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William Mulcher

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since Aug 01, 2018
NW Arkansas Ozarks
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Recent posts by William Mulcher

Maybe I'm crazy, but this doesn't look like a south-facing wall.  If you are wanting to plant in the area you are solarizing, then it looks like an east-facing wall.  I believe south-facing walls as far north as Quebec should get sun all day, unless blocked by something else, like trees or another structure.

I would also consider hardy berries.  They could probably handle the poor soil, and also the runoff from the roof (which looks pretty high, so might hurt more delicate plants).
6 months ago
Very nice!  As a newbie, I don't have much in the way of suggestions for you, just shared concern.  Given all the rain we have had in the Ozarks this winter/spring, we have had a fair amount of standing water as well in the last week.  

I heavily mulched my garden area with around 6" wood chips last fall/winter.  Given that it is elevated, it doesn't have standing water, and is definitely nicer to walk on.  However, when all of the surrounding soil is waterlogged, I expect that the soil under the wood chips is probably also waterlogged.  This was supported by my experience when I dug the mulch aside to build a bed, revealing saturated heavy clay.

I'm not sure how much of a problem this will be though.  I'm trying to look at it as an advantage, particularly if the mulch preserves the moisture in the soil for longer.
1 year ago
In addition to the things that have already been mentioned, I have a couple of other possible culprits.

If you didn't remove the blossom end of the cucumbers, they can end up soft.  I remove both ends to be safe.

If you cooked the pickles (used a hot brine, or canned them), they could get soft.

Sometimes cucumbers that are too old get bitter.  This could have impacted the taste.

Good luck on your next attempt!
2 years ago
I actually have a batch of kosher dills going right now as well, about a week and a half in.  Tasting it a few days ago, mine was also a bit salty and half-sour.  It has been my experience that the saltiness does diminish as the sourness grows, or at least isn't as noticeable.  However, I would accept that it might be a little saltier than store-bought pickles.  I would definitely suggest keeping it going for another week or two.

Unless it was much too salty, I would not dilute it as Ed suggested.  It has been my experience that when doing that (with sauerkraut), it promoted scum and mold on the top.  That isn't a real problem, since you can safely skim it off, but it is a pain, and a little gross.

When making sauerkraut, I even got in the habit of pouring a glug or two or vinegar in after the brine gets going.  I found it made the surface need much less skimming.  I didn't do that for these cucumber pickles, and they need skimming every couple of days (white film, little spots of mold on top, nothing abnormal).  If you do dilute it as Ed suggested, I would add some vinegar as well, not too much, but some.

Good luck!
2 years ago
I had this trouble as well, when looking for organic straw.  Ultimately, I gave up.  I learned a couple of things that might be helpful.  

Ignoring roundup, which may or may not degrade quickly, you also have to be concerned about persistent broadleaf herbicides [1].  Farmers sometimes spray this to kill non-grasses in their fields or pastures.  These poisons are designed to persist in the soil, often lasting for years in concentrations that can be harmful to garden plants (beans are particularly sensitive).  Even worse, these herbicides pass through the guts of livestock mostly intact, making compost created with their manure also harmful.  Since these are sprayed on pastures, they can show up in non-organic HAY as well as straw and manure.

I don't know how well the fungal techniques mentioned will break down these chemicals.

You didn't say what you needed the straw for, but my conclusion was that wood chips were the safest form of mulch from a herbicide/pesticide perspective at least.  However they do take a long time to turn into soil if you are trying to build it up.

[1] https://compostingcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/USCC-PH-Fact-Sheet-1-for-web.pdf
2 years ago