Fredy Perlman

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since Nov 16, 2015
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forest garden fungi cooking
Mason Cty, WA
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Recent posts by Fredy Perlman

James - I like your thinking. I have planted quite a few chestnut hybrids from Burnt Ridge Nursery, as well as butternuts (actually the unfortunately-named "buartnut") and shagbark hickory from same. In the area we found a huge, beautiful Juglans that I'm pretty sure is a heartnut, but it doesn't bear and is seriously distressed -- rotten in the middle to the point of sprouting mushrooms from its splitting base. There are many black walnuts around here as well, but none of them bear either. Mine may reach adulthood only to remain single! At least they're not alone.

I also planted a grafted elm (weeping, grafted to American rootstock) to have an elm away from the elm borer crisis. In the novel "The Overstory," the first vignette is about a chestnut that, because of its freak placement by some homesteaders outside of the natural range, escapes the blight, which the story tells in great detail. It also grows in a bizarre and striking habit -- another potential upside to unusual plantings. Unfortunately I only really liked 3-4 stories in the book and so didn't finish it.

And Daron, your post really changed my life and thinking. I had several natives planned, but didn't know why, until I read Tallamy's book at your rec. It's great, every permie should read it. I had intended to plant garry oaks agogo for various reasons, but in light of Sudden Oak Death syndrome, I'm even more chuffed. I'm sure they will grow dismayingly slowly. There are some burgambel oaks in there too but they're already showing less vigor than the garrys.

Anyway I also bought a bunch of natives from a tiny backyard Seattle nursery, because they were a little easier to find than where I am. This is all because of you and Tallamy! I'd love to volunteer at the nonprofit you work for as well, which is it? Now that my eyes have been opened I see the lack of diversity on my land and around me, and if I can find a local native plant expert (Skeeter? he's kind of far though) I hope to walk this land with them. I bought this place in part because of all the birds, more than many local properties, but I see how many more there should be and my neighbor, a bird enthusiast, has lent me volumes, expertise and her binoculars.
1 day ago
GREAT thread. Very inspiring, and started topically by a person in my region.

I am unsure in ordering natives, where i should locate them optimally. In totally disturbed regions, like on swales, supporting trees? Integrated into veg gardens? Or, perhaps obviously, in areas such as where they'd normally grow. I have planned locations for wapato and can think of existing areas for many other natives, but I'd like to order natives in multiples and plant them in different places to see who does best...but ideally no one would die.

I also feel like this question is hopelessly general.
2 weeks ago
I just stumbled on another interesting piece of research in this vein. The lacto-fermentation caught my attention because I still haven't found a use for old ferment juice...except addition in small amounts for making homemade lactofermented hummus.

•Non hydrolyzed urine serves as a suitable growth medium for lactic acid bacteria.

•Lacto-fermentation reduces ammonia volatilization and odour emission in urine.

•Lacto-fermented urine has better fertilizing effect than stored urine.

The study used an inoculum from sauerkraut juice, perfect, right? Lacto-fermented urine actually increased radish germination from 2-31% with stored urine to 74-86%!!

Researchers used a urine-diverting dry toilet and concluded that adding a bit of kraut juice BEFORE pee would increase the lacto-fermentation.

SO, if you're making ferments and pee-based teas, take a few seconds to splash your leftover ferment juice in the tank. It reduces the ammonia smell and improves germination. (Downside: it somehow reduces N-NH4+...but we know better than to conclude that's bad. I bet a cup of tea that the N-NH4+ that remains is more bioavailable. Where's Dr. Ingham when you need her?)
2 weeks ago
JMAnder, do you mean diseases and insects when you say pest pressure, or rodents, slugs...?

Given that we're in the same climate, how about harvesting and leaving on soil, but covered with totes or something, as a solution to both pest pressure and storage? I saw Spanish black radishes out like that in a Portland community garden. So true about the giant refrigerator. So I keep some things in foodgrade plastic buckets of damp sand, away from freezing, and crack them for air occasionally.

Just dug up some sunchokes, some were the size of limes, all quite intact and dormant. Been doing that now & again to make sure things are still ok. I would love to leave all these in the ground overwinter, but it's a good point that I don't know what's happening under there.
3 weeks ago
Aha! Thanks Mike! I often use squash instead of grains, so I will see if Seminoles fare better in our cold wet dark.

