Oliver Smith

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since Jun 24, 2018
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Recent posts by Oliver Smith

Does anyone know of houseplants that can easily be grown from seed?    When I search online for seed sources I get a few hits but mostly shipments for actual plants.

Or alternately, which possibly unconventional plants from seed would make good houseplants: relatively small growth and maximum size, roots happy within a pot, and fairly low light conditions?

Thanks for any information!
2 weeks ago
You could consider a clover or clover/grass mixture.  White clover is my preference due to low growth habit.   Should do well in full sun.


If you are willing to keep existing grass, clover can be seeded in place.  Clover and grass complement each other well, since the clover fixes nitrogen and grass uses it.  The turf stays in place during winter so the ground is covered until clover emerges each spring.

Some other types of clover for lawns are alsike and strawberry.  I noticed that even Scott's now has a 'clover-lawn' seed with strawberry.  Both are taller growing.  
3 weeks ago
Pennsylvania sedge could form the basis of a nice planting.  Also known as oak sedge, it naturally grows in oak woodlands and savannas.  Can look like lawn but does not need mowing.  Can handle shade or sun.  Also could combine with other plants for a nice garden.

Sedges have fibrous root systems that soak up water like a sponge after well established.
1 month ago
Euonymus fortunei - winter creeper vine.
It spreads everywhere, climbs walls and trees with damaging roots, and smothers garden beds.
Repeated pulling will take it out but is disruptive to the soil.
1 month ago
Seeps / shallow springs are enabled by the vegetation as well.  A deep and healthy fibrous root layer (anchored by sedges for example) holds rainfall in the soill, it will slowly percolate.  

You may be interested in a book called "Timberhill: Chronicle of A Restoration" that discusses 'pioneer' springs from a bygone era returning after trees were thinned and high quality understory restored.  The property described is hilly land in southern Iowa.

Might not exactly line up with your goals or situation, but passing along in case helpful, in light of the densely wooded hillside in the photo.
1 month ago
Dennis Mitchell, that is such a great point, the Pacific salmon transport tons nutrients from the sea (where present) to land (where absent or sparse).  

The fish that instinctively swim upstream where they eventually die and decompose, or are eaten.

The workings of nature are so very interesting.
1 month ago
Another negative related to (2) is that many electronics contain toxic materials, some not even suitable for disposal in a landfill.  If such were used at scale over long periods of time, inevitably e-waste would become incorporated into the soil.

Non-toxic electronics are a must.
3 months ago
r ranson, thanks that may be the issue!

Assuming so, it would have been good for the system to notify me immediately, or better yet, reject the user name before creation (assuming it is an automated check).    
But no worries, now to figure out an updated user name.

Thanks again....
I registered very recently for the site and have one post.   When I view that post, the user field is grayed out with a hover iindicator that i"this account has been retired" .

The post is at https://permies.com/t/40/69496/mowing.

I don't see anything unexpected when I view my profile.  I seem to have permissions to reply and post new topics , etc.

Does a human need to verify the account before it shows up normally?  When I registered an email verification did happen without any apparent errors.

As many have pointed out, the current ecology is so disrupted (from soil changes, nutrient pollution, invasives, etc) that simply stopping mowing does not result in things going back to the "wilderness" state of 1000 years ago.    For example, if mowing/clearing pressure is relieved, foreign under-story plants such as multi-flora rose and honeysuckle rush into that space where they did not exist formerly.  Many North American woodlands were relatively open in the past.   And there is no fire pressure presently to clear out the brush.   Like it or not, we are now managers of the land.   Even prairie restorations use high mowing as a tool to control invasives during the first few years.

And most humans are followers.   Many keep their property as "lawn" simply because that is the norm.   Most people don't think too carefully about it, even if they are may be thought leaders in other areas.   There is simply so much going on in the modern world, and people can only worry about so much. and with our society's current detachment from nature, I don't think it even occurs to many people to question their lawn.  People just keep doing what they are doing in accordance with the herd.

See how everyone is wearing a hat in this old image!

So when the next paradigm arrives, most will similarly follow that paradigm.   It is up to thought leaders such as people on this forum to find the way forward....

9 months ago