Michelle Arbol

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since Mar 14, 2019
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Western WA
Zone 8b
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Recent posts by Michelle Arbol

R Scott wrote:We were trimming back some elderberry in July or August to make room for something else and I stuck the trimmings into a garden bed, mostly as a joke, but they rooted no problem! No rooting hormone, no trimming leaves, just good moist soil.  Cut as many as you can, use a couple different methods, and some are sure to take.

Ahh, perfect, and good to know! I guess ive lucked out that these are such prolific plants ;) Wonderful news
4 years ago
Saw your pic of everyone going boating....YIKES.  Im a little surprised nobody has mentioned this yet, but...being in the area of the country that has been dealing with this virus the longest (Since Jan), what ive noticed is that:
People who arent taking this very seriously are using not working, or working "remotely" due to the virus as an excuse for a vacation. And since everything (like the movies, malls, etc) are closed, theyre of course flocking to vacation homes in remote locations, and to the general outdoors. It happened here weeks ago, then they started closing down parks and open spaces, because the traffic there was very high due to campers, people out partying, too many people on trails, people not social distancing, etc.
I know everyone's saying oh its because theyre trying to escape the virus, and in some cases, sure. Maybe thats the excuse. But im telling you, these people are out vacationing. Just plain and simple.
4 years ago
read all the posts. I agree with indian runners, def. They are gentle enough to not hurt the crop as a whole.
But anywho, just popped up to chime in: you stated youre typically a one man shop with your vineyard, so herding ducks might be labor intensive. Was thinking...what about a natural herding dog, who is/would be gentle with poultry and waterfowl? I have a doggo who is half aussie and she is very gentle with the chickens, she doesnt nip at them but she will herd them.....i know its a personality thing with doggos and maybe youd need to find the right one. But if you were able to train it to round them up and move em along when you need, maybe that would help with the labor intensiveness??

Just an idea.

Good Luck!!
4 years ago
Posting a pic of this amazing solar powered hand crank radio flashlight that i got years ago on Amazon.
Reason im recommending this specific radio to everyone it: My dad has had this exact model in his living room for years, at least 6+. He left it alone for about 2 years, just sitting in the window, catching the little sun that comes through (were in the PNW, not much sun at most times) and he hadnt charged the thing in YEARS (it DOES have a plug in charging capability). He just picks it up during a family get together and goes "huh, hanvent touched this thing is years, lets see if it works". Turns the thing on and we listen to the radio for quite a long time. So, of course, im pretty impressed that that little top panel worked to power the thing that well, and i ordered one the next day :)
Hand crank works well to charge, too. Ive tested that function out before. And the addition of the flashlight function gives you an added bonus ;)
Hope y'all enjoy!


4 years ago
I like the above post's ideas about sweet fruits. To add to the list, other notoriously sugary fruits are: pineapple, oranges, and grapes. I live a sugarfree lifestyle, so i use fruit as a nice treat and desert (to sweeten instead of sugar). When I make blended drinks i personally rely on grapes to sweeten. They do an excellent job and I find that grapes keep for longer than 'most' fruit- good point for COVID 19, i think. I also dont mind eating them slightly raisiny, tho.
Keep in mind, the more ripe the fruit, the more condensed and stronger the sugary taste will be :)

4 years ago
Hello Zeek!

