Tim Kivi

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since Sep 02, 2017
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Recent posts by Tim Kivi

I dropped so many chichorum endivia seeds from just 3 parent plants that my garden, paving and lawn are now covered in this nutritious vegetable. The only weeds that manage to grow among it are dandelion and chickweed. Dandelion's an amazing aphid attractant, keeping aphids off my eating plants.

It's spring here and it breaks my heart to chop it all down to make room for summer plants like tomatoes. I have mounds of endive now for a regular mulch, and the main stems is hollow which I now put up the on fences and walls as habitat for ladybugs and native solitary bees.

I could just leave it instead of course; the tall dead stalks would provide habitat for beneficial insects. I leave the roots in the soil either way in the hope it'll loosen my dense clay soil.
5 months ago
Consider buying some seeds while you're at it. I bought 80 asparagus seeds for $3, while one crown here costs $7. I think you only have to wait one extra year with seed-grown compare to purchased crowns.

My asparagus seedlings are going strong and unlike my other seedlings haven't been attacked by any pests.
5 months ago
I know I have aphids when I see ants walking along a plant. Over here the ants herd them and protect them from predators. I've seen a ladybug just sitting on a neighbouring leaf watching them but unable to attack them because of the ants.

I'll leave the plant but wipe off the aphids. If I let them kill it they'll look for a new one. How wonderful that a weed like dandelion acts as a pest magnet.
5 months ago
- I have a small urban garden intensely planted with green leafy vegetables and young fruit trees.
- I allowed dandelion weeds to grow among them to improve the soil. Spring's now here and aphids are generally only attacking the dandelions- they absolutely love it!

If I do nothing, will their numbers grow and end up infesting the whole yard? Should I chop down the dandelion and squash it with the aphids on to keep their numbers under control?

Insects like ladybirds like them but when ants protect the aphids they're invincible.
5 months ago
In Asia I've also seen portable western-style toilet frames that go over a squat toilet. They basically look like a baby high chair. I assume they're for frail people.

In Sri Lanka I stayed in monasteries, and in Kenya on farms, and there was only ever a jug of water with either a tap or a big container of water from where water is scooped out. But no soap anywhere, and that's how people get sick.

If I had a farm I'd have a no-plumbing portable outhouse (just a hole in the ground and privacy walls) and grow high-feed plants or trees around it, like banana plants. In Australia people traditionally grew chayote vines over an outhouse.
6 months ago
Here's what usually works with me, including with lettuce seeds:

1. Take a styrofoam box without any holes in the bottom (I use broccoli boxes).
2. Fill with soil (I use my excess clay soil; any other soil would be better).
3. Water it.

It goes against all conventional wisdom, because there are no drainage holes and I use clay soil. But this keeps the soil continually moist, so the seeds usually sprout and keep growing. I then transplant them when it's gotten too crowded.

6 months ago
Maybe something's eating your seeds?

I let a few plants go to seed and they often take care of themselves after that. I just use a hose to water.

I bought some special lettuce seeds and not a single one grew. Yet my cheap probably genetically modified ones reproduce every year without me even trying.
6 months ago
How about berries, like raspberries? They grow about as tall as an adult, won't grow out of control and you trim them in the winter.

Bananas have soft roots, and there are dwarf varieties that grow to just 3 meters (9'). Their leaves are wide though.
6 months ago
In Singapore's public buildings they often offer both regular toilets with paper and then squat toilets with a spray gun and paper for Muslims.

I found the second types much nicer: more spacious, no physical contact with anything, and healthier. You can then dry yourself with paper at the end.

If a bird crapped on your hand would you just wipe it off with some tissue or would you wash your hand under water?
6 months ago

Susan Wakeman wrote:I have tried the chook tractor method.
However, chickens bring in their own weeds by the feed they consume (grains or scraps) and you must add mulch as they work the ground or it will become compacted. Also, chickens definitely have preferences and exp. established grasses in the seeding stages are at the bottom of their list.
I would absolutely recommend broadforking and a false seedbed before attempting to seed carrots for example.
I seriously doubt you can get away with just planting after the chickens have been, without mulching heavily between the plants and pulling the remaining weeds.

I love when people like you have actual experience. It seems there's no silver bullet.

When I discover that a weed in my garden is edible, my frame of mind changes and I become happy when I see it. If you view weeding as a chore it's a chore, when you view it as a surprise blessing you feel happy and the problem seems to fade away without anything actually changing.
6 months ago