Dan Boone

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since Jan 24, 2014
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Dan Boone gardens, plants fruit trees, and tends wild fruit and nut trees and vines in Central Oklahoma.
Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Recent posts by Dan Boone

Michael Moreken wrote:Wow, potting soil!

I was typing in haste on my mobile so that's actually an oversimplification -- actually I have a pile of old wood chips that has composted down into good black dirt, and I was digging it out to put in my container garden containers when I encountered my first huge wire worm, almost five cm long.  I was more interested in getting a photo than in grabbing hold of scary looking unknown arthropod, so it burrowed back down into the dirt in my garden container, where it presumably lived out its life cycle; I never noticed a problem.

Anyway, now that I'm back at my desk I dug up the research I did then.  You are of course the best judge of what's welcome in your garden, but my own conclusion for me is that these things are as beneficial as it gets for organic gardeners, although they might be pretty rough on monocrop gardeners who spray weedkiller and insecticides. 

This Virginia Cooperative Extension publication puts it as clearly as anybody could wish:

Wireworms are omnivores, preferentially feeding on other soil insects or roots of grasses and weeds. In agricultural crops, where weeds are killed and land is cultivated, wireworms seek out the only food available, which are the underground portions of the planted crop.

That doesn't sound like my garden, which has plenty of soil insects and weed roots for the wire worms to feed on. 

There's a really pretty picture of a huge wireworm very much like the one I found, at this this link.

From the various sources I was browsing during the research I did on the critters, I got the impression that they really would prefer to be forest-floor critters, with their most happiest habitat being decomposing wood like the old chip pile where I found the one shown in my photo above.  That suggests to me that if a permaculture gardener was suffering wireworm damage in a particular root crop, you might be able to draw them up and out the root zone of that crop simply by mulching really well with old wood chips that are simply brimming with animal life.  (My decomposed chips were utterly brimming with pill bugs, earthworms, and a zillion small insects when I was digging from that pile this spring, and that's just the macro stuff that I could see without magnification.) In other words, offer the wireworms a better deal!
2 hours ago
I like the security of it.  When I wake up in the house at night because I heard a noise, I don't even have to think about what the noise was.  If the dogs aren't ruckusing, it's not important.  Go back to sleep.

There's never a surprise knock on the door.  Nobody ever messes with a vehicle.  No pamphlets under a windshield wiper.  People drive by, but they don't go down driveways where they don't have business you are going to recognize as legitimate.

I once found legal papers face down in a mud puddle at the end of the driveway with a bite missing out of one corner.  I guess our alpha male pack leader at the time (an 80-lb "yellow dog" hunting cur of indeterminate breed) convinced the process server that he (the dog)  was an adult of legal age and competent to receive service of process.  (We were not home at the time, but the papers were definite bullshit. That process server did in fact go on to file a fraudulent notice of successful service of process.)
1 day ago
You are welcome! I came across a HUGE one in my potting soil this spring and found it alarming, had to ID it; I had never seen a worm with a hard exoskeleton.

However as I am not a big potato grower,  I’m not sure I would count it as a pest. The research I did was telling me it’s one of the many larval/enstar stages of the many species of click beetles, which are generally beneficial to have around considering they are big bugs that eat a lot of little plant nibblers.
1 day ago
Google "wire worm" -- maybe that?
2 days ago
That article is a curious hybrid of an extremely good essay (about why you need to get your shit together before you need it to be together), really bad specific suggestions (well, not bad exactly, just entirely not the way I would approach them in most cases), and wildly mendacious affiliate links.  I do like the essay though; it's top notch.
Nice! If anybody here is old enough to remember when laundry detergent was sold mostly in powder form in cardboard boxes like cereal boxes, only slightly heavier...

The above post reminds me that my mother’s silverware drawer organizers all the time I was growing up were cut-off boxes of Tide laundry soap that she had covered on the inside and most of the outside with Contac™ paper (the heavy decorative washable one-sided sticky paper). These days they sell extruded plastic bins at DollarTree for the purpose; I’ve seen quite expensive metal and wooden trays at fancy department stores too. But we had Tide soap boxes with Contac paper.
4 days ago
Also, don't panic.  Anywhere that you have a huge pile of wood chips and it's too much work, time, or resources to move them or spread them this year?  Or next year?  Or for three or four years?  They will just be breaking down in place, a sort of slow fungal composting.  Trees nearby (up to two or three dripline radius distances) will send roots over to enjoy the feast of nutrients and moisture, and you can dig into that pile at any stage for mulch or (eventually) thick rich organic garden soil.  I was to the stage this year on a pile of chips several years old where the grass and weeds had overgrown it and I couldn't dig from it any longer with hand tools, so my brother in law pushed it six feet sideways with his tractor bucket and re-piled it.  It had turned into lovely black fluffy dirt teeming with soil organisms. 

So, don't panic if you can't spread and make immediate use of everything right away.  It's fine where it is and it won't go to waste. 
4 days ago

Lucrecia Anderson wrote:Just tried the spoon test and yes, the unsealed jar sounds much much different. Thanks that is a very neat tip!

Glad I could help!
4 days ago
Lucrecia, I do what Anne’s husband does, once the jars are cool. A sealed jar sucks the lid down tight; there is no flex to it. If there’s give in the lid when you press on it ... especially if you can make it buckle with a soft touch .. it’s not sealed.

Or you can do the spoon test, which helps you measure the same thing with your ears instead:

If I were in that kitchen I would be pressing on that one unsealed jar lid with my fingers and it would be going boink-boink, boink-boink, boink-boink until somebody threw me out or took away the jar.
4 days ago
I don't know if I have much that's helpful, but your quest resonates with me.  Your observation that the apocalypse has already arrived and that we are living in it resonates with me.  Of course, as with anything else in this oddly-globalized world, it's far from evenly distributed.  Yet.  But every time I turn on the news the horsemen are getting closer to my house.

Nor will it ever be evenly distributed.  If you've read the recent work of William Gibson, he imagines at least one future (not so very future) in which a small crew avoids the worst of what's coming for centuries at least.  That he calls them "The Klept" may tell you his opinion of them; that I enjoyed his book may tell you mine.  But that's probably enough said if we want to keep this thread out of Cider Press.  Suffice to say that global population crashed while the Klept partied on.

Advice?  That crazy druid John Michel Greer used to advise us all to "Crash now and and beat the rush."  I think that's what a lot of folks here are Permies are doing, deliberately or otherwise.  I'm not self-identified as  a prepper but I have a keen interest in working on zero-input, zero-effort perennial food systems that I don't currently *need*, don't plan to produce a salable crop from, and don't particularly enjoy eating the produce that's yielded. It's all stuff I could happily eat if my belly was empty, though, or feed to a chicken or a rabbit or a hog or a turkey.  (And I can *catch* three out of four of those, live and wild in my own woods, to start my own domestic production, in a pinch.)  I also spend a lot of time thinking about the relative merits of possessions.  The canner with the rubber ring that needs replacing every so often, or the 1930s relic with the metal-on-metal seal and the cumbersome wingnuts that you can use over a campfire grate, with no rubber parts?  Crash while you can, and the dude at the garage sale thinks you're crazy for handing over that ten dollar bill. 

I've also seen my income drop a lot in the last ten years and I've put a lot of effort into learning to grow high-value, high-dollar, high-pleasure crops to stretch my grocery-store dollar.  I've also taught myself to enjoy the pleasure of fresh garden stuffs that I wouldn't have touched a decade ago.  Crash in place, be happy, beat the rush. 
5 days ago