Myron Weber

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since Jun 16, 2013
Orange County, CA, USA
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Recent posts by Myron Weber

Judith Browning wrote:Do you know the optimum temperature for keeping a ferment?

Judith -
If by "optimum" you mean promoting the beneficial lactobacillus that do well in cooler temps but suppressing the harmful bacteria that like warmer temps, then I researched this many years back. Couldn't tell you all my sources, but there was pretty good consistency in what I found from popular and academic sources. And my personal experience confirms the research, if that counts for anything.
Low 60s Fahrenheit or around 15-17 Celsius is what I took away as the ideal target for that purpose. Below that, the lactofermentation slows down a lot, and above it the growth of potentially harmful bacteria begins. Another factor, though, is consistency. It's better to have a consistent temperature even if it is slightly higher than the ideal than to have temperature that fluctuates. Temperatures up to the low 70s F are less ideal but the danger zone for the harmful anaerobic bacteria really starts in the mid-to-high 70s.
I used to have a modified mini-fridge with an add-on temperature sensor that kept the temperature at exactly 62 degrees. The ferments were great, but the sealed, cool, moist environment promoted mold growth so I had to clean it a lot. When the fridge broke, I didn't bother trying to replace it.
Now I usually ferment at around 70 F on a shelf in the kitchen and then stick it in the fridge.

If others have different facts/opinions/experiences, I'd love to compare.
4 years ago
When my son (8th grade) was choosing his science fair project this year, I suggested he do an experiment on the effect of mulch on water retention in soil. His teacher accepted the proposal. We have the experiment design pretty well in hand, but he also has to write a research paper on the topic. I have a lot of gardening books, including conventional, organic, permaculture, biodynamic, and probably a few other approaches. Most of them assert that mulch reduces irrigation requirements, a few discuss the mechanisms, but none that I can find refer to any research on the topic.
If anyone has sources we can look at on this topic, please send them my way. This can include any experimental data, academic research, or expert advice, but more specific than generic recommendations.
Help is much appreciated.
4 years ago
Kayleigh - I'm in Orange County, and I'm very familiar with the challenges of land and water in SoCal. Also I have run a business (was a partner in a technology company for 10 years until we sold in 2007 and currently I run a very small technology/consulting business). Here are some thoughts (one man's opinion).

I suggest you do some market research first. Markets apply to both the supply and the demand side of business, and in this case you are most interested in the supply market for tillable land. Find a bunch of typical lots that represent what's available around you - not assuming it's available or what you would use, just a sampling of candidates kinda like what you would want. Then talk to the owners. You aren't selling them, you are doing research. Tell them briefly what you are researching, explain to them your experience/qualifications, and ask them to help you decide whether it's a good idea or not. Give them plenty of room to answer free-form, then pepper them with questions.

This provides 2 good tests. The first is a test of you: it's one thing to come on permies and ask for help, but it's another thing to go to people in the real world with your idea. I expect you will pass this test fine, but it's still an important test.
The second test is your business concept. You might get a clear yes or no, but most likely it will be somewhere in the middle. But you will still have some info (and possibly some candidate properties) that you didn't have before. Then you come back here with more clearly defined questions, and we help you answer those.

Best of luck. If any of this resonates & you have more questions for me, feel free to reach out to me by "purple moosage."
4 years ago

Julia Winter wrote:I listened to an interview with an author who has studied those who beat cancer with alternative methods:

Note: the link above will only work for a couple of months, if anyone has skillz for saving streaming audio, please use them and share with us!

Julia - no need to capture the stream. Just download the mp3 here:
4 years ago

Sheri Menelli wrote:Myron, You are welcome to come down and take a look at mine if you'd like.

Thanks - I might need to head down to San Diego sometime in the next couple weeks. If so, I'll let you know and hopefully get a chance to check it out.
4 years ago
Go Sheri! Thanks for posting, and I'd love more details. I'll be getting started on my pond within the next couple weeks if all goes well, so I'd love to learn from your experience.
4 years ago
Mike, I have no personal expertise in this, but I've heard organic guru Howard Garrett talk about work he's done with a commercial composting outfit that used nothing but citrus waste. Contact him through his web site at or - he's a great guy and always willing to share.
4 years ago
Never thought about it that way, but I guess that's sort of what I've done - but on a small scale urban lot, so it's pretty economical. I put up a fence for wind break. I have trellises for climbers to climb on. And I tactically use a pop up shelter to shade newly planted seeds. These are all functions trees can perform. The fence is intended to be permanent, but as some of my trees grow, I will need less trellising and less pop up shade. Interesting idea.
4 years ago
Misty Ann,
At 4 days I wouldn't sweat the lack of activity. Give it a little more time.
My concern, though, is that since the covering cabbage leaf is not submerged in the brine, it might foster mold growth. Might be fine, but when I use that approach I put a flat rock on top to hold it down, and I make sure the leaf and rock are covered in liquid - even if I have to add extra brine.
One man's opinion.
4 years ago
Agreeing with what Leila wrote, I would simply add that instead of making your own recipe, maybe you should use a reliable recipe for something simple. No disrespect intended and I'm a big fan of experimentation, but since you seem to be struggling to get started, play it safe for a while.

There are lots of recipes easily available. Here's one of mine that's pretty easy:
You can use your crock or the jar method I describe.
4 years ago