Nathanael Szobody

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since Apr 25, 2015
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Recent posts by Nathanael Szobody

Love it!! Here's a little natural aquarium project I did last year:
3 months ago
Wow Rufaro, starting a local currency from scratch-- fantastic!! I look forward to seeing how it goes.

And I encourage you to keep trying to get those peanut shells. This year I mulched my entire hectare around my house with peanut shells and love it!! It holds moisture so well, lays flat so as to not attract critters, and has a higher level of nitrogen than most other "woody" mulches.
3 months ago
Yes, yes, all the means and methods of increasing organic matter.

But...I wouldn't entirely dismiss the idea of targeted clay additions in small area. A tiny bit of clay will make a lot of difference *along*  with added organic material. I do this two ways on my property:

1. If I find some clay, I throw it in a barrel of water. After it sits a day it can be stirred and the water used in the garden.

2. I have access to un-fired clay bricks, so I use them to border growing areas. After a couple years the clay gets washed into the soil. This year I have wild clay-loving plants sprouting in those areas. Obviously, most people don't have access to unfired bricks, but if you ever did get your hands on a bunch of cheap clay soil, garden borders and such can be sculpted with the clay which will integrate with the soil in a natural manner.
3 months ago
Great news Jake: you succeeded! It rose so fast because whole grains have lots of yeast on them. Yes, the strange aromas are due to other bacteria also present. So you have two options:

1. Keep feeding it, like Master Christopher suggests. Only I would use a small amount with lots of added flour,  like 1:3 yeasty starter to new mixture. This will allow the yeast to overtake the bacteria. And I would do it during the day so you can re-feed it just as soon as it gets bubbly, this will also keep the yeast ahead of that strange bacteria.

2. Start over again only during the day so you can feed it as soon as it bubbles. My most active starters are from whole rice grains. If I leave them overnight the bacteria overtakes the yeast entirely. If really want to keep that yeast happy, set your alarm and re-feed it in the night ;-)

Of course, for sourdough, you want a bit of bacteria for that sour, but you'll get good bacteria in there without trying to, just from your hands and such.

Personally, I prefer the wild yeast flavor over the sour bacteria flavor-- in the French "levain" tradition--so I feed my starters often to keep the yeast well ahead. But inevitably the sour creeps in.

3 months ago
Today I harvested my 1/3 acre of corn in central Africa (photos on Insta here) and am smitten by the textile potential of the husks. I twisted some cordage out of one cob worth of shucks and will definitely be making a lot more of that!


But I need a hat. My current one is in really bad shape. Can anyone help me learn how to do that?
3 months ago
This is normal competitive behavior. In my experience, if they didn't grow up together, they'll never "sort it out". There will always be strife. One rooster needs to go.
5 months ago
I've made a short video update on the gardens and trees at the school. For anyone with a taste for halting narration, lingering stills and chop editing :-)

As always, I still want suggestions!
8 months ago
I highly recommend Baker Street Seeds at
8 months ago
Hi Antonio,

Do you plan on living or working in Costa Rica? Because my first suggestion is to walk around there a bit and see what's growing. Costa Rica is the largest diversity of wildlife in the whole world, so I coubt you'll be lacking for resources once you're on the ground. Native is best.

Having said that, there are some very hardy species that come to mind.

For food: cassava, carob, pigeon pea, sweet potato, coffee, chocolate. Looks like May through October you've got enough precipiation to cultivate most warm-climate crops.

For medicine and timber, best get your info on the ground. But you could start with the Guanacaste tree
10 months ago
Hey Jim, yep! it's a three year old thread, but I keep adding to it. Thanks for your suggestions.

1. I never thought about plants suffering from the reflective heat from the house. At the same time, it put the trees there to keep the sun from ever reaching the building wall! Most people tell me I plant too close to buildings though so I'm sure you're right. Keep the suggestions coming!

2. I generally planted in the East-West alignment, but it reality, I just plant all over the place It's also true that we don't lack for sunlight here...

3. It's true that my mulch has lots of sticks in it. I should probably chop them up like you say, but the termites are so helpful in that regard that I get lazy. I'm getting ready to chop and drop now though, so I'll put some more thought into it. In general, a piece of wood smaller than the thickness of my arm won't be around a year from now. Termites are just that voracious.

10 months ago