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Mike Jay

garden master
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since Mar 24, 2016
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books food preservation hunting solar trees woodworking
Mike is a homesteader, gardener, engineer, wood worker, blacksmith and most recently a greenhouse designer.  He heard about permaculture in 2015 and has been learning ever since.
Northern WI (zone 4)
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Recent posts by Mike Jay

I got this picture of a tomato from my sister.  It seems like the seeds sprouted inside the tomato before it rotted.  I've never seen this before.  Is it the coolest thing ever?  Should she do anything special with it other than compost it?
1 day ago
One time I had a honey locust with circling roots.  It was planted in pure clay.  After 4 years of minimal growth I took a flat spade and stabbed straight down where the edge of the original root ball was in line with the trunk (like a spoke on a wheel).  I worked my way around the tree and probably did 10 stabbings.  This cut the circling roots and gave them a place to venture out into the clay.  From then on it put on 4' per year.

If you want to try that I'd probably do it during the growing season or just before in the early spring so the cut roots can quickly take advantage of the cuts in the native soil to venture out. 
2 days ago
Last year I tried planting corn into an established pasture which was mainly grass with a healthy number of wild flowers.  I mowed it really low and poked the corn down 2" or so.  Many of them sprouted but none ever got over 8".  I think the competition was just too fierce. 

If they were planted at the same time as the grasses and flowers, maybe they'd've done just fine.

If I were to try it again, I'd prepare the autumn before by laying down a stripe of cardboard where each row of corn will be the next spring.  Cover that with lasagna mulch, dirt, compost, etc and cover it with mulch. That will smother the existing grass.  Then in the spring, plant away.  If you're in a warmer climate (or maybe even in a colder one) you could try a cover crop in the meantime that fixes some nitrogen for the upcoming corn crop.
3 days ago
I ended up giving them cold water to drink which they eventually took to.  I've seen them pant since on less hot days so I guess I'm getting used to it.  Thanks everyone, the birds all survived
3 days ago
Hi Ben, welcome to Permies!  I haven't harvested wheat before so my opinion is nearly useless.  But, despite that, I'd harvest it.  Especially if there's any chance of strong weather in the next week.  I figure it will keep on drying in the shocks and it looks pretty dry already.  But that's just my two cents (and that's about all it's worth).

Travis Johnson wrote:A better alternative may be a Sterling Engine which is powered from the sun (currently being done), or what I would like to do, use geothermal cooling along side compost heat to power a Sterling Engine.

That's what I've been noodling on too.  Great minds think alike...
5 days ago
I just made molasses sugar cookies this morning.  1/2 cup of molasses went in along with 2 cups of sugar. 

I've never considered molasses to really be a sugar, more of a strong flavor.

Take some maple syrup and boil it into maple sugar and now you're talking.  That stuff is granulated like sugar but has a mapley brown sugar taste that is awesome.
5 days ago
I believe the reason is because you'd be saving and perpetuating the genes that lead to early bolting.  So if you save those bolting seeds and next year have another hot summer, maybe ALL the carrots will bolt on you and you won't get much of a harvest.

Now for self-pollinating crops (like lettuce?) I'm not sure if saving bolting seeds matters because the genes are set already and you aren't doing much selection.  I think...
We picked wild service berries two days ago and I've been missing out!  They're bigger than blueberries, you don't have to reach down to your ankles to pick and they're yummy. 

They do look sparse but I think they tend to send up multiple stems (kind of like a lazy lilac).  So you may end up with a clump of spindly shrubs that fill out and look decent as a group.  I found that they put out decent fruit even in partial shade.  Do you have a corner/edge of your lot that you could put them?  They could frame the lot and leave room for other trees.

Regarding needing two apples, that's only if you don't have a neighbor within a few hundred yards with an apple or crabapple. 

You could also make them into a bit of a guild.  Apple/peach in the middle with a ring of blueberries or honeyberries around the base...
5 days ago
True, I could pinch them between a few scrap boards to keep them aligned.  But then it would flatten out the squeezed out glue and make it harder to remove...  And it would take a bit longer with the glue setting up.  But it would work.

I did pull out the oscillating spindle sander with the belt attachment to round off the 2x6's.  That worked nicely, thanks for the idea!
6 days ago