Susan Wakeman

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since Dec 06, 2013
Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Europe
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Recent posts by Susan Wakeman

I have tried the chook tractor method.
However, chickens bring in their own weeds by the feed they consume (grains or scraps) and you must add mulch as they work the ground or it will become compacted. Also, chickens definitely have preferences and exp. established grasses in the seeding stages are at the bottom of their list.
I would absolutely recommend broadforking and a false seedbed before attempting to seed carrots for example.
I seriously doubt you can get away with just planting after the chickens have been, without mulching heavily between the plants and pulling the remaining weeds.
1 month ago
What can I do if I don't have access to seaweed? Not even as animal supplement?
Use sea salt?
1 month ago
Thank you Gurkan. I was hoping for more detailed research, specifically as to when to use KNF and when other methods.
1 month ago
Thanks for all the replies!
We didn't get much of a carrot crop due to weeds outcompeting them. So I will treat the carrot/parsnip beds next year to an extra deep mulch of imported compost (easy to have a delivery as there are tons delivered for the fields) and try the false seedbed technique, i.e. hoe once or better twice, letting weed seeds sprout in between. Same treatment for my seedbed.
I plan to do a lot more transplanting next year, multisowing in modules, which get planted with larger distances, so I can plant and mulch first, weed second, so I can feed the soil and minimise weeding at he same time.
My garden partner is paranoid about weeds, even in our wildlife strip... and dock on the field next to the garden gets herbicide. So for that particular plant, probably pull. The rest, pull and drop if they get too big, give to the chickens if they've set seed.
The zone aspect is an important one, chop and drop does require not missing any seed setting weeds! It is also a question of the size of garden you have...
1 month ago
Is there any risk that seeds  of pumkins selected from a garden that also grows birdhouse squash giving bitter fruit? (not hand-pollinated)
1 month ago
How do you deal with perennial, deep rooted weeds such as dock and dandelion in your vegetable garden?

In Permaculture, chop and drop is often advocated so that you benefit from the nutrients a particular weed has accumulated through its root system into the leaves, making it available when you chop and leave them to decompose on the soil. It is said that thus the soil will heal itself, and obviously the weed will eventually die as no plant can survive without photosynthesis.
However, you do have to keep on top of it and avoid them setting seed and taking over. Which is very difficult once your garden gets beyond a certain size!

I have tended to pull any weeds and leave them to rot in situ or toss them to the chickens if they've set seed.

With dock, if the plant gets older than say a year, requires a specialized tool (which is on hand fortunately) as the roots are so deep. Which means that it is pulling up nutrients from a soil level that the vegies don't reach, so should I chop and drop instead running the risk of setting seed if it gets overlooked?

Generally speaking there seem to be two schools of gardening - no weeds at all vs jungle of letting it all go. How do you handle the issue? And what is better for the soil?
1 month ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:

It should also be noted that there are parts of the method that don't perform as well as straight forward permaculture techniques and the Uni of Hawaii did a large scale study and made some enlightening comparisons


Could you please give us some detail on the large scale study done by the University of Hawaii?
[edited quote to get past the abbreviation requirement of the forum]
1 month ago
I'd like to put N-fixers as every third tree or so in an mixed species orchard (Lake Geneva Region, Switzerland) but I'm wary of introducing "alien lifeforms" that will take over in the wild... any suggestions? The orchard might become a showcase of ancient cultivars too.
4 months ago
video in french
38 families in a co-housing block have opted for a simple system of treating their wastewater using worm bins.
2 worm bins receive the grey water, 1 bin the black water (urine diverting water closets). The effluent passes a mineral filter, and is stored in a cistern together with rain water. The water is re-used in the toilet flushing circuit.
The biolologist Philippe Morier-Genoud developed this system for off-grid alpine dwellings (chalet d'alpage) and perfected it for family dwellings.
6 months ago
I'm stoked about increasing the microbiology in my garden soil! We have 4000m2 of land to work with, currently 400m2 of hilled up garden beds 80cm wide with ramial wood chip paths about 40 cm wide. Biodigester compost was tilled under last June when the garden was started, after a ley of rye I think. The rest of the area is to be converted to orchard, some left spare for possible extension of veg garden. This area represents 1% of the conventional farm (orchards and arable land) it is part of.

I'd like to buy some EM to get started, and set up a compost tea brewer Which volumes am I looking at? That is, how many litres of tea/em to treat the entire veg plot (400m2) at once? How strong an air pump will I need and is it useful to include an air lift to get a vortex going?

Is it worth buying a fermenter with integrated heater like this one : to activate the EM?

6 months ago