Michael Bajema

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

Bryant RedHawk wrote:I've been using ammonia as a kick starter for N fixation (35 ml to 2 L H2O dilution) on some green bean plants and the nodules reacted well.

Dr RedHawk:  That's fascinating -- why do you think ammonia would kickstart N Fixation?  The general theory I've gotten from Permie/Organic people is that any soluble N will give the plant such an easy fix, that it will be less likely to invest in fixation.  I should be clear -- I'm not criticizing, I'm genuinely curious!

If you don't mind a second question...my soil is *very* sandy, and has VERY little Cobalt or Molybdenum, and I believe that's part of why N-fixers have not done well on my property.  I have struggled to find a source of Cobalt fertilizer, I do have a small amount of Molybdenum...but I am worried about it just getting washed through the sand.  Any thoughts or recommendations?  I am considering making some biochar, and including the Molybdenum in the solution I 'charge' it with -- I think it will not then wash away, but is it likely to be available to the N-fixing bacteria?

Thank you very much for the help you provide in these forums!  (I've got lots of nerdy questions I want to pester you with sometime!)

1 month ago
So, if you're in Wisconsin, and looking for non-grafted trees, you should look into Mark Sheppard's nursery.  Not the fruits you are looking for, but a good place to know about:  https://www.forestag.com/collections/fruiting-trees-and-shrubs?page=1
4 months ago
I really appreciate all of the discussion.  Carrot seeds are tiny, and can't be buried deep, and dry out easily...  I tried the board trick, and it worked better than nothing...but not very well.  My soil is 90% sand...finally I tried covering the seed with a thin layer of very fine compost/leaf mould and watering EVERY day...that has resulted in pretty good germination.  I still don't succeed well with lettuce...but maybe next year

Rachel Lindsay wrote:My gardening space this year is a long rectangle 35' x 15' literally running along the front of my house. (It will have to be fenced for deer, so a rectangle border it must be.) I have been daydreaming about keyhole beds for years, but now that I have this shape in this place I wonder if it is a good idea.  

The principle behind spacing is that most people can reach about 2' into the garden, so if you have 2-side access, and don't want to step on your growing soil, you want 4'-wide beds, at most.  Then you need 2' between beds to kneel or walk, maybe 3+' for wheelbarrowing in supplies.  I'm sorry if I'm repeating stuff you know.

The principles behind raised beds are:
   They warm up earlier in spring
   They drain off excess water better
   They are a little easier to reach down to

I list these, because the 'draining off excess water' is a Negative for my sandy soil -- sunken beds are better!  You do not need to bring in a lot of soil for raised beds -- if you dig the paths downward, you will gain some soil, and if you do a lasagna garden for the beds, you will also gain some lift -- dig down 6", and put down 1' deep lasagna, and it will start as 18" lift, and settle down to probably 8".

The idea of a keyhole is initially that it is more efficient use of space -- there is less space used for paths...as long as you ignore the significant space *outside* of the keyhole...  I have found that several of them are not more efficient.  Another reason people are drawn to them, of course, is they seem less rigid, and more 'natural'

May I suggest alternatives?  Wandering paths that weave left & right, near the borders.  Or you could mimic the veins of a leaf or a river, with one major river winding the length, and smaller 'tributaries' coming off as needed.  Either would feel less industrial than straight lines parallel to the house, but could be efficient, and give people a path to get to the door, but encourage them to at least pause and smell the roses.
1 year ago
Are you accelerating?  
What's been Permie's largest kickstarter?
1 year ago
I live North of Boston (Zone 5).  Soil is mostly sand + rocks, so I have trouble growing anything.  One hillside in particular is probably old debris, and is more than 50% rocks, and has a fair amount of shade.  One the sunnier portions, Forsythia & Daylilies do very well.  On shadier parts, only Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus), oriental bittersweet and Garlic Mustard thrive.  Oh, and a groundhog.

I would like something robust, even lightly aggressive, which can thrive and spread...but not so aggressive I regret it!

In order of preference, I'd like it to be:
  Cuttable for compost
  A distraction to keep the groundhog away from more valued stuff!

I do want to be able to walk on the hill.

I wonder about mint (I do want some varieties somewhere, but have been warned in strong terms!

Got any great ideas?
1 year ago
If you are going to show video of Helen, I don't need as much of her saying "I'm really good and knowledgeable", but would welcome a couple of minutes of showing me a good example of what she taught -- an example of insight is more powerful than saying "I'm insightful".
1 year ago
Garden Permaculture Master Course:  All the Insight, No Ick  (59 char's, including spaces)

(or a few variations, putting Permaculture first, or in parentheses...)

1 year ago

paul wheaton wrote:hmmmm ....   okay, I see what you did there.  I think you are right ...

maybe the thing to do is fill it out for a bit and then narrow it down again ....

I like it!  I know Helen has worked in different states/climates.   Maybe some pictures of her projects as they are mentioned, with text saying the state/climate (alas, no New England, but I'll forgive her!).  A small tightening:

emphasis on insects and merged crops. And now it is clear that she is "expanding on the work of Fukuoka".  And that was all in parallel to the 17 years she spent teaching master gardener courses.

could go to

emphasis on insects and merged crops -- she is "expanding on the work of Fukuoka" *while* teaching 17 years of master gardener courses.

1 year ago