Lon Anders

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since Oct 15, 2018
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Recent posts by Lon Anders

Heather Ulrich wrote:

Thank you for your post! The asparagus will definitely not go in the GH. It will go outside in the garden rows.. I had to go double check my post to make sure I specified that! LOL

In regards to the run-off from the ground above the retaining wall, so far (and we've had a good bit of rain lately) the yard design is working as intended and water is running off away from the wall. It's very hard to tell from the pic I posted, but we planned for that when building. The pad is very flat and slopes about 4' at the back (again, can't really see that in the pic) so the pad itself is not draining well. I've attached another pic, which is the best one I have but still not great. . Important to note that the dirt used to build the pad was the dirt already there - it was just moved by digging down in the front, putting in retaining wall and adding the dirt up in the back to level the pad. The pic will help describe this, I think.

I like your idea for the beds in the GH. That will definitely be the quickest way to guarantee good soil, ready for immediate use. I think I like that idea for the outside rows, as well. I want to stay away from building more raised beds, as this is where I intend to grow tomatoes (along with another large ground area, for rotation) My cages are 6' tall and I used raised beds last year and found it difficult to reach everything without stepping inside them or on the edges. I had one plant over 14' tall last year and it was very difficult to train it when I couldn't get in the middle of the beds.  The good news is that I have an excavator attachment and can dig down those beds easily.

Your beds are very beautiful, btw!

Thanks for the compliment on my raised beds. They are from rough cut cedar that I harvested off our property and a neighbor milled for me. I wasn't going to stain them until the wife got involved...lol. She wanted them to match the rest of the cedar around here (House, guest house, chicken coop, rabbit hutch, shed, etc).

I'd say that since you have an excavator then it would be real simple to put in french drains to control your water pooling/setting problem with your pad.   Also since you have the equipment I am sure you are familiar with doing dirt/construction work.  With this said, spend the time, do it right and then you can forget about it for years to come, you know that and I know that. If you have the resources do it properly now. Sure don't paralyze yourself from making a decision but also make sure you make those decisions based on it being right with little maintenance for the next 20 years. Nothing worse than having to redo it/fix a problem.

I don't know what type of budget you can or can not afford but we can afford to do whatever we want at a cost of $1K-$5K at about anytime we want and not even worry about it. So many times I have said to myself "Self you are an idiot, you should have spent the extra $500 and done it right the fist time because it's cost you a lot more than that dealing with it later".

The new picture def helps me see the situation with the pad/run-off issue better. Thanks for posting it.

Good luck and make sure you keep us updated with the progress. Always like when folks start a thread about a project they are starting but hate it with all the guessing of "I wonder how it turned out for them" when they do not do any follow ups.
3 weeks ago

Looks like you will have good drainage since you are on a slope. However you are going to deal with a run off problem from ground above the retaining wall. I'd ditch it somewhere to funnel the water away vs trying to deal with it. Your greenhouse will mainly be in use in the wet winter months.

The "beds" in the greenhouse:

I'd dig out the beds just like you were digging out for a footer, maybe 18"-24" deep.  I'd take the soil that was removed (or better soil you saved during making your pad) and I'd amend it with compost/composted manure.  Even if you have to go buy a few truck loads of good soil or compost it will be worth the effort to start with good soil. Then I'd fill my trenches I dug back up with good amended soil.

I started with rocky heavy clay on my 3K sq ft "traditional garden".  I deep tilled over 2 years and threw all the amendments at it that I could...loads of composted manure, compost I make here, mushroom compost, etc.  I then threw all that stuff at it again by the truckloads for 3 more years but only tilled lightly. I also cut a small 8" ditch on the back of the garden to get rid of so much runoff. My entire garden has a slope above it and there was just too much runoff entering my garden, so I ditched it and funnelled the water away from the garden.

Hindsight is always 20/20.  I should have done things entirely different. With all the effort I put into it I wish I would have just excavated down to 18" or so over the entire garden, tilled it, then hauled in dump truck loads of compost and manure to fill the 18" of depth back up. It took a lot of effort and money over 6-7 years to turn this clay into acceptable soil for gardening.

Treat your planting areas like raised beds:

I put in 800 sq ft of raised beds around my place. I was not going to extend my regular garden but wanted/needed more growing space.  I built my raised beds out of cedar, they are roughly 3.5 ft x 7.5ft x 20" tall.  I made a pad for the ones I put right out our back door for "salads" and specialty stuff. I then marked out the area that each bed would sit on. I then dug down 12-18" and used that nasty stuff as fill around my place.  I then went back in my woods where I had something that resembled topsoil. I hand dug it by the wheelbarrow loads, hauled it down to the house and mixed it 50/50 with composted wood chips /chicken litter  I had accumulated over  a year + about 50 bags of compost I bought at Home depot ($1.80/bag) and 10-15 bags of masonry sand.  I placed a single layer of wood that started to rot that I had originally split for firewood in the bottom of the trenches, placed the raised beds I had built over the trenches, then filled them to to the top with the new amended soil.  

Here's a pic of those 4 raised beds:

The soil in these raised beds is perfect...I wish I would have done my entire 3K sq ft garden like this from the start.


I'd pick a place outside of the greenhouse. Asparagus needs to be viewed as a long term crop like apples, grapes, blueberries, brambles, etc. It will produce for years and will be perfectly content somewhere outside in your climate. Save your greenhouse space.

Do it right from the start and moving forward you will be able to spend more time growing and tending to things vs spending all that time trying to get your soil up to what you consider acceptable.

Good luck.

3 weeks ago

Steve Thorn wrote: Very neat! Is it good for juice too?

