Colin Thomas

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since Nov 15, 2009
Castlegar, B.C. Zone 6a-6b
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Recent posts by Colin Thomas

Here are some pics of my no-till garden from September. It is in it's third year now and was cover cropped for 1.5 years before we used it for growing veggies. We tried polycultures last year with great success and I will be expanding on that this year. Growing in Polycultures sure makes the garden feel/look more natural. I plan to add more useful flowers to the mix this year.

We start all our seeds in soil blocks but we have had mixed results. I like the system but there are still some variables that need to get worked out. It's all an experiment. Any feedback would be great.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151435166540609.555826.747135608&type=1&l=b2cde3f83e

Colin
6 years ago
test post using IE
In the book “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” on page 260 is the parsnip profile. It says avoid following carrots, parsley, or celery. For good companions it says bush bean, garlic, onion, pea, pepper, potato, radish and for bad companions it says caraway, carrot, celery.

As for nutrient requirement the book states N=high, P=low, K=low which leads me to say plant inoculated bush beans with them.

I will be interplanting my potatoes with parsnips, bush beans, radish, and maybe onions.

I hope this helps.

Colin
6 years ago
Here is what I posted about SPIN farming on another site. I tried to copy and paste what I wrote but it did not work. You can read the SPIN blog entry and read my thoughts at the bottom.

Link to article http://www.permaculturebc.com/Curtis-Stone-Spin-Farming-Victoria-November-2011







7 years ago
Books are great but do not forget all the amazing videos online at youtube and such. Permaculture DVD’s are great for inspiration, visuals that books can’t give, plus tons of info too.

As to books I just now thought that I would tell people to read in this order:

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture
One Straw Revolution

Then either:

Intro to Permaculture (for broad scale properties)
Gaia’s Garden 2nd edition (for urban to ¼ acre)
7 years ago
I just remembered this post and that I promised I would share my results. For those who are interested method #1 gave me a fast germination of just a few days and a fairly consistent coverage. Method #2 which is mimics nature the most seem to be the worst of all three. Germination was slower (less soil contact), as was growth (had to grow through mulch) but the main difference to me was it lead to a few patchy areas (perhaps a broadcasting error) where the grass really came back. Method #3 was the best.

The end product came out the same or so it seems. The only thing I can take away is if I need a fast germination and good coverage use #3. If I don’t have the time and want to do less labour choose method #2.

Not really scientific but that is not who I am.

Colin
7 years ago
Here is some pictures of mine from last summer. I did buckwheat followed by hairy vetch and fall rye. The year I did buckwheat again and a rye winter pea mix. My soil is so much better. It is like a sponge cake now lol.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.496544235608.316030.747135608&type=1&l=730c0646c6
7 years ago
Tree Crops: A permanent agriculture!!! It’s the second edition hard cover printed in 1950. The original is from 1929 I think. That’s right 1929!!! I look at it as the first book ever on permaculture ideas. The edition that I got is in great shape and looks to be quite a bit thicker than the original.

I read the original about a year ago and was blown away by Smith’s concept. He lays out the argument for tree crops being the basis for agriculture so well that by the time you get around a quarter of the way through the book you will be shaking your head at modern agriculture and asking your self why the “Tree Crops” way did not catch on.

The book amazes me in so many ways it is hard to pick a spot to talk about first. Smith lays out the story of how destructive agriculture is and has been. A very good example of this is a picture before the first chapter even begins. The page shows a picture of earth with freight trains wrapping around the earth many times. Below it says “the U.S. Soil Conservation Service reports that soil washed out and blown out of fields in the US each year would load a modern freight train long enough to reach around the world eighteen times. If it ran twenty mph continuously, it would take it nearly 3 years to pass your station”.  It’s that just crazy? With ag today it can only be worse. I’m sure everyone here knows that it takes 500 years for nature to create just a few inches in top soil. Totalitarian agriculture needs to change or there is no hope.

There is so much covered in the book. Tree crops for all climates and soils are here; Carob, Mesquite, Honey Locust, Persimmon, Mulberry, Chestnut, Acorn, Walnut, Pecan, and more. He explains the nutritional value of each and how they compare with wheat or corn. He explains the use, either animal forage crop or human and why. He shows that they can out yield traditional crops, protect the soil from erosion, and even build soil. He even talks about varieties to choose.

One of the cool things in the book is all the excerpts from his interviews while researching the book. Cool little things such as a person reminiscing about when she was a child, she used to love eating the sweet pods from the honey locust.

I could go on more but the post is getting too long. I highly recommend this book. Buy it, borrow it, or download the first edition for free.
7 years ago
Here is a link to the herb spiral my wife and I made last summer. It turned out well but we did make a few mistakes. For the northern hemisphere your supposed to make the spiral in the other direction. I also would have made it higher. The biggest mistake was putting mint in the herb spiral not contained. Now the whole herb spiral has mint everywhere in only its second year. So this fall we are going to take it down, remove the mint and re-build it come spring.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.496549965608.316031.747135608&l=42741b73a5&type=1
7 years ago