Priscilla Stilwell

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since Aug 28, 2019
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forest garden rabbit greening the desert
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Recent posts by Priscilla Stilwell

Hit a major turning point last night when hundreds of thousands of gallons of water and many tons of silt and debris washed across our agriculture land where the food forest was going. Half of my baby trees were washed up. I've found all but two. My Swale is gone, filled in with stones. My banana garden form (no bananas yet) is still in tact and full of water.

The garden got a lot of water and silt in it as well, even with the pallets blocking much. I've found most everything, and it's salvageable. All seedlings are gone of course. Moringa is all gone except for the cuttings. But those are easy enough.

So new plan: no swales, just enormous amounts of vetiver in an alternating dash pattern to hold water back. But we're going to have to start further up hill, or it will just overflow.

Lots of work to do.
2 years ago
I wonder if it would work for the bottom of my swales as a ground cover? I suspect our harsh dry seasons combined with local deer would keep it from taking over, and I'd use a lot for tea too.
Depends on what you planted and how deep the mulch is. You can sprinkle mulch now and tuck more in once the seedlings get up to 5 or 6 inches or so.
2 years ago
I was woke up this morning by the sound of a hummingbird droning outside my window. They seem to be increasing their population here (as well as other birds). I'd like to encounter more of them, cause they're so pretty! But we have tons of ants here, and so sugar water isn't a great option. What can I planted that's suitable for tropical, dry, windy, hot climate? Preferably perennial. Even better if people (or at least bunnies and chickens) can eat it too!
2 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Can you coppice some of the trees for sticks?

Yes, in limited amounts.
2 years ago
I am very interested in pursuing the benefits of fungi in the garden, but where I live, it's very dry, hot, and windy for much of the year, with some flooding during the relatively short rainy seasons. We also don't have a lot of shade since the oldest trees are about 6 years old. There's also very little access to fallen trees or logs to start the fungi spores.

I'm curious hearing how others in similar environments have countered these challenges. It seems that once the fungi gets established, it will help to resolve some of these very issues, but in the meantime, what would you suggest?
2 years ago
Looks great! I never quite understood why it was important to dig down. I know that provides access to more moisture, but if the idea is to mimic nature, seems that your process is more than sufficient!
2 years ago
I planted veggie seeds in cardboard egg cartons last week. Most are peeking up now, but not all. I keep them on a tray which I push under a patio chair at night to protect them (until I have my grow space). That means they don't get direct sunlight now, and I'm concerned about that.

The sun here is very strong, and I'm worried that putting them in the sun will result in them drying out completely or burning up. But I also don't want them to get too leggy before I plant them in the beds.

Would it work to put them inside my garden fence where they would be shaded in the afternoon but get direct sun through the morning? Is there something I can do to help keep them from drying out in this windy and hot location? The egg cartons are on a plastic tray which I could flood with water once or twice a day (whenever it looks like it needs it). I can also use plastic shopping bags as a sort of greenhouse, which I've done before. But I don't want to smother them or baby them so they don't harden.

It's a big difference growing veggies here and back in Wisconsin where seedlings we're EAGER to soak up all the sun they could!

Thanks all.
2 years ago
I made some (mostly) wood ash yesterday. Went around and picked up twigs from our thorny hardwood trees, broke them up and shoved them in a tomato paste can from the cafeteria. Poked vent holes in the bottom, put a couple pieces of cardboard and dried sugar-cane scraps in the middle and lit them on fire. It burned and then smoldered for several hours and left me this morning with a nice little bit of ash.

I wanted to use ash as an additive to my gardens, but I'm curious how others use it. I've read studies where urine (my primary fertilizer) mixed with ash has better results. But I didn't see how the combination was made.

I plan to sprinkle a bit around some of my flowering trees and plants, and put some in my "super-sawdust" ( But past that, I'm curious how else I can use this source of fertility.

Also, and very important, how much is too much?
2 years ago