Hester Winterbourne

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since Feb 12, 2014
Joined site because whilst browsing for permaculture ideas for my new allotment (it's too wet to garden) I couldn't resist the plant ID challenge...
West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Recent posts by Hester Winterbourne

Cashmere is the fine combings of the goat's undercoat and all goats have it, but in varying quantities.  Angora goats if shorn produce mohair fibre.  Sorry I can't provide any data on the success of crossing Angora with Pygmies, place I worked once we used to do it but weren't milking so I just remember they were tubby little things with rather long hair!  An internet search for Pygora rather than Nigora might give you more info.

Todd Parr wrote:

r ranson wrote:I should add, when we plant the trees, we'll be adding lots of llama berries and other natural goodness to the hole. 

You will get other opinions on this, but without fail, every time I have added amendments to the hole that I planted a tree in, the tree did worse than an identical tree planted in "unimproved" soil.  Every single time.  I no longer add any amendments to the hole when I plant trees.  I plant the tree, mulch it heavily and add amendments to the top.

I agree with this.  You have to treat the tree a bit mean to get it to put out roots and explore the surrounding area.  Otherwise it just sits and stews in its little planting sump, and when drought or high winds come it is a goner.
4 months ago
I don't have structures around my beds and while they're not quite a pet hate, I don't see many examples on my allotment site which I think are working well.  I much prefer the way my beds evolve and change shape to what is needed with the soft edge between the bed and path.  The only exception is a couple of places where I have inherited flagged paths, where I have a log laid down to stop the mulch straying onto the flags.  My paths do not have weed membrane down either, and that stuff I do hate.  I see too many plots where someone has set out beds and the paths are too wide (space wasted) or too narrow (how DO they manage to move around comfortably), right angled corners you can't get round with a mower or barrow, beds too long or wide so they get walked on, weed membrane ruckling up, tatty little fences with weeds entwined... and then the plot holder gives up and the weeds take over and it is a right mess full of trip hazards for whoever comes along next and tries to clear up and impose their new ideas on how the plot should be laid out.  My neighbour has so many fences and edges and cages and bed covers I sometimes wonder how there is any room left for plants...
If you can strim or now the weeds down a few times so that you get a shorter sward, then geese may be a better choice for you.  If you are already thinking of poultry, geese would be easier to manage than four legged critters, and easier to despatch if/when necessary.  Consider geese.
Hi Ludwig

I drove past there earlier this year, it is a nice part of the world.  Something seemed to be "going on" but we couldn't quite work out what so we went away again!  I wish you well and will look in on your website to see how things develop.  At the moment I am fairly well rooted in Staffordshire, but you never know!

5 months ago

Ellie Strand wrote:I don't think I'll try an experiment, Karen. The method sounds like there is a potential for a lot to go wrong--starting with mechanical damage to the tomato transplant while trying to insert a wire into the exact center.

I see potential for mechanical damage to the human experimenter too, when you forget to take the wire out before composting the dead stems at the end of the season!
6 months ago

Andrew Roesner wrote:

Drew, looks like tick beans might be what we call fava beans up this way? Thanks for the recommendation! They might work great in this system!

Tick/field beans are smaller and tougher (both to grow and eat!) than what I would call broad or fava beans.  They're basically the same thing though.  Many varieties of broad bean prefer spring sowing.  Field beans I sow in October/November and they sit a few inches high all winter and are pretty hardy.  Also the rabbits don't seem to like them.

I would also second corn salad as an autumn sown edible cover crop, if you can get it in large enough quantities to be economic, or save your own seed. 
6 months ago

Caroline LaVin wrote:Since there is some discussion as to whether the Grand Shepherd *is* a stable new breed, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you about a very OLD farm dog breed called English Shepherd or farm collie.  The English Shepherd was popular on small farms and homesteads across America until small farms started disappearing in the 20th century. Called the "farmers right hand man" the ES helps with a lot of jobs around the farm: varmint hunting, livestock herding, watch dog, and nurturing animals and children. Where other breeds have become specialists in their jobs, the ES is an all-around dog bred for intelligence, willingness, and trainability. Beautiful, too.

This is the breed described in Ben Falk's "Resilient Farm and Homestead". We're part of the conservation effort for this heritage breed.  For more info, please see: www.puppies.petcarebooks.com

Caroline in Idaho

In the Natural History Museum in Tring in the UK, they have stuffed/mounted specimens of dog breeds from many years ago, and this post suddenly reminded me of one of the dogs in the museum! Rough Coated Collie "Roy"
WHen I was a child visiting the museum it made an impression on me seeing how dog breeds have changed and become more extreme in appearance over the years and I often think how nice it would be to go back to a more "utility" version, so I'm glad to see it is happening somwhere!
6 months ago
I like the connection to nature and the circle of life.  I don't have a lot of growing space or time to work it, so I grow a variety of stuff and there is usually a handful of something to eat and some interesting weed or fungus or insect to look at.  I don't get why the (typically) older blokes up the allotment do what they do, slogging away at rows of carrots and leeks and runner beans.  I think they grow their own to get away from their wives!
6 months ago
The veins running parallel down the leaves are a buckthorn thing.  Try Rhamnus catharticus or purging buckthorn, which by its common name doesn't sound very promising!
6 months ago