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Natasha Abrahams

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since Jun 22, 2018
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Recent posts by Natasha Abrahams

I have wormfarms that size. They work just great. Wheels are handy, you can roll it to whatever tree needs a bit of extra feeding at the time.  
2 months ago
I find if I top up the cardboard every couple of months it eventually clears up.  And to weigh it down well with bricks or whatever you have. If you don't keep an eye on it it will eat the cardboard, so a fresh layer is needed whenever you see a blade grow through. I am now trying a grand experiment where I am putting a wormfarm on top of the cardboard in the hope that they will migrate as it breaks down and I will end up not only with weedfree but also rich soil. Will keep you posted.
1 year ago
Personally I think humus is Godde. After having read all the contributions that is my considered opinion. Was trained as an economist myself, we have the same problem, namely that a static science cannot deal with a dynamic world. The problem is with the methodoogy, a theoretical blind spot that at least economists sometimes admit. An analysis of the market that is static produces quite different outcomes than one which is dynamic and deals with relationships of power. Which is why economists are so often wrong :)

I really like the idea of using humus to loosen up clay and will definitely try it. Up to now my method of making soil from the stuff - instead of the bricks it clearly was intended for - has been to make sunken hugels. It has been rough and expensive since the ground requires a pick to loosen it. Eying a particularly tricky spot and will report back in a few years.  
1 year ago
You are welcome Logan! I look forward to seeing your progress. Thanks for the advice, I sure will.
1 year ago
I use drums as wormfarms and they work really great. I put wood at the bottom, then a layer of twigs and small branches up to about half. Then fill with dry grass, sand, green grass, household waste, a handful of horse manure, and top with a layer of good soil and plant in it. The twig layer provides areation because the worm castings can pack solid otherwise. Plus the worms really seem to like nibbling at them when nicely rotted.  The level will sink as the worms eat so you have to top up regularly with dry grass or leaf mulch and maybe more small twigs. It is amazing to plant not only in the top, but also around the parameter of the drums. It is an ideal place to get trees or shrubs off to a good  start, or simply more vegetables. If not, be sure to mulch deeply around the drums because you will get lots of plats wanting to grow there.  For my climate it serves the purpose of using the same water three times, but does of course require consistent care.

I empty mine out and refill about once a year because I need the castings. Would be curious to see how this works as a permanent system.

Very jealous of your free supply of drums :) If I had that my whole garden would look like this:
1 year ago
I hate Kikuyu. It's a &^%*%$! invasive weed brought here by ignorant people. My 2.5. acre farm is overrun with it. I recently had to leave for six months and came back to find it climbing the roses. And like a flash I had a vision of what my gardening life would be without this nuisance. I hear there are lands where people just plant things and don't spend the rest of their lives keeping them free of invaders. Goodness..
My problem was that the first fifteen years here, I planned the whole space, and tried to follow the plan except where nature objected ( which was pretty much most of the time, lol :) ). So I had trees all over the place, and growing vegetable beds around them to feed the trees. This led to innumerable squares of cultivated soil, each with borders that had to be kept free of Kikuyu. I employed a man who spent at least half his week dojng this. I found a few barrier plants (Sunflowers, indigenous garlic, vetiver where enough water) but even these could not hold their own without a regular cleanup. It was crazy. When it rained in winter it was like a race to keep up.

Well, now the trees are big and I have diagnosed my Kikuyu as an indicator of an ecological imbalance. I am saving for a fence so that 2/3 of the place can be grazed by sheep. They will at least keep it short. Then I am doing what I should have done from the beginning: working outward from the house I am eradicating every last bit. It gets thrown into a big pile and will get covered with cardboard for a year. The borders get covered in cardboard and brick, which actually lets it kill itself. Bit by bit I will start expanding the cardboard boundary and have a zero tolerance policy within it.  Where it is invading house foundations and breaking up concrete I pour with vinegar. With the roses and other living plants there is no alternative but handweeding and vigilance. I don't like to declare war on anything but unfortunately my neighbours are all overrun too, so there will never be an end to policing boundaries. Hopefully the sheep will take care of most of that leaving me with only my eastern side to police.

If anybody has additional advice on how to conduct total extermination, please let me know? Would be nice if the grandkids could do something else with their life.
1 year ago
I let my digestate run into a sump from which I pump out to whatever plant is being spoilt. A french drain leads out of the sump and into a trench along which some roses and hibiscus have been growing happily for years. So both systems work.

I think the advantage of building in some space for human intervention is you never know which plant needs spoiling. New fruit trees, for instance, really benefit from this precious resource. So don't lock yourself out of options.
1 year ago
My neighbours gave up on me when I started pumping biogas digester effluent on my olive trees. But even my fosterson who lives with me appears to have his own opinion of my sanity. I was speed dryiing some tobacco (not very permie I know but I wanted to fill my pipe) the other day and it caught fire. I said "O, don't mind the smell, I accidentally set fire to the microwave." He started laughing. "Nothing you do will surprise me" he said.
1 year ago
I speak with reseervation being a southern hemisphere gardener, but what I understand about Ruth Stout's method is that the mulch must be put down in the fall, thickly. that gives it time to rot down and the soil warms up quickly. Nitrogen deficit will not occur because of the snow, by the time the plants need nutrients the bottom mulch has broken down.
It s a wonderful book, I get visions of a little old lady laying down hay on a naughty weed.
I have 16 m solid clay here so dig deeply once and fill with organic matter. After that I mulch though little and often works best in a climate that grows food year round. It gets thick with time. I might yet be that little old lady :)
1 year ago
i I would say plant some deep rooted nitrogen fixing trees with strong root systems. Here we have Sweetthorn, I don't know what is your local equivalent. Plant at the bottom at your wettest spot and they will suck up the water while their rootsystems will gradually break up the hardpan, if that is what it is. Then give it a year or two while you wait to see how the climate pans out.

1 year ago