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Jayden Thompson

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since Sep 17, 2014
Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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Recent posts by Jayden Thompson

I have an old pond that leaks.  I've tried fixing it, but after talking to some experts in the area I've learned that the ground underneath is all fractured limestone and there's no good way to seal it reliably. Even if it does seal, it's only a matter of time before it opens a leak - which quickly becomes an underground waterfall into the abyss.  It can hold water for days or even weeks at a time, but inevitably it dries out.

So I've decided to give up on the pond and instead encourage some plant growth to turn it into a half acre wetland oasis for wildlife.  Can anyone recommend some good native plants I should put in there?  The water fills to about 12 feet deep when there's heavy rain, so it would need to survive full submersion for days at a time in the center. Arond the edge, obviously it would be less deep and stay submerged for less time.

Thanks in advance!
2 years ago
I have 23 egg layers.  10 are 2.3 year old golden Comets that used to lay daily in the summer when they were younger, and 13 are 1.3 year old Rhode Island Reds that also layed close to every day last summer.  These days, as they've all gotten older, I only get 11-14 eggs per day, which means I'm feeding some chickens that either aren't laying, or are laying at a substantially lower rate.

Since I'm handing off my little egg production business to my 9 year old son, I'd like to determine which chickens aren't laying, so if some aren't laying at all or at a very low rate we can begin to cull them out.  I don't have the room or setup to split them up into two large sections, so I'm wondering if there's a trick or technique to figure out which chickens aren't laying.  Any ideas?

I thought about putting one at a time in a dog crate for a few days at a time.  Not exactly "free ranging permaculture" but it seems like it might accomplish my goal.  Would that work, or do you have a better idea?

Thanks in advance.

2 years ago
Thanks for your reply, Dee.  

Dee James wrote:
What ground cover do you see growing in your area that you like?  I love to get ideas for what is prolific because it means it will do well naturally in the area and I don't have to spend a lot of time nursing it.  Do you have any you have noticed on Sunday drives?  Nothing may come to mind at first, but after you ponder it I am betting it will.

I see lots of stuff I like, but unfortunately I don't know native plants by sight at all.  This is part of my problem.  

Dee James wrote:
I am thinking you can clean up the driveway and fix the erosion with better water bars.  That was my first thought when I saw your pictures was trying to locate the water bars.
If you have the water bars tie in with the new planting of your ground cover you can also divert a lot of nutrients and water into the new planting to help with watering.

Yes, I'm still working on the erosion issue.  What the picture doesn't capture is that the driveway is in a valley, with an uphill slope on both sides.  So I'm digging a trench by hand through solid rock on the left side, and will run the water over to there.  I'm not sure if I'll use water bars, or just continue to try to slope the driveway towards the ditch (this is how it was originally done, before I moved in - although they didn't have a good ditch to the side)  The good news is that once I get the runoff over to the ditch I don't have to worry about erosion because it truly is just solid rock.  Unfortunately this makes it a lot harder to run the water bars over as irrigation.  I really need to just run them into a ditch straight to the creek at the bottom, because when it pours here there is pretty much a river coming down that hill.  If I try to get fancy and run the water over to some plants, I'm afraid I'll to wash out a massive area by accident.  

If you know better about water bars though, I'm open to your suggestions.  I'm not planning to do much with the driveway until the Spring rain season is over.  
3 years ago
My driveway has a stretch of about 150 feet up a hill with woodland on both sides.  There is a tall but sparse overstory of walnut, sycamore, and some other trees (not sure what they are).  The understory is all native plants that I've been told are "wild honeysuckle" although I've never been able to confirm it.  But it's pretty much the only plant growing in my understory, and it's also the primary plant that grows along all fence lines in my area of Kentucky.  i've posted a couple of pictures below.

Anyways, I'd like to beautify the driveway a bit.  The soil is shallow, rocky, and sometimes steep. Along the edge of the driveway gets partial sun, but mostly shade. I'd like to start cutting out some of this so-called wild honeysuckle and plant something a bit more visually attractive, preferably with color and wildlife benefit, but it also needs to grow on it's own with no help of mine.  I'm thinking it needs to be shade tolerant, and able to grow in healthy but shallow/rocky soil.  Preferably I'd find something that is a low ground cover on the very edge, and something a bit taller behind it to trasition smoothly into the woodland canopy.

