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Elizabeth Geller

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since Mar 20, 2019
Central NJ, Zone 6b
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Recent posts by Elizabeth Geller

Read up on Spoon Theory.

Spoon Theory is a great tool to help people with “invisible” illnesses manage day-to-day and stop feeling guilty about not always being able to do everything they want to do.

The only other advice I can give you is to be careful about incorporating anything that requires end-of-day maintenance/chores.  Some days, I end up so tired I can barely bring myself to close the garage door. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to take care of livestock.
3 weeks ago
I started up my worm bin about 3 weeks ago.  It's a 12-gallon plastic tub with about a pound of red wigglers.  They seem to have settled in nicely.

I've read in a bunch of places that one shouldn't feed worms potatoes, or maybe it's just potato peels.  Or potatoes AND tomataoes...and other sources say those things are just peachy.  There is a ton of conflicting information out there, which is complicated by the fact that the people giving the advice rarely specify what size or type of system they've found success (or failure) with.

I have a pound of small white potatoes that has, unfortunately, seen better days.  Can I feed them to the worms?  (Or course I'd chop them up, mix them with other materials, and not put them all in at once.)

And if potatoes are okay, where did this idea that they're eeeevil come from?  I saw some mentions of the solanine compound found in some nightshades, but I haven't seen any warnings about eggplants.  

3 weeks ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
I would not know what anyone selling "Humic Acid" is actually marketing.

Here's the description from the Down to Earth brand:  Down To Earth™ Granular Humic Acids is a highly concentrated source of humic substances that is ideal for use on fields, turf and vegetable gardens. Carefully mined from one of the world’s richest deposits, DTE™ Granular Humic Acids is derived from the ancient remains of decomposed organic plant materials. Naturally occurring, unaltered oxidized lignite, DTE™ Granular Humic Acids are crushed, screened and graded to a particle size of 1-3mm."

I have no idea what any of that actually means, but there you go.

3 weeks ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Humic Acid life is fleeting, which is why you can't go to any nursery store and buy some.

You can buy some stuff in a box that's labeled humic acid.  What's that stuff?
3 weeks ago

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I use a "Natalie", by the brand "Baby Lock". Its sturdy enough to handle heavy materials, and is all mechanical. No computer chips! It also has all-metal insides, which makes it very durable, although it also makes it rather heavy.

I have a non-electronic  Huskystar, which is made by Husqvarna.  I’ve been very happy with it.   I don’t know if they still make a similar one, but the price was right and it hasn’t let me down yet.  I wouldn’t  say it’s super-heavy duty but it handles heavy materials and has a buttonhole foot.  It is lightweight, which is nice because I store it on a high shelf, but maybe it’s not as durable as the one mentioned above.

And old-school machine is a good idea too. I would have rather kept my mom’s old Singer, but apparently it never worked quite right, and an overhaul didn’t help.

Whatever you buy, I’d recommend something where the bobbin is easy/convenient to deal with.    Refilling and replacing the bobbin is an inevitable annoyance, but on my Huskystar it’s no big deal.  On my mom’s old machine, it was a real production.

I’d also recommend using top-quality thread like Gutermann or Mettler.  Threads like Coats and Clark Dual Duty (or whatever it’s called) can throw off bits of fuzz that can really add up and clog up the machine.
1 month ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
There is a file here I wrote many years ago titled "everything you want to know about spent coffee grounds", there is lots of info in that post.

Here’s the link:
1 month ago
Thanks for all the great ideas and feedback.  There are some really innovative ideas here.

You don't have to talk ME into making an arrangement for getting coffee grounds from a local shop.  I already have one.  Coffee grounds are amazing!  There are never enough, though...

Collecting free waste materials (aka scrounging) is obviously an excellent solution in many cases.  Unfortunately, for many of us, logistics and practicality limit our ability to take advantage of many potential sources of nitrogen.  There is the matter of time - not so much that it takes time to collect materials, but that those of us with 9 to 5-ish jobs and long commutes and the usual round of other obligations just aren't around at the right times or consistently enough to take advantage of many sources which would be viable for others. There is also the matter of transportation.   What one can easily transport in the bed of a truck doesn't necessarily work so well in the trunk of a Subaru.    

It's also important to consider that not all stores are created equal, and by taking care with where I purchase, I can support selected local businesses.  I consider every dollar spent at my exceptional local garden center a good investment into the future health of my community and my garden.  They stopped selling things like big sacks of alfalfa meal long ago, however, as there is effectively no call for that around here.  Fortunately, they pointed me toward a real feed store about 45 minutes away that stocks a lot of what I might be looking for and can order in other items as well.

Ultimately, I  may or may not choose to bring in a store-bought material, but you all are providing some excellent food for thought.
1 month ago
This video shows how Joel Salatin handles it.

1 month ago

Travis Johnson wrote:
Here we can buy bags of bark mulch at the store, or playground wood chips, or even shavings for animal begging...

Wouldn't wood chips be considered browns (carbon) and not greens (nitrogen?)

I've never run into a shortage of browns.  Our paper-happy society means I always have something carbonaceous to throw in the bin.  Others' experiences may vary.
1 month ago