David Pritchett

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since Aug 19, 2018
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Recent posts by David Pritchett

Another suggestion is we have some elderberry that is more or less amongst asparagus, Martha Washington and a purple variety for us. The asparagus is basically done and lignified in our climate 6b once the elderberry start to leaf out.
1 month ago
Hey all so we are currently in the process of attempting to build a small food forest like garden plot, 30ftx45ft,  in our backyard and I am having difficulties keeping things moist and I am trying to avoid using our county water because of very high hardness and I assume alkalinity. We do not currently have rain barrels and the like due to budget and space issues.

I made some very small swales 4 to 6 in depth and they have helped control washout quite a bit. I also have a bunch of branches around 6 to 12 in diameter that came with a load of free wood chips and I'm thinking of putting in beaver dam inspired swales. Basically just lay them out on contour on the surface then berm our heavy clay on either side to help  get water to stay and soak.

I may try to establish native dandelion, chicory and clover on the berm portion in order to fix the soil. Just wanted to know if you guys see any major problems with this plan or suggestions for improvements. My hope is to get started on it this weekend.
1 month ago
Hey all I am considering putting in vermicomposting  trenches inspired by the red worm composting site (link below). The thought is to make a hugelculture like bottom to improve drainage and a wood walkway to cover and hopefully reduce compaction. My hope is that this will also help to prevent soil runoff because our water table is only about 10 feet below surface and we are downhill of most of the surrounding lots in our subdivision so missourri rains tend to yield boggy patches and soil runoff.

My worry is we have very heavy clay so I'm hoping I can use this to direct excess water out of our garden. But I don't want these to turn into ponds of sorts so I'm thinking I should make sure they are at an angle to the grade. I do not intend to vermicompost a restaurant's excess like he mentions in the site but I would like to use this for all of our household waste and maybe reach out to a few of the horse and cow farms around here.

Any suggestions for establishing in ground composting or for dealing with excess water?

I think it is probably worth mentioning that if the silt socks were filled with a woodchips or straw material they can be used to grow mushrooms on. The applications I have read about mention oyster or wine cap, pretty sure that was trad cotter's book. Though I suppose that is more an applicable function stack not necesarilly a reason on its own.
Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation: Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X6D9T78/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_bR91BbF65CQPF
8 months ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I'd call those plants and seeds very mature. Since mold is already a problem, I'm be picking mine before the next rainstorm.

Thank you so much! I will be picking to save this afternoon then! I am still quite inexperienced but I wanted this kind of production next year if possible and I like the idea of seed saving. High yield and tall plants are both desirable characteristics to me as they can help shield out the neighbors dogs.

I will say the variety is described as being very productive if it has ample access to water when it tassels. This year we had plenty of rain from tasseling to the ears forming which also caused some mold.
Thank you all for the advise! I will remove a few of the least mature ears as they probably won't be ready. I am in 6B about 30 miles soithwest of st louis mo. I am having some mold issues, displosia I believe pic attached of one example, would this render the seeds infertile? Could this be avoided with a vinegar wash after harvest or similar? This is "kulli" black corn from baker creek. For reference most of the stalks are about 7 ft tall with the tallest which is the one that went crazy around 9 ft tall.
Hey all so I know that corn can be saved extremely easily. My issue is I'm not sure the corn has progressed enough to be viable next year. This is the first year for my garden and I was an idiot and planted my corn about 3 months late. Now most of it is at sweet corn stage.

One of the stalks produced very admirably, no exaggeration it is 9 ft tall and has 5 ears, so I wanted advice because my areas predicted first frost is Oct 10 and I would very much like this kind of performance next year. At this point I think I have two options one is pick it right after first frost or let it go until the stalks totally die.

Please let me know what you guys think.
Thank you very much Rob for the suggestions, your situation sounds virtually identical to mine, cheap fill then clay and about the same size of lot. I am very tempted to push things a little more towards the aquaponics route especially because we've been wanting to do that but had been looking more at ibc and barrel methods. Was there anything special you did to seal up the pond for the aquaponics? Most of the things I found online refer to using bentonite and cut plant matter to seal the pond sides. About what size did your pond end up being and what did you do with the excess dirt? What we havedoes decently for planting in but not spectacularly but I had considered using them to berm up the sides. How did you setup the beds you converted to aquaponic grow bed? Most things I have seen suggest using some kind of plastic or pond liner or just put them into bins of some sort. We were trying to establish a small food forest in our backyard (a food glen maybe?) and have really had decent success given its a first year garden. We were wanting to do fruit trees but I have seen some references to people growing trees in aquaponic systems so I don't think that is a good reason to avoid the aquaponics. Our current plan is to do perennials around the border, mainly a mix of blackberry, elderberry, globe artichoke and asparagus. The main issue is we do not intend for this to be a permanent property so we want to use it as a test bed but we can't do anything too crazy that would lower the perceived value too much.

Cristo, we have native red and white clovers and I have tried to get them to  establish themselves and start working their nitrogen fixing magic, though really this just means I do my best not to shovel them. I have found that clover is one of the best weed suppressors in our yard, so much so that they sometimes even suppress established dandelions.
10 months ago
Thank you all so much for the helpful replies.

We are currently growing a "green daikon" from baker creek quite successfully however it has tended to grow down 2-3 inches through the meager top dressing of compost and then start growing out of the ground, I presume due to compacted clay. Long hinona turnips again fom baker creek are going down to the clay and not really penetrating the clay  at all. Carrots are not growing up but I haven't harvested any yet so I can't tell you if that is working.

I am lucky to have an arborist a few doors down that I have been able to get chips from. However I have had to be a little choosy because he gets called out for a lot of black walnut and most of the stuff I have gotten has been pretty dead so pretty low nitrogen content.

There are a couple of horse boarding barns out here but I am hesitant to go that route due to all the horror stories I have read of people working persistent herbicides into their soils. The basic guidelines I have heard is check for broad leaves in the manure pile but if people have further advice to avoid that I am all ears.

Thank you very much Dr. Redhawk for all that you have contributed to this forum I feel I will be perusing that thread with all your postings for months or more.  I do not have a problem with tilling so much as not wanting to mix excessive woodchips into the soil and tie up nitrogen, hence the interest in broadfork or similar to get tillage while working minimal woodchips into the soil.

I have no doubt of how alive our soil is as I am constantly finding lots of ants, worms, mycorhizaie/mushrooms and the roots run deep for my beans and brassicas, its mainly the root crops who are struggling, beats, garlic, turnips and potatos.
10 months ago
Hey there, we are currently developing a 30 by 40 back to eden garden on missourri heavy clay soil. I believe we are currently dealing with  some pretty bad compaction, rooted veg are growing up out of the ground instead of down and seedlings are having issues taking root.

Currently looking at a broadfork or digging fork regrettably I cannot afford a $200 meadow creature broadfork and so am looking at a digging fork and finding a lot of so-so reviews online. Was wondering if anyone here can give a recommendation or  other methods to deal with heavy clay in back to eden gardens. The only suggestions I have found involve rototilling excessive amounts of compost into the soil which is not feasible for me financially and since there are a lot of wood chips in the way.
Thanks in advance!
10 months ago