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Kevin Goheen

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since Jan 03, 2017
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forest garden woodworking
Western Kentucky - Zone 7
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Recent posts by Kevin Goheen

Dustin Rhodes wrote:Not sure, but you might have problems with the bees choosing to use a non-natural material to make their home in - could be something about the chemistry of the plastic, or the smoothness of the interior walls, they might not like it - testing may be in order?

You also have to account for solar degradation.

I figure if it's safe enough for water it'd probably be alright. Also these could put in old coffee cans  or anything to reduce light touching it.
1 month ago

Mike Jay wrote:I heard a neat idea.  Since hardy kiwi's need a sturdy trellis, and trelli take up room, put the female kiwis on trellises (trilli?) and let the males climb up a tree you don't care about (spruce, etc).  The bees don't care and you don't need to pick it so why build a trellis for the male kiwis.

Side note, my kiwis are about 9' tall and growing strongly.  But they seem to be pretty light weight.  I read that they need huge and sturdy trellises.  Do they really need to be sturdy or just big?  I have some cuttings so I hope to start several more this year.

I agree Dillon, I got my first fruit last year and they seemed like a no brainer.  Big enough to make picking worthwhile, no fuzzy skin to work around and they taste great.  You think everyone would want one in their back yard...

I suggest a large trellis because they can go crazy. In the Northeast they scale hundred foot trees. They are said to bear up to 100 lbs of fruit, still hoping they bloom this year, since the bud so early.
1 month ago

Trace Oswald wrote:I planted 3 hardy kiwi here in my heavy clay 4 years ago.  They are alive,  but the largest is less than a foot tall.   They have been snipped off by rabbits in the winter twice but have never grown more than 6 inches or so in a summer.

We rarely have rabbit problems anymore since we take chicken wire and cut about a 1'x2' piece and face the barbs up. If you have trouble with voles face the barbs down.

Also ours are about 25' considering all the vines. The key for us was shade, and our soil is a very heavy clay.
1 month ago
Has anyone used like 1/2" or smaller pvc pipe for mason bee nesting tubes? It would be a lot cheaper than ordering bulk paper tubes. At $2 or less for a 20 ft piece locally I could cut it down to about 60 4-inch pieces making them barely over 3 cents a piece. I know people will break their tubes open and over winter their bees. However, a lot of people use river cane or fine bamboo and it has the same difficulty that pvc would. While yes it isn't biodegradable, it would help lay people get more involved raising mason bees I think. it would be just be proper stewardship to make sure they stay in their intended position. Thoughts?
1 month ago
If grown right I've had figs produce from Late June/Early July until frost in November, and that was just the 2nd crop! We do get a lot of rain in the Spring so the breba crop is meh. We also get a big crop of blueberries and blackberries that we can freeze for later. We also get a massive yield of black walnuts from wild trees on the farm I have contemplated having them processed at a local facility for winter use. As far as most vegetables they stay pretty seasonal for myself, and I would like to work in more perennial vegetables to offset this. Especially sunchokes for winter harvests, but they are pretty expensive to buy where I have seen them.
1 month ago
Yeah it regularly gets to 100 in Late July and August here in West Ky. I have also seen it get to 115 about six years ago, so yeah it just simply to hot for them in direct sun here. The trellis is under some trees in a nestled area toward a small valley, and it is oriented East/West, but they probably gets about 4 hours or so of sunlight. I know toward Maine it grows like Kudzu! Maybe if I am fortunate I can get some well trimmed lovage to grow in the spot, but it still maybe too hot for the lovage to grow either. I definately do want to find another shorter fruit to grow along with it.
1 month ago
I am growing them on a trellis. Even though I wouldn't call them invasive, they are certainly aggressive in growth in the shade where I live. Very similar in vigor to Japanese honeysuckle. I wouldn't advise growing them on a tree, but they might go well with a nitrogen fixer like an Autumn olive. Blackberries where I live like full hot sun, so they wouldn't be as good a pick. Perhaps raspberries, if they had a better tolerance to clay soil. Passionfruit might work well, but would be a mess removing the dead each year from the mass of kiwi vines, as maypop passionfruit dies to the ground each year.

At the moment I am already growing a permaculture vineyard with grapes and blackberries. The issue with grapes is I have to remove the stretches of vines that go past their allotted space. With as vigorous as kiwi are it would be very difficult to get them out. I have kiwi right now that have reached across the walking path and have grown into each other. For the most part I think most plants would have to be limited to the bottom three foot of the trellis to be a viable companion where I live. I have tried currants and gooseberries, but the varieties I have planted do not seem to like clay soil as I mentioned in another post. Black raspberries might be a viable option. Right now I have a small guild of a black walnut with black raspberries and daylilies.

The big note to this is hardy kiwi do have a shade requirement for how hot my area gets, but they do very well. So options need to be more shade friendly.
1 month ago
Hardy kiwi varieties Anna and Meader (Issai not so much) do excellent in my area's clay soil, and I am still toying with what may go well with them in the shade. Not much info online about kiwi guilds. What have y'all tried?
1 month ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:Kevin,

I love gooseberries! Our climate is pretty similar, although I don't think we reach 100F most summers. Ribes are not going to be impressed with -10F that is nothing for them. The heat is a stress.

I've been propagating two cultivars pixwell and captivator. The Captivators do well in clay (since that is all we have). They will take a couple years to get going. The main issue here has been moisture. They need good moisture the first year or two, and a summer drought makes them lose their foliage and a few died. The second year they had much more growth. The other issue I had was that they are a major japanese beetle forage, and recovered very poorly from it. I put in some bluebird houses and quit mowing short and they did much better. They are in a mix of sun and shade, and doing fine either, but they have pretty thick mulch in the sun.

The Invicta gooseberries had some mildew, new last year too early to propagate. They are a newer one i am trying. Pixwell did not do well but I am trying it in some other places. The clear winner so far is captivator.

That is really good to know. I will probably have to try Captivator this year. I want Hinnomaki whether I have to grow it in a pot or not because it looks amazing on all the pictures with hibiscus red fruit. I do wonder if currants/goosberries were crossed with the red flowering currant from California if they could be grown much further South? Also I know there is a Missouri gooseberry, maybe it does a lot better in clay soils?
1 month ago
We have a small permculture vineyard and I have found that blackberries and grapes explode when planted together. I have some canes that are 7-8 ft tall after I already trimmed a third of it off! The grapes have also taken off marvelously. I will note that in areas with heavy wet seasons be prepared for black rot in normal varieties of grapes. Muscadines do not appear to have any trouble with this though. I have used organic copper spray and it seems to work. I actually need to spray this month to reduce it for Spring. We use Chester blackberries and they are amazing with the grapes. You can also use wild (or cultivated) vetch or clover in between the rows to boost nitrogen to the plants. We have an over abundance of vetch in the Spring so we do sow any legumes hardly at all.

We also have a young small kiwi yineyard we are experimenting with. Anna and Meader are doing excellent growth wise, they just bud really early. In more loamy soils currants and gooseberries may be a great companion for kiwi, but for us it hasn't taken well to the clay it seems.
1 month ago