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Liam Omalley

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since Jan 30, 2019
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forest garden fungi kids
Manassas, VA
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Recent posts by Liam Omalley

Thanks for pointing me in the right directions!

So now I'm thinking:

- strawberry (fragaria virginica)
- spring beauty purslane (claytonia virginica)
- patridge pea (chamaecrista fasciculata) - for n-fixing
- slender mountain mint (pycnanthemum tenuifolium)

Going to sleep on it and put the order in on those seeds soon.
6 months ago
Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to reply. Lots of good thoughts and helpful comments here.

I think I've found an even better solution... a friend with a goat! I'm going to bring him over one weekend soon and let him go to town, looking forward to seeing how he can handle things.

For other areas where I've already got a couple things planted, or need a somewhat more delicate touch, I think I'll give the cardboard and mulch strategy a shot.

Thanks again.
6 months ago

I've been overhauling a long-neglected bed that had a ton of vinca minor running wild in it. I put 8 blueberry shrubs in back in March, they are doing well. It's also got some azaleas, rhododendrons, and peonies from previous owner.

It is on a steep slope that had run off issues - the vinca was helping with erosion. I put in a few swales on the slope and have replaced the vinca with a lot of various ferns from around the property (we are on a forested wetland so ferns are available in abundance).

The erosion is pretty well under control now, but there's still a lot of bare earth. So I'm trying to come up with a seed mix for ground cover. There are a lot of wild strawberries in the area, so I'm going to throw in a bunch more of that knowing that it does well. I was also thinking sorrel and maybe a type of sage, but they both like full sun and not sure how well they'd do there. There's one small patch of full sun but most of it is dappled sunlight or less. I'd like to be able to grow from seed asap so I could throw some things down now.

I'm in zone 7, in northern Virginia. Any suggestions of what I should include with the strawberry?

Thanks in advance!
6 months ago
Hi - I've got some square footage that I want to convert over into a forest garden next year, and currently it's overgrown - mostly with vinca minor, but also with various saplings and quite a bit of nasty poison ivy.

I'd like to deal with it all as quickly and painlessly as possible, without using any herbicides - I will be growing edibles there soon and would rather not go that way.

Can I put tarp down to kill off the vinca + poison ivy? Does it need to be a certain color or thickness to ensure minimal light is getting through? About how long would I want to leave the tarp down?

I'm also thinking about putting down a cardboard and mulch treatment for the soil, though the soil is already in pretty decent shape as it is a mature forest area. If I'm going to go that route, is the tarp even necessary? Would the cardboard and 2-3" of mulch kill off all the unwanted stuff anyway?

Thanks in advance - any information or advice is welcome and helpful!
6 months ago
Follow-up question: what type of name / office should I be looking for with my local municipality to ask about permitting?
10 months ago

Travis Johnson wrote:I would start with what would give you the biggest bang for your buck. In this case, I would research all you can about micro-hydro because that is a 24/7/365 electrical generator. That really adds up compared to only when the wind blows, or when the sun shines.

Thanks - good point! I'll start my research there.

John Weiland wrote:Wow!.....our home is only ~1800 square feet!   How do you heat that thing!??

Hahahahah - I couldn't imagine...

John Weiland wrote:Agree with Travis, but also to add:  Any possibility for home modification for passive solar?  Even with modest sun in the winter, adding more south-facing windows and beefing up the insulation all around can make a lot of difference, especially with the leaves are off the trees during that season.  Does it have a woodstove already?  With the 4 acres, would one part of it be able to provide wood for wood-heating?  If interested, here is a lin to a furnace that does a combination of wood along with fossil-fuel of your choice:

I do have a woodstove, and it's awesome but old and not terribly efficient. The home itself, also, does not have good air flow for the warmth and is pretty terrible when it comes to overall energy efficiency (i.e. no storm doors, inefficient windows, etc.,). I definitely have to beef all that stuff up and am in the process of doing so this winter. Also I do think I will be able to harvest the land for wood moving forward, but that's something I'm new to as well.

Amit Bajpayee wrote:Hydropower, wind and solar are the most reliable form of renewable energy. These are really eco-friendly and cost-effective resources.

If you are thinking about to install these resources in your land, it will become a huge project and you must analyze these things from the professional expert from the relevant field.

Mart Hale wrote:hydro is the way to go, look up ram pumps, and etc, however, often you can't do anything to a flowing waterway because of the permits you have to get.    I would explore what others have done in your area to the water ways.    In several areas people just don't go that way because of the regulation.

The permitting is an interesting point certainly. The larger stream with heavier water flow but no real head is on the border of my property and shared by a neighbor. I know the neighbor would be okay with it but don't know my city/county regulations. The smaller creek, though, is entirely on my property (though it does run through, it is not spring-fed), so that could be a different story. Anyway good point to check that out before any further moves.

Thank you all for the helpful replies!

10 months ago
Hi all,

First post here, so please lmk if this is the wrong place for such a question or if there is a better place to find the info I am looking for. I tried searching first but didn't come up with what I was looking for.

I just purchased a 4 acre home, mostly forested, in a semi-rural area of northern VA. I have a *lot* of planning to do. But I don't know where to start when it comes to energy sources. It seems like the land I have could potentially provide a lot of natural energy, even from multiple sources. But I don't know how I can analyze what's worthwhile, and how I could store/transfer that energy for my home.

Hydro - I have a stream with heavy water flow but not much drop, and a creek with a lot of drop by not as much flow. Both about 100 feet away from the home.
Solar - I have about a half acre field out front with full sun, and the roof of a 2000 sq ft house also with full sun (though surrounded otherwise by trees).
Wind - the home sits on the edge of a fairly large hill, and we have fairly regular gusting that could be capitalized on.

There are a million details I'm sure I need to know in order to decide which of these things might be worth pursuing, all I'm looking for right now is where to start. How do I perform a site analysis for these various energy sources? Are there professionals I could hire in order to do an analysis?

Thanks in advance, any and all help is appreciated!
10 months ago