Jincy Jalving

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since Oct 25, 2018
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Recent posts by Jincy Jalving

...when your birthday trip to the mountains results in bringing two trash bags full of pine needles home, because their acidity counteracts the alkalinity of the desert soil and that was the whole reason you wanted to go to the mountains in the first place.

...when your boyfriend looks up and can't find you, he immediately goes outside to look for patches of "weeds" or dumpsters.

...when your smartphone is full of science/research and plant/fungus identification apps.

...when you are the only person who knows the "paths" around your property.

...when you make a special "blood tea" fertilizer for your plants every 28 days or so.

...when people just drop off random plants they picked up or every kind of injured animal they find.

...when your pregnant coworker looks at you one day and says, "You know, I don't know why, but I would trust you to deliver my child."
8 hours ago
Fruiting olives are star performers where I live. I have three in my yard and they handle our rubbish soil like champions. Acacia willows, date palms, and chilean mesquites do well without amendment. Pomegranates.

I use those trees to help support life beneath. After some time doing this, I now have nectarines, apples, barbados cherries, and assorted citrus. Afghan pines. Beneath them I grow all manner of things as crops.
2 months ago
I throw birdseed down and let it grow as a ground cover all the time. Thick carpet of green. Then I turn it under and let it compost right where it is. Sometimes I'll let some millet go to seed so the pigeons and other birds can come in, have a nibble, and drop off some fertilizer. I let lambs quarters grow and go to seed for this purpose as well. Sometimes I go out there and trample things. I'm in the process of rehabilitating utterly barren desert soil, so I need this process to take place as often as possible. I have healthy populations of many small creatures, so it must be working.

Not sure if indian corn will grow or not. But all corn is edible-- if it cant be eaten raw, it can be popped or ground into flour. I grow several such corns on my property.
If you want to stay near a big city, you don't have many options in Arizona. I live about four hours out from Phoenix, one hour away from Las Vegas (Nevada), and about six from San Diego (California). Kingman, Golden Valley, Prescott, and Flagstaff are just up the hill a ways. Now Kingman and Golden Valley are relatively cheap places to buy land where you can grow a large range of plants if you know what you're doing. You can also grow many things where I am (Bullhead City) if you're very determined and can tolerate wicked heat (we are as hot and occasionally hotter than Death Valley). Kingman is a more hospitable climate with a cute downtown area full of historic buildings...but it's further away from any big cities. I know many farmers/homesteaders out in Kingman and Golden Valley. Bullhead City is built along a large river and is very close to Vegas, should your children become restless. Lake Havasu is also on the river, but land out there might be more expensive as it is a "nicer" area. Now, the problem here is that economically and educationally speaking, we're very poor off. There are not a lot of opportunities unless you make them yourself and know your target demographic.

As for whether or not Tucson is dangerous...well. In terms of practical experience it is no more dangerous than any other large congregation of human beings. As a woman, I haven't been able to go outside anywhere without some form of harassment since prepubescence. That's just life. Any potential "intruders" on a property are easily deterred by large, thorny plants (and also geese)-- assuming you'll be living someplace without a HOA. I have living barriers at key points on my property via Bougainvillea, which will send their thorns right through people's feet and hands. Rattlesnake noises will also make people split fast. Muggers are easily avoided by keeping to well lit and populated areas at night. Don't use outdoor ATMs at night either. Don't do drugs and don't make friends with addicts. Practice safe driving. Another fantastic deterrent when you're out and about is having a large dog. People don't mess with dogs on the streets (I would still trust a goose to protect a fixed location over a dog any day). A dog can knock a grown man down and rip his arm off no problem, and everyone knows this. If I'm walking a dog, I don't even get catcalled. The presence of a dog de-escalates situations before they even have a chance to manifest. People give me a wide berth. Doesn't matter if the dog in question is nothing but a giant cuddle muffin, nobody will risk it.

What you really need to do is scout the communities rather than the cities in question. Any place with a strong community will be safer by default. If you see elderly people and small children in a neighborhood, it's probably a good neighborhood.
2 months ago
Mother nature is a maximalist, and she is not frivolous or wasteful-- if a thing exists at all, it exists for a purpose. I don't presume to hold her to petty and arbitrary standards of "beauty". Further, the judgement of beauty is a reflection of your own soul.

 
2 months ago
I'm in the low desert here (541')-- at the bottom of a bowl of mountains (i.e. surrounded by high desert). Digging irrigation trenches and mulching very, very heavily should maximize whatever water you get. My soil is heavy clay, so drainage is an issue even with otherwise well-suited plants. I mulch specifically with pine needles-- anything highly acidic, to counteract the alkaline soil. I put down solid layers of pine wood chips, then continuously add more of whatever mulch my yard itself produces. When I put a tree in, I dig a very large hole and also raise the entire ground level up in that spot with a barrier to keep the water from running off. Periodically, I throw a bunch of birdseed into my yard to encourage birds to gather and...fertilize my plants. Sometimes the birdseed sprouts and I let it grow a bit before turning it under.

