Tom-Scott Gordon

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since Dec 08, 2016
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Recent posts by Tom-Scott Gordon

Similar thoughts raced through my mind while layering. Would the mycelium-rich oak bits overpower the sticky pines? Would 4-6-10% chicken manure pellets really have any effect at all compared to nice big chunks of cow and horse droppings? And, what about the actual mix of dirt--for this test it's been mostly gray clay. And that was the reason I had to build upward in the first place.

In any event, I was just thinking about people's propensity to transport soil amendments from hundreds of miles away, always a semi-futile exercise for folks like me who technically really do not know specifically what's involved. That's why I built four different sample piles last Fall. And today, I am so proud to see them covered with a flourishing crop of weeds.

Listening to the weeds, understanding what they say, this has been the best chapter in my gardening trials to date.
1 year ago
Functionally based in Little Rock, I've got my eye on every portion of the State. As this thread begins in the Wye Mountain area, I should mention that Tom Frothingham's nursery on HWY 10 is probably the closest full-service heritage varietals and information connection available to me and you.

As to Mena, Mountain View, Mountain Home, Hope and Villiona, I've got feelers throughout these areas because of my longstanding family and extended family connections. This month, I will be completing Geoff Lawton's online PDC certificate course. And, though I'm not yet ready to dawn the title of a true "green thumb," I have successfully entered into projects in Pine Bluff, Conway, Clinton, Mulberry and just yesterday a new one in Cabot. I'll be working with solar expert Jerry Landrum, of the NWA Permaculture Group, on the perfect back-up power system for a couple hiding out deep in the back woods.

Please do include me in y'alls regional mailing lists, and community meet-ups!
Tom-Scott Gordon chezkiva (at)
(501) 225-1323
2 years ago
Ven's original post indicated an interest in providing free food to his community by reclaiming a lot of lots. That's pretty much identical to my interests in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, which today is nearly as bleak and painfully hungry as Detroit.

Sequestering carbon has practically no bearing on the crux of Ven's objectives, presuming they still stand. Using Hugelkultur in this particular situation is beneficial on several levels, few of which were even considered by the majority of readers on this thread. "Experiment," seemed to be the most promising suggestion of the bunch.  
2 years ago
"Buckshot gumbo clay" it is. -Thanks. This gives me something specific to crow about when next I speak to the master Gardener's group at the JeffCo Annex.

I'm tilling just the perimeter of a double football field sized lot. We use what we've got. So far this includes weathered rice hulls, grass clippings and some deep black (sic) "real organic" compost from American Composting of N. Little Rock, -not the cheap stuff containing shredded PVC garbage bags that throw the pH way up.
2 years ago
After reading half of this thread, Bryant, I feel a decisive need to cut-to-the-chase.

Since Vilonia, Arkansas is just up the road from me, I would love to compare notes, as your garden soil may be roughly identical to my 35+ year organic blend here in Little Rock. We show the same pH and my current Co. Annex-tests reveal only a slight need for additional N.

With this in mind, I am currently engaged in helping to create several community garden 'free-food' plots down in Pine Bluff. There, my backyard jar tests reveal mostly clay suspended in a healthy (9") A-horizon of grass roots.

In this region of alluvial and loess soils, what would you seek to incorporate on a one-time till basis to build a level of porosity to support say, potatoes and carrots? Would this, by nature involve a multi-stage planting process, such as a first season with lots of soy, alfalfa and comfrey?

This issue is magnified in importance as I have recently set-up a demonstration "hugelkultur -solution" on a schoolyard for the public at large. With this program I have been petitioning the Mayor, the City Council and Simmons Bank in particular for financial support, PLUS the conventional (read Monsanto bought and paid for) daft agricultural community of row crop farmers and university instructors throughout this targeted town.

These applications persist up and down the entire Delta. Your documentation above can help me sound more fluid in my general dialogue on soil health. I'm wondering if we might be able to speak privately about the exact classifications, nutrient-levels and any suggested compost amendment ideas you may have for my issues at hand?

FYI, to all, -It's all about feeding some desperately poor people in a bleak food desert! {TSG-cell 501.952.2446.}    

2 years ago
Justin, I'm an avid old school still shooter, so take this with a grain of Tri-X. I once assisted a top videographer who made his career as Bill Clinton's side-kick. His main take-away was "Lock the camera down! Not every frame needs to contain motion. And, it becomes a big event when you notice a single branch moving in the background, a flock of geese passing through, a sincere smile on your subject's face at the end of a scene..."

BTW, I never watched TV, or shot a single video after the Summer of '96. One endearing quality I think everyone experiences through your work is the natural way you share in those intimate family moments. Still, I'm missing the close-ups of mom working with the kids, pulling off their muddy shoes, making the chicken soup, introducing various topics before venturing into the field and finally, carrying her own damn camera as opposed to just trailing along.

All up, it's a delightful show, and I believe everyone who's contributed has already received more than their money's worth!

2 years ago
Brian, thanks for all the research and time spent in this group think. It strikes me that any one of us could readily assemble a small production facility and custom build & ship components like this in several models & special sizes to less experienced carpenters and homeowners everywhere. People have bigger things to be concerned with besides reinventing the wheel. Obviously, the ideal business model would be built on open-source, 'people care' services and pricing at the component/base-model end, while enabling custom installers to prosper as they carry the load of actual on-site customization-issues.

Ultimately, this is what DirecTV and DISH should have done with their once formidable group of quality custom installers. Instead they screwed us completely! My thought is that any client ought to be able to order a kit for around $400 to $1,k which comes drop-shipped with an active list of regional custom installers all supported through the vendor's site, much the way Paul so generously has done here. Offering free info on sand, rock, pearlite, beautiful cast fittings, etc. through partners wishing to provide local access to all these things, plus reasonable mark-ups on core company shippable items, would enable this company to quickly establish market saturation.

The key is customization and architectural integration. How does starting pay of $32.Hr for the 'lead,' and $22.Hr for their 'trusted assistant,' in cash, sound to someone who is otherwise consumed with basic survival, 24/7/365, on their of-grid redoubt? People would be thrilled to have even higher priced turn-key solutions for these second homes in Breckenridge and Aspen. (Free lift-tickets pending!)
2 years ago
This is generally a gorgeous build out. What was wrong with the core? Does this heat an inner courtyard, and partially supply the home as well? --Transitional spaces particularly intrigue me because they inspire neighbors and help beat greedy landlords, realtors and utility companies out of a lot of bucks!
2 years ago
Thanks for sharing, Laura. Nice greenhouse build. I see you guys appreciate what I mean about extending your living space to encompass the great outdoors. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all who've happened to tune in!
2 years ago