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Judielaine Bush

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since Jul 28, 2018
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forest garden homestead
Four acres near Pittsboro, NC. My goals are more restoration than production, fighting the honeysuckle, autumn olive, tree of heaven, and stiltgrass and establishing native species in their place. But hey, if i can enjoy the fruits of that labor, i'm for it!
Piedmont, NC
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Recent posts by Judielaine Bush

We've had a great deal of woody material to clear. One year we rented a 6" chipper: it was amazing. However, stockpiling all the material for the chipper took space and created habitat for snakes and birds. I didn't want to get to a situation where there were bird nests to disturb or copperheads to surprise me when working on the pile. We invested in a 3" Patriot Chipper shredder. It's definitely been worth it.  While 3" may sound like a large diameter, it helps get around branch forks and angles in the wood, as well as swallowing canopy.

There are some videos showing Patriot using the chipper to process cardboard for worm bedding (via the hopper, if i recall correctly).

Patriot's support is great.  The manual is written well and warns you about most of the stupid things i ended up doing anyway. (Blocking the outflow and getting it jammed up with chips, dropping a bolt into the chipping chamber.) They  advised me to try a telescoping rod with a magnet to find the dropped bolt, which worked well. I'm at a point where i need to sharpen the blades again and maintain it. I do wear the same helmet, ear guard, and mesh visor as one would with using a chainsaw, and i am glad of it.

I can't imagine running out of chippable material where i am, even if i manage to eradicate the shrubby invasives that prevent native understory plants from thriving, so it's been a great investment for us.
1 month ago
Well, Dichanthelium laxiflorum may be perennial, but it doesn't have the deep roots of the grasses you reference. It's found at woods edges and gaps and isn't a traditional prairie or savanna grass. It's shallow roots may be appropriate for NC clays (not the loam in the cutaway photo) and for competition with tree roots.

The perennial grasslands are wonderfully productive though, and North Carolina did have prairie and savanna ecosystems when settlers arrived. The loamy surface of the soil where i am was eroded away with cotton farming, though.
1 month ago
I adore this grass -- photos of it in seed are at The second photo shows bare spaces -- this is an area where only a few tussocks were growing last year. I've been building up the but the seed bank.  

When i moved here a few years ago i noticed the rosette grass here and there. It competed well against weedy annuals like goose grass and seems to be holding ground against stilt grass. For a couple years now i've held off mowing in May and June to let it go to seed. It doesn't get that tall when going to seed, and looks fairly attractive if i mow just before it really gets underway to get the cudweeds cut back. The soft green haze of the seed heads gets at most two feet high. Once i'm ready to cut the seed heads back, i'll mow again... and now where i have strong stands of this witchgrass  i'm done mowing for the year! It makes a lovely turf and keeps my spouse comfortable because she can see the snakes when they move across the area. Where it is growing thickly isn't quite a monoculture. I've got the native violet, Viola sororia, growing in the spaces between the rosettes. In the spring, the violets bloom brightly as the grass is greening up: it's a lovely effect.

The tussocks take transplantation well. The roots are shallow enough that a shallow scoop is sufficient to successfully transplant by plopping it down where it's wanted. I do get them as "weeds" in the garden (as well as the violets) and i'm usually happy to move both to where they'll serve as a welcome ground cover. The grass grows in moderately deep shade as well as full sun.

Dichanthelium laxiflorum is native across the southeast US; members of the genus can be found across North America. While not all might have the low growth pattern of Dichanthelium laxiflorum, keep an eye out and see if there are native grasses you can use for your spaces.

I don't know when  i might have seeds to share, but if you're interested let me know.

1 month ago
> BTW - your email address on permies is different than your email address on kickstarter.   That could cause some problems.

