Michael Bajema

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since Jun 25, 2013
Eastern Massachusetts
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Recent posts by Michael Bajema

Thank you everyone.  We have some of these started...we'll see how it goes.  I also hope that this year the 3-sisters will work better than previously.

mlb
6 months ago
Skipping details for brevity...we have a large front yard, covered with wood chips for a couple of years...we want to make it prettier...but can't plant our dream perennials this year while we map out sunlight better.

So...I would like to plant some annuals...but I now know perennials better!  Any advice on Fast-Growing, Pretty Annuals which won't make me regret introducing them?  We live north of Boston, site is neither wet or dry, quite flat, soil is rocky, more sand than clay. and, while there will be shade, this is one of the sunnier areas on our yard.  

It is a large, bare yard, bounded in back by a rock wall 3 feet high.  I would like some large, bold, dramatic plants that would quickly fill space with color, to be pretty for us and our neighbors...but won't re-seed so aggressively that I fight it for years afterward.

Any recommendations?

Thank you, mlb
7 months ago
I wondered if we could have a map of where all of the Permies are.  I would love to know who else is in my area, possibly meet them, and find ways to share (get cuttings!?).  Or when I travel, if I knew I was near someone, it would be fun to ask for a visit.  Alas, my own place is not in the shape yet where I would want visitors...so I know not everyone would welcome random call-ups, but it seems like we could put that information in.

I found this thread:  https://permies.com/t/57396/Add-Permies-Worldwide-map  But it is 3 years old, and had been locked by that point.

Would anyone else find this helpful?
1 year ago
I'm also curious where you are.  I'm 25 miles N. of Boston...probably not your area, but might be able to help.
My uncle-in-law used to be overwhelmed by horseflies in a residential neighborhood.  He did the 'blue-sticky-hat' thing for a while...then got a moving-black-ball-under-a-tent-leading-to-a-trap -- very much like the mechanical trap Hans mentioned.  The first year he had to empty the trap daily, and had few bites.  Now there are so few around that a spider just lives up in the trap and has easy meals all summer, but he doesn't have to empty the trap at all.  He said it is spec'd to clear 2 acres, which is about what he has.  The one shown from Amazon looks expensive...but the only effort is to put it out each spring, and put it away each fall.  Highly recommended!
2 years ago
Hello.  This may be a blatant attempt to win Robert Pavlis' book (https://permies.com/t/65720/Robert-Pavlis-author-Building-Natural)...but I actually have real questions I've wanted to ask someone!

We own 2.5 acres North of Boston, with wonderful varying terrain, and we are looking forward to building the Ultimate Permaculture/Edible Forest Garden to Convert the Whole World to the Perfection that is Permaculture.  In all of my spare time, that is.  (Is it weird that the Permie's forum editor ID's "Permaculture" as a misspelling?!)

1.  We are considering a Rain Garden to catch road, roof, & driveway runoff.  But the most obvious spots are within 10-15 feet of an old-but-certified-functional cast iron septic cesspool.  What risks do I take of raising the water table in such a way as to negatively impact the effectiveness of the septic system?  The sites I am thinking of are slight depressions in the ground...but only 1 foot below the ground level at the top of the cesspool...which starts 6" under the dirt, and extends for (I think it is) 7 feet down.

2.  We have a great valley, starting about 15-20 feet from our house.  I have wondered about putting a dam in, along with swales, etc., to eventually provide it water.
    a.  Is there an equation which can allow me to calculate an appropriate surface area or volume given an amount of land which would drain into it?  We do not currently have standing water....I do not want to fill it with city water...and I don't want to just get stagnant water.
    b.  Would I risk raising the water table?  My basement would be at risk.
    c.  An elderly gent who used to maintain the property for the owner claims there is an 'underground river' near our basement...we also have an old stone well at the 'entrance' to the valley -- does this prompt any good ideas?
    d.  Several people have told me NOT to build a pond, because I would come under very challenging wetlands regulation.  Has anyone dealt with legal problems with built ponds & wetlands regs?  (I currently have no wetlands within 50 yards of my property).

Thank you
3 years ago
Andrew -- thank you for your encouragement.  I do think this model could be an interesting way for small gardeners to contribute to Permaculture.  I like your biochar experiment, and I would like to know the results.  For myself, I want to dig up and think through the critiques and praises for Permaculture...and identify what is testable...and come up with some specific proposals.  Considering that my life is currently swamped, this may take a bit, but I think it's useful.  

A mentor liked to say "It's easier to put red ink on black ink than black ink on white paper" -- by which he meant that it is hard to write up a useful plan, but once you do, the community/meeting can edit it, and make it better fast...but the community/meeting is terrible at creating a proposal.   I needed to be reminded of that...and now I need to get some black ink down.

mlb
4 years ago
I still like the idea, and I think there is room and value to the approach...but obviously I need to clarify my goals and be more specific.  The discussion has made me think usefully about the place, value, and definition of Permaculture.  I'll be back when I can define what I have in mind usefully.  Thank you for your responses.
mlb
4 years ago
One obvious portion of the question is to determine exactly what a community of gardeners could provide useful data on.
4 years ago
Tyler:

I agree -- Permaculture is a philosophy & system of design, and as such cannot really be proven or disproven. What I was referring to is the suite of techniques & ideas which are encouraged by advocates and derided by others. Apparently Geoff Lawton has referred to it as the "Permaculture Wardrobe", though he may not have been the first: http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2014/09/06/the-permaculture-wardrobe/

Permaculture advocates would argue that things like chop-&-drop, polyculture, swales, compost teas, etc., can lead to as much or more productivity & quality, for less work and money than the 'modern' approach of annual rototilling + fertilizer, and many people would say 'poppycock!'. Could we develop the evidence for which either supports or undermines these approaches? Dynamic Accumulators have fallen out of fashion in permaculture because supporting evidence couldn't be found. Could we supply that evidence or truly disprove it? I will check to see if the websites you provided provide any of the answers. If they do, that would just move me towards the next questions.

mlb

4 years ago