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Patrick Humphrey

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since Dec 07, 2019
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Recent posts by Patrick Humphrey

Eric Nar wrote:I'm in the arid desert and want to store water with earthworks. The soil is sandy and dry, so I wanted to sheet mulch to build soil.
I was wondering, even though sheet mulching is so you dont have to dig, I was thinking that sheet mulching would work to store (absorb) water like basins and build soil at the same time.
Is it worth it to dig a foot or two for a sunken sheet mulched bed?

Also for sheet mulching, cardboard-manure-straw..that works?  can I use alfalfa hay instead of strawbales? I have free access to manure, but not straw


Im in Florida were the soil is very similar, sandy as heck with no organic matter.

For mulching I would definitely recommend woodchips. That's what many people do around here and it helps the soil a lot. The finer particles sift down into the soil and the larger pieces break down on top and help with water retention. Woodchips/mulching are free around here too you just have to go pick it up

Also check out this thread about sheet mulching

4 months ago
I wonder if it would be possible to keep a tree in the same pot for years and just prune it so it doesn't grow much?

We were thinking about trying it next year but also worried it would make a huge mess.

or just plant it outdoors and have a true permaculture Christmas

Has anyone ever tried this before? Do you still have the tree?
5 months ago

Rufus Laggren wrote:Thanks for  the idea, Patrick.

That sounds real workable. Might help my sister considerably. <g>


No problem! Let me know if you have any questions about it and I will try to help out.
5 months ago
I live in Florida which seems to have a similar climate to where you are at. Very hot, humid and harsh to grow in. Its hard and always a challenge. What we have to do here in Florida is grow in the winter season.

If you are in an area that doesnt get snow or very hard freeze you can practically grow anything during the winter. Our season here in from around August/September to June and we stop growing in the summer because it is too hot and there are too many bugs.

We do have to water almost every single day when it is hot. But when the weather cools down we can get away with water every few days. Our soil is extremely sandy and holds no moisture, so your clay might be better in this situation.

We use drip irrigation for our tomatoes and cucumbers but overhead for all our greens, root crops etc because it really helps to cool them down. Watering in the middle of a hot sunny day helps to get the heat off of the plants and lets them reset.

5 months ago

Barb Allen wrote:

Patrick Humphrey wrote:I live in Florida where its hot as heck and we have some red russian kale that is still going. The stalk is super high but it is still creating leaves at the top. Ive never had any go to flower yet surprisingly.  I need to clear it out but i dont want to get rid of it LOL

Hi Patrick, I have had great success MOVING Kale plants (even in late August!) - at almost any time in their life! So you might try moving your red russian somewhere where it can just keep going and not be in the way.  You might also try cutting some back to 6 or 8" and seeing if they will resprout a top. Most kinds that I grow do this very well.

And - I forget who asked about it continuing on after flowering -- My experience has been good with this as well!  I have even let really special plants go to seed, collected the seed, and cut off the seed stalks and had them just continue on.  I find kale one of the toughest most useful long producing plants in my garden. I get the wonderful flower sprouts to eat in spring - and always let some flower for the bees - and harvest leaves for me and the chickens all year round!  If one of the plants gets aphids at the top around the new leaves (a common phenomena), I just break the whole top off and give it to the chickens - who love the aphids as well as the kale!   I have plants that are going on 5 yrs. old...  If you break the tops off they will branch out instead of making a tall skinny plant. They you have short bushy plants with many more leaves and tasty bud heads in the spring.  A great plant to experiment with!

Thats a great idea! transplanting it to another area makes sense. I am attached to this kale now because its been here so long, would hate to just throw it away to the chickens. LOL Maybe i should try to break the top off? The bottom is so bare and almost callus so I am worried that would prevent it from sprouting new leaves near the bottom. Thanks for the reply - Patrick
5 months ago

Rufus Laggren wrote:Is the twine staked at the bottom?

Did those tomatoes just crawl up the twine by themselves or did they need lots of guidance?


I just tied the twine around the main stem and use the leaves and branches to catch it and create friction. Works pretty well for how easy it is.
They do need guidance and a little pruning to get going. Its simple to wrap the twine around the stalk really quick every week. We prune near the bottom and let the top branches just flop out. It gets messy but its just for fun and we are overrun with tomatoes right now. The bad thing about that cheap twine is that is doesnt last long and sometimes breaks or rots too early.
Thanks for checking it out
5 months ago
I can vouch for this. I live in Florida where its hot as heck and we have some red russian kale that is still going. The stalk is super high but it is still creating leaves at the top. Ive never had any go to flower yet surprisingly.  I need to clear it out but i dont want to get rid of it LOL
5 months ago
Basil works great for a kitchen garden herb. it can get pretty big in a very small pot that can fit on the window seal. When you need some just pinch a few leaves. And it makes your kitchen smell fresh 👍 This could work with pretty much any herb im sure.

Gray Henon wrote:Phase 1 of the experiment complete!  The pig did end up digging up several rhizomes, I believe out of curiosity more than food motive. I don't believe enough damage was done to adversely affect the bamboo. He didn't hardly touch the bamboo leaves hanging in the pen.  In total, probably nearly a 1/2 ton of manure on a dry basis, 1/2 of a round bale, and 4-5 yards of wood chips were deposited directly into the grove.  The next pig (next fall) will have some nice compost to root through for worms and other goodies.  He hung at 275 lbs.

Nice experiment! Thanks for updating us on how it went. Now we wait to see if it makes a difference for your bamboo. Im sure the tillage and anure has to help some. Maybe next time you could put the fence right on the edge of the bamboo so he cant even get to it.
5 months ago
This is our T post trellis that we set up for our cucumbers and tomatoes. It worked great and we are literally overflowing with tomatoes right now. 🍅

Everything was planted 1 foot apart with 3 foot rows. This was tight but seemed to work great!

Easy to make too- Position your T posts, Run your galvanized wire across the top like a clothes line, then use twine to trellis your vine up to your wire 👍
5 months ago