Amy Brown

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since Mar 27, 2018
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hugelkultur food preservation
Aspiring permie! For now I am here to learn and I hope to be able to give back someday.
I'm a word nerd: writer, editor, translator. I left a fulltime tech job in May 2019 to wander around South America for about a year. Now I have a nice base in central Mexico from which I'll eventually explore this continent.
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
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Recent posts by Amy Brown

I'm using a composting tumbler.

I add 2:1 brown to green material every couple days, add a bit of water, and give the tumbler several turns.

It's taking forever for the cardboard I use for brown material to decompose.

However, the whole thing seems to heat up nicely, and it smells great: not like rot, but earthy and healthy.

There are lumps of what looks like cured compost in there. Can I go ahead and use those?

Getting impatient!
5 months ago
Hi all,

I'm in central Mexico, where it's dry, gets cool (50F) at night and hot and sunny (80s F) during the day.

Here is my kale, which I bought as a baby plant. It's been fertilized a bit although we don't yet have compost. It's in full sun.

I grew kale only in coastal Massachusetts so I really don't know what to do with it here.

It's got bugs (again) which I'm fending off with a diatomaceous earth / neem mixture (commercial). I'm not confident that the spray contains much of the supposedly active ingredients.

The soil seems dry every time I check it, which is about once every two days.

More compost? More water? Too much sun? I have no clue.

Thanks for any pointers.

A few more pics: kale is coming along!

Today I'll plant some spinach in one of those shallow containers, although I may have to move the container to the shade eventually.
6 months ago
I just tried again with the latest version of Firefox. A change I made to my location was saved successfully. I think I'm all set - thanks Paul.

John Weiland wrote:Sitting here on a grey, cold day with snow flurries in northern Minnesota, allow me to express my .... envy....?? ;-)

I had plans long ago after graduate school of working at the Univ. Guanajuato (in Irapuato..?), -- just didn't work out, but seemed like a great location.  Looks like a great opportunity to try the full roof-top regime of composting, water harvest, food production, and yield analysis.  It will be interesting to see what grows well in your containers and under that microclimate.  I would be curious if frost still visits the rooftop (how many stories above the ground?) the same way it does at ground level where you are at.  Of course maize is so legendary to the region,.....do you think you might be able to give that a stab either for fresh eating, flour, or popped?  Might vining beans or squash be trellised in some way that would provide acceptable yield without using too much space?  Anyway, nice looking start to your time there....Looks like fun!

PS:  With my love of power equipment, you will forgive me for zooming in on the white Mitsubishi pick-up truck (  :-)  ) .... a nice looking vehicle that we likely can't buy here in the States....  (sigh..)



I have to operate on the principle of "keep it (very) simple." So if I get kale and cabbage growing AND good compost made as my contribution to the garden, I'll consider it a huge win.

We might venture out into trellised plants at some point, but not right now... unless my landlord's family goes forward with that on their own.

It is in fact a great location as you said! I can't wait to explore it more, but of course mobility is limited at the moment.
6 months ago

Tereza Okava wrote:Very cute!
Not carrying water is definitely a good thing! And I gather you may be about a zone hotter than me, does it just get dry in the winter? In summer you may be watering multiple times a day-- but there are worse things than being obliged to visit the plants multiple times a day.
I look forward to seeing how it goes.



I've been here only since November, but they tell me it gets nice and hot here in the summer (and in fact it already seems to be warming up). However, it's a dry heat, nothing like the Yucatan.

I love it here so far and I'm looking forward to exploring more once it's safe to do so.
6 months ago
Hi all, new to composting and to compost tumblers.

The mix in the picture is a few scoops of soil plus a good portion of torn up cardboard and paper, and an increasing amount of vegetable scraps. I was putting in my coffee grounds until the other day when I was warned off from doing so.

Since a couple of days ago I've been wetting it down with maybe a liter of water per go.

And we don't forget to turn it after adding more stuff!

The ratio of brown to green is probably about 2:1. It smells, not bad, but like Something Is Happening.  And it's a little bit hot, not steaming though.

I'm concerned that the cardboard strips aren't breaking down. I tore most of them width-wise so that they're not as thick as regular packing box cardboard.

Thoughts / suggestions welcome.
6 months ago
I signed a lease recently with a building owner who's starting a rooftop garden for the benefit of our little community.

We're in Guanajuato state in central Mexico, which means a lot of sun during most of the year and rare freezing temperatures. Even now, in January, temps rarely fall below around 40 F at night... and soar to 65-75 F during the day.

The wooden planters are handmade by my landlord and his school-age daughters.

My biggest contribution so far has been a composting tumbler, about which more elsewhere. I bug my neighbors nicely for veggie scraps like a very polite raccoon.  And I'm acting "compost expert" although I've informed them that I'm a newb. :-)

We're growing herbs, chiles, leafy greens, a few flowers, and tomatoes. We stay away from chemical / industrial solutions in favor of the aforementioned compost, sprays of diatomaceous earth / neem where warranted, and so forth.

And there's a water supply on the rooftop so we don't have to be lugging buckets.

I'm so excited to have simply fallen into this situation.

If there's interest here I'll keep telling the story!
6 months ago
Hi! I'm not sure where to put this, so here it is.

I just tried twice to submit changes to my profile and neither attempt saved any information. I am in fact logged in.

Update: I think it has something to do with the bumper stickers, but I'm not sure.

Please help!

Hi all,

I haven't been on the forums for a bit, but I'm very pleased to say that folks in my building are starting a rooftop garden in central Mexico. Yay!

I'll be providing pics of the project elsewhere on the forums, to give back a little bit!

Till then, since I'm not an experienced gardener, I'll be asking for help here and there.

Our conditions for the rooftop garden: mostly sunny all day with a few cloudy days here and there. Temps in January range from about 34-40 at night to 65-75 F during the day. It rarely freezes here.

I've inherited the care of the sad little chile tree in the attached pics. Something is clearly at it, but I don't see signs of crawlies.

It was in a courtyard with scarcely any sun up till a few days ago. I've moved it to the rooftop, where there is full sun.

The soil is damp, so I have not watered it at all. I put a few beads of organic fertilizer in the soil, and sprayed a solution of diatomaceous earth / neem oil on the leaves this morning.

Thoughts / suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

Amy

6 months ago