Ryan M Miller

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since Jan 08, 2019
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As of Spring 2019, I have graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Classical Languages at Franciscan university of Steubenville. Currently, I am trying to figure out how to pay off my student loans.
For much of my spare time during the growing season, I tend a vegetable garden in my suburban backyard. During the rest of the year I spin and knit whatever fiber I can find to make articles of clothing. Until I can own my own land, I have to live with an inedible grass lawn that has to be mowed and fertilized regularly.
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Recent posts by Ryan M Miller

Right now I am debating whether it would be worth it for me to ask around for money to attend a sustainable agriculture conference held through OEFFA next month if I want help seeking donation and grant sources to start a small farm and get help planning a farm efficiently so I don't wast any resources or produce in the first year due to poor planing. The conference will take place in February from the 16th to the 18th from 10:00 AM Thursday to 5:00 PM Friday. Here is the website where I'm trying to sign up: (https://conference.oeffa.org/)

Unfortunately, OEFFA has already run out of money to donate any further scholarships for more participants to attend the conference for free and the deadline to sign up is February 1, 2023. Since I have no experience with this organization other than through positive hearsay from small farmers in the state of Ohio, I have no idea whether or not this organization will be able to help me get started or if OEFFA will even have the classes relevant to my needs at the conference next month. If any Permies members have experience working with OEFFA in the past, please share your experiences here. I don't think I've heard enough about this organization to know if the conference in February will be worth my time.
13 hours ago
I've been trying to find some Japanese recipes that call for kudzu, but it doesn't help that I don't know any Japanese so I'm probably not finding recipies in the right places.

I suggest doing some research on this plant before growing indoors. As with a lot of invasive plants, it should be easy to propagate this plant from stem cuttings which should make indoor propagation relatively fast.
1 day ago
The worst invasive plant species I've had to remove has so far been alien creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense). This thistle species is perennial and it easily propagates itself vegetatively if you happen to break the roots while weeding it. The plant is also covered in irritating spines that have pierced through my calf skin gloves way more than on one occasion.

In spite of this plant's invasive qualities, I have been reading the in the past year that this weed may still be valuable as an emergency famine food. I have so far only found two guides on how to render the plant safe for human consumption: one in a comment left by a reader in the guide for this plant on PFAF and another in a PDF that I discovered just an hour ago. Both guides recommend pulverizing the leaves in a blender thoroughly to break down the outer leaf spines after boiling the leaves down. I recommend archiving the PDF in case the hyperlink below rots soon after I post it.

Here's the hyperlink to the PDF guide on preparing creeping thistle greens:

Here's the link to the PFAF entry on Cirsium arvense:
2 days ago
The link I received in the email list mentions mixed breed and mutt dogs as a possibility. I was going to suggest adopting a sato dog from Puerto Rico, but they tend to range on the small to medium size range of dogs unless they have admixture from a larger breed. The genetics and temperament of the Puerto Rican landrace are widely varied, so there is a high risk you may end up with a dog unsuited for the role as a livestock guardian dog unless you spend some time to get to know the animal.
2 days ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I put around 100 onion seeds in a 3" pot in about January. Four 4 months before last spring frost, and transplant them into the garden after the snow melts mid-March, still 2 months before the end of spring frosts.

I don't notice transplant shock with onions.

Given the unpredictable nature of Allium seed germination, this method might still be practical. Books on seed saving give the lifespan on onion seeds as only two years without freezing them and true seed from garlic (A. sativa) can have germination rates as low as ten percent. I've been wondeing if the lost wild ancestor of onions behaved more like shallots and produced secondary bulbs alongside a main bulb and used clonal reproduction as the plant's main method of dispersal.
4 days ago
I am glad I have found this thread since I have been doing reading about the Pink China cultivar. I might have to send some samples to a food lab or get a test kit to make sure the corms are edible after cooking. I sure hope this is a genuine edible cultivar of Colocasia esculenta since it might be the only cultivar of taro that can be grown as a perennial in my climate.
5 days ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
If fall planting onion seeds, I recommend a short day onion. Something like Walla Walla.

I was unaware that it was possible to plant onion seeds in the Fall in the cold continental climate of northern Utah. I am currently in west central Ohio and I plan to move a few miles south to Cincinnati so I need to decide how best to utilize my precious nursery greenhouse space in the first year.

Most tutorials I find on growing onions directly from seed in temperate climates instruct you to start them indoors underneath grow lights at least eight weeks before the last frost. I am concerned though about encouraging a strong root system in the onion plants, conserving as much irrigation water as possible, and minimizing electricity used on grow lights for seed starting.

