Andrea Locke

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since Aug 25, 2019
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hugelkultur goat forest garden chicken fiber arts medical herbs
Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
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Recent posts by Andrea Locke

Hi Denise,
I was in zone 4. The figs only ever flowered once but never produced and the banana was an ornamental variety. I planted the bed quite densely with a variety of 'understorey' plants - cannas, zebra vine, ferns, sanseveria, christmas cactus, hoyas, etc.
The setup was inside the large kitchen we added on to the house. We had a large south facing wall of windows and the greywater bed was U-shape with the long bottom along those windows. My husband figured out the roof overhang so we got lots of sun in winter but only indirect light in summer. The ceiling was about 12 feet at the peak and the bed was from floor to about waist height so the trees in the middle of the bed had a maximum of 8 or 9 feet to grow up, a couple feet less than that at the outer edges. From front to back the bed was about 4 feet. We lined it with fiberglass car body stuff - the fabric and the goo - fortunately before we moved in as it took a while to air the place out. I don't know if I would use that again but am not sure what would be a greener alternative. As this was in a kitchen we wanted it watertight. The floor was concrete (or cement?) sorry I always get those mixed up. Which was good to have a floor that didn't mind being wet as we did overflow the top a couple of times - needed to remember not to do marathon laundry sessions as the plants couldn't keep up with it. The fiberglass was inside a wooden box with tongue and groove cedar so it didn't mind getting wet either.
1 day ago
Hi Douglas,
I was really just looking for something reasonably 'green' that also got the dishes clean...some of my earlier experiments weren't great at cleaning. I also often added a glug of white vinegar which seemed to help. Water was pretty hard.

I never grew food in the greywater bed so no doubt would have researched this more carefully if I had intended the water for food garden irrigation.
1 day ago
I also ran a dishwasher with a greywater system and it was fine. We had composting toilets and everything else drained to a large indoor greywater bed planted with fig and banana trees and various perennial houseplants. This ran without any fuss for the 9 years we lived there. I tried various options for the dishwasher including soapnuts and homemade recipes and finally settled on an eco friendly commercial product. Can't recall which, unfortunately. We have always been very careful about what goes down the sink so no oils etc. Started out with homemade laundry powder and ended up with soapnuts. Used soapnut liquid for hand washing dishes when needed and for most general cleaning around the house.
1 day ago
Ha, I just realized those things on my earlier post are all things I would like for Xmas! LOL.

Also, this year in particular, people might appreciate your homegrown or wildcrafted immune supports. It is probably not too late in many areas to gather and dry mullein leaves or rose hips. Other ideas with ingredients gathered earlier in the year might be elderberry syrup or gummies, echinacea, nettle, etc.
2 days ago
Kindling or firewood. Fire starters.

An interesting willow or driftwood trellis.

Homemade wooden bench.

Chainsaw sculpture or something interesting made of driftwood.

Bag of cover crop seed. Even better, covr crop or other seed made onto seed balls.

Gift card to their favourite local or online nursery.

Mushroom plug spawn and wax (maybe with a coupon that you will come help drill holes and install) or growing kit.

2 days ago
Oh, that's good to know! Thanks, Patrick. I'll check back to their site in a while and maybe they'll have their 2020 seed batch for sale.
Darn, I just checked smallislandseed's etsy store and they are sold out. But on the bright side I just realized they are based in Nanaimo BC which is about 5 miles from our new place! So that probably means I can grow locally adapted plants of this variety if I can get seeds...maybe next year :)

No doubt they just got a huge run on those seeds from people who read about them on permies.

They seem to have a lot of other interesting peppers too though which for me is exciting because until now I have been ordering hot pepper seeds from Baker Creek. But now I know a local source! Thanks for posting about this Patrick Marchand!!
Are you thinking of scattering these as seed balls? Otherwise I am not sure that you would get great germination by simply scattering seeds on top of an existing meadow without scratching them into the soil somehow.

As to seed type, I suppose it depends what kind of wildlife you want to support. Bees, birds, deer, or ? Also what you already have growing in the meadow and whether it is wet, dry, occasionally mowed, etc.

I would think a mix of species would be ideal. I would be inclined toward perennials. Clover, alfalfa or trefoil might be good in that mix as they would be perennial, support grazing critters as well as pollinators, and probably improve your soil when they die back in winter. If it was my meadow I would be adding medicinal herbs and tea plants, although that would include things that some people would consider weedy, like dandelion, comfrey, nettle, yarrow and mullein. The acceptability of these might vary according to your situation - might not go over so well in a yard in town, maybe fine in the country. Personally I find them all very useful and essential herbs. Depending where you are it may be not too late in the season to gather seeds of many of these, which would keep your costs down even more.
Hi Christy, that makes sense. By cutting the cover crops you should be adding the nitrogen in the cut tops plus there should be some corresponding dieback of root systems that will also release nutrients.

I am planning to do something similar with cover crops in zone 8 but want to retain the option of grazing livestock in the tree alleys. So there is some overlap in our plant lists but I will be avoiding some of the plants you mentioned as being incompatible with livestock. Will be leaning more toward clover as I don't have the gopher problem you mentioned. For certain grazers I would be cautious about clover but my goats seem to digest it ok.
1 week ago
I have a cherry tree and a yellow plum that both appear to be on their own roots, not grafted. They are both excellent trees. Normally I cut off any root suckers but this year I let some grow. I am going to try to cut them with a sharp shovel and try to get at least one rooted sucker per tree that I can pot up. I haven't done this before but it seems like it should work. I think I should probably wait until the trees are dormant although I am not certain of that part.

These are pretty huge old trees so in this case I am not worried about sapping energy from the tree by allowing a one-time experiment with sucker growth. The suckers are all in the six inch to a foot height range and about as thick as a pencil or my finger.

Curious to know if others have had success doing this? These two trees are not grafted but it seems to me this could be a way to get rootstock if they had been.

Also curious to know if anyone has found a way to make use of water sprouts? They seem to be so vigorous it seems to me they could make good grafting material. I need to learn to graft so that may be an experiment for another day :)
1 week ago