John Indaburgh

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since Dec 09, 2017
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Recent posts by John Indaburgh

Some thoughts from a fella who lives where level land is rare.

If you're buying sloped land to save money then the cost of terracing would make the level land cheaper...... I think!

I would put orchards on a slope, but not so steep that operating machinery is dangerous.

Here most farm homes and almost all barns are on the worst slopes. For one with the home you get a view and can observe better what's going on. With the barn on a slope makes it easy to access both levels and be able to drive out. It's a lot easier to unload hay when you can drive into the 2nd level.

Cattle here are usually grazed on the slopes, steep slopes included.

Don't even consider a tractor with a narrow front axle. I haven't seen one of those here for many years. I guess they've all rolled over and are still there in that gully.

I still see acres of corn growing on some very steep land. They always plow sideways to the hill to cut down on erosion.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

edit to read farm homes
2 days ago
I commend you for your effort and for you dreams. I would suggest you plant some fruit tree seeds directly into the ground. You stated that you wanted deeply rooted trees; but if you transplant your seedlings they won't have a tap root. I realize the rewards will be slimmer but a seed that does grow and survive a year or two will be much healthier than one you transplanted in your climate.

I tried direct seeding the past two winters. Last season I tried keeping some of my purchased Antonovka apple rootstock seed in the refrigerator and some out in the weather in a jar. Only one germinated in my potato patch instead of where I planted them. So I came to the conclusion that that critters ate my seeds and gave themselves away my loosing one seed. The second year I saved seeds from apples and in early winter planted a double row under screening. I have lots of tiny seedlings right now.
So if you can find someone who presses cider they may give you the pomace, or pulp, that's left after apples are pressed. Hopefully where you currently live will have an orchard that also presses apples..... or pears. I can't think of a source of cheap screening other than what someone may leave out for the trash.
Seeds from apples would be better from an orchard that grows dessert apples than one that grows cider apples. But today almost all the cider pressed is from dessert apples. I say that as you can be sure that seeds from dessert apples have at least one parent with an edible apple. However using the same genetic rule, if you grow out seeds from a dry climate the seeds will be closer to a match to what your climate is. So southern California apples may be better than Washington State apples. There also varieties of apples which originated from California, Israel, and perhaps Australia that would provide a closer match.
I wish you luck!
2 weeks ago
If your plants are growing slowly you need immediate help with your soil. You're going to have to dig something organic into the soil. From my experience it doesn't matter what it is. They say peat has low NPK values but I find if I dig it into clay I can grow nice tomatoes or even corn. However I would suggest you cover a strip 18" wide and 2 inches deep with manure.Dig that in. Then keep making the 18" strips. That will keep you out of the manure. When you finish your plot repeat that and add in another inch or so. This time instead of digging in a north south direction go East/West. That will help break up the clods of clay.

Find a barn built on a slope where they dump the manure on the side of the barn. The oldest well composted manure will be at the bottom of the pile. The barn I go to has two horses boarded there and a manure pile about 15 or 20 feet down that steep slope. I've been working it for two years and they haven't added to it. So the manure is 2 to 15 years old at the bottom. Any problems with herbicides or dewormers have had a long time in the sun to hopefully self mitigate itself. Manure that old smells more like good soil, however if you have a problem I'd suggest mushroom compost which has grown a couple crops of mushrooms which so many of us eat.

Do this for two years then you have a good base to which adding mulch or wood chips on top will keep your nice loose soil over many years. But folks have to get good crops the first year or many will quit gardening out of frustration.

Good luck!
I seem to remember someone sharing his success grafting into mid summer using a whip and tongue graft and  having good luck with it. I doubt you'd have a spare pear rootstock but if you're worried about saving the tree you could graft a few scions from the donor tree to any pear tree using that "Whip and Tongue" graft. In mid summer it's quite common to reproduce trees with a "bud graft". You can find directions by googling the terms. My first year grafting I had 100% success with the whip and tongue graft. I've tried bud grafting and never got one to take.
2 weeks ago
I would suggest Liberty as a low maintenance apple and Cox's Orange Pippin as an apple with superior taste. They both ripen in September however. They bloom early and early/mid. Cox is known as a precocious tree and Stark lists both as taking 2-5 years to begin apple production. For an early apple none may ripen earlier than Yellow Transparent a yellow sauce apple that ripens in the 3rd week of July. Yellow Transparent only bears apples every other year and when they ripen every apple seems to fall to the ground the same night. Zestar is an Early-mid August ripening apple that blooms early and has a "Sweet and tangy" taste.
Are there any other apple or crab apple trees in the near neighborhood to serve as pollination partners? Otherwise your two apple varieties need to ripen at the same time.
Seems to me what you need are 2 apples that flower late, one that ripens early and both grow well under organic methods.
I used Stark Bros as a source of info on all the apples so that all the info particularly dates come from the same source. None of the above apples are still in stock from them.
1 month ago
I have an aerating fork, which has shorter tines than all of those in the photo, but heavier. Also I have a short handled fork similar to the manure fork in the photo. When I go to the barn for horse manure I take a spade and a flat shovel to unload it off the plywood in the bed of the truck.
When I dig out a spade full of packed manure many shovel fulls come out about 18" square. I can barely lift it, I can't flip it into the truck. I have to chop it up with the spade. So over the years I learned to just leave the forks at home. They are good for moving compost.
When I spread aged composted horse manure I cover a strip about 18" deep across the area I'm working so that I'm not working in the manure and then dig that in with a spade. Then make a new strip. When I'm finished with that area I start over. If on the first pass I had the spade edges facing east/west then I work north south. On this pass I dig in another inch. Changing directions helps break up the clods. I dig the sod so that it gets flipped over down deep.
The manure I'm getting is always from the same pile. Nothing is being added and I'm the only one working it and I've been working it for a couple of years. So I know it's aged and it's well composted. I get a few weeds from it. Mostly tall grains that grow so fast that I can pull them, easily, without kneeling. And I get a few parsnips, but don't know if that was in my lawn that I've been conveting to a veggie garden.
The only other things I add are lime if the soil is acid, mine is, and wood ash. I grow very nice tasty heirloom tomatoes, corn, beans peas, onions, garlic, lettuce, carrots, potatoes and other veggies. I have a rule that I only grow leafy crops and root crops in soil if I added the manure the previous season. I count last fall as being last season. I don't add any fertilizer all season. Nothing!
I believe they use beans as the veggie to grow as a test crop. And I believe if the beans germinate the manure passes the test. I'm being cautious here because I don't test it myself.
I have drilled as many as 80 some post holes in one day in the spring. About half of them filled with water. Some of the holes were near a very steep drop off down a 100 feet or so. It's my opinion that this is normal in the spring. Clay is known to retain water. I'd go ahead and plant your trees. And I wouldn't raise them above the surrounding soil. Plants grow well in clay.
2 months ago
Just an idea for a second fence.
Add two extra posts at each corner; three or four feet inside the corner post and run a wire between the new posts. I'd say this needs to be 7 or 8 feet high so you don't tangle in it while working. This wire could also enhance your pole beans allowing the vines to run the length of the wire. Without the vines the new poles could be very thin. Conduit pipe comes in 10 foot lengths and is somewhat inexpensive. If the post is woven thru the fence wire it needn't be in the ground. Thin steel wire or monofilament will work. Somehow they see the thin wire even at night.
I'd like to add Dester; a pink Beefsteak to the list. As soon as you slice it you know it's a winner. Full rich flavor!!! Large fruits over a pound resist cracking. I set out some seedlings late. As late as July 4th and they start producing in September with many large fruits when most plants are tapering off.
3 months ago