Adam Dettman

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since Feb 25, 2020
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Recent posts by Adam Dettman

Hi, folks.

Anybody here grow tobacco?  Any tips for drying/curing?  I've grown it successfully here in Northern Minnesota for a few years now but have had mixed results with my drying and curing methods.  Typically, I pick individual leaves off the plant that have given up the ghost for the season and turned yellow-ish.  Then, I sweat/lightly ferment these leaves in a loosely closed bread bag until they've turned brown and leathery.  This takes a couple days to a week.  Then I just dry the brown leaves until they're of the consistency you'd expect to find from store-bought pouch tobacco (dry but not overly so).

The major issue I'm running into is that during that light ferment/sweating process, I occasionally lose more than a little bit of my leaves to surface mold.  I've tried just bundling and drying my leaves like most of the information I've read online indicates but I feel like I get a marginal finished product.

Just curious if folks have any tried and true methods for handling homegrown tobacco.  Thanks!
2 months ago
Hey, folks!

Say, does anyone have any tips for setting a drip irrigation system up using a rain barrel?  In one patch, I presently use a system I purchased thru DripWorks and couldn't be happier.. but I have access to pressurized water there.  I've torn up a patch a little further out in the field and would like to be able to irrigate once I plant it out with brassicas.  I'd likely tie up all my garden hose if I tried to run water from the well out that far.  The site has a little bit of grade to it.  I think I could achieve a 4-5' elevation difference by setting a 55-gal barrel above the brassica patch.  I was going to punch a hole thru the barrel for a spigot and then basically run the same sort of system I run off the well.. particulate filter, 10psi pressure regulator, and then 1/2" mainline w/ DripWorks drip tape (I think it's 5/8").  Am I missing anything?  I'm not worried about getting water out there in the barrel.. I can use my tractor w/ pallet forks for that.  If additional elevation is necessary I thought about putting 4 small posts in the ground, reinforcing them to one another, and so making a raised platform that I can set the barrel on top of.

Let me know what you think!  Gosh I like this site.. too bad the rest of the Internet can't be this cool.
6 months ago

s. lowe wrote:Some brands of subtillus that ive used are Serenade and Companion (I'm personally a bigger fan of Companion but I think Serenade is available at like home depot type places nationwide)



Thanks!  I found a jug of Companion online.. gonna order it later today.  I will likely supplement with a sulfur spray + home-brewed compost tea.  Thanks again for your input.. eager to put a number of methods to work on the problem!
7 months ago
Hi, folks.

Adam here in Northern Minnesota.

Seems I have powdery mildew on my young apple trees.  In terms of an organic application, what do folks find to be effective?  I found a really great study conducted by Washington State Univ:

http://treefruit.wsu.edu/article/powdery-mildew-management-in-conventional-and-organic-apple-orchards/

It indicates that sulfur is a widely used/effective method of control.  It looks like a lot of bacterial applications can be used as well.  Has anyone used either/both of these?  Alternatively, the study references a number of conventional, non-organic applications (fenbuconazole and myclobutanil being some of the most widely used) but I'm reluctant to dive into the world of chemical fungicides if it can be avoided.

Thanks for your time!  Any info will be helpful as I hope to order something in the next day or two..
7 months ago
Hi, folks.

I'm thinking about diversifying my compost lineup here in Northern Minnesota.  The next time I see a free bathtub on the side of the road, that may be all it takes to propel me into the world of vermicompost.  For those of you who have purchased worms before, who do you recommend?  Uncle Jim's and Midwest Worms seem reputable.  Any comments/past experiences?

More importantly, what do folks do with their worms in the winter?  Here in Northern MN, our winters are about as cold as it gets.. single digits above to single digits below as an average (although minus 20 to minus 30 for stretches of time are also not outta the question).  Seems to me it'd be too cold to expect my worms to survive inside my compost pile(s).  Can I expect them to lay enough eggs before Winter to adequately repopulate my vermicompost bin come Spring/early Summer?  Alternatively, I've read about folks bringing at least some of their worms inside to ride out the winter indoors.  I'm open to this idea.  What do folks like to use for a container/indoor worm box?  I looked at the Hot Frog Living Composter on Uncle Jim's website.  All things considered, it looks pretty unobtrusive as well as easy to manage/clean.  Has anyone made something similar?

Thanks for your time!
7 months ago
Hi, folks.