This was  the case with me, too. I just changed my email to match my kickstarter email. Hope this helps
1 month ago
I lazily started a worm bin in a California apartment years ago. One rainy morning i found two red wriggling worms on my way to the car. I called my spouse and asked her to drop them into a five gallon tree pot that i had been dumping leaf litter into. From then on, for over ten years, veggie scraps went into that bucket and the worms thrived and reproduced. Every now and then i would dump the bucket out and manually separate worms and undigested stuff from the castings and use the casting in my potted plants. My conclusion is that worms are not fragile critters that need careful management of environment but they can cope with really hot and dry situations as well as freezing temperatures, plus random feeding without much fuss. I'm sure OPTIMAL casting production occurs with a managed environment, but i wouldn't let optimization get in the way of doing. I've bought a commercial worm farm now because i am dealing with a larger volume of scraps and the farm promises easier separation of castings from worms and undigested matter, and because it's in a more obtrusive location.
4 months ago
I guess i need a better look at the threading -- or absence -- on that one inch ridge. If there's deep threading, a wire might be strong enough. I'd fear disintegration in a bungee.

Had my first buckwheat greens a month ago -- they were pretty easy micro greens, pretty too, but the seed husks held on pretty tightly in some cases.
5 months ago
For Christmas, we were given a 500 gal Norwesco vertical tank (40148). I'm wondering if anyone has rigged a screen for rain water catchment in one of these tanks. My spouse would like a moderately attractive solution since she'll be looking at it from her desk.

I'm OK buying something because i have other places i can better spend my time than rigging this, but the for-purpose is a little more than i am excited to spend. (It's still less before shipping than i can find a single clean IBC tote going for in our area .)

I see there are prefab 16" rain baskets out there, but the manway is  a 16 3/8" INNER diameter, and the usual 16" filter baskets seem to be just barely 16.3" diameter to the outside of their lips. Does that work?

The rim sticks up one inch with an 18 1/5" outer diameter.  Buying screen and a big hose clamp seem like it could work, but that one inch is just barely enough room for the hose clamp itself.

Thanks for relevant advice!

5 months ago
Star of Bethlehem - poisonous - has the white vein.  My Star of Bethlehem in 7b mid latitude North Carolina doesn't start sprouting until after the new year. It wasn't nightmarish the first year, but now we have an area into which we let the cats go, and i do worry about the cats eating the noxious stuff. Also, i hadn't seen the meadow of it behind the last wave of autumn olive.

20180423 first blooms in east lawn
20180212 Continued eradication effort during lunch while watching Luigi roam. Still some  coming up under cutdown trees and in the moss garden.
20180211 Dug up sprouting Ornithogalum umbellatum from orchard-to-be area
20170414 Liliaceae: Ornithogalum umbellatum blooming
20170222 Lots of clumps behind the house, pushed through cardboard acting as weed barrier for walk. Several clumps in backyard. With this identification, will eradicate along the walk before mulching (instead of transplanting). Seems less nightmarish than the bittercress and chickweed.

No onion-like odor
leaves curl into tube, but not tubular like an onion. Pale line on the inside of the curve (plausibly the upper surface)

Leaves have a white stripe on upper surface & wither soon after flowering, per Wildflowers of Tennessee. (image of bulb structures looks VERY like the ones i pulled up)

A long green stripe on the underside of each petal helps to identify this plant as Star-of-Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum.

Narrow leaves, each having a white midrib, might get a foot long, but they softly arch over forming a mound. All leaves are basal, and leaf margins are entire or toothless.

Alabama: Class C noxious weed
Connecticut: Potentially invasive
TN, KY: listed as weed
Lesser Threat
6 months ago
Thanks Angela. Do you know if the Everbearing can cross-pollinate with the native reds and then set viable seed (obviously would not necessarily have the traits of the Everbearing). Or is the Everbearing a hybrid?
6 months ago
Oh, to get someone to come harvest all the Allium canadense in our yard and garden plot. I hurl it into the neighboring woods when i successfully pull it up, fearing any composting attempt is just going to spread the plant more. I've tried cooking with it, but it seems overpowering.
6 months ago