Katy Fell

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since Sep 27, 2018
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Recent posts by Katy Fell

I'd like to hop on this post and ask whether the hula/scuffle hoe works well getting up around the base of plants, or if it's best for clearing large areas of weeds (as most of the videos I've seen using them are doing such a task). Does anyone here have a preference over the hula hoes for either of these purposes- clearing pathways or hoeing closely around established plants?

As for the latter purpose, is it really necessary to have a hoe for this if one is trying to do a minimal till sort of approach? Perhaps hand pulling and chop and drop techniques paired with wood chips or heavy mulching are substantial enough... I'm trying to figure out what hoe/s are truly useful rather than having several tools that I barely use.

On another note, chopping/eye hoes and the magna grecia hoe look great for breaking virgin ground and getting really tough weeds with a heavy root mat out.
8 months ago
Hi Eric,

Thanks for your guidance...I'll check out the grub hoe. As much as I would love to do something right now, my current circumstances don't really allow it. I can't get started planting just yet because I'm in an apartment and am waiting to move. Until I do, space is very limited, and although I have seeds, I have no good soil/compost at the moment and might've waited too long to begin seeding indoors. I have a few options on where to go next (will be staying with family or friends), each of which would allow me to do some gardening. These housing options are in the deep south, zones 7b-9a. I won't be moving until mid-April at the earliest and haven't had the opportunity to get to know the land/soil at these homes yet. In all honesty, I'm not sure how much acreage I'll be working with either. As of now, I will not have animals but would like to get a chicken coop going soon enough.

I understand that it may be tough to give advice when my conditions are so uncertain, so I guess right now I'm asking about things more generally (tools, techniques, etc). I have the ability to invest in some tools, resources, and the like right now and the time to experiment. I have a few books that have been nice for building a better understanding but am itching to actually get to work, even if that just means preparing beds and getting a feel for what I'm working with.
9 months ago
Hi all,

Thank you for some great advice! I'm currently in Zone 9a. As Scott mentioned, I'm looking forward to experimenting as I learn more, perhaps starting with composting and seed saving and expanding as I go. Unfortunately, fencing might not be an option until I have a place of my own, but I will ask about it. I would like to send a soil sample to a nearby university for analysis as Eliot suggested as well. I will follow the advice that many of you have given to carefully observe the land and soil...that piece resonates well. I also appreciate Roy's recommendation to get in touch with the local community to make use of things that could otherwise go to waste. Grateful for the guidance thus far...

One area that remains somewhat unclear is in the realm of tools. Many of you have mentioned a thing or two about tools, and I've done a bit of reading, but I still have quite a few questions. Please feel free to respond to just parts of this, as my questions are many!

So many hoes...is there a certain type that you prefer above others? Mainly looking at stirrup hoe, oscillating hoe, collinear hoe, and Russian/Fokin hoe. Also looking into a low-wheel hoe. I would like to find one multi-purpose type that is sufficient for most needs, but if multiple types would be really useful I am fine with investing in that. Up until now, I have only worked with a few small beds and didn't have a problem dealing with weeds by hand, but I have a feeling a hoe will come in great handy for cultivation as I begin to grow more in larger beds. Does anyone have suggestions about the best way to sharpen a hoe (waterstone, diamond file, etc...)?

I'm thinking of getting a spading fork for loosening and turning over soil. Would anyone vouch for having a broadfork for manual tilling, or could a spading fork work just as well (while taking more time no doubt)? I have much more reading to do regarding till vs no-till methods...What are your views on the necessity of tilling at all?

Do you prefer to direct seed or transplant? I'm thinking about a few options for transplants: making wooden flats; making seed starter pots from citrus rinds, eggshells, egg cartons, newspaper, toilet paper rolls, or whatever else I can find; or finding a hand-operated soil block maker. Any reason to acquire the blocker instead of fashioning my own vessels? I understand that it might be too late to start seeds for transplant at this time and that I may need to direct seed this season (but can't do so until I move around mid-April). Would a dibber, garden stamp, dagger-style trowel, or post-hole digger help quite a bit for transplanting seedlings in the future? If direct seeding, is a manual precision seeder necessary or desirable as opposed to hand-seeding?

To give a sort of summary on what tools I have and am planning to acquire: I plan on purchasing or finding a wheel barrow. I have bypass loppers, bypass pruners, and hedge shears, but no pruning saw or folding saw (not sure of the difference). I also have a shovel and rake (but it's a leaf rake, not a garden/bow rake). I plan to get a few hand tools (trowel, hand fork, dibber) as well as a hoe or two, some gloves, and some buckets. I might get a fork of some sort, preferably only one between a spading fork, broadfork, or pitchfork. Perhaps a seeder of some sort if it seems worth it. Anything on this list that I probably don't need? Am I missing anything? What are your "must-have" tools in general?

Thanks again for all the responses!
9 months ago
I've been wanting to start a farm for the last 10 years but have been trapped in the rat race and never got around to it. I have thousands of seeds for everything imaginable and acreage to plant them on. No soil preparation has taken place. I also have no storage supplies, tools, fertilizers, anything really. What do I need to start farming right now? I am tired of waiting and have the funds to invest, but I'd like to do so wisely. I've followed this forum for a long time and am interested in sustainable/permaculture techniques. Perhaps this thread has already occurred and resources are already available!

I thank you warmly for anything you may have to offer.
9 months ago
Brian- I'm not sure of the exact distance of the utility pole so will have to measure and look into the SO cable. I have an electrician friend who could likely help with it. Thanks!

Peter- Thanks for your advice on looking into zoning laws...it's unfortunate that there are so many requirements for living in a camper/tiny home.
We'll continue to keep insulation in mind when examining our options, as this is an important factor for us. Definitely not trying to run our bills through the roof.
A solar system would definitely be preferable, and multiple sources have stated that it's not too expensive so this seems promising!

Rufus- Lots of good advice here, reminding us not to get overly romantic/ambitious all at once. We are down to rough it a bit at first and appreciate your tips. I understand what you're saying about thinking it all through carefully, buckling down, feeling it out the first year, and not going all in until we've gained some experience in several areas. Your words have been a help indeed.
2 years ago

I have recently decided to forgo living in rental properties and instead want to put a camper in an open area on my grandparents' property in a small rural town in Louisiana. The area I will be placing the camper is located 500 feet from my grandparents' house.

I am wondering if any of you have experience with an arrangement like this. I want to handle electricity, water, and sewage in the most affordable way. There is a utility pole on the property within 100 feet and a water main within 250 feet.

I need to decide between getting a septic tank or a compostable toilet for inside the camper. As for electric, I would prefer a more sustainable system (ie solar energy), but not sure if this would be the cheapest option for my current situation. The options for water could be to connect to city water via a water line or have a large tank with an electric pump. The tank could be filled with rainwater or even a hose running from my grandparents' house. The tank would have to provide water for two people.

I only intend on staying here for 1-2 years and I want to make smart investments. I'm having a difficult time determining whether living on the grid/off the grid/combination of both is best suited for my situation. I understand that different areas have different zoning laws/permits and am only seeking general advice. I'm interested in hearing from any of you with similar situations. Thank you for any help you can provide!
2 years ago