Michael Jameson

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since Mar 12, 2018
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Recent posts by Michael Jameson

Was thinking about drilling some holes in 5 gallon bucket and just walking around with it and jiggling it...like a big salt shaker.
1 year ago
I have tried by hand a few times, and just do a horrible job of it.  Thick spots and thin. Horrible technique Im sure.
1 year ago
Hi I have some narrowish rows between swales and I want to establish cover crops between them but not on the mounds themselves ( they are mulched and planted and I dont want grass competition or have a way to terminate on the mound).

My broadcast seeder is a large chest wearable version and its throw is not easily controlled.  What is a good method/mechanism for more precise broadcasting?
1 year ago
Ive broadcast poppies and lupines and clarkia and various other wildflowers into thick woodchips and they came up very well, and I continuously get volunteer artichoke and tomato and pumpkin and just about anything else that goes to seed coming up.

Wood chips regardless of thickness of layer and age seem to provide a decent environment for germination and growth, at least in my experience.
1 year ago
Yes those are all realities and things to keep in mind, agree.  Horse manure is a waste stream that is available freely and in wide supply and must go somewhere, so the benefits of putting in the time and effort to sort through with your local stables pays dividends for everyone if you so choose.  It can be a highly effective source of carbon and nutrient available at scale.
1 year ago
Horse boarding facilities and stables will almost always give you free manure, and there are nearly always some around outside of urban centers.  You could also buy chicken manure at a big box store.  It is cheap and high in nitrogen which will help to break down your chips, which I believe is your goal.

It is also not strictly needed to add, if you chips are ramial and deep enough and you are willing to wait.  They will break down quite nicely on their own.
1 year ago
Yes, powerful stuff.  I thought after sitting for a year it would be mitigated but it's clearly still quite detrimental.
Your friends composting method sounds like a good option.  I'm just glad I didnt use it even more broadly.
1 year ago
Experimenting this year with planting some vegetable crops directly in my unamended Adobe clay soil, I had very good success with squash, tomato, and cabbage.  I had poor results only in my tomato that was a thin layer of 1 yr aged eucalyptus mulch.  Everything else grew wonderfully that was under Oak mulch.

My strawberries and raspberries were planted this year into rows that were mulched in the fall with horse manure, and are doing wonderfully.

My year old swales which I filled with horse manure and wood chips has composted to a beautiful material, and the fruit trees in particular that had the horse manure amended swales uphill have put on impressive mass.

Keys for my expansive clay appear to be adequate moisture and a decent mulch layer.
1 year ago

Daron Williams wrote:I don't mind weeds and I tend to let them be (with a few very specific exceptions). But my view is that weeds are not the "perfect" plant. Nature works with what it has available but nature does not always have a complete toolbox to work with. I'm going to have fun with this analogy

There are many native plants who's populations have been eliminated from an area due to past human activities to the point that even the seeds are not present. These could be seen as lost tools.

There are also non-native plants that are not available. These could be seen as new tools that nature could try new things with.

The weeds are often the common plants that were introduced by humans. Though there are also plenty of native plants that people consider to be weeds. Weeds are the most available "tool" for nature to use to increase the abundance of a site.

But if I bring in other plants that I have identified through study and observation (perhaps observing other sites with similar conditions but different plant communities) then I can provide nature with new tools for the toolbox that might result in more abundance.

If these new tools are a better fit for the job then they will thrive at the site and spread.

To me nature is like an master builder who has lost most of the tools in the toolbox. As a master builder nature can do amazing things with what is left. But by bringing in new plants I can provide nature with a much better toolbox resulting in even more amazing things being built.

So I don't mind the weeds but I also don't think they are perfect. I think they represent nature doing the best work possible with that is available.

I see my roll in all of this as an assistant (or funder?) who can bring in new tools for nature to use. Sometimes these tools get thrown out but often they get used and result in more abundance than would have otherwise been there. Though often that abundance is created in a way that is different than what I expected. I provide the tools but nature wields them.

When I do remove "weeds" it is because sometimes the site just needs a bit of disturbance to provide space for true abundance to take shape. Disturbance in nature is not a negative if it does not repeat too often and is not too intense.

I also chop-and-drop and even remove plants that I planted once they filled their role in creating abundance. An example is shifting a site from being dominated by support species to being dominated by food producing species as a site matures.

Going back to the toolbox analogy sometimes while nature has done its best to create a masterpiece the available tools may have just been lacking. By creating some disturbance (removing some of the "weeds") and also providing nature with a larger toolbox I can help nature rebuild and create something even more amazing than before.

For me it comes down to avoiding treating this issue as black and white. I don't like it when people want to remove all weeds for no real reason other than the plant is a "weed". But I also think you can go too far the other way and never remove/replace a weed even when doing so could result in more abundance.

I like looking at each situation and figuring out what path will lead to the most abundance and act accordingly.

Exactly my thoughts, very well said and I think this analogy is a useful framework for organizing ones thoughts.  Thanks!
1 year ago

Anne Miller wrote:Most plants have some things to offer the world.  What I consider the weed I dislike most has edible seed pods and is a great ground cover.

Many people are rethinking the usefulness of what many call weeds.  Look at the lowly dandelion, for example.  

For certain.  Im not arguing not useful, Im arguing they need to be judged in their entire context of usefulness, against all other natives.  Unless you are incredibly lucky, you may well find many of your resident weeds come up lacking.  And that is ok.  That is entirely, 1000%, ok.  Expected even.  
1 year ago