Jondo Almondo

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since Oct 06, 2018
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Recent posts by Jondo Almondo

Guava - high Vitamin C, makes good wine.

Because there is a hundred in my village, feeding kids at the school, making jam for the frugal. Delighting the fruit bats!
Most of the trees have grown by kids on bikes, tossing half eaten fruit into ditches for many decades.
Even when there's no fruit, you can crush a leaf and get the aroma of guava stimulating your nose hairs.
10 hours ago
In time, you will be able to identify a huge number of weeds and edible plants when they are just millimeters tall. Often before the true leaves even emerge.
I'd say this is the most notable change in perception after a decade of gardening.
Also, it's among the top mistakes I see with new gardeners. People point to a pile of weeds they've removed and I go through ID'ing all the edibles they just uprooted.
Permaculture gardens sometimes look like a mess of tangled weeds and many of us have stories about people 'helping' us weed and just pulling all the veg out or mowing over the whole lot.
Observation is everything.

Weeds won't interfere with other plants or get too lodged in the soil when they are young.
As many weeds are mineral-rich, I like to grow them up a few inches, before turning them into a green mulch on the spot.
Some weeds can be left completely and do not compete to any great degree.
Chickens destroy seed in their crop, but tomato seed seems to survive in numbers.
Tomato seedlings look a bit like 'farmers friend' (Bidens pilosa) for the first couple of days.
Tomatillo seedlings look a bit like Black Nightshade for the first week.

Usually topping soil/compost with mulch is a good idea, but delaying it can net you a regular batch of volunteers.
I pull the mulch back in winter so the soil's seedbank full of lettuce can sprout.
Tomatos and chillis come up around the border of the garden year-round, so need no encouragement.
I think woodchips are mad and inefficient because more energy is used to create the resource than the resource can actually contribute to your soil.
Trees don't need to be atomized to break down. Opportunities for fungi and vines are lost.

I think theres a lot more to learn about mulch when you grow, harvest and process your own and you get to know the value and timescales of carbon.

I think Permaculture is most useful and anarchic when we can grow abundance with no inputs or finances. I like the idea of permies doing their own thing, while mountains of woodchips gather at the local depot.
The excess resource would prompt authorities to either assess their land management strategy or encourage them to do more landscaping/composting to the public benefit.

Anyone have experience with vetiver grass? I sow mustard seed mainly for green mulch (ala Gertrud Franck), which works well (and you can buy cheap seed from the supermarket).
2 days ago
Our local government body slashes the roadside grass throughout the year.
I constantly survey what's growing where so that when a slash occurs, I can cart loads of mulch that are known quantities.
One pile for mulch with grass-seeds, another for weed-seeds and the other for pure 'straw'.
The seeded piles sprout all their germs while in storage or are submerged in water until fetid.

Slasher grass is a much better mulch than lawn clippings which are shredded so fine that they don't last long.
It's better than bales because no seed, finer texture, retains more N and breaks down more readily.

I'm envious of great big piles of woodchips, but it seems like cheating to just import masses of organic matter from another site to improve your own. Not to mention the energy intensive chipping and all the nitrogen lost to the atmosphere in the process.
Sure its a waste product, but its also ecological madness and very inefficient.

Mulch helps me grow a crop of mushrooms as an understorey in my garden beds.
It also has potential downsides such as suppressing volunteerism, increasing seed-rot and insect populations.
But these traits are less important than maintaining soil fertility and biology.
4 days ago
This video about the depletion of soil biology is a real punch to the grundle.

Sometimes back pain is congenital or an injury that heals more slowly due to other health issues.
In such cases drugs can be used to help get you up and moving about.
Having masked your pain signals, its more important than ever to know your limits and don't overdo it.

As was mentioned, many gardening activities are easier on all fours, rather than bent over and reaching.
You may look silly or like a wild beast, however you'll be doing what you love.
6 days ago
This thread has been a good read.

Many of my peers want nothing more than to grow their own food, for them the issue is partly cost of land, but also regulations about what crops they can grow, where they can put a shed, having to register bee hives etc. etc.
Further regulations make it more expensive to build a shelter, when we'd all be happy enough in small solar powered sheds.
Zoning laws make it illegal to break up rural blocks of land, when it is widely acknowledged that many small market gardens would be better than one giant livestock operation.
Whenever zoning laws are changed to break up farmland, the zone changes straight to urban and everything is highly developed and sold at ridiculous profits (though the houses are flimsy and flood prone).

My parents belong to a group called Spending Kids Inheritance that's all about squandering your savings and leaving your (numerous!) kids nothing. Of course they see all young people as entitled parasites while failing to acknowledge their own inheritance and the tax breaks, free university, cheap land, high interest savings environment they lived through.
1 week ago
You can go linux, you can go open-office. I wouldn't pay someone to download and install them, it's not hard, doesn't take much data.
I prefer the simpilicity of a boring free text editor like q10.
You'll want to download wikipedia (its not so big if you just download the text, people will sell you dvd's of it if you want).

Operating systems like windows sometimes try to force you to update by tinkering with your update settings, but will still work fine if kept offline.
Windows lets you use Win 10 without a license permanently with almost no downsides (tiny watermark) - it's great if you need the latest OS.

Laptop and phone batteries aren't made to fail at a set time, they are prone to failure because they are dense, cheap, highly used power sources.
I've got a few 15 year old laptops still going in everyday use (often running for weeks non-stop), though the batteries didn't last long.
How long computer parts last is mostly luck-of-the-draw, I've had PC's last decades without repairs.

Alternatively, buy a $10 bluetooth keyboard, put openoffice on your phone or tablet and use that as your main computer. You can get an adapter to plug USB drive to phone for $3, you can get an adapter to output phone to your tv for $4.
Put wikipedia on a USB drive for when you need it.
There are very few things that can't be done on an android phone or tablet.
1 week ago
Leafcutter ants make up two of the 46 genera of fungi-cultivating ants (known as Attini).

Species in the Attini tribe cultivate all sorts of fungi from yeast cells to parasols.

No mention of them cultivating field mushrooms or opportunistically cultivating new species, so maybe spore-covered ant-footprints are the likeliest vector.
Then again, parasols are Agaricacae just like field mushrooms and have a similar smell.
1 week ago