Amanda Koster

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since Dec 17, 2018
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forest garden chicken writing
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Recent posts by Amanda Koster

This looks like an interesting read. I have tossed around the idea of getting a couple temporary goats to help manage the overgrowth of grasses and perennial herbaceous weeds on my 1 acre of land, then butchering for meat or selling them once they've fattened up. I'm thinking it might just be better for me to rent a few goats though since I'm more interested in botany than animal husbandry.
I just want to say that I'm really grateful that if you are not adhering to the forum's standards, the moderators here are nice enough to explain why. I was banned from a forum for writers once and I'm still not sure what I said that was so upsetting. So a huge THANK YOU for being awesome people and not just the power of the banhammer.
This is so cool! I really hope this is on the list with my kickstarter goodies! Can't wait for Building A Better World In Your Backyard to come out too! My nerd senses are tingling...
1 year ago
I have been told in a gardening class that you do not want to add sand as an amendment to heavy clay soils, because the soils behave like clay with as little as 20% clay size particles. The proportion of sand you would need to add to 'amend' the clay soil is large enough that usually it isn't worth doing. Instead the extension office suggests adding a lot of organic matter and stimulating your underground microbiome - the microorganisms, roots and earthworms help create larger aggregates within the clay that then helps with drainage issues, compaction issues and small pore spaces of clays. Ground covers such as daikon radish are also tremendously useful in breaking through clays.

I can't say exactly for your area, but we have a lot of clay in our region that makes gardening a challenge as well.
1 year ago

Savaan Davis wrote: The land is located in Colorado around 5000ft elevation.

The bad:
7.9 pH
high lime, low N, low P
3.6% organic matter
Under 12" of annual rainfall

I think we might be in the same area. Would be curious as to how your experiment worked out for you.
1 year ago
Thanks everyone for the wisdom and ideas! I really appreciate it.

@Eric: the climate is semi-arid and we average about 9.42 in of rain annually due to being in a rain shadow. As you can imagine, nobody dry farms here. We do have sun about 72% of the time as well, which is a lot of the reason I want more trees! As for my land, it's a little over an acre. Most of what my grandparents grew have died due to irrigation issues, except for a very hardy apricot tree, a struggling ponderosa pine, some juniper shrubs that don't care about drought, and quite a few russian olives that we plan to remove (they're considered highly invasive in the west). We think that the lawn areas are bermuda grass. I'd like to replace that too with either ecoturf or a cover crop blend for pollinators where lawn is actually needed. I'm a lawn hater :)

I have heard some great things about cowpeas and cover crops in general. Thanks for the link it's perfect!

1 year ago
I was very excited about the prospects of experimenting with a food forest on my grandpa's old property up until I looked at the USDA's soil survey on the area. Apparently the entire property has a capability grouping of 7s (irrigated!), which to paraphrase the USDA's site makes it basically worthless for cultivating anything other than pasture. To make matters worse, the soil is highly alkaline (> or = 8 on the pH scale). Although I could introduce sulfur or pine needles to decrease the pH a bit, the fact that the entire valley used to be a sea bed makes me think that's one of those 'spitting into the wind' ideas.

I've been doing a lot of reading on improving soils with permaculture strategies, but I have to wonder what the limitations are for soil improvement. Is it smarter to just keep looking for a better patch of land?

1 year ago
Hi Charles!

I'm researching eco-villages in and around Colorado. I sent you an email :)
1 year ago

Dani Cohen wrote:
Personally I’d make it a freemium and add as ad system that makes people have to do surveys to earn “coins” to speed up crop production or the time is a long wait but it should be able to balanced with survey and not keep rising up to the point that people have to pay. A lot of people don’t like freemium but there are some very well balanced ones out there that you can earn the stuff you need if your willing to put a bit of survey effort.

And advertisements is big money.

My two cents: I wouldn't play a game no matter how fun it is if it had time-gated content with an optional pay-to-win-faster sort of scenario. I imagine more like Stardew Valley with more realistic and permaculture-related concepts. (It is awfully difficult to make plant guilds when there's not a lot of perennials to pick from in the first place). There are a lot of gardening games out there with very "cutesy" content but I wouldn't call most of them very educational in that respect. If it were a good indie game with depth of content, I might pay $20-30 for it on Steam.

I'm currently looking for a good landscape design program since I don't want to draw everything by hand, so that aspect is more interesting to me currently

Tyler Ludens wrote:  I have had much better success with buried wood beds, which, while they did not eliminate the need for irrigation, significantly reduced it.

This makes more sense to me from what I've read and experienced with living in Western Colorado's semi-arid climate. I apologize that I forget the source I read this from, but I have seen some indigenous growing methods for arid climates that sink the growing beds in the ground instead of raising them. As others have said any small raised area will quickly be dried out by the hot summer winds and sunshine, while a properly protected depression (say by a small berm planted with more drought-tolerate species on the windward side) will create a more temperate microclimate.
1 year ago