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james Apodaca

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since Sep 09, 2013
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Recent posts by james Apodaca

I've got vacant residential lots next to mine overgrown with Brazilian Peppers. The canopy extends 15-20ft onto my property on both sides..
I lop the foliated branches off and feed them through my wood chipper to mulch my paths.

I understand wanting to rid yourself of them (especially on large properties).. they go nuts. I haven't found an eradication practice that I'm comfortable with trying yet.
Other than smothering it out as stated above. I thought about topping the smaller stumps with black trashcans or wrapping with black trash bags for a few seasons.

I'm actually attempting to manage the larger ones that I couldn't possibly wrap.. I've cut 4-5 trees down along my property line to allow sun into my garden.
Brazilian Peppers, as long as their shoots don't need to seek light in the under-story, grow straight and FAST - make easy fodder for the wood chipper. So I'm attempting
to leave them alone for the season and before they flower I should be able to harvest a bunch of easily chippable canes to add to the compost pile or refresh garden pathways.

It has left me in the same predicament though - unable to process a large volume of logs and branches which, as I move to the largest of the trees, are only getting larger in diameter.

I need a bigger wood chipper (mine is only 4hp 3" capacity) but that is cost prohibitive.

The few ideas i've come up with I can't possibly put the effort into as I don't own the property next door.. So making keyhole hugel suntraps, lining desired pathways, building raised beds, et.al. are all out of the question at the moment. Currently it's just a habitat for snakes and lizards.

Oh yeah, and I've been itching for weeks.
2 years ago
I can't participate right now, I just wanted to say posts like this from people like you motivate me to want to step out side of my comfort zone and expand my horizons.

Over the years I have threatened to walk away from my life and go to school for it. However, I think your approach is more practical.
2 years ago

Andrew Parker wrote:Rose,
Before committing to purchase anything, plan to spend a week or two in July or August out in the undeveloped areas and try to do something physically demanding for at least 4 hours a day and something productive for at least 8 hours a day (they can overlap) and see how well you like it. [Hint: Start each day early in the morning as soon as it is light enough to see, move under shade when it gets too sunny, then escape to a cooled interior space when it gets too hot.] Keep in mind that you get those conditions for six to nine months each year.



Be careful with this advice, while Andrew is right about getting a feel for the environment and testing your workability.. even acclimated you can dehydrate quickly and be incapacitated without someone to watch your back. In the military they use strict Work/Rest/Water consumption cycles to ensure soldiers don't get unnecessary heat injuries while training (in combat, it's nothing more than a "Hey, it's Heat Cat 5.. drink water, if you can find it get some shade, scan your sector"). Here is a link for your consideration to mitigate heat related injury. It's taken very seriously in training.

Granted the average person doesn't have a Wet Bulb to check.. there are tutorials out there for creating them. I just apply it to the ambient temperature as a guideline when working with others outside to ensure they take rest appropreately.

http://www.martin.amedd.army.mil/meddepts/pm/heat%20injury%20prevention/WorkRestTable.pdf
2 years ago

casey lem wrote:Do the trees absolutely need to come down, or could you trim a little to filter sunlight? As far as rates, we had a large branch over our power lines. I called the power company and they came out for free. Might be an option. Also, I find I'm always running into friends/ co workers who know someone who has a tree trimming business, might find a deal if you look. If the trees do com down you can always use the wood another way.



I agree with that sentiment. Trimming out the branches that don't get as much sunlight because others have grown around them does WONDERS for sun penetration. If they are all healthy committing to managing them might be more beneficial than taking them out in the long run.

I have 12 (palms/oaks) trees in my backyard that provide all sorts of compost fodder, wood chips, habitat for the squirrels and birds that raid my garden, a spot to hang ferns and orchids and air plants, free dragon fruit trellis, shade for the garden and pets.. the list of products of a tree is numerous that aren't quite obvious. I could easily trim two branches off the oak hammock, without setting it back much, to COMPLETELY change the solar dynamic of my yard. Studying your shade envelop could help define the areas you need to prune back.

Sadly, I'm moving and my new yard is a blank, sun poached, slate.. with poor soil and oddly enough there's a large stump in the backyard..

Also, In my area the power company doesn't trim lines between the pole and the house, just between poles on their right of way.. that's the home owners responsibility to source a licensed contractor. So don't be surprised if your utility company declines the maintenance on any wires.
3 years ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
I seriously doubt that eliminating the particular sets of species of fungi that have been found to produce this by product would have any great effect.
On the other hand, our current methods of producing Nitrous Oxide gas for medical uses is also leaking contaminates into the atmosphere.
From that respect, we now have data showing we could simply collect the gas with out going through a manufacturing process.



Absolutely. My first instinct with anything is the "Hold on there" approach. Going full-on catastrophe on new scientific findings based on emotional hysteria is a recipe for disaster.
Defining something as producing, or exhibiting behavior, that is detrimental to the environment isn't a laudable achievement of science for me..
Just an anecdotal observational curiosity to be mulled over. I don't see it being a decisive victory in the overall debate towards the issue of Ozone depletion.
When I'm in a controlled environment and fed a different uniform source of food than I'm used to I produce unnatural gasses in increased quantities as well..

