Rachel Yocum

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since Apr 27, 2018
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Recent posts by Rachel Yocum

Welcome! Yours was the first homesteading book I ever read 🙂 and I am so glad I did. The lucky winners this week are in for a treat. I can't wait to hear how you guys are doing with your homestead these days - hope all is well!

~Rachel
9 months ago
As a preventative, I really like adaptogens like ashwagandha and medicinal mushrooms. I grow ashwagandha here and make a tincture of the roots during the fall. I take a dropper of the ashwagandha tincture every night. As for the mushrooms, I find reishi to be very helpful as a preventative (it is sold in various forms), and I also add dried shiitakes to my homegrown herbal tea every morning.

Hope this is helpful ☺

~Rachel
10 months ago
Thank you, Sena! I will check those out ☺

~Rachel
10 months ago
For heart health - are there certain species of Crataegus that are more medicinal than others, or are they all similarly active? I am interested in growing a couple Crataegus trees here on our property, as a future medicine chest for my husband and me... but I am curious if there are certain species of Crataegus that I should be looking for since heart medicine in the intended use.

(We live on the east coast of the US, zone 7a. Several species of Crataegus grow wild in this region. If the wild species are suitable, all the better!)

Thank you!

~Rachel
10 months ago
Leaves and shredded paper are also helpful additives, and they will both boost the carbon levels of the overall mixture. The carbon is your organic matter and the future fluffy stuff I find it's good to layer shredded paper and dried leaves on top of the soil surface and then continue layering greens (i.e. manure, kitchen scraps) and browns (i.e. woodchips, more leaves) until you have at least a good 4 inches or so of layering.

The thing I have found is that it takes a lot more carbon (browns) than one might think to get things to compost really nice and fluffy in place. If I mistakenly rely too heavily on greens (i.e. manures, kitchen scraps, fresh chop-and-drop) it seems like it disappears by the end of the first season because it burns up so fast.

As someone else mentioned, moisture is helpful, too. It helps to wet down the layered stuff on top of the soil. Over time, those layers will begin to breakdown and compost together, and they will be able to hold moisture pretty well on their own at that point.

I try to think about it in terms of a forest floor, if that makes sense.

Hopefully, this helps some.

Good luck!

~Rachel
10 months ago
Perry,

I occasionally (once a year or so) remineralize with sea resources, as well. Living in a coastal state, I have the good fortune of being able to scavenge seaweed pretty easily, much to our teenage children's embarrassment haha. In the absence of gathering seaweed, I have used kelp powder, but I prefer seaweed because it is local and free. To mitigate any potential excess salt issue, I just give the seaweed a light rinse before putting it on the gardens. I have been using seaweed as a top dressing, much like one would use compost or chop-and-drop mulch, but there are other ways to use it if you prefer.

That said, I don't use much - either seaweed or kelp powder. As others have said, I largely rely on the soil biota to free up what's already in the soil, and that means just making sure they have a healthy, minimally disturbed home.

Hope this helps

~Rachel
10 months ago
Hi Sena,

Thanks for the MSU link! The bit about mineral accumulators is helpful. It gives me a few more options for addressing phosphorus and potassium needs. I tend to ferment certain 'weeds' and use them in a diluted state as foliar feeds. I have done that with nettles, yarrow, chamomile, and allium family plants (with very nice results!), but this gives me more 'weeds' to work with.

Thank you!

~Rachel
10 months ago
Temperate Humid Climates - what's the best resource you have found on reading 'weeds' as indicators of soil conditions? (I am located in the eastern US.)

Several species of which I am already familiar of their indications - dandelion, buttercup, crabgrass, sorrel, sedge, burdock... I would like to see a more comprehensive resource, though, if one exists.

Thank you!

~Rachel
10 months ago