Tom Worley

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since Oct 06, 2016
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fish hunting urban
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Recent posts by Tom Worley

As Luke said, a lot of the southern Ozarks was once a pretty popular area for market apple orchards.  Apples, peaches, and pears do well, the University of Missouri Extension program puts out a lot of publications on what varieties do best in the state.  MU Extension- fruit production

I've heard of folks having success with tart cherries.  Blackberries and elderberries do well in the Ozarks. A lot of Texas county was historically covered by native shortleaf pine forest- if your property has any, or has any sandstone-derived soils, you may be able to get away with blueberries.  There are small, native blueberry species that grow in parts of the Ozarks.  

Good luck!
1 week ago
I started a couple (four) hen rouen ducks this year- as other folks have said, they seem to target kale/cabbage, cowpeas, peppers.  Mine liked garden peas, too.  I took a similar approach to Kris- let them out for a semi-supervised roam of an hour or two while I'm in the garden working, reading, or relaxing.  

Mine haven't wandered, although they have access to a small (2 food diameter) pool and shade, so they may not want to do too much exploring.  I've been able to keep them contained in a fenced area 18" or 24" provided the fence is reinforced, or stiff enough they can't bend the wire down.  They have a tendency to bulldoze through things, more than they fly or jump.  
1 month ago
First year having ducks for me, bought a couple Rouen ducklings back in mid February.  They ate ragged jack kale, they REALLY liked lacinato, garden peas, and cowpeas.  But once those were tall enough the ducks couldn't get to leaves and pods, they enjoyed hanging out underneath them on hot days.  They'd nibble on pepper flowers and leaves, and corn shoots early in the season, but they didn't bother snap beans, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, potatoes, or onions.  They didn't seem to bother flowers much either- ignored the wildflowers and zinnias, munched on some canna leaves early in the season- but as with the peas, once they were taller than a foot, the ducks couldn't reach them.  And typically they'd have to be working at it all day to do significant damage- if I let them out for a couple hours or a half-day while I'm working on the garden, or grilling, or reading, and can keep an eye on them, they're not too tough on things.  

I got one of those short (maybe 2 feet tall) wire rolls of decorative fence at the hardware store to separate the front half of the garden (vegetable plots) from the back half (coop, berry bushes, mushroom beds/logs, and a couple overhanging trees.  That mostly worked- Like Saybian said, if they find a flexible spot they can sort of barrel their way over.  But they're easy enough to herd back in, and you can bend the fence back in place and reinforce it with stakes as needed.  

2 months ago
...gray zucchini. Not regular zucchini, not gold zucchini, not round zucchini, not patty-pan squash, not delicata squash, not red kuri squash- just gray zucchini.  I don't get it.  

Strawberries have knocked it out of the park, setting a couple dozen fruit every time it rains and kicking out 3-4 runners and plantlets per plant.  

Cherokee Trail of Tears pole beans.  You blink and they set seed.  

...and this may be the year I succeed in growing eggplant.  Most of the time they're devoured by flea beetles this year I've been religiously spraying them with Neem weekly and they seem to have taken off.  
Depending on how far inland you are in eastern NC there's quite a few great options-

sailfin molly
blackbanded sunfish
bluespotted sunfish
banded pygmy sunfish
golden topminnow
lined topminnow
eastern mosquitofish
least killifish
pirate perch
eastern mudminnow

All of these are small (<2-3 inches),and they're all shallow/wetland species.  They're invertivores, and they shouldn't interfere with amphibians or other critters using the pool. They're all native to NC, though I don't know their distribution within the state.  I don't think any of them have special protections, but it's best to consult a biologist with the state fish and game department before doing any collecting, just in case.

Good luck!
6 months ago
I really like zinnias- seed is widely available, they come in a variety of colors, petal forms, and heights, and they're mightily attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.  They're adaptable to a wide variety of soil conditions, do well in full sun, and (for me) haven't been an issue in terms of self-seeding.  I've been using "Persian Carpet" that only gets ~ 12-18" tall in some places, and cactus types that get 3-4 feet high in others.  

