Travis Philp

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since Dec 28, 2009
In total I have nine years of gardening experience with five years as a professional.

I have a PDC certificate from The Living Centre near London Ontario.

I've received two diplomas at Fleming College in Lindsay Ontario: Environmental Technician and Ecosystems Management Technician.

Living in an intentional community located in central Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a.
ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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Recent posts by Travis Philp

Re: Joseph... That's why I lead the IP by saying it won't work for everyone. But I think that it is very applicable to people with backyard gardens, or small scale farmers like me. Even if you're too far from city yard waste pickup, it can work. Some farmers have too much old hay laying around and will deliver it free or sometimes even pay you to take it, for example. There's also lots of unused manure pilez out there in cattle and horse country. don't need the 12 inches of mulch every year, if you keep up on the weeds. After year 1 the leaf mulch does break down to an inch or two of height but the ground below should be weed free and soft enough that you can make transplanting holes in the soil with a trowel or shovel

As for compost... The amount of compost needed (for transplants at least) would be the same or less than a conventionally made garden bed, would it not? In my experience in conventional market gardens, we would at the very least add 1 shovelful of compost for each transplant. And for heavy feeder crops is it not common to spread compost across the growing area, till it in, and also add a shovelful of compost in the planting hole?

Nice Dale!

K so here are the details...

Dump 8-12 inches minimum of mulch in 3-4ft wide beds. You can make them as long as you want, and in any shape you want.

The mulch should be high in carbon overall (straw, fallen tree leaves, dried grasses) but grass clippings or pine/spruce needles are great to add in small amounts.

To plant transplants: put 3-4 rows of beer mug sized pockets of compost/manure for the plants to grow in. Make sure to plant the stems 1-2 inches deeper than the soil level of the pot, so the plant will be less likely to fall over. One planted. Pat the compost down very firmly.

You can use that method for planting seeds as well but you can also do it another way: make a thin, 2-3 inch-wide trench in a line down the length of the bed. Fill it with compost/ manure, ideally mixed half and half with soil. Press it down, plant your seeds, press again.

For both methods; water if needed. I was able to plant when it was raining or had just rained. I never watered and my yields continue to be on par with a conventional garden.

This method will only apply to those who can procure organic matter of the high carbon variety. Basically anyone in towns and cities with yard waste and/or compost pickup, or anyone willing to gather brush, or rake leaves.


- no, the leaves won't blow anywhere unless maybe if you're living in an exceptionally windy area

-when you think you've got the bed high enough...make it higher.

-gather twice as much mulch as you think you'll need

-2 shovelfuls of compost is significantly better than one. Go big if you can.

-stay on top of weeds from the beginning and it'll make your life a hell of a lot easier
This won't work/be practical for everyone but it worked amazing for me.

Basically all I did was dump leaves and branches on the ground, inserted 2 shovelfuls of compost where the transplants or seeds were going, planted, and snuffed out weeds by burying them in more mulch. That's it.

Didn't water once. Not even at planting time. The only weeds we pulled were from the bad habit of pulling weeds. 90% were simply buried in mulch.

I'll put details in a second post but here are some pictures...

Thanks so much! I hope I don't come off like I'm for pictures. I have enough of my own to suffice for a presentation but I want to show different ways that town and city forest gardens can happen, so I thought I'd ask for submissions.
2 years ago
Irish spring soap bars worked against deer, and presumably raccoons too because they are everywhere here. Now...after about 4 months they started to munch round the edges of the garden but i grew peas lettuce and parsnips without any predation inside of that 4 months, which I was told by 4 other people who had grown there before, would be impossible. I hear you're supposed to change the type of soap every few months; the theory being that the deer get used to the scent after a while

A little tip is to cut the bar in half or in thirds so that you can cover more area with each bar of soap. Irish spring is cheap at dollar stores and so is ribbon.

To post the soap bars around the perimeter of my garden... I gathered sticks from the forest that were about 4 - 6 feet tall. I used the ribbon to tie the soap bars to the stick, and placed a stick every 20 feet. It's ideal to have soap as close as 3 feet apart but this is unrealistic for any large sized garden. for my nut orchard I plan to place the bars at each tree, because they are planted 40-50 feet apart.

Every week or so I'd check the perimeter for fallen soap. Make sure to bury your sticks in as deep as possible.
2 years ago
I found 100 grams for $70 in Canada, which at 5000 seeds per gram, would give 500 000 seeds. Ive never had good germination rates with thyme seeds but I haven't tried direct seeding.

I'm on my phone posting this and don't know how to make a clickable hyperlink so here's the best I can do for a link to the seed source.....
2 years ago
A few things I learned

Plant/mulch them asap! Paths too.

If you dig a deep trench...Always keep the different soil profiles ("diff. coloured layers) sorted and replace in their natural order. If digging by hand, put each layer on different tarps or wheelbarrows etc. So the can be easily kept separately, and dumped back in

Bed ends up an avg of 3 feet wider than its trench but that can fluctuate greatly depending on the depth of the trench, height of the wood pile, and thickness of the top soil layer of the hugelbed

It IS ok to put sod upside down over the wood pile. I always bury it at least 1 foot with soil/ compost/mulch though so I think that helps keep it from coming back

2 years ago
Something like this...
2 years ago
Have you or someone you know successfully established a thick patch of thyme on a lawn or walkway? What advice can you offer?

My research says that transplants should be put 6 to 12 inches apart. Seeding your own transplants would be much cheaper.

They like a lot of compost, and potassium, so wood ash is good to add. It was also said that if doing a large area, you should start in one patch and take clumps of that patch and expand outwards.

to prepare the ground you must remove the sod, (which can be done by plowing, or covering with tarps, clear plastic, or some other form of solarization), and add amendments, (can be worked into the soil or left on the surface)

Plant, water, observe, adapt?
2 years ago