Judith McDonald

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since Feb 05, 2017
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Recent posts by Judith McDonald

Hello??? Did you say gophers???

First, how bad are your gophers? If they've set up shop, they'll learn to love most domesticated herbs when everything else is gone. If they are inside your garden, drive them out of the garden. Depending on who needs food more, and according to your ethical discipline, plant gopher spurge to stop the traffic from coming in. I have used this in the past when I thought it just repelled them. However, I read that they eat the roots which have kind of latex in them. The rodents eat this and their insides stick together.  I live in a no kill zone. I still like to believe in the intelligence of beings and think that they have figured out how to avoid these plants and not eat them. To find innovative ways to repel gophers check their eating habits vs. plants. they avoid.  They are primarily root and cambien layer eaters and many roots are allelopathic. This is what you need to look for in fighting gophers and my new bane: ffield mice -- VOLES! Not as heartbreaking as gophers yet, but they breed more often)

Sonar works for me. In the old days I'd use rebar stuck in the ground with a tin can on a wire. wind would rattle the can and re-bar resonates it into soil. They're not going to do an emergency exit no matter what you do. Look at how the animal moves. If you've ever trained a horse or even ridden a bit, you know it takes them longer to move a leg than it takes you to give the message and you mentlly drum your fingers. Now think of rodents (back and forth, back and forth a thousand times having to build new tunnels every time you mess them up.) At first level you're just getting them to NOT BREED in your area. Then invite them to find someplace quieter. One of the few positives for turning the soil is checking out who's living there. They will always be there, just don't invite them to dinner.

Does anyone have more info on allelopathy content in various plants? the only study I read was Montana State U. finding that lupine is not sensitive to knap weed roots. This is a major herbal breakthrough for plants.  let me hear from you!
1 year ago
Sun is really at a premium here, as is often the case in your area. I would take out the smaller trees and vegetation to the left of the garden site and intentionally replant it with a lower story of fruit/nut trees. There are many, many plants that will grown in dappled sun, part day shade. Additionally you can plant things that will grow up the trees -- curcubits are particularly good at this and might even like the back with the diseased arbovitae. Once you get a food forest there, you could work back to the area with the deep shade (conifers) where you could grow a NW forest area with huckleberries, mushrooms, etc. As for cover crops, my fav is always peas. Tons of green manure and great eating. they go in as soon as the ground thaws and will be done in time to plant a warm weather crop. You an cut down the vines to use as mulch or mow them down, dry a few days and work them in.

I'm trying to rehab an area in the flood plain and while I do want conifers down there, I also know that they can only be there b/c the water table is high. They are not very deep rooted compared to their stature and therefore have many many feeder roots sucking nutrients closer to the surface. Take a few hikes. You will see that the area around these trees needs to be covered with shrubs that make leaves and do not have competing root systems: dogwood, rhodies, azelea, huckle-salmon-gooseberries and currents on the sunny side of the tree. I've lived with these guys -- first in the redwood forest and then in a yard with two full grown  fir trees-- it's hard working with them in a small space, too expensive to remove them.

Also, native plants may be available from your area conservation district.
2 years ago
Jay, Nicole: cozy shades, popular 15-20 yrs ago. You could buy the quilted insulating fabric at JoAnne's. I don't know if that's still true, but the Roman shade with insulation seems best to me. and weaving in sticks???  tremendous idea, but how would you weave it tight enough to insulate?  Maybe make those for the beach house.
2 years ago
It depends on the wilderness. As an experienced wilderness backpacker and rider I would say that no one does these journeys without preparation Take some provisions and go out into the wilderness and then you will know what grows there. Here we have lots of berries throughout the accessible season. Many edible roots, tubers and nuts. It really depends on the biome. In some you can survive without killing, in some you cannot. there are plenty of fish and game in my part of the country and if you are skilled in killing them, you will have plenty. Knowledge is the most important item to carry with you on your journey, next is a compass and map. If you go cross country learn to use a compass. the sun does not always shine nor can you see it in dense forest. You need a map to know where you might expect to find water. There's a lot of preparation that goes into back country trips and it's not just food. This isn't really an answer to your question, but calories might be the least of your problems if you are not totally prepared for the area you enter.
2 years ago
Nuts. Plant nut trees.
2 years ago