Any experts out there with some ideas?  
3 years ago
Thank you for the replies, guys.  This has been very helpful.

Where did ya'll purchase your DRAMM nozzles and risers?  I think I know what I need, but I'm having a tough time finding the nozzles and risers for sale anywhere, except in bulk.

Also, what GPM or GPH should I target?  Those pin perfect nozzles appear to be about .75 GPM (45 GPH), but I read here that 4-15 GPH is a better target.  So what do you guys think?

3 years ago
I currently do quite a bit of propagation on hardwood cuttings, but I want to expand to doing softwood cuttings under intermittent mist.  Does anyone have a good intermittent misting system or kit that they can show me or recommend?  I think I understand it well enough to buy parts and design my own, but I'd be willing to spend a little extra on a kit if it saved me time and was sure to work out of the box.

I'm probably looking to do at least 30 square feet, maybe more, so the tiny little kits won't cut it.

3 years ago

I'm in my second year of raising sheep and lamb, and it's just a pleasure.  I can't speak to what will fetch you a higher ROI for your farm because I don't know your market, your infrastructure, or anything else - but I can tell you that lamb tastes great, they're easy and fun to work with, easy to haul, and for me they've been easy to sell.  I'm raising Katahdin, and I give them no shots, no shelter, and no other type of babying.  I had a lamb born last week overnight at 25 degrees and on her second night it was 18 degrees outside.  I built a quick tarp-house to get uot of the 20 mph winds, but they didn't use it.  They just slept in the open grass and freezing cold wind, as happy as could be.  They make me smile every morning when I walk back there to check on them and feed my great pyrenees.  

I live in cattle country too, and it would be really hard to market beef when everyone and their mother either owns acreage filled with cattle, or they have a neighbor or family friend that they already buy from.  
Travis - thanks for sharing your information.  It sounds like I'll go ahead and pull the trigger on having lime spread.  There is literally a limestone quarry 1.5 miles from my house, so I'm pretty sure lime should come pretty cheap.  

My guy at the extension office told me that seeding was optional, but that lime was a no brainer.  No doubt he knows more than me, but he's also a conventional farm guy that recommends all sorts of pesticides and herbicides as well, so I just wanted to get a feeler from the permie group.  
3 years ago
I had my soil tested by the county extension office.  It's a free service, so I wanted to see what I'd learn.  

History: This is on 8 acres of pasture that was completely overgrown with brush and weeds after a decade of sitting idle.  I moved here 2 years ago, and brush hogged the whole thing down about 18 months ago. I've since added 5 sheep (and a dog), fenced it into 8 paddocks, added 4 rows of silvopasture (still tiny seedlings), and I plan to add about 10 to 15 more sheep over time.  There is native grass growing, but I've never seeded.  It's not a very dense grass, since it was shaded out for many years.  I'm planning to seed my pasture in the Spring.

Based on my soil tests, the extension office is recommending I spread 2 tons of lime, per acre.  I've got a few places that will do this for me, but first I wanted to see whether you guys thought it was worth it.  No doubt my soil is on the acidic side, but I wonder if I'll get a positive ROI on the lime, or if I'd be better off just rotationally grazing my sheep and waiting for the benefits of carbon sequestration to kick in and neutralize the soil a bit?

I'm attaching a picture of one of my soil tests.  They vary from 5.6 to 6.3 soil pH, and from 6.5 to 6.8 Buffer pH.  Thanks for any help/advice you can provide.

3 years ago
Hey guys,
For the past two years, I've been using our upstairs guest room to start seeds in trays for my garden, under fluorescent lights, then moving them outdoors as soon as I can.  But this year we have foster kids in there, and so I'm looking for a new location.  My wife doesn't like them in the living room (the one year I did it, we had fruit flies for 2 months!), so I'm thinking about setting up my lights and trays in my crawl space.  It's only about 3 feet high, but there's plenty of space.  Has anyone tried this?

The temperature in my house is 67 right now, and 54 outside.  The crawl space seems to be probably about 64, but that's a guess because I don't have a thermometer on me.  Tomorrow it will be much colder, so I'll check again to see what happens.  In the meantime, I was wondering if anyone has experience with this.

I don't like using synthetic lights, but it's a necessary evil right now.  But I definitely don't want to add synthetic heating.