I'm more interested in what I am doing to promote environmental decay than anything else. There's a reason mushrooms do what they do and they achieve success more efficiently than we could ever hope to.
And if it's exudates could be used to further aid humanity in it's quest for world domination.. then, well.. Hey.. This is beneficial but there's still work to be done.
If it's the N2O gas that becomes notable or if they are producing it in the process of breaking down other hazardous materials not sampled in the report..
3 years ago
What's wrong with pill bugs?

I have a zillion of them in my leaf pile and I've always welcomed the sight and never seen any negative effects in my garden..



3 years ago
I use zinc galvanized steel cattle panels to trellis malabar spinach, pole beans and sweet potato (although I wish I could keep the sweet potato off of it) without any noticeable detriment to the plants.

Being that Zinc is a required mineral in our bodies.. I'll take a pole bean from a zinc galvanized trellis over a supermarket pole bean any day.
3 years ago
How tall does red clover get? I've no experience with it. Is there a chance you could plant seedlings in it once they are tall enough to compete?

The main reason for no-till is to eliminate soil solarization.. If it's short enough could it not be the ground cover?

I would invest in a grass hook and chop it down where I plant seedlings and leave the gaps to the clover. Works with planting in Wedelia.
3 years ago
Hey that's a cool site. Thanks for turning me onto it.

I think you'll be best suited doing the research on which mushrooms will work well in the substrate that you will be mulching out around your farm and running limited tests with different self-produced varieties until you know which one(s) perform(s) well. Once you know what results to expect you COULD order bulk sawdust/grain spawn to save yourself the trouble and time associated with producing mass quantities and it wouldn't be as much of a risk as, say, ordering bulk spawn of a certain variety only to find out that it finds your environment to be less than optimal.

Sometimes you can find deals on ordering limited amounts of spawn from certain websites. Fungi.com has (I believe it's permanent) a deal on 3x100plug packs "Buy 3 100-packs of any of our Plug Spawn species (mix & match) and receive a 34% discount at checkout!" but they don't have a large variety. Their pure spawns are quite expensive but they offer a more diverse variety.

I've been eyeballing the Morel's but I don't own my land so I may be moving before they produce.. That would be a waste.
3 years ago

klorinth McCoy wrote:James, thank you for the excellent advice. That was a really helpful response.
I'm thinking you are totally right about learning to grow mycelium.



It's really cool to watch it grow every day. I bought woody mushrooms because my neighbour brought down an oak tree and I had a plethora of logs to play with.
I can't speak to the wood - but I inoculated as many as I could and saved a few plugs in sterilized spent coffee grounds to see if I could grow more stock.
Pretty much, the only reason I drink coffee any longer is to satisfy my sugar addiction and to keep the spawn multiplying.

My logs have been plugged for a year and have shown no signs of growth but they just border my garden beds so if they don't produce they still serve a function.
My Oak leaf piles, however, get taken to easily without any effort other than covering the contents of a jar with dry leaves.

My only difficulty with that plan is figuring out what to start with to learn. They don't really tell you what is easy to grow and learn with.


I know how you feel.. Especially, having spent $40 on spawn with no experience and nothing but others comments.
I wasted a batch of Chicken of the Woods (couldn't get the logs for it, kept it in damp sawdust while looking for them and it ultimately failed.)
and the Shitaki I put in oak logs.. I've got no clue.. maybe something will come of it (I didn't save any plug spawn to reproduce)
But the Pearl Oyster I ordered.. keeps spreading throughout my jars like wild fire.
I've sterilized compost, dry leaves, wet leaves, straw, grains, spent coffee in jars in my little pressure cooker (or water bath prior to finding a pressure cooker at a yard sale)
and inoculated them the next day and it eats on just about anything with varying success rates. Same goes for the other, unknown, variety I have.

At the dollar store Jelly Jars are $5-$8 a dozen.. so it makes doubling and tripling spawn affordable, easy and reusable.

doesn't require multiple temperature changes. Our house is geothermal so the temp is a steady 20 Celcius (68-70F) with almost no fluctuation anywhere except in front of the big south facing windows.
Even the basement is designed to sit at 19 degrees. I could really use a suggestion of species.



My house (Central Florida) stays between 74F/80F (23C-26C)all year round. So I don't have much of a change in temperature either. I guess at night in the winter it can dip below 20C/70F as I really hate getting out of bed in Jan/Feb.

I'm curious about the number of jars you are adding to your pile. How do you decide how many are needed? Or is it just what you have ready to go?


I toss whatever I have left after starting a new batch of jars. I can use 1 Jelly Jar to inoculate another entire (12ea) batch and I usually leave one untouched in case something drastic happens and they all mold over or fail for some reason
(that happens a lot when experimenting with different growing mediums, not so much (if at all) when I propagate them into something I know they like).

If I were to place small piles all around the property and put a jar in each one... I could spread the nutrients and mycelium quickly and not have to disturb the piles once the mycelium is established. I assume that would be much better for growing the fungi I want, where I want it??


If you have the ability to mulch deeply in certain areas to add organic material to the soil around your trees.. I don't see why you couldn't plant several "jar plugs" into the mulch in place around your trees.

It all comes down to your substrate.. Field and Forest has a very limited beginners-primer on their website https://www.fieldforest.net/substrates.asp regarding what common commercial varieties grow best on what. I found it mildly helpful in helping me find something I could at least play with.
3 years ago