Ben Zumeta

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since Oct 02, 2014
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NW California, 1500-1800ft,
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Recent posts by Ben Zumeta

Burnt Ridge ships most of their catalogue to California, and what it can’t send is also prohibited for any other out of state nursery. I have yet to find as much variety of root stocks, scion wood, varied sizes of given species to choose from (smaller is almost always better in the long run), and the prices are very good, especially buying by the 10 or 100x bundle. Peaceful Valley is also a good choice for the OP’s bioregion, but I have had graft failures and endemic diseases at least as likely, and much more frustrating, when buying much more expensive larger trees like what they and other reputable nurseries sell. I’d go for small trees that are less transplant shocked, plant more densely, and thin to keep the best.
9 hours ago
Ten thousand + years of Basque shepherds can’t be wrong.
4 days ago
Hello Hazel, I am so glad to see you on this forum. I am a friend of your son in-law Eric (at least I think I remember that was your relationship), and from him and many others have heard many great things. I also loved several of your recent podcast appearances, and look forward to reading your book. Thanks for your stewardship work for our bioregion!
1 week ago
I use crustacean shells from the beach in my compost, and my dogs do not seem to dig for it in my hardware clothed BEAM compost piles. Crustacean meal from the farm store is labeled as a source of calcium as well as nitrogen, and it has highly beneficial chitin too. Kelpie Wilson and other researchers have said that Nitrogen is the main nutrient lost in making anything into biochar, so this and the burning of microbes on the shells would be downsides in my view. I also doubt crabshells contribute very much to wildfire risk, and reducing fuel load is the main reason I convert woody debris into biochar;). I am confident the charred shells would not hurt anything in the garden, but I would just crush and compost them or feed them to worms without charring.
1 week ago
On behalf of the Wild Rivers Permaculture Guild (WRPG), hello from far Northwestern Northern California! Northern California is much bigger than most probably realize. We are 350mi north of the SF Bay, and actually closer to Portland.

All are welcome to join the WRPG, but we aim to primarily serve Del Norte County in NW California and Curry County in SW Oregon. Send me a PM or look us up on FB for information on our meetings, work parties, and educational activities. Our recent Harvest Festival brought around 500 people to the Crescent City Food Forest and raised over $5000 for local food security. I had very little to do with that, as we have many other talented and passionate members who did the work for that event.

Let me know if I can help anyone get involved.
1 week ago

Mike Haasl wrote:I know seeds have enzymes and things that try to keep us from eating them.  Is is the same for birds?  I mean a large component of their diet for millennia has been seeds so are they better adapted to eating them than humans?  

Many plants, like peppers, are adapted to discourage mammals, like with the burn of peppers’ capsicum, which birds do not feel. Birds then carry these seeds much further and may well be more likely to deposit them in a better situation to germinate, like in the protection of a thicket where they nest or the deep soil along a fence line where they perch.

If I could not meet the grower or get some other assurance they use organic or better practices, I would go for organic feed. In addition to supporting better farming practices, this avoids the bioaccumulation of toxins in biocides in non organic feed. Every step up the trophic cycle concentrates many toxins 10x, including from chicken-egg-us or cow-milk-us.
2 weeks ago
Great idea. I have considered doing this with a refrigerator that still has a seal but no longer cools (assuming that means it leaked out its freon). However I do not know how to confirm it actually has leaked it all out already. This seems much simpler. What about charcoal as a moisture absorber?
2 weeks ago
Best of luck, and I am glad to hear a deliberate approach is being taken (“Into the Wild” scenario was my first concern for the OP). Some of the last comments in this thread came to mind when I was listening to this recent episode of “Philosophize This”:

It took me awhile to realize in getting my philosophy degree that the more I disagree with the beginning of a good philosopher’s argument, the more likely I agree with their conclusion. The host in this does a good job of making a strong case for all sides of a debate, instead of beating up straw men, which is always tempting to me!
3 weeks ago
I would make or acquire the best compost I could (BEAM/Johnson Sunis my preferred method) and make compost extracts and aerated foliar teas with that. These can be mixed with organic fertilizers at a fraction of the concentration and have a similar benefit. The compost contains nutrients in the living organisms in it, and these cycle any other available soil, water, and air borne nutrients many times over with the plant as a symbiotic partner. That or the plant literally consumes the microbe and consumes its nutrients, often with some spores or genetic material of the microbe surviving the process and benefiting from the plant’s growth and infusion of photosynthesized sugars.

Foliar feeding with aerated compost teas can be many times as efficient as soil applications (4-50+x depending on the nutrient according to John Kempf). This seems to me to be because they benefit both the surface of the plant and its ecosystem, and much of the runoff is then caught by the soil.

For water and nutrient holding capacity, I would look into biochar and its use as an alternative to perlite or vermiculite. This combined with good compost can be the foundation of a potting mix, with sharp river sand added for drainage as needed.
3 weeks ago
We have been allowed home for the past few days, and have gotten 2/3” of rain in the last day. Not out of the woods yet, but it looks a lot less catastrophic than it could have been with worse weather. Thanks for all the help firefighters!
3 weeks ago