Say, I'm about halfway through my copy of "Teaming With Microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.  If you've not picked this book up yet I highly recommend it, particularly if you've any interest in soils, organic gardening/farming, microbiology, etc.  The first half is a very readable refresher on basic high school Biology.  As such, it has piqued my interest in what's going on in my soil(s), compost, etc. at a microscopic level.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a microscope they enjoy using?  AmScope (40X-2500X) and OMAX (40X-2000X) seem to be the most highly rated, reliable microscopes on Amazon at the moment.  Is anyone familiar with these brands/models?  I'm looking for a microscope that I can use to identify things like bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, etc. in my soils and the like.

I appreciate any input you're willing to share.  I'd rather not spend a fortune but am willing to drop about $300-400 (give or take) on a decent microscope.  Go big or go home (no pun intended)!

Thanks for your time!!
7 months ago
Hi, folks.  Does anyone have any insights regarding sizing a portable generator for home backup?  My electrician is prepared to set me up with a (legitimate, up-to-code) method for backfeeding my panel in the case of a power outage.  I'm barely a novice in terms of electrical work/home wiring and so please don't ask me to provide details regarding his methods or materials.. just know that he is a licensed electrician!

That being said, any recommendations regarding what'd be an adequately sized portable generator to provide backup power for my home?  In terms of usage/load, my goal would be to maintain power to the pumps/computer associated with my propane boiler (home heat + hot water), well pump, freezers (one chest, one upright), refrigerator, air exchange system, and then I guess some lights and probably a laptop/phone charger.  I don't own air conditioners nor would I plan on running power tools during a power outage.  Additionally, I think I could handle the responsibility/"burden" of unplugging my freezers once they got to temp (just meaning that some stuff wouldn't have to stay plugged in/operational constantly).  My primary concern would be to keep my boiler functioning (as this will provide my home heat in addition to my woodstove) and my well pump operational.. as well as my fridge and some lights I suppose.

In light of all this, would a 4,000W generator suffice?  Or is that cutting it close?  Is something like 6,500W more appropriate?

I should also mention (perhaps very important) that my power doesn't go out very regularly.  Furthermore, if and when it does go out it rarely lasts more than a few hours.  And again, this is perhaps twice a year.  I just happen to live in a very cold part of the country (Northern Minnesota) and a modestly priced generator seems like reasonable "insurance" against frozen pipes!

I'm really happy I joined this site not too long ago.  As such, I look forward to hearing what some of you have to say.. Thanks!
8 months ago

thomas rubino wrote:Hi Adam;
Not sure just how much volume your thinking of? But they make some pretty large homeowner models.
Here's a link https://mantis.com/compare-mantis-composters/  
All hand crank, but anything can be modified to run with a motor.



Thanks, Thomas, but rather than a compost bin I'm looking for information on how to put together a compost sifter.  I collect compostables from the local food co-op and so my "bins" are rather large and consist of open-top boxes made from pallets.  I turn them by hand and/or with my tractor.  A trommel/sifter, though, would allow me to sort out things like twist ties and labels (unfortunately the folks at the co-op aren't particularly thorough when sorting their compost) as well as larger, not-yet-composted materials.  Roughly speaking, it's a drum that lays on its side and whose sidewalls are made of hardware cloth or something similar.  Typically it's turned by a small electric motor although hand-cranks versions are also common.  Thanks for your info though!
8 months ago
Hey, folks.  Has anyone here put together a trommel for sifting their compost?  I've found a couple videos on YouTube and while they do a decent job of showing the trommel in action they don't spend much time describing its construction.  Namely, I'm curious what people have learned about incorporating electric motors.  My assumption is that a 1/4 hp electric motor would be of adequate size..?  Further, can anyone point me to an "Electric Motors For Dummies" website and/or forum that they've enjoyed?  I've never worked with electric motors.  While they don't seem terribly complicated, I'd love to read thru an introduction (re: belts, pulleys, shafts) before I get started.  Thanks for your time!
8 months ago

J Grouwstra wrote:Making Hügelbeten could be ideal here, but for 5 acre, or even just a part of it, the manual approach often seen on this site is probably not practical.



My apologies.  My original post was misleading.  I have a roughly 5 acre field but I'm not intending to put it all under vegetables.. that'd be a dream!  Instead, I've started by turning over a 70' by 70' plot with a one-bottom plow, tilling in composted horse manure, and then cover cropping that last year.  This season, I'd like to more or less replicate that, maybe twice over (so 2 additional patches at roughly 70' by 70' per).  Regardless of the details, the important thing is I'm not trying to turn 5 acres of clay w/ limited topsoil into 5 acres of tillable loam.  That being said, wanna point me to some of the "manual approaches" you referenced?  I have a 35hp tractor with a couple attachments as well as an arsenal of hand tools..
8 months ago