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Juanita Colucci

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since Dec 12, 2013
Mohave Desert, AZ
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Recent posts by Juanita Colucci

We use soapnuts and have had no problems using our wash water in the gardens.
1 month ago
We have been using soap nuts for the last few years.  Economical and biodegradable.
I wish I had found out about them earlier.  
3 months ago
Marijke, hello from AZ.

Have you considered planting a couple of groundcover seeds to shade the ground and the tree seedlings when they emerge?  
I use drought tolerant beans usually cowpeas, because they are handy for me.  They become mulch.

Consider contacting Native Seed Search located in AZ.  They specialize in seeds for dry climates.  They are also a good educational resource for dry climate gardens and crops.  In fact, their next class in centered on "planting with the monsoons".  They donate seed to various projects here in AZ.  I don't know if their seed bank extends to your country, but I think it will be worth your time contacting them.

Another AZ organization to try would be the Desert Legume Program (DELEP).  (a joint project of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum)  DELEP distributes samples of seeds, subject to availability, to individuals and organizations in the U.S. and overseas.  The link to this program is:

It is a great idea to plant with the monsoons.  I am preparing right now for this event as well.  I like to have all my seeds ready and in 1 place ahead of time.  I start planting as soon as the rain begins.

Best of luck!
1 year ago
Hi Denise.  I live in a very small town with no herbal stores, so I am unable to answer that part.  
I usually buy all my herbs by the pound from internet sites.  (Monterey Bay Spice Co., Ameriherb,, and the like.)  
It usually runs $6.-7./pound, cut and sifted.  Very affordable.
A pound of cut/sifted willow bark is around 7 cups, which yields a whole lot of tincture.  A pound is enough to handle our needs, as well as providing gift bottles for friends, for a couple of years.
1 year ago
We use 3 herbs for pain management, crampbark, willow bark, and Kratom
Crampbark for sore muscles.  
Willow bark for mild to mod pain.    
Kratom for moderate to severe pain.    

I agree with Mike, there are quite a few over-hyped articles about Kratom.  These take the "Reefer Madness" approach to the subject, and are typically just as factual as reefer madness.  

We were introduced to Kratom last year when my husband broke his leg, a spiral fracture involving the top third of the tibia, just below the knee, with a torn tendon to go with it.  Willowbark tincture was not enough to control the pain.  A friend brought over a couple of doses of kratom for him to try.  It worked to manage his pain and allowed him to remain clear-headed.  He could still edit and do his sound mixing when on kratom, something he couldn't do when he took Vicodin, so we still had some income.  

You will read that it is addicting, just like it's cousin, coffee, and in my experience, to a lesser extant.  My husband took it daily for about 5-6 weeks while recovering.  He had no symptoms of withdrawal when he stopped, not even a headache.  

Different strains have slightly different properties.  We keep 2 strains on hand.  We don't need it everyday, but it is sure handy to have around when the need arises.  

It is worthwhile looking into Kratom when pain is chronic or severe.  
Do research it to seperate the hype from the facts.  
If it is still legal in your state, you may want to try it.

Like Mike said, it is horridly expensive when buying locally and the quality may not be as good as one would like.   ($1.00 each for 500 mg capsule at my local tobacco shop.  2 gm is my dosage, which would be 4 capsules.)  I buy it over the internet and make my own capsules.  It comes to around 10 cents each to make.  

1 year ago
I have not had luck starting these.  What is your secret?
2 years ago
We use white willow bark tincture for mild to moderate pain relief. White Willow Bark tea tastes nasty to me. I would rather take a dropper of tincture instead of a whole cup tea that I don't like. It is also much easier when I am in pain to simply open the tincture bottle instead of heating water and boiling bark.

We often take it in combination with crampbark tincture (Viburnum Opulus) when muscle tension is also a factor.

It works for us.
3 years ago
What about coffee grounds and onion leftovers? I keep reading that these should not be given to chooks, but my compost has much of these 2 items.
As a side note, I have found that not all that I read on the internet is true. I know... shocking! ; )
4 years ago
Is anyone growing Dragon Fruit close to their chickens?

Does anyone know if the chickens will nibble on the plant, and if the plant is safe for them.

5 years ago

April Swift wrote:I also thought about using straw/hay but am worried about pesticides. What are good sources of mulch and bedding for chickens?

I am also interested in a sawdust replacement for deep litter. I live in the desert, so rain is not much of an issue here. Getting sawdust, however, is proving difficult.
5 years ago