Gilbert Fritz

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since Sep 13, 2013
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Recent posts by Gilbert Fritz

When and if these areas do flood, it would unfortunately be in the spring or summer as a flash flood, probably thunderstorm driven.

On most of the sites I've seen, there is an "upper terrace" and a "lower terrace." Both due to flood risk and competition with willows and cottonwoods along the creek, crops do better on the "upper terrace" and the slope in between.

In theory, houses could have been built on the upper land, but when the neighborhoods were developed, there was no way to squeeze in another line of houses.

I could dig a pond in the "lower terrace" but in my built up area I think the "muppets" would figure out pretty quickly that I was stealing water from the creek with my pond. Water wars are still going on here, they are just fought in court now.

1 day ago
Thanks for all the thoughts!

It is interesting that so many of you are suggesting trucking in water; I'll have to look into that. I could probably combine some water catchment with a big tank that could be topped up with trucked water IF it is not prohibitively expensive.

I could, in theory, dig a pond, but I'd still need water to fill it; I'd get into trouble if I use any flowing or ground water, though it could be used as cheap water storage. (Until recently, catching rainwater was illegal! It is still a grey area in the law.)

Catchment is a bit limited in that I'd need an equal area of catchment and growing area.

This last year I gardened about a thousand square feet on a three quarter acre lot. In addition to my garden, the owners had some lawn and gardens, though there was a lot of unirrigated space, and they were not crazy about the lawn.  The water bill for the irrigation months was well over a thousand dollars; their winter bill was about thirty dollars a month.

I'm tossing around a few catchment type ideas here.

1 day ago
I'm considering some ideas for growing vegetable crops on sites without water access. We get about 15 inches of rainfall, a bit less than half of what most vegetable crops need.

If sheets of plastic were laid on contour with open strips in between on a gently sloping field, would the catchment effect enable thirsty crops to be grown? I'm thinking that each sheet would end in an on-contour ditch to ensure catchment and infiltration of all the shed water. And of course, this would have to be combined with sensible mulching, weed control, varietal selection, etc.

What materials would be best for this, from durability, sustainability and cost perspectives? I've thought of everything from metal roofing to plastic sheets to pond liner to coated cardboard to concrete chunks laid like tiles.

Would it be better for the covered area to be covered permanently, or for the sheets to migrate up or down hill year by year? If they migrated, they could be used to terminate cover crops or kill weeds at the same time; I thought of having sets of three strips, sheet, crop and drought tolerant cover crop, with the sheet moving onto the crop area to kill weeds, bugs, and disease spores while the cover crop is rolled down for a mulch on next year's crop. Meanwhile the uncovered area would become the new cover crop area to repair it before the succeeding crop. Moving the sheets would also avoid a buildup of rodents or other pests underneath.

However, it would also increase labor and wear on the sheets.

Any other thoughts/ details?
2 days ago
This is all hypothetical, not (yet) actual for me.

In Denver, there are many plots of land, an acre or so in size, that are too near creeks for them to be buildable; either they may flood, or there is no convenient way to access them. This is the best soil in the area; I've gardened on such sites before. They also tend to be a lot more moist that other areas.

However, there is a hitch. Usually, the city will not connect a plot of land that can't be built on to the water mains. If they will, it can cost up to 20,000 dollars, which precludes any rental arrangements on such properties. (They are usually owned by somebody, often the owner of a nearby house, but are not usually one with the house property, according to Zillow.)

Water can be got from a neighbor's hose; I've done this on two different plots. But this is awkward, can be expensive, (their bills go up all out of proportion to the actual water used, due to different billing brackets) and can cease if somebody moves.

Water can NOT be taken from streams or wells here in Colorado.

Structures usually can't be built, so there is no easy rainwater catchment available.

I assume trucking water in is prohibitively expensive?

Are there options I'm missing? I'm sure there is a nearby plot I can rent quite cheaply, with good bottomland soil; but until I figure out the water, I wouldn't want to commit myself to something.
2 days ago
Bare root trees have many advantages. They are easier to ship, move and plant; the root system can be seen and inspected; etc. Most of all, the soil around the planted root ball is the native soil, avoiding texture differences in the planting hole which can lead to root circling, dehydration, (or waterlogging) wind throw, etc.

Potted trees may have small, stunted root systems that have spent their time circling around a pot.

I'm hoping to grow trees for a large scale breeding program in which the trees would be distributed free for planting, thus avoiding the need for ownership over a large area of land. To fund the tree breeding, I've been thinking about propagating and selling useful trees.

I can't do bareroot trees because the soils here are mostly compact clays which are hard to dig. Also, potted plants can be distributed around a property here and there; on a porch or deck, under established trees, in odd corners. And they are easy to move around; one location for summer growth, then into a hoop house for winter protection, etc. I could solve the circling problem with root pruning pots.

Could I pull potted trees out of their pots during the dormant season, shake, scrap and hose off most of the potting mixture, and then sell/distribute them as bare root stock? What would be the disadvantages? Advantages? I'd think they'd be even better that standard bare root, since they'd still have most of their roots intact, and the root pruning pot would have ensured a fine, fibrous root system.
1 week ago
The tree guys tell us that our declining honey locust tree has Thyronectria fungus,  mad worse by drought. Besides watering, how would you go about treating the tree? He wants to apply Cambistat to prevent the tree from growing for a few years, so that it can focus on healing; is this a good idea?
3 weeks ago
I don't know; mine is in an irrigated landscape.
2 months ago
Both in client's landscapes, and at home, I've got the problem of complicated, established landscapes overrun with perennial weeds; bindweed, Canada thistle, quack grass, and the like. I'd rather not loose all my perennials. Even if I was willing to do so, retaining walls, shrubs, fences, and other features would make any kind of smothering attempt difficult to impossible.

Any ideas on approaching this from a permaculture perspective? I've been pulling them for several years, but each year they spread father.
2 months ago
Anyone growing hardy pecans, hicans, or hickories from Grimo or similar? I'm looking for seed that has had further chances of crossing. I could of course buy seed directly from Grimo, but I was hoping to find somebody growing their cultivars, (or similar northern adapted Carya) nearer to my location and climate in Denver, giving me a better chance of success.

I can't pay that much for seed, since very few are likely to survive here, but let me know if you are interested and want to work something out.

2 months ago

I'm looking for seed from Hall's Hardy, or other hardy almonds. I'm interested in purchasing seeds from such trees for a mass planting, particularly if there is a chance they've crossed with other prunus. I don't want to plant clones, but rather start landrace selection for my area.

I can't afford to pay much for seeds, since very few of them will make it through the selection process; let me know what you think would be fair. Let me know if you are interested.
2 months ago