Bruce Drukker

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since Jan 05, 2014
I originally hail from Montreal, Quebec, but moved to SoCal in 2009.  My wife and I have a home on 3 acres that was formerly an avocado grove, but is now mostly barren.  Since it looks like we're here to stay, I've decided to convert this property into a permaculture project.  I have some experience with organic gardening, but I realize that PC is a whole other animal, so I'm starting from scratch and eager to learn.
Fallbrook, CA (San Diego County) Zone 10a
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Recent posts by Bruce Drukker

Thank you Jaret and Angelika! In the end, I did not use it. I've heard similar stories from some locals and it scared me away. Hugels were a bust anyway. It never rains here…ever… Went with raised beds and micro irrigation instead.

One discovery was Ollas. These worked brilliantly, especially for strawberries. Anyone in the arid south west would benefit from these. Thanks for the replies!
3 years ago

Jan Tucker wrote:
Hi Bruce, I've been getting my spent substrate from a similar place in Escondido, but I live in Temecula. Would you mind sharing the info about the Fallbrook farm? I heard from a Meetup member of mine that there was a farm in Fallbrook but she didn't have the info on it.



Hi Jan

That's my place too! I haven't been to the one in Fallbrook yet, but from what I've read, their stuff sounds pretty good. I might head out there today or tomorrow to check it out. Here is the link.

CCD Mushrooms, Inc

Good luck!
5 years ago

wayne stephen wrote:Had you thought about doing a traditional step-over espalier which would allow the root ball to grow firmly and naturally ? This would give you the best of both worlds - horizontal growth { or parallel to the ground } and allow the tree roots to do their thing . The roots on the upward facing side are going to want to go up - or sideways to the tree . Swales and berms with the espalier on contour ? Why not grapes on slope - on contour - and trees on the mesa ?



Hey Wayne, those are all excellent ideas, thanks for taking the the time! I am gravitating towards grapes the more I think about it. I've always wanted some and that south facing slope would be perfect! I'll put my crazy tree idea on hold for now. I like to think outside the box!
5 years ago

David Rea wrote:Last year, I attended a seminar put on by a professional tree pruner. He described a planting method very similar to what you are describing. Apparently, what happens is the the most vertical branches become the new "top" of the tree, and the original top becomes more of a branch. You would probably still have to prune the top of the tree in order to prevent shading of your mesa.



This is exactly what I want! I think I would plant them low enough on the slope that their height at maturity would be more or less even with the mesa. Strangely, there is a kind of terracing towards the top that I think would be a good place to grow some table grapes. I don't believe that they get very tall. Thanks for the input!
5 years ago

Don Eggleston wrote:Would the trunks be touching the ground along their length? If so, do you expect them to root along the length?

Don Eggleston



I never actually thought of that nor do I know if it would work. My original intention was to elevate the trunks about about a foot off the ground by plopping the root ball onto a mound. I'm not sure about the swale effect, but perhaps if they were planted this way onto a berm, it could be interesting.
5 years ago

Patrick Mann wrote:I think that would work - something similar is done in espalier, where trees are planted at an angle (oblique cordon). Not sure about nut trees, but it should work for fruit trees.



Right, that's what I was hoping for. I see it as a type of hedge. Peaches and plums and maybe some tangerines!
5 years ago
So I have a fairly steep, south facing slope that plateaus at the top. A bit like a Mesa. I would like to plant trees on the slope and reserve the plateau for hugel beds, shrubs and bushes. My concern is that as they mature, particularly those towards the top, they will produce unwanted shade onto my beds. I am toying with the idea of planting them on their side so that the trunks would be horizontal. I would prepare a mound of good soil, maybe 4' in diameter and about a foot high, pop the rootball onto that and then cover with another foot or so of soil, then plenty of mulch. I would probably loop some twine 18" or so from the top and stake it down.

My vision is that all of those horizontal branches including the top 18" would start to grow vertically towards the sun, each one acting like a mini tree. Am I missing something glaringly obvious, or is this feasible? I haven't quite decided on the varieties yet, but I would like a nice polyculture of fruit and possibly nut trees. They are not quite whips, but none are more than 5' tall. This not for the entire hillside mind you, but just for the top section. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading
5 years ago

Milo Jones wrote:

Bruce Drukker wrote:
Well, I read somewhere on this forum that it was mercury. This is what raised my initial concern. I'm hoping the biochar will help with that.



There is no mercury involved in commercial mushroom production. When I worked in the industry 30 years ago the only sterilization involved was a 6 hour steam treatment to bring the substrate to 160 degrees F before cooling and inoculation.



That is reassuring Milo. This is in line with what my supplier says also. I'm starting to feel pretty good about this, thanks!
5 years ago

Angelika Maier wrote:I use mushroom too but must pay for it. I think there are concerns (but I still use it). Mushrooms are grown on horse manure and before that
the manure is sterilized with some chemical nasty - don't ask me which.



Well, I read somewhere on this forum that it was mercury. This is what raised my initial concern. I'm hoping the biochar will help with that.
5 years ago

Michael Cox wrote:Sounds like you are on the right track - although neither biochar, nor mushroom casings are providing nutrients in this scenario. As far as improving tilth goes, I'd aim to do small areas really well to begin with and work outwards in later years as you get more materials.



Thanks Michael, I basically want to get the beds cooking for 6-9 months before doing any serious planting. In the interim, I'll be putting in trees, making biochar and storing rainwater. I've got the long view in mind.
5 years ago