Starting the onions indoors adds the risk of plant death during the hardening off process and the possibility that the transplanted onions never develop as deep a root system as directly-sown plants. I really hope I don't absolutely have to start my onions indoors if I want to guarantee optimal yield in my climate. Maybe there are companion plants that I can intercrop with the onions in the annual/biennial beds to protect the onions during germination.
5 days ago

Blake Lenoir wrote:Greetings! I wanna find out if the Ozark squash has been used by many tribes in prehistoric times in the eastern woodlands and in the agricultural complex. Do many tribes still use it today?

Before C. pepo was fully domesticated in North America, the seeds of wild squash as well as the related perennial buffalo gourd (C. foetidissima) were thoroughly rinsed and processed for use as an oilseed crop. I remember reading a journal article that investigated the boiling of wild C. pepo texana and ozarkana seeds in a wood ash solution, but it might take me a while to find the article.

The same article that I previously mentioned also suggested that wild and bitter C. pepo squash could also still be crafted into small spoons and used as floating bobbers for woven fishing nets.

If you want more information on what ethobotanical uses for C. pepo and C. foetidissima were documented at the time of contact, I suggest browsing the Native American Ethnobotany Base. I've found several wild plants mentioned in this database, so it might have what information you were looking for.
6 days ago
I have been reading about lasagna gardening and sheet mulching as a no-till startup method for a 1/10 acre to 1/4 acre small market garden farm and at least one of the startup materials seems to be difficult to store and obtain in bulk. The usual recommended bottom layer in a lasagna garden is either corrugated shipping cardboard or newspaper. Cardboard has the problem of being too bulky to store in large quantities until it's ready to be used and newspaper has the problem of it becoming increasingly harder to find as more newspaper customers switch to the digital edition of the news. One material I can think of that might work as a substitute for newspaper is brown parcel paper since it is sold in compact rolls in the United States, doesn't have any toxic dyes or clays, and is likely just as biodegradable as newspaper without the problem of potentially toxic inks being used in the paper.

A while ago I watched a YouTube video from the channel called The Dutch Farmer where he sets up a large lasagna garden with brown rolls of what appears to be  some kind of corrugated carboard roll. If this material is something that can be purchased cheaply at a local hardware store, it might also be a more compact alternative to shipping cardboard. It also has the advantage of being much thicker than parcel paper so plants covered with this material would be less likely to penetrate the layer before the end of the first growing season.

I am posting here to find out if any forum members here have further experience starting large lasagna garden beds. If so, what strategies did you use for obtaining the necessary materials for the bottom cardboard/paper layer without running out of storage space? The current property I'm considering renting won't have space for a large barn to store a large pile of shipping cardboard. Any biodegrabable paper material that comes in convenient rolls will save me precious space when starting my market garden out.
1 month ago

Joel Cederberg wrote:i have been musing about the possible benefits and uses of circular swales on areas with virtually no slope to them. in my head i imagine a circle about 50 feet wide, the berm planted with mesquite tree. the center of the swale circle would be dug out to create a low point, here you could maybe plant a tree that does well sheltered from the wind and grows a little taller. i havent really thought of the species i would plant on this idea. anyway, the berm has a mesquite thicket and we'll say the middle is a pomegranate tree made to grow tall, and all around the pomegranate is grazing for sheep or goats or what have you.

anyway, i was just wondering how real life this idea was. i like the idea of digging large circular swales on flat terrain because it satisfies a subtle need i feel for things to be circular. i just like circular things i guess. but regaurdless, i feel as though it would trap more water into less area, has applications for growing food for animal and human consumption, increases soil fertility, a source of timber, a structual pen for animals.  

has anyone seen anything like this? i was looking at a picture in a forum about airwells


anyway, that was the inspiration, i saw that and said, hey, those rocks should be a swale and that whole thing should be a lot bigger.

so yea.

These sound a lot like buffalo wallows found in nature. I can't believe I didn't find this thread until now since I created a separate thread speculating on how it would be possible to mimic the function of buffalo wallows in an annual vegetable bed (https://permies.com/t/205824/Mimicking-Buffalo-Wallows-Permaculture-System#1714514). My reasoning was that if most crop-wild relatives of domesticated annual vegetables are adapted to disturbed buffalo wallows and pig wallows, then attempting to mimic the environment of these disturbed areas might improve annual vegetable production in a permaculture system.

Buffalo wallows seem to be shaped a lot like circular swales and often make a parabolic or spherical depression in the soil two to three feet deep. Here is one YouTube video on buffalo wallows:
1 month ago