David Wieland

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since Jun 19, 2017
Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
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Recent posts by David Wieland

Joseph Lofthouse's rule for the planting distance from a tree sounds sensible and probably practical on a dryland acreage. But here in the Ottawa Valley of eastern Ontario I have way too many trees to get my veggie garden that far away. As a consequence, I've clearly seen the network of roots from trees 20 feet away that invades a garden within a couple of years. I built a raised bed garden years ago on a city lot that offered enough sun for veggies, and it produced well for about two years. After that time, I noticed a lot of fine roots whenever I worked the beds, and the production really declined despite conscientious watering. A maple at least 15 feet away seemed to be the predominant root source, although a nearby cedar hedge was likely contributing to the competition. That taught me that simple raised beds don't help much (or for very long) with the problem, and I see the same problem in my current garden. Apart from taking down numerous trees, which is impractical and mostly undesirable, I suspect that regular root pruning of the nearby trees is the best way to keep down the competition. I don't have the space to use a root plow, as Ken Wilson suggested, so I'll have to try a more manual method -- maybe a pickax trench.
3 months ago
It might help to think of added thermal mass as a thermal version of a mechanical flywheel. (Spinning wheels and treadle sewing machines use the flywheel effect to smooth their operation.) Any mechanical device that includes a flywheel requires some extra effort (energy input) to increase its speed but comparatively less energy to maintain the speed. And when the energy input is stopped, the flywheel slows gradually, keeping the device running while slowing. For a greenhouse, raising its temperature a degree takes more energy if it includes extra mass, so it warms more slowly. Conversely, when the sun quits shining on it, it will cool slowly (not rapidly like deserts do). The solar collector box is desert-like, so it can reach much higher temperature on a sunny day but quickly cools at night. That's a terrible greenhouse. Note though that the air at the top of an unventilated greenhouse and well above the significant mass will get hotter (by convection), but your plants are likely in the lower and cooler zone.
4 months ago
I don't know what A. Smith intends to use the rainwater for, but I installed a big tank (about 6 ft high) from the local farm co-op more than 15 years ago that I intended for watering a large garden. It's translucent white poly, which I expected would result in much algae if I didn't darken it. But I was too busy with other projects at the time to do anything with it and left it uncoated and uncovered. However, with only trees to shade it about half the day, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it never did develop significant algae -- only enough to give the water a green tinge.

In the intervening years, I've used this tank to hold pond water pumped out of my fish pond for spring cleaning, so it's well-inoculated with microorganisms and has a thin layer of sludge on the bottom below the drain outlet. (I've tried cleaning thoroughly a couple of times, but that's an awful lot of work.) If I intended this water for household use, I'd certainly screen out debris near the inlet (and not use it in pond cleaning ) and would filter and probably disinfect the outlet water, but I haven't needed anything beyond "roof washing" before connecting the main fill downspout to capture a rainfall.

Here are a couple of pictures taken this morning (with the main fill and hatch cover removed):
6 months ago
I have a single Liberty that I planted at least 15 years ago. It was supposedly a dwarf, but I have to head it back each year to keep it under 15 feet. Anyway, it didn't fruit for the first 3 years as I recall. (I haven't kept records unfortunately.) I'm in Ottawa, Ontario, which may account for slower maturity, but the apples are among the best I've ever tasted. I only wish I could get them without so many blemishes.
8 months ago

Charley Hoke wrote:I don't see why jute would not work as bailing twine, it is a very strong fiber.

I'm not sure if the twine I have gotten in the past was jute or not, but it was a natural fiber, at least it looked like it.

For the last couple of years the twine I have been getting is an orange plastic type.

This is an interesting article I found on jute

When I was homesteading in Ontario in the 70s, plastic baling twine was coming in, but natural sisal was still available. The jute twine I have on hand is softer and weaker than sisal. It's also not nearly as heavy as baling twine, but it works for one-season trellising.
9 months ago