Brandon McGinnity

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since Feb 02, 2016
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forest garden fungi tiny house
Austin, Texas, United States
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Recent posts by Brandon McGinnity

William Bronson wrote:Brandon,  I see you are in Austin.
The weather there seems to be in the sixties.
Looks like your last frost date is the 15th.
Are your plants inside right now?
If so,  the indoor  warmth might have pushed them to flower.
Maybe wait until the 15th  and plant them out.
If they are already outside, maybe  let them be.
Hopefully they are reacting to the nice weather.

They've been outside in pots, though I brought them in for a day and a half because it dipped down to around 30 one night. It was 83 the day before, and has often been in the 60s and 70s all "winter" here. I'm new to this climate, as much as I'm new to tree collards, so I guess this'll just be a learning adventure for me, as with the rest of it.  
2 years ago
Hey all, I got these cuttings in the mail maybe a month ago, and all four seem to be doing great. Almost too great, I'm worried. they are starting to put up little flower heads! I've never grown this stuff, and never expected little cuttings to be trying to bloom, especially not so soon after being put in soil. I didn't pull any of the out, but I can't imagine their roots are THAT established yet. Are they entering some sort of last gasp of life, trying to go to seed before they die, or what? I'm hoping it's just a hold-over from the parent plant's yearly cycle and they'll just carry on, but thought I'd ask you all. Thoughts?
2 years ago
Well I'm no expert but I'm doing the opposite of the never prune thing, based on the book "Grow A Little Fruit Tree." I planted a plum and a peach tree a couple months ago and cut them to about hip height (the author says knee height, but I am not going for quite that small). Basically I just cut the whole top off, the trees were a good 6 feet tall when I bought them. I will then grow it as a sort of small version of an orchard tree, with the open center, instead of the central trunk these both had originally.

But it's all about context. I want the branches to start sort of low and control the height of the tree, since I'm in a urban/suburban place and don't have space for a huge bunch of trees, but still want variety on my lot. And I don't want all the fruit 15 feet up anyways, nor do I need as much of it as a full sized tree would produce. Just enough for me and my girlfriend, and probably to share with neighbors.
2 years ago
Well, here's my off the cuff thoughts, backed by nothing, basically just bro-science. But it seems like while some of it may be "rotting vegetable lechate" I don't see how that's a bad thing, it's going to be the same bacteria as what's coming out of the worms rear ends, right?

Also, if it's leaching through castings at the bottom of the bin, it is at least partially actual worm casting tea. I wouldn't worry about using it, myself, though I would probably use my bubbler, as you mentioned, in a bucket to favor the aerobic bacteria over the anaerobes, also to grow more of them, maybe add some molasses to feed them while doing so. But even if not at least the aeration will kill off a lot of the anaerobes and then there's no concern at all as far as I can see.
2 years ago

Rodney Webb wrote:It's a cheap trick to use the mirror setting in photo app (and some color saturation), but it's fun. Reveals that there are faces between the seams and nature is watching us, from beyond the veil.

Anyone else notice the Buddha figure sitting on top of the mushroom picture?

Also, yeah, I am a human mammal too, see patterns/faces everywhere, from the patches of sky seen through distant trees, to the knock-down wall texture on the bathroom wall as I sit staring at it while... well, you know.
2 years ago
Thanks everyone for the input. The wicking idea is a good one, I do have plenty of totes around, may give it a try if need be. But Wayne, you make a good point. I should just be starting them in the ground, probably better for the plant anyways, in terms of root system development. I just know I can't bear having to buy plants again as I did this spring. I had just moved here and really threw the whole thing together, with the not unexpected lopsided effects The soil isn't great and is very alkaline, which I've never dealt with. It was nearly perfect back in North Carolina, maybe a bit acidic for some things, but with lots of leaf mulch it turned into black gold, that nice loose soil you could dig your arm into; hoping for the same effects here, with time.

So yeah, I have a whole host of new issues to deal with which kind of sucks, and is also kind of fun. I mean, I want production, that's an important part of why I do this; but the tinkering in the garden is a joy, no doubt, except that I've been hiding from the heat for the last month and letting everything go. I'd love to hear any central Texas specific or relevant advice if anyone has any or can point me to the right forum.

Interestingly enough, I still have several kale plants that look absolutely amazing. I don't know how they're handling the heat so well. The squash and tomatoes petered out, the latter having been especially disappointing, but there they are, a lacinato and two red russians, looking great.
3 years ago
Hey all, just wanted to see if anyone had any ideas for how to keep my seed trays moist while I'm at work.

First, to set the scene. I'm in Austin Texas and it's been over 100 (and totally sunny) for weeks, save a day here and there, and on the dry side, in terms of humidity (thank god!). I'm new here, coming from NC, and am not attuned to this heat. Also my house get's no sunlight via windows except a bit of dappled light in the morning, as all the windows are on the wrong side of the house, with the attached garage on the southern side. Which probably keeps the place cooler but means I don't have a sunny window, plus, we have cats so indoor plants are generally a no go.

I don't have a green house either.

But it's about time to start my fall crop, kale, chard, that sort of thing. I don't know how I'm going to keep the seed trays moist while I'm off at work all day. Should I skip the trays and just plant in the ground? Or does anyone have any inventive way to keep a tray wet?

3 years ago

William Schlegel wrote: A Sungold F2 was a surprise winner in my experiments in early tomato growing this summer.

Interesting. I have always wondered about saving hybrid seeds. Did you see a lot of variation in the resulting plants from the saved seed? I grow for market sales so I buy seed unless it's heirloom that I can easily save, like heirloom tomatoes mainly at this point. I've saved things like dill, spinach, cilantro, basil, and the like in the past, from much smaller home gardens.

Note: I know almost nothing about what a landrace even is so I'm here to learn and understand. But I'd love to save on costs, if it were possible to save hybrid tomatoes, peppers, and stuff like that. Plus I do like the idea of locally adapted plants
4 years ago
I agree with the OP. I remember doing a bicycle tour at around age 20, my first time on my own out in the country (being a suburbanite from Detroit), and of course on a bike you're so much more engaged with your surroundings, so I remember being struck by all the farmers (well, country folk, at least; a few may have been on real farms) out there, mowing lawns of an acre or two. Not brush hogging, just going around on their sit down mowers. What a ridiculous thing to do!

If it were just to keep the land clear, in case they wanted to farm it or something, fine, brush hog it once or twice a year to keep trees out. But this was northern Michigan, why keep the trees out? You wanted to live in the country, and the country there is woods! I never could see the point of wasting so much time and fuel (and money) doing that. Maybe a small place for kids to play, and to keep the area around the home clear for fire and, yeah, aesthetics. But no, I never understood it.

I once wrote an essay years ago about the insanity of lawns, which I can post if anyone is interested.
4 years ago
You can do it quick and easy, for sure. But as Bryant said, use the richest ingredients. Myself I do a compost tea, not a fermentation thing, so I'm using finished compost, not raw plant matter, as I don't know much about that myself. I have an aquarium bubbler in a 5 gallon bucket that I make mine in. My thought is that the best results will come from having a wide variety of ingredients in the compost that you make the tea with. Not always the case, because when I make compost it just depends on what I have around; but any is better than none, I figure.