Yes it is a good juice grape and also decent champagne grape.

There was a time in U.S history when the Catawba grape was THE GRAPE from the Ohio River Valley to the east coast.

It's a "late" grape also so one can enjoy a late summer/early fall harvest.

3 weeks ago
Catawba isn't much of a table grape but is a spectacular grape for wine and jelly. If I had to pick my favorite "all around" grape it would be Catawba.

My father started 2 vines when I was 7 years old. Those same two vines still produce year after year (a few years of no maintenance in there) and they are 43 years old.

I have rooted cuttings from those originals and propagated them at 3 different locations where I have lived over the years.

Catawba has a lot of history here in the United States.
3 weeks ago
Nicole here is a pretty straight forward video.

Find center, measure out off it on both sides, snap a chalk line and then start hacking.

Our forefathers done it this way for a long time.

1 month ago
Mine at the firepit behind our guest cabin:

1 month ago
Your part of KY is "hit or miss" with cedar trees. If your property has a lot of cedar trees then make sure you at least consider getting "Cedar Apple Rust" tolerant apple trees.
1 month ago

Dan Boone wrote:I don't think "drastic" is a difficult word to defend here.  

When one equates a low temperature controlled burn as being just as "drastic" as paving or graveling an area then it is indeed a difficult word to defend in that context.

1 month ago

Dan Boone wrote: It’s also in the category of drastic “solutions” up there with paving or graveling your property. As in, it will radically reduce habitat for all sorts of small things, including a few you didn’t want and a bunch that most permies do.

It's not as radical or drastic as the process that a lot of permies do. A lot of permies bring in excavators, bulldozers, etc and completely destroy the land by digging it up and killing everything, then they build it back the way they want.  A small burn is not as drastic or radical as bringing in earth moving equipment and tearing up a few acres.

I've spent a life "living in the woods". I think I could easily say I've spent more time in the woods over my 49 years than probably anyone on this site. I was raised on 85 acres that backed up to 15K acres of National Forest, started "digging roots" for spending money by the age of 10 and was turned loose with a gun at age 12 to hunt. I lived in the woods, by the age of 12 I was grabbing a gun and heading into the woods for 2-3 days at a time by myself, would sleep in a cave/overhang and take a squirrel, rabbit, etc and cook it up over a fire and sleep there by myself for the weekend. Parents were hippies and moved "back to the country" in the early 70s with me in tow.  We controlled burn every 3-5 yrs on our place which consisted of 3-5 acres of woods that surrounded our 2-3 acres or so of yard, garden, pond, etc and we never had a tick problem. We didn't do these burns to get rid of ticks, these burns were done to get rid of fuel in case of a forest fire...the tick problem was a side benefit.

Controlled burns or even wildfires may look bad on the surface but Native Americans were doing them regularly.  You'd be surprised of the life that comes back the next spring after controlled burns. Millions upon millions of seeds are laying there waiting for their chance to see sunlight. Before man showed up those seeds would more than likely get there chance on a regular basis.

I'm in Middle TN, we also experience drought conditions here regularly.  We also have no burn periods during drought conditions but can always call during that period and obtain a burn permit. It's a simple phone call, they issue you a permit number (free) and they notify your local fire dept that your property will be doing a burn on that day. The fire dept does not show up but they have been alerted.  

At the end of the day I have 3 kids which are free range kids.  They live the majority of their life on 5-8 acres immediately around our house that is in the middle of 600+ acres of woods. I refuse to see them subjected to lyme disease, copperheads, rattlesnakes, etc so I control the 5-8 acres around the house. It's not my kid's choice to live this lifestyle and I will do whatever needs to be done for their safety and the safety of my home (losing it to a forest fire).

If your property were my property and I was going to establish a place to stay there, then I'd look at it and say "OK I am going to identify 2-5 acres around my homesite that will be used for yard, gardens, food forest, etc" and I'd control burn it in small sections. Your tick population would be drastically reduced for 3-5 years.  Ash from the controlled burn is equivalent to adding lime to your soils.  New life would emerge from all the seeds laying there just waiting for their chance to come to life.  If you have a tractor you could easily till or clear out a fire break. I'd start small with 1/4 acre or so at a time and I'd beat the ticks back 100 yards or so in all directions from where I was going to be spending the majority of my time.  The rest of the property would have established trails that are used. I'd first bush hog them then cut them with the mower on a regular basis.  

I'm just simply amazed how the permie community is against controlled burns. Long before we ever showed up on this big rock there were forest fires happening on a consistent basis. I look at fires as a natural occuring process of life here on earth. Only since we humans showed up did we try to control them.  If you look to California we didn't do a very good job at controlling them and should have been burning the fuel in order to make it not so drastic or radical of a loss when it does burn.

To note:  Ticks were nothing compared to our biggest problem even though we'd all end up with 5-20 on us from being outside when first purchased this place. Our biggest problem was the dreaded chigger. It was nothing for my very young kids and wife to end up with 20-30 chigger bites after being outside for the day. You probably don't have to deal with chiggers like we do in the south. Chigger bites are so bad that you might as well not plan on sleeping for the next 10 days due to the welts, itching, and over all miserable time that you are going to have dealing with the bites over the next 10-14 days.  

I refuse to be miserable living this lifestyle so I burn when needed. The deer and other critters appreciate it due to all the new green browse that comes up where there was nothing but invasive plants dominating the land. My family can enjoy being outside every day, and I know that when the next forest fire comes rolling by that my home, guest cabin, sheds, barns, etc will not be lost.

1 month ago
I know a lot might think it's not the "permie thing to do" but controlled burns in the fall will def get them under control.
1 month ago