Chris Palmberg

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since Nov 29, 2017
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Combat Medic turned Head Chicken Chaser & Chief Weed Puller for a diversified local food business.
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KS/OK Line along the Arkansas (not the Ar Kan Saw) River
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Recent posts by Chris Palmberg

My mother was stationed at Loring AFB ME  in 1969-71. Among the uphill both ways anecdotes (which included chasing moose off the runways to allow planes to land and tunnels dug through the snow drifts to allow them to go to work) are tales of handing laundry out to dry in the subzero winter.  Apparently (IIRC as I haven't heard that story in a couple decades) the freeze-dried uniforms ironed up better than the usual approach because the dampness wasn't superficial.  
1 year ago
I've lived practically all of my life in Kansas where,  to paraphrase Drew Carey, the seasons are made up and the dates don't matter.  

I remember getting a blizzard on the last day of Spring Break that kept us out of school for an extra two weeks.  I can count the White Christmases I've seen here with one hand despite approaching 50, but at least 3× a many White Halloweens.

I figured out that Groundhog Day,  March Lion/Lamb, even ideas like which season comes next are all very... fluid... here.  

And when the other shoe drops with Kansas weather,  it's usually still locked in a concrete & steel armoire...  and drops Ala Acme Safes in a Wiley Coyote cartoon...

Oh, and reminder set.  
1 year ago
Without a good gauge of size, it's difficult to say, but...

Here in the Midwest there's a indigenous wild plum known locally as sand plum in most of KS & NE.  In Oklahoma, it's known as the Chickasaw Plum.  

While generally they grow in thickets, they CAN be cultivated/pruned/spoiled into an actual tree, much like sumac and some other thicket forming shrubs.  Sand plums have an amazing color skin which thru jack o'lantern orange when ripening to almost maraschino red, while the pulp stays a yellowish-orange color.  Our fruit size ranges from a pie cherry at the small end to the circumference of a quail egg at the large side.  

I have been told by some folks that similar fruits (likely landrace cultivars of the same wild plum species) are found moving west into the Eastern Colorado Plains, presumably further as well.  One friend actually kept records of the coloration, flavor, size, and farm directions (from Intersection X go 3 west, two north, 1/2 back east, then back south into the creek bed) because she found at least 4 different styles of wild plum growing within 15 miles of her farm.  

I say all of that to make this point.  It's entirely possible what you had was a cultivated specimen of a local wild plum tree or bush.  
2 years ago

J Youngman wrote:Didn't know they offered seedlings. Those are great prices. Would love updates on shipping/product quality and survival rate.  

A number of State Forestry Services (between the Rockies & Mississippi at least) have conversation tree planting resources.  I'm familiar with MO, KS, and OK catalogs, all available online.  They essentially operate a nursery devoted to useful trees, shrubs, etc., for their specific states.  I'll be honest, although pricing and bundling varies by state, there's a good variety of plants that will likely do well in your individual climate because they come from stock that is native to your area, so unlike ordering Elderberry to plant in Oklahoma from Vermont, as an example, it should be well adapted to your climate and moisture levels.  In the case of KS Forestry, they also do a good job of explaining within their catalog what is appropriate for the various areas within our state (which ranges from 6A-7A and 15-45" of moisture annually.  

It also comes in handy for doing Plant ID when you relocate a few hundred miles and enter into an area where new useful plants grow wild.  
2 years ago
My wife and I (mainly her) figured out that cows LOVE bananas. Mine is so much of a Nana junkie that the one time she got out, she tried eating the yellow flag left behind by DIGSAFE.