I've done well with scarlet runner beans too, trained around a trellis or other structure.  They look good, do well in cooler climates, and the beans are edible.  

Good luck!
7 months ago

James Freyr wrote:

Let's please keep this thread on topic and discussion focused on knotweed and lyme disease.

I don't mean to rock the boat, but invasive species can favor disease-carrying ticks  by creating a suitable microclimate or favoring tick hosts like whitetail deer.  

I don't know if the research has been done on Japanese Knotweed specifically, but the tall, dense stands sure seem like great tick habitat when you're walking through them.  The history of both invasive species and miracle cures is absolutely riddled with cases of unintended consequences, and I think there's value in acknowledging and learning from those experiences.  If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I think there's value in proceeding cautiously.  
9 months ago
Some good responses.

It depends a lot on the species of fish and their response to temperature and dissolved oxygen.  

Dissolved oxygen concentrations are (generally) higher in cold water than warm water.  Species like trout have a high demand for dissolved oxygen, and are typically found in low water temperatures (55-70 degrees F they're considered "coldwater" species).  "Cool water" species like northern pike, yellow perch, and walleye like water temperatures can live in temperatures a little higher, but prefer maybe 65-75 degrees.  "Warmwater" species like your typical largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill, can thrive in temperatures upwards of 75 degrees. Some species are specially adapted- gar and bowfin can gulp air from the surface, topminnows and killifish cruise just under the water surface, where oxygen concentration is high.  So short answer: depending on what species you're interested in, minimum depth can be a couple inches or dozens of feet.  

Small ponds warm up faster (and get warmer) than small ponds, shallow ponds tend to have more oxygen than small ones (greater interaction with the atmosphere).  Shallow ponds also tend to have more aquatic vegetation, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your management goals.  

If you're in an ice-free (or largely ice-free) area, 4-5 feet is probably adequate for most fish species.  If you get ice cover for more than a couple weeks a year, you may consider depths closer to 8-10 feet.  If you're willing to run a pump during winter to keep open, ice-free areas, you could probably get away with a shallower pool.  

I'm a big proponent of small, fishless pools.  Lots of invertebrate and amphibian species have been declining over the past several decades due to landscape alteration and chemical spraying; thanks for incorporating some into your plan!
9 months ago

Mike Barkley wrote:

I've pretty much given up on eggplants here. A tiny insect seems to like them a lot but I do have a new type to try.

Same here at the edge of the Ozarks- I always say this is the last year I'll start 'em, then wind up trying one new variety.  This year it's Malaysian Purple.  Some little black bug, flea beetle I guess- just looks like soot covering the plants.  I just don't eat enough of them to justify the amount of babying they'd need to stay healthy.  
9 months ago
Yeah!  I'm trying broad (fava) beans this year, they're growing much faster than I anticipated, 6+ inches now and at least two weeks until they can be in the ground.  We'll see how that turns out.

I've started a couple new solanums- Striped Roman and San Marzano paste tomatoes, Coyote cherry tomato, purple tomatillo and Cossack Pineapple ground cherry.  

Started Red Welsh bunching onion.  

Probably be trying out a few Blauer Speck kohlrabi in the next two weeks, although I'll plant most of them (and the new Navone Yellow rutabaga I'm trying) this fall.

Some new greens- Malabar spinach, orach, a couple new lettuce varieties (swordleaf and red sails).  

Went a little crazy on beans- Jacob's Cattle, Kebarika, Marvel of Venice, Blue Coco, and Cherokee Trail of Tears.  

It's tough for me to get as excited about grain amaranth, but I'm trying it this year, too.  There's a sunny wet spot at the base of the garden slope that I think may be ideal.  Some for me, mostly for the Speckled Sussex and Rouen ducklings I picked up last week.  

Managed to not add any new pepper varieties for the first time in two years, requiring considerable restraint on my part.  

9 months ago