Fred Neecha

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since Sep 06, 2013
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Recent posts by Fred Neecha

So I was looking at some other posts on how paper is a potential poison in our gardens. It spurred me on to do some research into what laminate is made of. Apparently PTFE is made of fluorine and carbon. So... no heavy metals. Just extra fluorine, lol. I think I'm going to continue with the paper and the dyes and ink and stuff... and just remove the laminated material. I appreciate the conservatism in terms of purity of garden material, etc. but this is permaculture on a budget. I put plant material in the biochar, but as it stands right now I'm going to include the paper as well... I will just burn the heck out of it.
5 years ago
Biochar noob here...

I've got lots of old papers and documents that need to be burned. Some even have laminate-type material. Can I burn this stuff down real well and use it? I've done this with stuff in the past and I found tiny mushrooms fruiting from it later. Would it be wise to use "biochar" like this from a potentially toxic base?

Thanks in advance.
5 years ago
I bought a bag of all-purpose sand to inoculate with microbe/mycorrhizal tea and fill my guerrilla gardening seed pills with.
Does anyone know if all-purpose sand usually contains fungicides or microbe killers? I reckon it's "sanitized" somehow but I wonder to what extent that effect lingers or if it's enough to overpower the microbes in my wonderful microbe tea.

Thanks in advance!
5 years ago
I have a bucket that I have been recycling lots of old rotten microbe-rich liquids into for a couple years now. Last year I had an aquarium pump running in it and it was awesome - can't wait for my new solar-powered aquarium pump so I can get back to it. I put lots of things in here: compost tea, urine, settled yogurt (for lactobaccilus?), mycorrhizal powder, etc.

Usually I keep it covered so bugs or lizards don't fall in - had this happen too many times. Now there is a film of RED something-or-other on the top. When I mix it up or pour something in it the red film disperses. Should I be concerned about this particular red film?

Other than that my microbe tea works wonders. I use it as a fertilizer and for soaking and inoculating seeds before planting.
5 years ago
Jessica, that is excellent info. Thank you.

I was thinking about doing an infusion and it's making more sense now. I made a tincture and it's kind of icky. Looking forward to the infusion - packed with B vitamins and other wonderful goodness.

Also, that makes sense about the lid. I didn't do that last time but it makes sense why Susan Weed always says to do that now.


EDIT: Apparently David Winston says Tulsi is 'on the verge' of being classified as technically a real-deal adaptogen, but it's not quite there yet based on the evidence we have. I work in a health foods store and it's sold for "stress reduction." Just curious... any thoughts?
6 years ago

Fred Neecha wrote:Funny you say that... my passiflora is eaten every year by red caterpillars with black spikes. Know what these are or what I could do about them?


I have also grown mine from seed but am finding that they spread underground or something. They are coming up everywhere, unexpectedly. They all get eaten though. I've transplanted some before and they took. Just transplant gently into rich soil like you would most other things... I'm guessing... Mine have surprised me with the hardiness of those roots as well, so like she said, there is plenty hope. Good mulch in winter.

Winter medicinal herbs? Know of any John?
6 years ago
Funny you say that... my passiflora is eaten every year by red caterpillars with black spikes. Know what these are or what I could do about them? I think mine is incarnata.
I'd love to make echinacea root tinctures but I'm working on getting a good crop of them established before I start digging them up. I'm a little worried about where they are growing as well. There is some old rusty and plastic junk in my backyard... :/

I am definitely interested in both wild and domestic herbs! Next year I plan on ramping up my dandelion harvesting.

Any other ideas? Thank you very much!
6 years ago
Winter is on it's way...

I've been getting into the Wise Woman Tradition and nourishing herbal infusions, etc.
I'm wondering, other than Goldenrod - which I know I have access to, what other fall/winter herbs can we use for these kinds of remedies?
I'm also interested in making tinctures. Any references to herbs for these coming seasons would be appreciated.

Thank you!
6 years ago
How would you make a Tulsi extraction? Would you make an infusion or a decoction? Tincture? Would you use dried or fresh herbs? Whole plant or just leaves or flowers?
My instinct at this point is to make some sort of infusion, maybe a sun-tea, because of the water soluble B vitamins in Tulsi.
I may also make a small tincture.
What do you think?
Thank you in advance.

Any resources on extraction methods and reasons for using them would also be appreciated.
6 years ago
I'm beginning to worry about my earthworm population. There is an ungodly number of them. Stick a shovel anywhere and four or five immediately flop out onto the surface. I've read here:, that earthworms compete for the same food as fireflies and can hurt firefly populations.

Has this been your experience? I added earthworms to my yard a couple years ago, not knowing about their being non-native and invasive in some respects. I am willing to start lowering their numbers in some way, but this will obviously be a challenge. I'm wondering if it's worth it. What other ways can I increase the number of fireflies? I live out in the country with a lake in my backyard and tonight I've seen about two or three. I don't use any chemicals, but my neighbors do. My girlfriend lives in the middle of the city and around her house there are many times more fireflies than there are here. She has no water feature in the yard, a trimmed lawn, and lives next to other trimmed lawns also drenched in chemicals. What am I doing wrong?

I miss the fireflies! It was a cold, wet winter last year so I heard this should mean higher populations... but alas...

Thanks in advance for your help.
6 years ago