Unofficial Companion Guide to the Rocket Oven DVD
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Marty Mitchell

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since Dec 08, 2013
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Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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Recent posts by Marty Mitchell

@Lina Joana

Thank you for the offer! I may shoot you a PM when the time comes.

I am definitely interested in either catching truly wild swarms or purchasing from folks who do treatment-free.

They other day I spotted the smallest honey bee I have ever seen in my life out in the yard hear at what will be my old home. I do hope there are wild swarms up that way to catch with small bees like that! That will ward off a lot of the issues most likely.

Max-production is not what I seek with my bees. It is max resiliency/lowest maintenance.

The guys with hives that I will be working with are just 10min from the new home. They have been having issues with bears getting into and tearing their hives up. So I shall also have to make them bear proof/resistant (if that is even possible). I am thinking cattle panels hard screwed to 4x4s that are concreted into the ground.
1 month ago
Alright... it is officially time to resurrect my old thread.

As of today... I just retired from the military. I am going to start a new career now and am done moving every 1 to 3 years FINALLY!!!

Within the next few weeks I will be allegedly closing on a home with 7.88 acres of land in South Eastern Virginia. It is mostly cleared/fenced already and planted in grass that was set to feed several horses.

Step 1: I plan to add Alfalfa, white dutch, and red clover seed EVERYWHERE this fall.  

I will also build a small paver platform off on the edge of the micro patch of woods that still remains. All while joining a local honeybee group I have found already (old co-workers).

I hope by the following Summer I will have a solid 7 acres of clover stand to jump start a new colony or two.

My land is surrounded by seemingly endless old-growth woods as well. 50% of the established pasture is Silvopasture (But without the profitable wood types)... with occasional large trees that almost form a thin canopy for dappled sunlight.


1 month ago

Paul Eusey wrote:
This gave me a huge laugh!!! You are absolutely right not to own a tractor. You are much better renting one for the very few times you might want one.

The exception is if you find a smallish old tractor for dirt cheep and want to tinker with converting it from diesel to run on vegetable oil (like a hobby that can serve a purpose). Most tractors are just a waste of storage space the majority of the time (granted they can do a lot of work when used, but it’s almost always cheaper and better to just rent one if you are not going to use it often).

So I hope you have lots and lots of fun messing with your friend regarding his desire for you to own a tractor. (You might even pretend to give into his persuasions from time to time, only to laugh at his momentary excitement... LOL!!! It’s evil, but it’s the fun kind).

I wish you the best Marty!!!

Better believe I will keep messing with him. lol

I remember my grandfather's tractor at his old place. That thing would work hard in my younger years watching him use it to work a 14 acre property. Later on though, it was literally only used to mow... and occasionally drag a box blade on his long driveway once in a while.

I am planning on doing just as you stated. I will get a high quality mower that will mow faster with more comfort. Then when I need a tractor I will either borrow one or rent one. All 8AC are already fenced. The rest can be done with my truck and a mower for the most part except ditch and driveway work.

Glad I gave you a laugh!

1 month ago

Purity Lopez wrote:
I have not witnessed that grafting makes the tree stronger, healthier or more long lived.  Grafted trees rarely live 1/3 of the life span of a own rooted tree.  

There is a man in the South, Tom Brown.....he has been on a mission to bring back the original apple trees.  I think he has over a 100 now.  A lot of the stock he ran across were 100+ year old apple trees.  So that speaks to me in a big way.  If I am going to do all this work, I want it to be as perfect, as close to what Nature intended, as can be.

The quest in the agricultural world in the development of fruit/nut trees has mainly been done so that produce is more ship-worthy.  Anyone who has tasted a grocery store tomato knows how that worked out.  Nurseries want to sell you trees over and over, they are not interested in selling you a tree that will last your lifetime and your children's lifetime.

That makes sense to me actually. I have planted many grafted trees over the years and they always seem to be irritated at the grafting point. They almost always have some damage there as well. If you are correct, then that is definitely something that may not be "The Way" for permaculture. (Yes I just tied Star Wars and Permaculture together!!! That just happened. lol)

I have a feeling that... thanks to the knowledge I have gained from the interwebs.... I will be able to make some amazing soil. Which, when combined with a good plant, will create something resilient and long-lasting. As well as lower maintenance if done right.

