Mac Kugler

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since Apr 26, 2018
Mac likes ...
purity forest garden books
I've moved from the city to the suburbs and I am so excited about planting and growing my own food. I am reading everything I can get my hands on. I particularly love fruit and want to grow as many types as possible. I'm very happy living out my passion and I have found my plant family here at Permies.
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Recent posts by Mac Kugler

I've concluded that using name-brand conventional dish soaps encourage sponges to become stinky.

One day I noticed that my kitchen sponge didn't have that usual funky "sponge" smell. Something clicked and I thought it might be the soaps.

I have been using diluted castille soap for some months now in the kitchen when washing dishes. I also like to use it on the stove. My spouse prefers conventional soap for the suds and fragrance.

For my test, I used only conventional soap over the span of a week, and the sponge got smelly in just a few days. The sponge I used had a cloth side and a steel wool side. The following week, I used diluted castille soap. The sponge then had no smell.

Thought I'd pass this on, in case anyone's still using conventional dish soap. I know some folks put their sponges in the dishwasher, or boil theirs, to deal with this issue.

(Apologies if this is not the right subforum for this.).
3 months ago
Did you make the mushroom slurry with tap water or filtered/ purified water? I'm wondering if chlorine from the tap water, and water molds, out-competed the fungi you were trying to establish.

I would think leaf mulch already has a lot of molds and spores in there, compared to a fresh-cut log that could be inoculated.

I feel like getting certain mushrooms to start can be problematic if their environment isn't controlled. Maybe Mother Nature is pretty determined that the stinky mushroom needs to be the one that's there first.
3 months ago

Brianna Williams wrote:I'm sorry this is a very belated response but thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses.  We ended up having to move so I didn't get to implement any of your suggestions but I am so appreciative of the thoughtfulness and time in your responses.  It all seemed right on.

Best of luck in your new digs!

For what it's worth, if you run into this problem again, wood chips are a great way to slow down water. That photo where the water was eroding a little channel of rocks and such would be a great spot to dig a bit deeper and fill it in with wood chips. This also has the effect of creating a nice climate for mushrooms, which can help clean up the water on its way.
3 months ago
I am a huge fan of no till. I've also been building up my garden beds' soil with grass clippings and leaves. And I have also seen tons of worms just loving this kind of environment.

I'm doing layers of grass clippings, and leaves, both as bed toppers / mulch, and I can get away with maybe watering my plants a few days out of the year (when it's been super hot for 2-3 weeks with no rain). But I am not using wood chips or wood mulch on my garden beds -- my plants don't grow as well, and I've read/heard the wood breakdown process uses nitrogen, which plants need.
3 months ago
Another thing to do with scraps is boil them down to make vegetable broth. Then you can feel a little better sending the scraps to the dump as you would have gotten a lot more "miles" out of your scraps.

I do advise frequently draining out your bokashi bucket. Otherwise the contents can rot and will stink up the house when open. I learned that the hard way.

My understanding of the bokashi process is that food scraps get pickled. I don't know what that means for its drain cleaning power, though. Maybe the runoff is acidic?
3 months ago
I had great experiences gathering up leaves from the fall and using them on beds.

I let the leaves overwinter on my raised beds. In the spring, I poked around casually, and found worms galore partying just beneath the surface.

A bit later in spring, in about April, I noticed lots and lots of spiders making families.

I planted directly in the leaves. I dug little nooks for my plants and dropped them right in, then put leaf cover back around them. The herbs and vegetables that I placed in that environment have grown great. I have not watered any of the leaf-mulched plants at all.

It's starting to become summer and I have noticed mosquitoes and gnats in the leaves, and some ant colonies sprung up near my house in the leaves (the ants started coming into the house, which I didn't like.)

All in all I heartily recommend this method. I do advise a mix of different leaf types, and not to use a big majority of oak leaves (I think my neighbor has a giant oak), as I noticed oak leaves take a long time to break down.
11 months ago
I think you could direct the water and manage it with swales. I see people like to plant their trees at the crest of a swale, and water pooling is no longer an issue.

I would take out all the plastic wrap and tree supports so the trees are not constantly touching plastic and rubber and metal 24/7. They look like they aren't free to be trees, and they look stressed as a result. Free the trees!

1 year ago
Since we are on the topic of Sepp Holzer films, I would like to share that last night I found "The Agro Rebel" on, with English speakers translating during the film. Anyone can watch it freely.
Does the core/center of the tree have access to air? My wife's Greek uncle scolded me recently during a visit to the States for mulching my fig too heavily. He said it needed air. He even suggested digging around the plant after the winter to aerate the soil.

I have a Celeste and a Brown Turkey fig that I planted in fairly heavy soil, on a gentle slope, near a big tree for sun and rain protection, and didn't do any amendments. I sprinkle(d) compost around the perimeter of the plantings and that's about it. They're alive and well.

I wonder if the nutrients in the peat and the compost drained down to the roots of your fig during the rain and the roots of the fig sat in that liquid and became unhappy. I also wonder if the sand accelerated the drainage. I don't think you need sand or peat for figs. Were the wood chips treated with anything?
1 year ago
Now it's our responsibility to put this waterfall of knowledge to use and (continue to) spread the word and (continue to) walk the walk!!
1 year ago