry. A local author of native plant books suggested I try Beautyberry bushes to withstand both flood & drought. It can be tall, but can be used in the background or just prune it shorter. Here's a bit more info (but it did not state it was flood tolerant and I never tried it in my yard before I left Houston). Good Luck!
1 year ago
Hi Rebecca...and Welcome!  I'm in SE Arkansas and Prunus americana (or "Wild Plum") is typically found in the northern half of our respective states from what I understand. But you might have a good microclimate for it and it may have decided it liked your site. Plant ID is not my strong suit, sorry to say.  Have you snipped a sample (branch with leaves) to your local County Extension Agent to confirm your ID? Here are a couple of Wiki descriptions that might assist you: Wikipedia and Wiki's Practical Plants  
2 years ago
As always, RedHawk, I appreciate the threads you start. Thanks for this one about soil vs dirt!  
Hans, I also appreciate the answers you give in the threads I read here on permies. I was interested in having a plant source rich in silica and so internet-searched your suggestion of Horsetail rush. What I discovered was while it definitely is a good silica source, it had some potential toxin problems, including nicotine and thiaminase, see Plants for a Future at  PFAF and also check the work of herbal formulator James Sloane regarding Horsetail Grass. A couple of my medical conditions precluded using Horsetail rush for me.
While Horsetail rush will be a plant I put on my wish list as a fiber plant (scouring pans, etc.); silica-rich edible bamboo shoots could also be a potential choice for eating...although, according to, bamboo has heavy-duty toxins as well. Even when boiled, apparently pregnant women should not eat bamboo shoots, see  
Obviously, I am no expert on any of these plants, but I thought you and others might appreciate what an internet search came up with. And, of course, each of us has a unique body with differing levels of tolerance to the foods we ingest...figure out what is best for you before you bite.
2 years ago
Jason Padvorac wrote:

I’d love to include dutch clover as a nitrogen fixer, but in most of the annual beds it simply grows too tall.

Shane Kaser wrote:

I know you said it's not all about the nitrogen-fixer, but really it should be the foundation of any ground-cover in disturbed sites (annual vegetable beds). I know you said White Clover is too aggressive for you, but you really have to give it a chance.  It is everything you wanted in your list of worthy attributes.  Much less aggressive than mint, but still resilient

I'm a bit confused. Isn't dutch clover a dwarf clover (Trifolium repens) growing 3"-6"? SFGate How to Plant Dwarf White Clover. You might consider another dwarf clover like Trifolium nanum USDA Trifolium nanum.
This thread has convinced me I need to experiment with a ground cover mix of wild strawberry, dwarf clovers, dandelion and the wild violets that grow around here (and some other plants suggested here). Thanks for the inspiration!
2 years ago
Hi Fernando!  If "Golden" is in the name, quite a few apple cultivars could be the one you are looking for. Check out the G section of this website to help identify the one you ate:
They have quite a few, but in addition, I know of a early bearing cultivar called "Golden Transparent." Good Luck!
2 years ago
Wow! Lots to think about and lots of researching / talking to people to do. Thanks, Claire, Zach (table in book helpful), & Angelika! At first blush, it seems like too much work to do for the money we would potentially make; we are also considering what we could supply to local restaurants, especially during the Summer & Fall tourist times (small, but growing). We've also thought about what products we could grow that transport well, selling long distance via internet or to wholesalers.
But we keep coming back to the Farmer's Market option. Our community could really use a thriving, vibrant Farmer's Market. A place to hang out and visit with neighbors (currently WalMart). A place to buy quality, healthy foods. A place for tourists to mingle with locals and feel a part of the place. At least during the tourist season, the Farmer's Market might become part of the "reputation as destination" mentioned by Zach (wasn't sure what you meant by being near cottage country though, could you clarify?).  

Like I said, lots to think about...and we thought things would slow down for us in "retirement."  
2 years ago
Thanks for the idea, Mike.  Certainly worth a try!
2 years ago
Hi Zach and fellow permies!
My husband & I retired to a small town (5000+ people) and are looking at selling our excess garden produce (and hopefully planning, if profitable, an extensive garden expansion). Our local Farmer's Market typically has 1-3 vendors and very light foot traffic. As in, we are often the only buyers there when we stop by. Larger, busier Farmer's Markets are a minimum of 80 miles away (one way) and the cost of transportation would put us at a pricing disadvantage compared to the vendors that live nearby.

We're unsure of the reasons behind the lack of foot traffic at our local Farmer's Market. Based on the conversations we've had, many people grew up with parents or grandparents that had large kitchen gardens, but most of them don't grow their own produce now. Of those that do garden, some are organic, some think nothing of using pesticides. People shop for food at WalMart or the one other grocery store. Both stores have small organic produce sections, but are mainly limited to lettuce mixes, greens & carrots. There is often a choice between organic or commercially grown strawberries or blueberries. This is a lower income area with quite a few retirees.    

So, how do we figure out why our Farmer's Market has so few people attending?...and how can we help build foot traffic without it becoming another part-time job on our ever-expanding To Do List? Any suggestions would be appreciated!
2 years ago
Are you talking about tent worms? If so, it is my understanding that some trees are healthy and established enough to survive the tent worms defoliation of their leaves. I would assume that means some trees won't be healthy enough to survive, though I haven't had any of my infected trees die.

Then again, I use a long pole with a small crook atttached to the end and stick it in the web, wrap all the tent & worms up I can reach like cotton candy and then dunk them in a big bucket of water. Dead worms get composted. I don't want to take the chance that my fruit or nut trees will not survive the tent worms.  Some webs are too high for my pole (with extension) to reach, but as long as my trees have leaves on the branches I can reach, the trees have survived. Some people suggest using fire instead of water, but there are often burn bans in effect here and fire can get out of control (whereas I've never had my bucket of water escape    ).

It helps to understand the life cycle of the pest. Here is info I found useful:
Helpful to scrape off the egg cases when you can see them in winter/early spring before the trees leaf out. Just search for "tent worm egg cases" to find lots of photos.
2 years ago