Longer lasting and lower maintenance are two key areas I focus on with my gardening. They appeal greatly to my lazy ways. lol

I will work more than 4x the time to set something up if it will net me 10x the savings in time and effort down the road.

1 month ago
What a massively large group of quality posts from everyone. Thank you!

I am starting to get a little excited with the possibilities now!!!

I am glad to see that I am not the only one out there doing it... and that this is a well-beaten path I am going down. It makes me more confident that I am not wasting my time.

Attached are some pics of my Improved Meyer Lemons I did a few years ago in the AP system. They made some fruit last year... but this year it looks like they are flowering out a LOT more... I bet the fruit will be as big as the mother tree this time as well. I did make more but sold them already.

These girls spent almost all Winter outdoors and are starting to green back up/put out new growth/and flower now. They turned a little yellow. I only brought them indoors when the temps were headed towards 20F. They are on the South side of the house... and protected from West/NW winds during the Winter time. A little micro climate for me in zone 8A here.

What is awesome is that my entire porch smells of lemon flowers right now. Just in time to sell the home. lol


1 month ago

Paul Eusey wrote:
Great job on that LSU purple Marty!  

But then again, I love all figs, did I mention I love figs? LOL!!!

If you get good at some of those techniques then the world becomes your plant store and everything is almost free... And that is very cool.

If you haven’t already taken any college courses (ornamental horticulture, botany, plant science, etc), I highly recommend looking into them.

I also watch a lot of videos online. Even some of those guerilla gardners and tinkerers without formal training offer some very cool ideas and techniques. I have used some of them just because some are easy and deliver good results.

I also have several friends who are farmers...

Luther Burbank (the guy who developed the Santa Rosa plum and 800+ other plants/trees) died in 1926 and I don’t think dwarfing was in vogue during his reign as king of horticulture. So if your roots are good, then you should get a full sized tree.

Once you get into propagation and grafting, getting new plants and trees are practically free (and can become an additional revenue stream for many farmers). So it’s a hobby that can pay for itself and potentially help others. It also takes up a fraction of the space as evident by any nursery you visit.

Thank you for the "great job"!!! It feels good to get a pat on the back sometimes. lol

I can tell you love figs! I was not really into them until I got a perfectly ripened one off of an in-ground tree. I could still taste the sweetness from my first fig 20mins after eating it. So last year I bought 4 and put them in-ground and proceeded to start making copies of them with the branches I was going to prune anyways to get their initial training underway. I went nuts on FigBid a few months ago too and am trying to root out some more figs. Figo Preto, Galicia Negra, Col de Dame Blanc, Col de Dame Gris, Italian 258, JH Adriatic, Smith, Genovese Nero AF, Alma, Violette de Sollies, and Rhonde de Bordeaux. Figo Preto was a "Surprise" bonus fig in one of the bids I won and thus far is the first one not to make it (though I am holding out a little while longer before pulling it). Add in the other types I am rooting out and duplicates of the ones above... and that is why I have about 30 containers sitting around the garden and house. lol Future abundance!!!

Yes. I very much look forward to giving copies of these trees to friends and selling the rest to make a little extra to support my endeavors. I think it is AMAZING that you can prune a small tree in the Fall... and next Spring... plant an orchard that will eventually feed dozens of families.

The only college I have taken thus far on this subject is the college of life... and surfing the depths of the WWW for the knowledge of the world. Mostly here, YouTube, and podcasts.

I have a few farmer friends and family here in coastal NC and also back in Georgia. One of my co-workers started off very skeptical of my comments until he realized I could maintain a conversation with him. He was managing 80AC of corn and soy when I first met him (as a side job for him). Last year he was doing 3AC of plants to make CBD oil. He said he made a lot of money but didn't do it this year because the market got flooded by famers. His mind is open now to a lot of my ideas. lol He keeps giving me crap now to get some acreage (I am living in an HOA neighborhood). He seemed excited that I was getting 8 Acres just up the road from him. He keeps trying to get me to buy a tractor now. lol I am not going to though and it will drive him nuts.

I hope you are right about how everything back when the SR plum was created was full sized! That would be awesome. I would prefer a stronger plant here on the coast where hurricanes come through at times. However, I did purposefully find my new farm with a forest surround... to cut back on the super heavy winds during storms.

