Matt Mill

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since Sep 17, 2018
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Writer, English professor, Nebraskan. Living and gardening in the Ozarks now. I write essays about permaculture and the Christian liturgical year here:
Reeds Spring, MO; zone 6b Ozarks
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Recent posts by Matt Mill

Oh, that's so interesting. I have one in a pot that has about 6 half-ripened fruit on it that I brought in when it looked like a frost. Maybe I better put it back out again.

This is my first time growing them and I have pretty much left it alone, so I don't have much information to share, but I'm following this thread and will update with any information.
2 months ago
+1 to Alexander's comment to wait until maypops are ready to fall off the vine to pick them. You can shake the trellis or tree they are climbing and gather any that fall off. I have also been known to tug on them VERY GENTLY and those that pop right off will be good too, but if there is any resistance I leave them on the vine. The appearance doesn't matter much—some will be very smooth and green and others will be wrinkled.

In Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden, Lee Reich recommends leaving the fruit on the counter after picking for a while (as much as a couple of weeks) to improve, and I have found that to be a good practice. They will get more wrinkled and the skin will dry out, eventually making the skin pretty hard and shrinking the fruit. I like them before they get to that point (when they are close to molding), but after they have wrinkled a bit, which seems to enhance their sweetness.

I'm referring to the incarnata species, which we have many of growing wild here in southern Missouri.
2 months ago
Candie, I live in Stone County between Reeds Spring and Branson West. The developer that built our neighborhood is now selling 700+ acres of land around Ance Creek in (I think) 20-40 acre plots, no restrictions. I don't have the realtors' information at the moment and don't see it online, but if you want to do a drive-by it's off of Ance Creek Road north of Branson West.
3 months ago
I very much appreciate all the microheating resources on here. I am trying to figure out the best approach to make our house more comfortable and to heat more affordably this winter. We primarily heat with a propane ventless furnace—which is not performing the Full Wheaton, I know, but for now it is what I have. I hope to go much more fully Permie in the future, but with three little kids in this phase of life we make do with what we have.

If we can make it through the whole cold season on one tank of propane, without turning on the electric furnace, it is pretty affordable heating. Last year, we did not quite make it, and we had areas in our house that were fairly uncomfortable even as we ran the furnace pretty hot. I want to be more comfortable and to avoid turning on the electric furnace at all this year.

Our bedrooms (one for parents and two for our three kids) and master bath are the primary areas that don't get enough heat, so I am exploring my options to add heat to those areas and to improve distribution of the heat through the house. I'm thinking heated mattress pads for all beds is the first step, but we use those rooms quite a bit during the day too, and our kids (7YO, 5YO, 2YO) are obviously quite active. Stocking up each room with 3-4 different heating devices would probably bust my budget; anybody have an idea for a best bet for a single purchase for each room? Are there dog bed warmers or other floor heaters that are safe for use on hardwood?

The furnace is in the basement, at the foot of the stairs that open up into our main room, which has a lofted ceiling. That is one problem—we do have a ceiling fan there, so this year I need to actually clean it so I can leave it running essentially all the time. There is always plenty of heat near the furnace, so another piece of this will probably be improving heat distribution throughout the house with fans.
3 months ago
I keep a list of specialty nurseries, mainly just for my own use, here:

For nut trees, I would look seriously at and at The first would be better for more southern areas (they are in Kentucky), the latter for northern regions (New York). I haven't ordered from either place myself, but both those nurseries have strong reputations and the owners are active in fruit and permies communities.

Myself, I have ordered plant material from Edible Landscaping, Burnt Ridge, and Ames (which doesn't ship) and had good results all around.
4 months ago
Welcome to Permies, Jonathan! I think if you can build them an enclosure to protect from deer and ensure they get water through their first season, it is possible. Brand-new fruit trees (like planted as a one-year whip) will seldom make it if they don't get an inch of water a week, or if deer can eat freely off them. But for the first couple of years they don't really need much more than that.

I would also suggest that you dig your holes before you need to plant and fill them with water to make sure the soil will drain in your location. If the hole empties of water in 24 hours, the site should be fine.

As far as varieties that will survive intermittent care, that's pretty much a regional question and I'm not in your area, so you'll do better to get advice from a good nursery in your region. Look up Edible Acres or St. Lawrence Nursery, maybe. To get a harvest, you'll need types that are very disease resistant. For apples, the types with the best reputation in that regard come from breeding programs at Nova Scotia and a Purdue-Rutgers-Illinois partnership. Look for variety names with "Nova" in them (Nova Spy) or the letters PRI (Williams Pride, Enterprise). Pears also stand up to some neglect if you get a fireblight-resistant type. You might also consider some less common fruits, many of which have fewer varieties than grocery store varieties, like mulberry, American persimmon, or elderberry. Good luck!
4 months ago
I have lots of Bermuda on my property and I am not winning the fight against it at present—just coexisting with it.

I have not had good luck smothering it. The rhizomes don't need sun to survive and they can run along for yards to surface at the other end of your tarp. It will also find any holes or gaps and spread aggressively all over the top of the tarp. When I have tried sheet mulching over it the Bermuda will have entirely taken the area over by the end of the growing season. I've tried one organic herbicide (Bonide Burn-Out) and the Bermuda was unfazed.

I think the best bets are either solarization with clear tarps or repeated tillage. If you till heavily, then let the plant resprout for a couple weeks, then till again, then repeat the process again, it is supposed to exhaust the plant's resources and eventually kill it. I haven't read anything about flame weeding but I bet it could work; however, I would think that the solarization or flame weeding will require extended, disciplined effort to truly eliminate it, just like the tillage method.

All of that's to say, I'm not sure there's a quick solution. And I think if it's feasible it is worth taking the time to kill it properly, even if it means you won't get the use out of that bed this season. I haven't done that and it's probably going to come to that at some point—leaving my garden fallow for a season to finally get the Bermuda out once and for all. I, at least, find it nearly impossible to stay on top of when it's actively growing.

Good luck! And report back if you find anything brilliant.
5 months ago
People do some of that here and at other specialty forums like

North American Fruit Explorers is a membership-based group where members regularly exchange plant material:
5 months ago
The perennials this beginner started with were garlic and shallots from starts and bunching onions and sorrel from seed. I found them all trouble-free and successful, and though my climate is very different from NorCal, I think all of those plants are widely adapted.
5 months ago
If you are thinking of requesting cuttings from the Munson Vineyard that I linked to above, consider doing that soon. They stop taking requests at the start of November. I put in my request for the same types as those I killed last year just a bit ago.
5 months ago