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Steve Oh

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since Oct 27, 2015
SW Ohio, 6b, heavy clay prone to hardpan
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Recent posts by Steve Oh

220v AC will definitely need an inverter, as solar only provides DC, also, yes, you would need batteries. Small PVAs generate relatively little of power, which is typically stored in batteries so larger loads can be run. You might charge your cell phone from a solar panel, but even then it's better to charge a battery to use when charging the phone. The number of solar panels (and batteries) will depend on the current (amperage) draw of the pump and the amount of run time. Deep well pumps use a lot of amps. You would probably be better off using the generator as you would be looking at a pretty significant solar installation for a deep well pump.

I don't have much experience heating a pump house, hopefully someone else here can give you advice on that aspect.
2 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:I skip compost altogether and just put raw materials on my garden and let them compost in place. But I'm super lazy.

We often do the same. It works quite well as long as we bury it to keep the critters from carting it off.
2 years ago
I have similar experiences to Todd. Although, I don't doubt that compost teas can be beneficial. I think, like any soil amendment, they are only beneficial when there is a specific problem to be addressed.
At least for me, side by side testing has shown no difference in "tea-ed" plots vs those grown without compost tea. I skip the extra step and just add compost when it is ready, that seems to work far better, for me, than making a tea.

Of course, depending on your soil conditions, you may have a different experience, so I suggest you test and see. I strongly recommend "testing" rather than just assuming something will or will not work, as soils vary widely.
2 years ago
Diatomaceous earth is mostly silica, which is, for the most part, chemically inert. That means there is little, if anything, available for biologic processes. I don't agree that adding DE will improve a soil's mineral content in any meaningful way.

Rock dust, in general, can be extremely helpful, extremely harmful, or anywhere in between. It all depends on the existing soil conditions and the composition of the rock dust. Adding limestone rock dust to an alkaline soil isn't going to help you. Soil pH is extremely important to nutrient uptake.
There is much bad information here. There is also some very good information.

Rock dust can only assist if the existing soil is deficient in minerals, pH imbalanced, etc, which can be improved by the rock dust.
However, rock dust can drastically (which can be beneficial or harmful) alter the pH, structure, and nutrient availability (both positively and negatively) of the soil. If you randomly add rock dust (or any other soil amendment) without knowing the existing soil's chemical balance, pH, and structure, you stand as much chance of causing a serious problem as you do of making an improvement.

2 years ago
Yes, I do most of the repairs myself, by hand. After a sister-in-law borrowed our sewing machine (a decade ago) and forgot to return it, I just started mending everything with a needle and thread. Today, it was just three buttons, but the boys are hard on their jeans and they often need patching or seams/pockets repaired.

On my own gardening clothes, I do several "preemptive" repairs, like adding a second layer to the knees and adding a few extra stitches to stress points. I also add a few buttons on the back of my hiking pants, around the waist just below my beltline, so I can button on a square of damp-proof fabric and sit without a wet arse. Because, for some reason, I inevitably only have spare time to enjoy the wilderness on days when said wilderness is quite "moist". It might look silly, but that flap keeps me comfortable. I originally just sewed a kind of reverse apron with a tie around the waist, but the knot and rope always got in my way, so I switched to buttons.
2 years ago
Perhaps not the most glamorous, but we don't use tractors here, so my most used hand tool is a long, hickory-handled spade. An antique, a relic of a bygone era, well worn but far stronger than most available today. At least around the homestead, that's the tool I always grab, along with some others I may need.
When wandering the woods, it's a toss up between a Corona folding saw and a Benchmade 162, if we are going strictly by amount of use. Although I could do without the saw before I'd do without the knife.

With a good tool, accomplishment is limited only by determination.
2 years ago
John, sorry, I don't have any experience with micro-inverters, though I agree that they are a very attractive concept.
Grid tie inverters are pretty standard fare these days, and I've seen "grid tie micro-inverters" advertised, but I don't know if they would meet your local codes or any codes, for that matter. The auto-shutoff feature, to me, would seem absolutely vital. Protecting human life should be a top priority.

Many solar companies have help lines to assist you in designing a system, you might look into that. Just be aware that their knowledge base is likely limited to their offering and may not be applicable to the offerings of other vendors.

You probably already know this, but I'll state it for the sake of others reading the thread. One of the main benefits of micro-inverters is limiting the length of the low voltage DC cables, thus limiting cable losses. Higher voltage and AC have far lower losses than lower voltage and DC, on the same cable size, so micro-inverters, installed very close to the solar panels, convert 12,24,48 volts DC to 110/220 volts AC and that AC is what traverses the long cable run to the breaker panel and building distribution. This is a basic design concept behind efficient solar installations. You always want to minimize the distance the low voltage DC needs to travel, due to losses in the cabling (or the high cost of big gauge cabling) .

Your panel outside, micro-inverter inside is intriguing, if you could do it with very short cable runs on the low voltage side (between the panel and the inverter). Not knowing your design intent, I don't know if it will work well. In my mind I envision a lot of holes in the roof, to keep the runs short, and roof + holes usually = bad. But there are far brighter men than I in this world, and you may have a better plan.

2 years ago
Every grid tie inverter, that I've seen, does this automatically. I believe it is a code requirement for grid tie systems, at least in the USA...not sure where you are located.

Edit: Yes, It's an NEC code requirement. Perhaps search on "grid tie inverter"?
2 years ago

kadence blevins wrote:I'm curious if some peas or beans might do well growing with/near them? like a three sisters type deal going. you would have to plant them after the chokes are up a bit to make sure they have something there ready to climb on.

Pole beans thrive growing on the tall stems. Last season, some of my most prolific beans grew in the sunchoke patch. In my opinion, this is a great companion planting. I managed to more than triple the production of NA-native amberique beans (Strophostyles helvola) by simply planting wild seeds among the sunchokes. No additional fertilize, care, or ground preparation at all, just planted the beans in a patch of established sunchokes.

As far as digestion issues, we harvest all winter, and then in very early spring we harvest some extra (storing them in the refrigerator in bags with dry paper towels to keep moisture levels down). There is still a little gas, but not anywhere near as much as eating them without the long cold storage. We also often deep fry them, sliced (sun chips are yummy), which also improves digestibility.
2 years ago

Ted Ge wrote:

Steve Oh wrote:if this is typical green floral foam (often called "Oasis", after a brand name), it's there to hold the plants in place and acts like a sponge to absorb and release water. It isn't required, but it isn't harmful.

That's the thing, it's not the green typical foam. Its just regular white Styrofoam

Really? I'd just throw that crap away. It's not helping anything.
2 years ago