Hayley Stewart

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since Mar 15, 2020
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fungi foraging cooking fiber arts homestead ungarbage
Lil' ol lady in a millenial's body, picking up lost threads.
Zone 5ish, Ontario, CA
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Recent posts by Hayley Stewart

The solarium is closest to the garden, but you're right - very little water seems to come out, but I'd like to do a quick test with a bucket next time it rains.
The gutters from the house are on the other side of the solarium, but they're literally just a few feet away from where the faucet is anyways, so it's not any more inconvenient than it already is!
1 month ago

Stacie Kim wrote:

Is it possible that the rain gutters need to be cleaned? If so, the water might run much clearer once you get them cleaned. If the gutters are frozen over, they might also drain faster after the thaw. But I'd much prefer to use the water off your solarium, if the choice was mine. Putting a catchment barrel/bucket/etc under pre-existing downspouts is much easier. If you make it temporary, you can take the barrels if/when you move.

3) Just set up some buckets by the downspouts outside when it rains, try to use them ASAP. Supplement this supply with greywater.

If you get buckets with lids, the water will stay cleaner until needed.

Thanks for the insight, Stacie. To clarify, I only plan to use the water in the garden. We currently have those leaf-it spikey things in the gutters (they were here when we got here) and gave all the gutters a cleaning right before our first snowfall.
1 month ago
I'm interested in catching rainwater at the place I'm renting since the well water here is pretty dang hard. As far as catching the water, I seem to have a couple options:

1) Set up a rain barrel from water that runs off the house. Now, this house has a SUPER mossy cedar shake roof, that is just over 20 years old, although you'd think it was older considering the state of disrepair that it's in. Would catching water that runs off from something so coated in greenery be a problem? (For the record, the landlord has no intention of replacing it before we move out.)

2) Set up some kind of catchment system for water that runs off the roof of the solarium - it has a bunch of these small little downspouts which literally just trickle little drops out onto pea gravel below, but during the big thaw we've had this week there have been little pools of water gathering beneath them. Photo attached at the end of this post.

3) Just set up some buckets by the downspouts outside when it rains, try to use them ASAP. Supplement this supply with greywater.

Let me know if any of you have experience dealing with rainwater catchment in any of these situations. I'll probably only be here for 2-3 years so I don't want to have to do anything that will be expensive/permanent.
1 month ago
I love this idea and how many functions are being stacked! I think I'll have to do it. There's a huge slash pile from the property owners here, mostly invasive trees. Seems like it would be great to run them through a chipper and toss them in a hotel pan when we run the woodstove in the winter.

Yesterday I decided to sift some thoroughly cooled wood ash to separate the charcoal so I could use it as a carbon source for my compost pile (plus, some of it was pretty tinkly, so I'm hoping some of it will actually get charged).

I'm still pretty new to the idea of biochar, but it seems like lighting a fire for the express purpose of making the stuff seems wasteful unless you're using the heat. This is much more up my alley - thanks!
1 month ago
Here's my very first bb submission - I seem to keep doing chores, realizing they're a part of a pep thing, and kicking myself for not taking photos.


I had a jar of this salad bowl mineral oil/beeswax on hand so that's what I used, when I run out I'll make my own from beeswax and coconut oil.
1 month ago
Mark, I have a roll of craft paper sitting upstairs... seems like a great option for sizing things up on the cheap! I have tons of tiny seed starting plugs but not a lot of options for potting up transplants, so I'll definitely give it a go. Thanks for sharing.

Anita, I love your setup! For the tomatoes in milk cartons, did you just plant them in the cartons to begin with, or size them up one or more times before they got to go in the cartons?

I also found egg cartons to be cute in theory but in practice, they were a bit too shallow, very mold-prone and also dried out quickly... A lot of the starts I planted out in those struggled. Good tip on making sure it's for quick-sprouting plants. I think I tried sowing Korean Mint in one egg cartion, which can take 2 weeks to germinate. Pretty hard to keep it evenly moist for that long! (Surprise, not one came up)

How quickly things change!
We moved from our Toronto apartment to a strange little temporary arrangement in an old farmhouse outside Cambridge, ON. That means I get to plant in the soil this year. You couldn't imagine my joy to finally set up some lasagna beds this fall and find worms in the earth. No more hauling potting mix in bubbie carts down Ossington!
2 months ago
Based on the great ideas in this thread, I have started my passive seed starting experiments by winter sowing!