Now, most people up the hill are able to grow stone fruits and wine grapes. I'm also able to grow them down here (albeit different species). Mondell pines are a good choice-- pines help insulate homes against the cold when planted close and will assist in further neutralizing the alkaline clay with their shedding. They are a "desert" pine, so if you get a bit too cold for them I'm sure there's another suitable species. If there's some sort of indigenous "weed" grass that's prone to growing in your area, consider inviting someone's livestock (big or small) to graze on it each season. The trampling, urine, and manure will further enrich the soil. The soil is the hardest, most time consuming step. It takes time and patience but is absolutely critical to the health of your plants.
3 months ago
Considering a large portion of the African American population were initially brought over as brutally abused plantation slaves, I can see how that might embitter, estrange, or alienate them from the practice of growing things-- their connection to the earth. Even generations later (only about two or three really, which isn't that long). Their owners got paid reparations, but victims themselves did not. They faced opposition at every turn simply trying to live in this industrialized world. We created ghettos to contain them. We created a system that sets them up to fail. You have to have a yard and money to blow on plants, seeds, equipment, etc. to get into permaculture. Even if with enough work you can get a permaculture started on the cheap, they would have to justify this use of their time chasing a lofty ideal. There's a whole litany of variables that go into why there aren't more black people in US permaculture, the entire mixture of which is unique to the African American experience.

Ron Finley is a huge advocate for urban agriculture/guerrilla gardening, and if you haven't watched his TED talk and other videos, do. His efforts are focused on the immediate need of his community. Access to healthy food. The rules of vegetative engagement are somewhat different for one living in a heavily urbanized setting. In any case, if I wanted specifically to get more African Americans involved with permaculture, I'd start with showing up and feeding them. Start with one (fruit bearing) tree. Then a garden. In fact, I'd probably just plant these things in the area in whatever unused space I could find.
I just want to say this thread is fascinating for me. Full of relevant information for my climate. Were I live (Arizona), we have heavy alkaline clay with many rocks and only 6 inches of rainfall each year (however, I have optimal rain collection systems in place). For about four months we're subject to consistent temperatures between 90 to 130 degrees-- it does not cool off at night. Aggressive winds. The most prolific volunteer trees in the area are acacia willows (large fast growing nitrogen fixing canopy trees) and Mexican fan palms, but I've seen many species do well unattended: pomegranate, eucalyptus, olive, mesquite, bougainvillea (not a tree, but reaches tree size), Indian laurel, and others.

On my own property I have acacia willows, eucalyptus, Mexican fan palms, date palms, figs, olives, pomegranates, peaches, tamarind, argan, cypress, eldarica pine, apples, and various citrus. I was on the fence about almonds and apricots-- I saw them at the nursery and passed them up. I think I'll get some now, and make a guerrilla gardening attempt with their seeds. I'll let you know how it goes.
4 months ago
Attracting interest is a matter of presentation and tactics. My plants are arranged in such a way as to showcase and highlight their forms against one another (i.e. my yard is beautiful in addition to being functional). When I host an event, that event takes place outside amongst my plants. I serve food made from the fruits and vegetables I have produced. Tea from my herbs. I've got statues and fountains and wind chimes and reading nooks. I'm even building an outdoor bath/hot spring which will drain away into my trees after each use. My little forest sucks people right in. They inevitably want to know how I do it (especially because like much of my community, I am dirt poor-- no pun intended). So I tell them.

If I were to actively work towards some kind of permaculture program in the community, a nice/catchy/attractive logo is a must. Perhaps I'd go around to local restaurants and make arrangements (inexpensive, seasonal, high quality produce in exchange for advertising). I could start a backyard farmer's guild on Facebook or some such so people could trade produce/dairy/etc. and tips. Another option is to provide garden services/consultations at a modest cost, should someone be interested in my gardening style (growing things is an art, after all, and I am first and foremost and artist). There's lots of different angles and avenues to success one could take.
4 months ago
I've got rocky, heavy clay here. Clay has quite a few benefits, but it must be tempered with a LARGE amount of soil amendments. When a tree first goes in, I dig a massive hole. Three or four times the size of the root ball, leaving a big "cushion" between the bottom of the ball and where the clay starts. Then, I completely blanket the clay soil with wood chips, pine tree mulch (anything highly acidic), and compost. The whole yard, or at least as large a portion as possible. Over time, as you add layers of organic matter, they break down and work into the clay. It is incredibly hot and arid where I live, so I add about six inches or so of mulch right up to the trunks of my trees.

That being said, I've never planted a very large tree. Biggest ones I bring home come in five gallon pots.
4 months ago