Mk Neal

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since Feb 02, 2019
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Torn between wanting a bigger garden and loving the city life.
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Recent posts by Mk Neal

How many plants are infested?  If it’s just a few, try spending a hour or two knocking the caterpillars down into a bucket of soapy water and dispose of them.  Easier with two people.

1 day ago
We seem to have the usual mix of bees here in Chicago, good pollination on my cherry tree.
1 week ago
It could be an exit tunnel of a cicada, also.  Or burrow of a “cicada killer” wasp.
2 weeks ago
Last year I used lamb's quarters to make "gundruk" using the recipe from Sandor Katz's "Wild Fermentation."  It worked we, but takes a lot of time and space.  You tamp the greens down in jars, smashing the leaves enough to release juices, leave them in sealed jar out in warm weather for a couple weeks "burping" if needed, then spread the fermented leaves out in sun to dry.  The texture is like dry tea leaves.
2 weeks ago
Vera I’m always so glad to see your updates!  You have gotten so creative with your meals over the course of this journey.

Regarding writer’s block or similar, one thing I have noticed in my own life and work is that often if I just can’t seem to make headway it’s because I’m going about it wrong; it’s like I’m subconsciously stopping myself from going further down the wrong path.  Like I can’t make progress on a piece of writing, and after I finally put it aside for a day I realize that there was a flaw in the concept or the organization, and that’s why I couldn’t make it work, so I restructure and then move forward.  But it is hard to see these “big picture” problems when you are pressured to just get work done to get it done.
3 weeks ago
You could sprout seeds in jars. Lentils, sunflower, maybe others work that way.
1 month ago
Hi friends!  This question is mostly for North American gardeners, since that is where I’m at, but answers from others also welcome!

Are you seeing plants (wild and cultivated) emerging/sprouting/breaking dormancy earlier than usual this year?  I was looking at the calendar I kept last year (2022) and it looks like most everything is 10-14 earlier than last year. That goes for native and non-native plants— pawpaws and plums and bloodroot and daffodils and everything in between.

1 month ago
If you just have extra seeds lying around, no harm in trying. Maybe you get lucky with a few.

I doubt many seeds would germinate and then also grow on top of wood chips without soil mixed in.  It is really going to depend on the seed, though.  Very large seeds like sunflowers may have the stored resources to put a root all the way down through to soil. Smaller seeds, if they germinate, are less likely to survive in straight wood chips. There’s not much available nutrients at the top of wood chip pile.  Seeds that land on top of the chips may not be able to root, or may dry out completely on sunny days. Seeds that fall down under the top layer of chips may no have strong enough sprouts to push out from under the top wood chips.

If these are North American wildflowers, then many of them may take more than a year to establish, so possibly you could have some seeds putting down roots the first year, and getting established enough to push up through the chips the second year.
1 month ago
A relaxing weekend:

After arguing two court cases on Friday, I cleaned out and set-up my rain barrels and bird bath, planted seeds I had saved last year and dug up some native flowers to share, foraged wild spring greens, made meringues and lemon curd with my teen, played my favorite video game for a couple hours, wrote some "flash fiction" and a bit more of a novel.  Sometimes I think it'd be great to quit paid work entirely and just devote myself more to gardening, community activism and creative pursuits, and keep up my language skills b/c I used to speak several languages fluently and am getting out of practice.

But then I when I am actually doing my day job I think how my clients are constantly having their rights violated and SOMEONE MUST DO SOMETHING and so that's my job and when I'm working it's like there's never enough time to do all I want to get done there, but then I need to set a hard boundary and clock off in order to do all the fun regenerative activities.

1 month ago
Hi, Amanda! Sounds like a great project you are starting.  Whereabouts are you located?
2 months ago