Grain (and by correlation sweet feed) is a feeding behavior that is learned.  If they came off a grass-fed program,  shaking a bucket at them will likely do no good,  as they won't associate the sound with food.
2 years ago
My wife "persuaded" me to pick up a heifer calf last fall... she arrived at 4 months,  and now is 11 months old.  She's Jersey×Holstein, and will be bred for late spring calving to capitalize on lush spring grass during lactation,  and ensure the calves can learn to graze alongside mom.
2 years ago
In regards to the idea of wind breaking the trees...
Is it better to protect them from full force wind during the growing season or the dormant season.
We get strong winds frequently here in KS. Winter is predominantly from the north,  and frequently bitter cold,  while July-September brings strong south winds.  I can see benefits to both,  as the former occurs while the saplings are more vulnerable to breakage,  and the latter is accompanied by up to triple digit heat and tend to dry out EVERYTHING
2 years ago

Cristo Balete wrote:You might want to keep in mind, when trellising a hillside, to make the tiers or rows wide enough for what you are growing PLUS the width of a mower/cart/wheelbarrow with some room to spare so you can walk easily between the edge of the tier/row and the cart or mower that will be next to the crop without falling down the hillside.  In the long run, having to do all weeding/harvesting by hand and hand-carrying out everything in crates will be a lot of work.   Don't skimp on the width because it's exciting in the beginning, or you are young and don't mind twisting yourself like a rubberband on slippery mud to be a crop warrior, or getting as many tiers/rows as possible by shrinking everything, it won't help in the long run.    

After reading Gabe Brown's book recently, I've come to the conclusion that a diversified cover crop mix of perennials and annuals as a base upon which the brambles will be planted.  From what I can tell, a good mix of ground cover legumes (clovers, alfalfa & vetch) carbonaceous grasses for biomass, and wildflowers should improve soil conditions, improve erosion control, and attract pollinators which will also benefit the bramble production.  
Part of the reason for this approach is that I'm not as young as I used to be, both chronologically and physically, and I believe the polycultural covers will eliminate much of the traditional back-breaking labor, and improve the productivity of the crop.  
5 years ago

Stacy Witscher wrote:I trellis my blackberries, but not on a grape style trellis. I would think that wouldn't be large enough for blackberries. My blackberry trellis is 8 ft. 4x4's with lathe crosspieces. Every year I remove the old growth and weave the new growth through the crosspieces. Makes harvesting easy.

That makes sense.  The next question would be what is the spacing between 4x4s (I presume yo.u use a linear bed rather than a patch) and how long are the crosspieces?  
5 years ago
So, as always seems to happen when I have a surplus of windshield time, my brain ran amuck over the course of a couple thousand miles I've put in in the 3 weeks since Christmas.  We're in the process of moving 350 miles, a full frost zone, and double (+20") precipitation in conjunction with a transfer my wife just took.  We're looking for property with acreage ala homestead/farmstead scale (<20 acres) and found what I would describe as a suitable property of 5 acres with residence and outbuildings in a small community of 600 people.  The property has approximately 1.25 acres of "yard" and about 0.40 acres of "hill," with the balance being a wood lot/sylvopasture/recalcitrant orchard (I haven't physically walked the property yet, so can't speak beyond what I can glean from satellite imagery and driving down the street in front of the house.)
I was gifted Gabe Brown's book Soil to Dirt for Christmas, and so my mind was in a bit of a tailspin trying to find a suitable function for the (Guesstimated off Google Earth)
40% slope 80' by 120' hill on the east edge of the property (drops down to the cross street, which looks like it probably drains directly into the river at times.)  Processes I ran through as potential usage included:
*Terraced garden beds
*Pollinator Paradise
*Perennial without terraces (primarily asparagus and rhubarb due to demand for those products)

Then it occurred to me.  It often seems every "calendar worthy" pic we see of a Napa or Italian vineyard involves trellis on contour made of groa stake-cross beam frame with grapevines running up the stake and then across the horizontal space.  Because we're moving to a new community, I want to use the slope for something both productive and aesthetic.  What could be more aesthetic than a Napa Valley style trellis amidst a cover crop of pollinators?  A combination of wildflowers, aromatic herbs, and green manure crops as covers for trellised/terraced raspberry & blackberry bushes?

I know that other producers in my state grow brambles on a swinging arm trellils under plastic, but I figure they can't sell themselves if you can't see them.  Has anyone tried the grape trellis approach for other vining fruits?  

5 years ago