You are right about the nursery operation taking up minimal space. Even in just one of my Aquaponics grow beds I can root out HUNDREDS of trees a few times a year. I have two of them. The LED lights are mild and gentle on the new starts as well... and I was keeping it in the garage where temps are stable. Just have to keep the air circulating and crack open the big door a little once a day to keep humidity down/or get a dehumidifier. I only spend about $150 a year on power and fish feed for it as well. However, if you put it out in a greenhouse... that falls to $23 per year to run the water pump, air pump (backup for fish), and fish feed. Not to mention the free fertilizer, and super charged compost tea it is. I use my AP water on potted new plants all the time and it is a supercharger for them.

1 month ago
@ Paul Eusey

Thank you for both the congrats and the information!

I seek as much knowledge on the subject as I can find. My (mild case of) common sense had my mind headed down the same path that you are talking about. As with most things in life "it depends" is the #1 answer to all questions.

I wonder if the Santa Rosa has dwarfing or full size/aggressive root types. Either way it won't matter because I live in an area that gets lots of rain and I now have started practicing "Grass Fed" for my fruit trees. It is like magic for trees in hardpan clay (brick-like).

Bonus is that the land I am moving to is essentially forest soil. They just cut the trees down and moved some of the dirt around. So there is great soil there. My current home had it all stripped away down to the clay layer. It has still been working though.

I am attaching a picture of my LSU Purple fig from back when I up-rooted it from my AP gravel bed. It had LOADS of heavier roots already forming. The LSU Purple is known for growing fast and being a heavy producer at the same time. However, with my Negronne and Violette de Bordeaux figs... the roots on them were puny. They are known to be dwarfing.

When I pulled the baby plum trees out I did it way to soon. I was not expecting them to survive and they didn't have much in the way of roots yet. However, two of them had a decently thick root on there. It may have wound up looking like the LSU Purple. I will remove the root crowns from the soil this Fall to take a peak and see what their roots look like.

2 months ago
Sure Thing! They have been cruising along so far... I have not watered anything in a month. However, the weather is pretty cool with occasional thunder storms. lol

I will be sure to post an update later this year. If I forget... remind me.

2 months ago
Wow! I can only dream of having a fruit tree that large. That would be amazing.

Thank you for posting that link to my AP thread! I believe the plum cuttings were just out of frame in those pics (in the last post of that thread) actually!!! lol

I am glad you recognized me!!! Makes me feel like I did something good (I hope).

In fact the LSU purple I uprooted (last post in the AP thread) is now knee high and in a 3gal container. It is the tallest tree on the far end of the row of containers in the first picture up above. She is already getting a few double bumps (Figlet&Branch nodes).

I can't wait to see what I get to create at the new home. I will take my time and do it slow/right. 1st goal is to find something to assist cutting the 8AC of grass (Thinking Dexter Cattle). That way I can free up many hours of work each week for other projects like fruit, veggies, fish, and cloning more plants. I want to do a small you-pick/nursery at some point maybe. With a side hustle of making small Aquaponics systems.


2 months ago
As a gardener I am always performing little science experiements to see what works and try to learn something new.

I have successfully grown (and it is common practice) citrus, goji berry, elderberry, mulberries, grapes, figs (about 15 cultivars myself so far), etc on their own roots.

Late last Summer/early Fall I decided to pop off a few little twigs from my Santa Rosa Plum to see if they would take root in my aquaponics system. All but one rooted. About a 90% success rate or so.

Anyways, I then transplanted them into two containers and limped them along just long enough to rebound from transplant shock... then I set them out in the cold for a hard dormancy for the Winter.

Now all but one has awakened from their slumber. The last one is still green and will likely awaken soon as well.

What I am wondering is...

Has anyone done this with stonefruit of any kind before? I cannot find any reading material online about it.

I wonder how big they would get if I planted them in some good soil. It has only been a month and several have doubled in size too! That is without even watering (but heavy fert though).

I am about to move onto 8 Acres and would not mind having a few of these. Seems easier than managing rootstock to graft onto. I am lazy. lol

You can see them in the pics. A single one in a 5gal pot and a cluster in a 10gal container. Then the row of many different fig cultivars, elderberry, and Goumi berries I am cloning.

2 months ago