Dorcas Brown

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since Sep 11, 2013
Was introduced to gardening via a victory garden my folks had during WWII    they also raised chickens to supplement our meat rations. This was on Martha's Vineyard. The past sixty years have seen me participating in some form of gardening in Texas, Kansas, Missouri  and even in Thailand.
west central Missouri
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Recent posts by Dorcas Brown

Many years ago I spent a few years on my father-in-law's dairy farm. in Kansas. Many farmers planted a late crop of sorghum. Don't remember reasons but it was a fill-in planting. They used it for filling silos while it was still green. Then if I remember right they grazed the stubble when it put out a few new leaves. -but stopped when frost touched the leaves ( something about freezing made it poisonous). The cows really liked any silage but especially that made with sorghum because it was sweet. Milk production was favorably impacted.

It seems to me that sorghum syrup is milder flavored than molasses. There is some produced locally here in Missouri and I have balked at the price,. After the info about sorghum mills I understand why it is high and will probably buy some next time I see it.
3 years ago

the old standard advice was to plant on a north facing slope = they don't get as warm. That still sometimes didn't help, With the weather changes we've had all over the country this year I expect the fruit set this year will be poor in general. If some fruit sets it may grow extra big because all the strength goes into the few fruits.
3 years ago
I've been thinking about all I didn't say in my post yesterday. Really, this situation would be far different because I am in a town. The basic idea of letting someone practice polyculture,and homesteading skills with out actually buying land is about where the similarity ends. This would be sort of a half=way experience between typical city living and homesteading raw land. My third of an acre gives enough room for lots of learning experiences for a newbie, probably not for any with lots of skills. During my daily puttering sessions outside , the newbie could learn how and why to do whatever i am doing. Living conditions could be off or on the grid, depending on skills. Your own growing space would be as agreed upon , to be used as you see fit. So ,if you are a wannabe newbie,and would like to explore details, here is my e-mail address> grannybrown@klmtel.net.
3 years ago
Is there someone who would gladly settle for a somewhat similar set up here in a small town in west central Missouri? This old gray mare ain't what she used to be and I need help to finish getting an edible yard. I have one sort of finished hugel bed and some others started and lots more planting to do. I have three lots and an old garage besides my house. An ant could fix up a cozy living space in the garage well before winter.She could have small livestock [like chickens in a tractor] and raise lots more food than I usually do. I don't have money to hire any one nor do I want to give up my permies type dream. I have lots more knowledge than energy so it could be good for both of us. If you are interested, please send me a PM. Thanks.
3 years ago
Late last fall my grandson helped me build a RMH. It is usable even without having the bench completely cobbed [heats up my space but doesn't hold the heat long] He lives more than an hour away so I have been waiting to finish it. I found a friend who will do odd jobs for a couple of hours a week, so I hope to get it finished soon. I started scavenging broken limbs along my roadway.Lots of dried wood! I didn't care what kind as long as it was straight enough to go in my feed hole and not punky rotten. I found I could burn quite long pieces but since my feed tube is only 13"tall I had to be careful that they were not top heavy. Having a stick fall over so its burning end is on the floor is not good!
When a Catalpa was wind damaged this summer I was told that it burns quick and hot. So I've got crookedy sticks in my drying pile. A dead Poplar top fell and so I have pretty straight sticks in my supply for this winter. Wood is wood as long as you already have it.
In my yard I planted some Black Locust that I plan to coppice in 3 or 4 years. I want them to be at about the limit of my strength to use my loppers on. My friend with a chain saw has cut sticks[logs] up to 4" or more into about 3' lengths for me any thing bigger is fodder for Hugel beds. We have added wood of many types from storm damaged limbs. What ever kind you have, use it.With a RMH you burn til your bench is warm in winter or until your space is warm in spring or fall. It is a fun [and lazy] [and frugal] thing to do- to heat with wood that otherwise would be wasted.
4 years ago
Young leaves can e picked from most edible plants after a good rain ends a mini drougth. Not the next day but a few days later. Often my favorite wild edible Lambs quarter has grown tall and the leaves are all tough but a few days after a rain there is new growth with young tender leaves. Even with a blossom stalk they are fine to eat. I've tried Poke but even with the recommended water changes I don't care for the flavor. But I think young leaves could be used after a rain - I just went out and checked my yard - Poke has a few straggly new sprouts with green stems. Lambs Quarters are covered with new growth. I picked a plantain leaf for testing{I already know a tea made from its leaves with a little salt added and used cool. has cleared up an eye infection several times over the years. I also picked a Hosta leaf {aka Plantain Lily]. The two P. leaves taste about the same and about the same toughness. Day Lily buds (about two days from flowering are ok both raw and cooked. Spring salads of mixed greens are great.
In me earlier post, I forgot o mention the mycillium that I found here and there near the bottom of my brush pile. By carefully including it in my Hugel I figure that gives me a head start on newly cut brush. Perhaps that explains a little about my pile shrinkage.
today my helper and I piled more slender brush and leaves on a portion of my Hugel. then we topped it with a 4" layer of dirt and watered it. maybe 5 square feet that I can try some fall veggies on. After the widely scattered plants now producing stuff dies down we can work on the rest of my pile
I am having fun experimenting when I am not in danger of starving if it doesn"t yield much to start with
4 years ago
Last summer when I learned about Hugelkultur, I was excited about finallally using up my brush pile. people had offered to haul it out into a bare spot and helping me burn it! I didn't know how many people were on my side in treasuring all that biomass until I started reading forums at Permies. Anyway, I tore that pile apart and put the biggest logs at the bottom where I wanted a raised bed [aka Hugelkulture] I put the smaller stuff on top and built it up to about 3 feet.Didn't have much dirt besides the forest duff that had built up over the twenty or more years I had been piling leaves and fallen branches there.Now. about ten months later, it has subsided to about half as tall but it still has large cavities inside the pile. When we have more veggies given to our senior center than we can use I take the almost spoiled stuff home and stuff it into any cavities I can see. Lots more is needed in and on the pile if I hope to grow more next year. Just putting dirt or compost on top and watering it in, doesn't seem to work it down into the pile. Like several others here at permies there is always more to do than I have time and energy for, but every little bit I accomplish is building my yard to be more like a true permaculture site..
4 years ago
Good to hear about plums. The ones in the store cannot compare with my childhood memories.

I planted some seedling American plums this year. Would they work for root stock when I get some good scion wood ?

Any plum has a better chance of survival than citrus so I'd rather put some effort into them.
4 years ago
Personally, I like "cart, wagon and trailer" in order of size. Or we could use the old English "wain" for one of them. These are all used to bring solar power to the location, right? I enjoy the variety of topics that appear on Paul's e-mails.
4 years ago