What a glorious class, and an honor to teach it!
My advice on this subject would be this: whatever curriculum you decide on, i would say that it is important to focus on things that are, or seem, relevant to an Urban city dwelling person, generally, if that is indeed your audience...
I say that as a sub-urban homesteader who grew up in a very urban highschool. I'm trying to consider what the majority of kids that i grew up with would want to know and also be able to use. In a smaller urban area, how can these kids adequately utilize permaculture and sustainable solutions in their daily life? Milking a cow?? Whilst, this may be a super useful skill, absolutely, due to obvious zoning and land restrictions, urban dwellers will likely not be able to have a cow. And frankly, its likely that if this is a very urban high school, they might not even know someone who owns a cow. Urban mentality is: Oh, you own a cow, you MUST be a farmer.... See where im going? If i had some of the urban city kids who are currently attending the High School i grew up in, over to my quite small sub-urban homestead, they would say that this is a legit farm. And it is most certainly not. Its all about perspective.
-Small indoor aquaculture herb garden? Hmm that sounds useful, to a city person.
-Ways to create a sustainable, space saving, organic garden in a small urban backyard? That seems like something that can be doable for someone who is [likely] going to stay in an urban environment.
-Backyard chickens? Might be perfect, depending on zoning restrictions. This could be an entire course series. Breed variations, egg laying basics, chicken care, coop choice, bedding, chicken behaviors...
-Id suggest maybe having a mini course on solar power or other forms of sustainable energy like passive solar solutions for homes. Maybe even get a guest speaker in to teach the basics on how to set up your own at home solar set up. That would be such useful knowledge!

those are all applicable urban sustainability/permaculture ideas. And i am sure there are much more! Good luck on your course and shaping the minds of tomorrow

4 years ago

Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Disclaimer: I have not done this yet. It’s on my list for the upcoming season.

According to John Moody in his The Elderberry Book

I paraphrase: Choose new young softwood branches that are just turning from green to brown, cutting the branch into 5-to-6-inch pieces. Remove all but the two topmost leaves from each segment. At this point, you can root them in water or soil. The plants take about 12 or more weeks to develop sufficient roots.

Will you be traveling by car or plane? This may change how to handle the cuttings. If by car, I’d put them in pots, multiple cuttings per pot, keeping the soil very moist, out of direct sunlight. If by plane, I’d put them in a Ziploc bag, the ends without leaves wrapped in a very moist kitchen-sized towel. I’d pack it in my carry on and avoid crushing them.

Also, if the leaves are large, I’d cut most of each leaf off. Akiva of Twisted Tree Farm has an Article about propagating mulberry trees. I think his point about cutting the leaves would be applicable to your situation with elderberries too.

When you get them home, keep them out of direct sunlight until well-rooted. Setting up a misting system would be ideal, but keeping them in a self-watering system may also work. I’d be tempted to move them to a bucket of water in the house, guaranteeing them attention until rooted.

Another option, would be to dig up a few new root suckers from the base of the plants. I have had success with transplanting young plants propagated by the birds. Theese may not be true to your desired variety though.

thank you so much! Yes, I'll be traveling up from Florida in a car, so I can do that :)
4 years ago

Arkady Schneider wrote:Hi Michelle,

How long before you have to part ways with the elderberries? My guess is that while propagating by cutting may be tough right now, you could have success trying air layering. I fear I haven't personally air layered elderberry, but given the season, I'm thinking this could be a safe bet.

Ok, thank you for the advise, ill look into that method. I have until August, September at latest to get cuttings before the house is sold.
4 years ago

Long story short, I am going to be on the other coast (with my house) this summer, and am cleaning it up to sell in July. I wont be able to make it to the house until then.
I have two very beautiful 1 year old elderberry bushes that I would like to take cuttings from...and I know i'm supposed to do this when the plant is dormant in the winter. Does anyone know or have experience with taking cuttings from the plants in the summer? What would the issues be that I might encounter if I do this? Has anyone tried this before and do you have any advice to proceed? :)
Its really my only time to take the cuttings, and since I'm selling the house, I wont be able to take any cuttings this winter. I would really like to take these specific cuttings because I know the plants are healthy and thriving, and they are my first elderberries ive planted, and I also like the idea of keeping a piece of these plants with me because frankly I'm sentimental about them.

Thanks for your help and advice!

4 years ago
im in zone 8a, too, and its slightly warmer than usual this year so far, but we had a cold snowy winter last year. Something unusual- had a single rose bloom in December. Very strange. Its not that warm! And this was in our cold (30's) streak!
Never seen something like it before. I call it "Winter Rose"
4 years ago