There have been multiple snowstorms here and even with a bit of melting the snow still is approaching knee-height, so I haven't been able to physically get into the greenhouse where a bunch of old lights and seed starting trays are. I'm sure I will be able to get in by April, when I really need the equipment for some TPS I'm trying to grow this year (although now I'm wondering if I should try winter sowing some TPS since they love the sun so much). So for now, everything will be winter sown or direct sown.

Turns out my parents go through a LOT of distilled water with their CPAP machines and humidifier so they came and delivered a giant stash of bottles perfect for winter sowing tomatoes and other big ol' hot weather plants. But in the meantime, I've been saving and using old plastic food storage containers that got cracks in the bottom (volunteer drainage holes), old clear produce boxes (some with bottoms doubled up to make larger greenhouses, yogurt cups with windows cut into the lids using plastic produce bags (the kind with holes already in them), and whatever else that can be made greenhouse-y. Labels were done with some oil-based markers that were gifted to me and cuts sealed up with some gaffer tape. Holes were drilled or, if the plastic was more finicky, a hooked sharp knife worked perfectly for making holes or 'x's.

I also took Dr. Redhawk's suggestion of reactivating some old potting soil that was left on the property with a mushroom slurry and homegrown Lactobacillus for the planting. Mushrooms were collected from some punky firewood and some leftovers from the fridge, the milk used was from making a quiche.

So far seed starting materials this year has cost me $0 (except for a couple new packets of seeds.... I couldn't resist). Sharing photos below of my winter sowing adventure, I'll continue to update my passive seed starting journey as I go along.
Hi again! I decided to do a very quick amendment that turned this into a useful, way more effective door snake. If I could go back and edit my original post I would, so that nobody tries my terrible plastic idea, lol.

- I got my hands on some all-purpose sand for about $3 for a 20kg bag.
- I unpicked the edge where I filled it up, pulled out the bubble wrap and dumped whatever cat litter was inside back into the old litter container.
- I sewed a new seam straight down the middle of the snake, and another seam about a 1/4" parallel to it, leaving a bit of room at the top for me to fold it over later. This is going to keep it from bulging out too much and give it more height, which is what I was missing.
- I accidentally bought the wrong cat litter (we're transitioning to a non-clay-based kind) so I alternated scoops of that with some sand, and funnelled it into each new tube. Making two little tube chambers instead of one is a WAY more efficient method if you have a door like mine that has a big gap or a weird slant to the edge. The chamber method uses less filler and keeps the snake from losing too much length too - it actually spans the length of the door now!
- Fold the raw edges inside, and whipstitch shut again.
- Marvel in the fact that it's basically like having two mini door snakes which sit on top of one another and really can get snuggled into any weird shapes.

The fix took maybe 20 minutes max. I feel pretty dumb for thinking the bubble wrap could work, but maybe the chambers would be good for packing in more malleable plastic and some other heavy fillers, since I will admit this is a pretty freakin' heavy door snake now.

Anyways! Yay! I fixed it!
2 months ago
I'm interested in this as well. The place where I'm living is coated in periwinkle, morning glories and english ivy (not to mention tons of little common buckthorn plants). There's a space in front of the house that has nothing but periwinkle growing and I'd much prefer to have some shade-tolerant plants & mushroom logs rather than the periwinkle monoculture.

I feel like a permie-minded approach might be the following, which I will also attempt this year:

  • Gauge interest for vinca minor starts with your local seed-saving society, freecycle group or kijiji/craigslist. Offer those starts for sale, or for free if people will come and remove them themselves. Transfer some to pots if you really want to keep some around in a more manageable form.
  • With whatever is leftover, have a periwinkle pulling party. It may be a small party thanks to the pandemic, but I find tuning into my favourite radio station (WFMU) makes any garden task go much quicker.
  • After disposing of all the periwinkle you pulled (everything I read says to just bag it and send to the landfill), lay down a bunch of cardboard, soil and/or a bunch of mulching materials to completely block out the light for any roots that were left below. You can keep adding mulch over time, and/or plant something on top that will continue to smother the area and make it extremely difficult for the periwinkle to pop up again, such as squash (if conditions are right), or some of Sepp's recommendations for heavy-feeding fast-growing plants like turnip and sunflower. But ultimately, I'm sure you could play with those plants and plant anything that you'd prefer instead, especially if you're putting a good chunk of soil over the layers of cardboard.

  • In my research I found this neat freebie for dealing with invasives.

    Good luck!
    2 months ago