Dougan Nash

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since Aug 23, 2014
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Recent posts by Dougan Nash

For the past few years I have delved into the permaculture world, and what a rabbit hole it's been. Every spring, summer, and fall I have had something growing. I has been really fun, I totally love it. Unfortunately, I feel it will be some time before I can really settle down and plant the food forest/garden I really want. In the mean time, I don't plan on giving up on learning.

To make a long story short - my wife and I have student loan debt. We have done everything in our abilities to get the debt down, but we simply do not make enough money to get rid of it any time soon. It prevents us from buying a home or land and I even had trouble qualifying for a used car. I know what I need to do, make more money and pay down the debt. I have dragged my feet for years and I should have gotten a second job just for that, but depression is a hell of a drug. Now I have a child and I can't even afford child care, which means if I take a second job I will need to pay for childcare (which cancels out the extra income).

I have decided to go into the military. I chose the coast guard so I can stay in the USA and spend more time with my family. I am also going into food service because of my skills/education in that area. It comes with a large sign on bonus and a myriad of benefits. It also means I have to serve for a minimum of 4 years and will be moving around a good bit. I think the pros outweigh the cons. That being said, I know I will have to put my passion for gardening on the back burner while I fix my financial life. I don't want to give it up entirely.

Now I don't know what the future holds (where I will be stationed, how much free time I will have, etc). But I do plan on always keeping a few plants of some kind, trying out vermicomposting, and seeking out local permies and growers to work with a learn from. Aside from this, what are the best ways to practice permaculture when you know you may only be in a location for a year?
A lot of permaculture centers around perennial plants. These are things like fruit and nut trees, other trees, herbs, some root crops, and flowers. Most of what we are eating, however, is an annual and yes - they have to be planted every year. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, most onions, squash, peas, lettuces, etc. all fall in the annual category. As do most grains.
4 years ago

I grew this emmer wheat as a spring wheat. I tried planting it in the fall, but most did not survive the winter. Most of the center is browning, but a lot of the edges are still green. I'm only saving the wheat for seed (for next year), but don't want to harvest it too green. Any advice is appreciated.
I started gardening in my back yard a few years ago. I didn't know about permaculture then, so I didn't observe first. I have pretty much all of zone 1 covered in Bermuda grass. It weaves itself into everything. I have tried planting into it, digging up some, even sheet mulching. Nothing works. This stuff feels unstoppable. I hate it. I have tried the problem is the solution approach, not working here. I can't compost it, I can't eat it (could juice it, but not what I want), and I can't grow into it.

I decided to put a raised bed over a patch with some cardboard underneath, no luck. In 2 month time it has popped up like a huge middle finger. There are a few parts of my yard without it, but most of the yard is this thing's domain. I don't know what to do. My plan this fall is to wait for it to enter dormancy and dig it all up, spare no runner. Any other suggestions?
Thanks Zach. I've gone ahead and put it in a bucket with more water and an air stone. I'll see how it looks tonight.
A few years ago I got into fish keeping because I love planted aquariums so much. I bought "ecology of the planted aquarium" and there was a section that breaks down certain bacteria (maybe all bacteria) can live in both aerobic and anaerobic states. This got me thinking.

A week or so ago I took a lot of weeds, placed them in a 5-gallon bucket then filled it with water. If I strain this liquid (now smelly and developing a white mold) and place it into another bucket with an airstone - will the bacteria revert to their aerobic states? Should I add a food like molasses?
I don't want to cheapen the idea of a PDC, in fact I really want to take one. Unfortunately I have basically zero disposable income and probably won't for a few years now. Someone here can try to rationalize it for me if they would like, but if I had 1-2K burning a hole in my pocket - I'm putting it towards my debts before spending it. I live in a small town far away from anyone who offers a PDC, so on top of spending the money I will have to miss out on work and pay for significantly more gas (read, more money lost). This is extremely discouraging. I think I would rather buy Mollison's now extremely expensive book and save roughly $900 than pay for a course.

I learn by doing. I am a much better apprentice than student and regrettably I cannot find anyone close who practices permaculture either. I am visiting my first food forest next week and I am very excited about it, but to visit and/or work there even once a week will still cost me a pretty penny in gas. All I can do for now is practice in my back yard and learn what I can for free.
5 years ago
If I am doing my calculations correctly and remembering last year, I should be harvesting potatoes and garlic around June or July. What would be good to put in the ground right after I harvest them? I was thinking brassicas (I really want to try brussel sprouts) but I know they hate hot weather. I may also try spinach, but once again - I'm not sure how they will hold up to the MD heat.