John, you are right, kale and chard love it here, tolerate our freeze/thaw cycles and even put on a little growth. I sowed kale for a fall crop, though, and the slugs chawed it to nothing by late december. It hadn't put on enough growth to put it above their convenient browse level. The chard, 9 mos old, appears to have divided over the winter into two clusters, and one was a nest of slugs. Note to self, dump diatomaceous earth in there. Or maybe they'll be the first test subjects for my thyme slug killer.
3 weeks ago
Mike, I tried leaving my squash unharvested this year. Had a lot of Galeux d'Eysines, butternut, delicata and some unidentified pumpkin-y type. Almost every one except the delicata and butternut got a bruise somehow, which mold colonized and infiltrated the fruit from there. I thought, like Skandi says, that leaving things out to get frozen enabled that, but even the ones kept inside got soft in a place or two, then got moldy, then deliquesced. Didn't even try a single Galeux! Next year, they get processed earlier.
3 weeks ago
Thanks Dustin. I tried polystachya in NYC and can't recall why they didn't take. I'll try them again as long as I needn't worry they're opportunistic ---because it is propagated by aerial bulbils, if animals fool with it, it could become a bother.

Plants and seeds are at, which says they can survive zone 3 in Alberta.
3 weeks ago
After asking the same question myself, I think this is the best idea. If your hillsides are soft enough you could dig it out yourself...I have a sandy one I'm planning on doing. Dig trenches around perimeter, plant rot-resistant/-proof beams and concrete in place, make roof of beams, cover with pondliner, perforate pondliner for air circulation and add piping for an air column out, cover the whole with soil, gravel the floor, you're good for 50-100 years!

Some loud bear ;) shows one here in a 1:10 video.

After an abortive attempt to build a root cellar (eventually to be reprised competently), I left my root crops in the ground. I'd read that could be done, and have little mole/vole trouble, perhaps because they prefer compacted ground.

So far, everything's been fine. Aerial vegetation died back in a few freezes, but mostly collapsed on the tubers and protected them. Anything even partially buried has stored in place, I dig them up as needed and they're fine.

So why shouldn't we treat our beds as overwinter vaults?

I've successfully overwintered sunchokes (which get sweeter from freezing), yacon, ulluco, mashua and oca. Crosnes also appear unchanged, when I find them. I have yet to see how hopniss (groundnut) will do where it was interplanted with corn and're not supposed to dig it up for at least a year. This year I think I'll interplant it with bamboo. What do you overwinter undisturbed? As I'm ordering seeds for the year, I'm thinking of how to keep a large portion of my harvest in place, saving me the trouble in fall AND the storage bother.

EDIT: A terrible snowstorm hit the area before I could harvest all my winter tuber crops. Once this 18" melts I'll be interested to see if there's anything left.
3 weeks ago
Skandi, it's all in the name: peppermint makes things more tasty, spearmint kills them like a spear in the gut! ;) Definitely going to start with essential oil application before going to distilling. I'm always looking to justify distilling gear.

Cristo, I didn't know that about sheer curtains! Will be helpful for keeping birds out of the autumn olive when it fruits, which is supposedly the only thing you need to do to prevent its becoming opportunistic. Sheer curtains are also more likely to be available secondhand than ag fabric.

Hugo, I'm not thinking of direct application, but of spraying all cultivated areas with a very fine mist (hence the importance of a solid-free liquid). In 10 minutes near sundown, when all the slugs are whetting their knives, you can pass by the beds and put some napalm salad dressing on there for them. Everyone dies or is repelled, very little effort for you. If the repellent effect were very strong, you could even plumb a tank of thyme repellent into your drip watering system...but i'm getting ahead of myself.

That is a great video. I've thought of electrical repellent systems and that lays it all out so neatly. Will add that to the armamentarium, but only with rechargeable 9v batteries or solar panels + transformers if I can find them cheap enough. Unfortunately that system may keep snakes out as well, and so far they are my most effective control.

I have to add the biodynamic remedies i found last year:

"Maria Thun makes a let-it-rot slug spray: When moon is in Cancer, collect 50-60 slugs and leave to rot in water. Next month, when moon is again in Cancer, strain liquid and spray on soil, prepare a new spray and repeat next month. Repeat for 3X at intervals of 4 weeks. Hugh Courtney reports using a tea from spruce seeds to discourage slugs. To make the tea, 3 grams of crushed seeds of Picea abies (Norway spruce) were left to ferment in 1 liter of water for two weeks. One cup of the fermented extract was added to 2.5 gallons of water, stirred for 20 minutes and sprayed on the soil and plants with good results. Similarly, Hugh makes a tea from pokeberry (Phytolacca americana) juice. Results are not clear although one Oregon grower reports success using pokeberry juice early in the year to inhibit slug reproduction."

Finally, this biodynamics company says a seaweed preparation repels them, though the purpose of application is to fertilize. I've got seaweed for miles and need to gather it for my asparagus beds anyway.
3 weeks ago