Joshua LeDuc

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since Mar 25, 2019
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dog forest garden trees cooking food preservation homestead
On 4/20/19 my wife and I moved out to an old farm on 27 acres from the suburbs. Starting over is a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'm planning on developing a robust vegetable garden, orchard (food forest), and want to get some livestock.
King William, VA
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Recent posts by Joshua LeDuc

According to Mother Earth News, a Chinese greenhouse is masonry on 3 sides and only the south lets in light.  The large thermal mass of the masonry keeps the air warmer for longer during cold nights!
3 weeks ago

Leigh Tate wrote:

Joshua LeDuc wrote:Leigh/All, I'm in Virginia, zone 7B.  I planted some ginger in one of my beds over the summer, assuming that in this region it would over winter outside.  Is this not correct?


Joshua, I think it depends on the variety you have. The tropical variety (Zingiber officinale), thrives in zones 9 - 12 and doesn't seem to like temps lower than 50°F. This is the standard culinary kind. But there are some hardier varieties that are said to overwinter up to zone 7. I started mine from grocery store rhizomes, and so treat them as tender tropicals. In fact, one winter I lost all my ginger because I stored their pot on the back porch, where it got too cold for them. (Very sad!).

If you don't know what type you have, you could experiment by storing some inside over winter, and leaving some well mulched outside.



Thank you for that Leigh!  Good idea - have a control sample!  My wife will be thrilled when I bring another plant inside!  Lol....
3 weeks ago

Tereza Okava wrote:Even as warm as 9b it goes dormant, and doesn`t seem to wake up with heat (we`ve had a really weird year so far) or moisture, maybe it goes by daylight hours or some other hocus pocus that I don`t perceive. Ginger is definitely a "does what it darn pleases" kind of plant around here (I spent last year trying to coax some out of a big barrel full of good soft dirt and compost, regular watering, etc. It refused to cooperate. This year a tiny bit of root I must have missed is now just starting taking over the same barrel, which I replanted with mint. Stayed dormant for at least 4 months of moisture and nice tending. My tomatoes, cukes and zucchini have been going since maybe the first week of September, when it first got hot, so it took its sweet time.



Gotcha - I guess my question is if the ginger will die if I leave it outside in Virginia 7B
3 weeks ago

Leigh Tate wrote:

Tina Hillel wrote: Maybe I'll let it overwinter near woodstove and see if it gets bigger since it does look kinda small from what I can tell without digging it up.



It will go dormant over winter, so expect it die back. It's okay to let the soil dry out some during the dormant stage; not bone dry, but definitely not soggy. It seems to get bigger in subsequent years.



Leigh/All, I'm in Virginia, zone 7B.  I planted some ginger in one of my beds over the summer, assuming that in this region it would over winter outside.  Is this not correct?
3 weeks ago

Faye Streiff wrote:My husband, Allan, is an international organic/biodynamic ag consultant.  One of his favorite books is When Weeds Talk by Jay McCaman.  You can tell by observation a lot of nutrient deficiencies and what is going on in on our soils by observation of what grows on it.  Broomsedge, along with most other weeds,  is on land deficient in AVAILABLE calcium and phosphorus and high in potash.  Calcium and phosphate have a lot to do with uptake of other nutrients.  They both build cell strength in a plant and a lot of other factors, protect from insect damage, and phosphorus has to do with uptake of sugars in the plant as well.  Don’t worry about the potash being too high, just bring up levels of other nutrients.  Compost tea sprayed on will boost microbes.  Earthworms like the calcium also and it will attract them if there is sufficient organic matter also.  Mowing in place and leaving the residue can mulch down and protect microbes.  A lot of soils are high in calcitic rock but it is not available due to low microbes.  We spray all our pastures with compost tea with cal/phos plus the trace minerals and most of the noxious weeds are gone by the next season.  We also mow it now and then if not rotationally grazed, to top off any weeds that do get through before they seed out.  Every time grass is cut or mowed, it root prunes, which is why rotational grazing is so good.  I think you already know all of that or you would not be doing the rotational grazing you are doing.  Mineralized pastures are higher in nutrients and protein and keep stock healthy.  Cows get out because grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, the heifers might be in heat, or sometimes they just seem to like going on an adventure so a little jaunt is in order.  Good luck with fencing, we’ve had the same problems here.  I once had a jumping cow and it was impossible to keep her in, but she always came home.  Somehow she could figure out how to jump out, but never how to jump back in and ended up at the gate bellowing for us to let her in.  



That's a lot of useful information.  I'm so glad that this will be archived on Permies forever!  the compost tea idea sounds wonderful!
3 weeks ago
Thanks for that Derek.  I'll check it out!
3 weeks ago
Faye and Roberto, I appreciate you input here.  Sounds like I'm doing the right thing in the garden anyway.  The pastures are a different story.  Apart from getting ruminants, which I'm not quite ready to do, I don't think I have much choice except to have my neighbor mow hay for his cows or to bush hog it myself.  
3 weeks ago

James Freyr wrote:

Joshua LeDuc wrote:James, that's good to know, and an interesting post.  I assume you are raising beef cattle?  How many cattle do you have on how many acres? Are you using the Gallagher portable fencing, or something else?  Also are you following your cows with chickens to cut down on fly larvae? That's a great tip to get your cows bucket trained!



Yes we raise beef cattle, Murray Grey's to be exact. My wife and I are just starting, having moved to our farm last year. We have 3 heifers as that was all we could afford, and it's possible that three can turn into 21 in 4 years of successful breeding if I did my math right. I think that come the second half of the decade we could be scrambling to prevent having more cattle than the farms carrying capacity can safely handle. So we have about 60 acres, and approximately 33 or 34 of that is in pasture. The part of the farm the the cattle have been on this year contains about 10 grazeable acres and the other side of the ditch I mentioned earlier contains the balance of pasture, which was cut for hay this season. I don't precisely measure a paddock when I make a new one, I just eyeball it so they vary in size somewhat. After three days there is what appears to be, to some eyes, a lot of ungrazed grass left behind which is what I want and is part of the strategy of managed grazing. I'm not using Gallagher brand fence products, I chose Kencove over competitors. The prices are competitive, and they will repair their products. While I do have about 40 chickens, I am currently not running them behind the cows. I have to keep my chickens inside portable electric net fence to prevent four-legged predation by foxes, coyotes and neighborhood dogs that run loose, sometimes in packs, and I am just not ready to have the chickens going behind the cows. We do have plans for livestock guardian dogs, and when we get to that point, I will be ready to take down the electric net and rely on the LGD's to look after the chickens.

James, that is all very exciting!  It sounds like you're off to a great start with your cattle operation.  Nice talking.  


3 weeks ago
James, that's good to know, and an interesting post.  I assume you are raising beef cattle?  How many cattle do you have on how many acres? Are you using the Gallagher portable fencing, or something else?  Also are you following your cows with chickens to cut down on fly larvae? That's a great tip to get your cows bucket trained!
3 weeks ago
James and Jon, thanks so much for the very well-written responses.  I do want to eventually get livestock to graze the fields, but we just purchased this land a year and a half ago and I'm not quite ready for that yet.  James, I'm very familiar with paddocks and rotational grazing, and that is what I eventually want to do.  When you talk about your cows being in portable fencing, are you saying that you don't have any permanent fencing around your pasture either?  I was always under the assumption that you need a permanent fence around the pasture and then one would create paddocks inside the permanent fence.  If you are saying that temp fencing is sufficient that would save me a lot of time and money on infrastructure.  
3 weeks ago