Jonathan Fudge

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since Mar 28, 2020
Owner of entertainment company. Started gardening 4/1/2019. Love the concept of permaculture / no-dig gardening. Would LOVE to be able to turn my urban back yard into a productive garden.
Tampa, Florida 9b
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Recent posts by Jonathan Fudge

This would be a great time to look into a small aerogarden. It is designed specifically for this type of thing. In my experience, however, it works best when all plants are the same, or at least take up the same amount of height.
7 months ago
In order for your argument to hold, I feel like you would also have to say that farming anything is inconsistent with permaculture. So, no chickens, rabbits, cows, pigs, etc. Further, I would even argue that farming plants in beds or even in a specific area would be inconsistent according to your principles. Even more so, I think that changing the landscape to favor water properties that you desire could also be thought of unnatural.

So, I think I'll take this stance:
Permaculture is the understanding and utilization of natural processes in a way that is beneficial to mankind, while also being sustainable for the earth.

By that definition, I would say that a worm bin is taking a natural process and using it to its fullest potential in the effort of being beneficial to mankind. If you've ever kept a worm bin, you will also see that the worm population is naturally governed as well. When there is too much food and living conditions are favorable, there are more worms. When there is too little space and worms are cramped, they slow down reproduction. In that way, nature balances itself.

Currently, I have taken my worm farm and dumped it into a banana circle that I use for composting. That allows there to be a ready supply of worms and I try to keep it suitable for them as best I can. If the pile doesn't get too hot, then they stay there. I also find that I get multiple types of worms too. So, that is cool.

As far as my garden... There are MANY things that are not natural. However, I am using principles of nature to create environments so that it is self-sustaining. My banana circle has the input of my wastes and then turns that into great compost / additives for the garden. I pull weeds from the garden to throw into compost. I add the compost onto the garden plots. I add seed to the plots where I want them. I harvest fruit and veg from the garden plots. I collect rain water and distribute it where I want it to increase yield. There are MANY ways I bastardize nature in the interest of a permaculture type environment.

If you want to create a culture of people that can be permanently sustained, then I think we as a whole should be working together to learn and to teach as much as we can about the natural processes in their simplest forms (like a worm bin) so that the world as a whole can survive and thrive with us still here.

Just my thoughts on things.
7 months ago
I love your land! That is such a great piece of property.

If I were in your shoes, I'd say you are in a PRIME situation to utilize the no-dig gardening approach. Plants can still root in the rock and you can build topsoil and microbial life via top dressing.

Personally, I do not like doing more work than I have to and excavating rocks sounds like a chore I would not want to start. So, I would personally get some good compost and pile about 6 inches of compost on top of the areas you want to plant in. Afterward, I would just grow as if it is normal ground. A tilling approach will cause you a LOT of problems there. So, by utilising the no-dig method, you can get great crops without having to deal with the craziness beneath your soil. You will also help "fix" the ground over time, building up fantastic soil on top of the rock. You will also get much of the nutrients into the rock layer, meaning you might actually get BETTER growth there. I wouldn't go out of my way to put rock into property like that, but I think it would be awesome to use as a base layer.

The other aesthetic stuff is okay if that is what you want to do, but your property looks great as-is. I would just mound on some dirt and start planting ;-)
7 months ago
If I were to amend the soil, I would only do it with a top dressing of aged compost. That will feed the biology and release nutrients as needed.

That said, some plants do have natural life spans and then die off. I am unsure of the natural life span of rosemary, but it seems taking cuttings and regrowing them seems to be working. So, I would stick to what works and ignore all the cost and hassle of trying to figure something out. That's just me though. I enjoy spending as much time as possible enjoying my garden and as little as possible working on it.

If it is indeed a nutrient imbalance, you may be able to pull some things from the bonsai realm since it is potted and in your home. Perhaps making a VERY weak nutrient tea and then spraying it daily would be helpful. Just another thought.

All the best,
7 months ago
Can you just turn the sprinklers on and see where they spray? Will that show you what area, approximately, they cover?

Also, side note... You don't have to turn over the soil and expose a bunch of weed seeds and disrupt the microbiology in your topsoil. You can simply add compost to the top of the area where you want to grow (over cardboard if there are a lot of weeds), and then plant directly into it without all the extra work and hassle. It also will limit the number of weeds you will have in the area, providing you plenty of spare time to enjoy your garden. ;-)
I did some research and decided to use 20 gallon fabric pots for my watermelons this year. Will be happy to share once they are done.

I am also currently growing yellow crooked neck squash in containers and they seem to be doing well. It is only a 12-14 inch pot, more wide than tall. So, I will see how that goes as well and will let you know once I can. As a backup, I also have green zucchini in a 20 gallon fabric pot too. That seems to be WAY more than enough.
7 months ago
I would love to try and answer, but I perhaps misunderstand your goal.

Are you trying to replace Chufa?
Are you wanting to know if you should mow before sowing new seed?
Are you asking if the weeds are a problem?

Let me know what you are attempting to achieve and what the problem is and perhaps we can help.

All the best,
7 months ago

Nc Pfister wrote:That also is very helpful, Jonathan - thank you! One question - and it feels like an unintelligent one - with your proposed method, where do I plant the seeds? Cut holes in cardboard and make a small hole in the undisturbed topsoil (which hasn't been spaded), and seed there?

I'm just struggling to visualize. Any specific YouTube videos you could point me to to help me understand this admittedly very basic component? Thanks again!

I'm so glad you asked. You don't have to do anything special. Here are two videos that were done fairly well that show most of what needs to be done.

No dig starting out, basics and a little extra detail in planting stuff too:

Similar, older video, talking about a raised bed (only if you have flooding as an issue like I do in Florida):

Here is no-dig explained in 3 minutes:

This video shows around the 2:30 mark how he plants into no dig bed:

A more direct answer to your question, sowing seeds for carrots directly into no-dig:

Anyway... Hope that all helps. This guy, btw, seems to be one of the leaders of this method as well. At least, the most visible on YouTube. So, you can watch all kinds of videos from him to see more.
It sounds like you really want to do a bunch of extra work, but here is what I would do if I had a plot of land and wanted to grow quickly and cheaply.

Free cardboard from recycling center
Free aged cow manure or horse manure from local farmers (ask with a post on local facebook pages)
A smaller amount of more well fined compost
A couple of large pieces of wood to help hold the cardboard down, but really to hold the compost in place the first season

Run a lawn mower over the area first to knock down the majority of weeds.
Cover the area where you want to plant with cardboard thickly. Make sure no light can get through.
Make sure the cardboard goes BEYOND where you want to put the bed as to stop weeds from coming up into the sides of the bed.
Lay the wooden beams on it to mark out where the bed will be.
Put down 3-4 inches of aged manure.
Put down 1 inch of aged compost (the finer grain stuff)
Plant immediately.

Only do the section of the bed you are planting at the time... It keeps it VERY cheap.
As you add more stuff and want to plant more, add more as described above.

This is the no-dig method and seems to be the smartest, easiest, most natural way to build up soil life, grow healthy veggies, and to get great results.

As with all new plots, it will probably take a year or two for your soil to find it's balance in microbes and other organisms. Just the same, you can start today with relatively little sweat equity.

I highly recommend you watching a number of YouTube videos from Charles Dowding on No Dig. He has a number of experiments he's done over the years that make it VERY clear that it is a superior way to garden.

If you want to do a lot of work... then shovel away. At least you'll have plenty of time to weed with the Covid
So, I have gotten some free wood chips delivered and it is made of some pretty big chunks. I would like much smaller mulch that can break down quicker, stop more light getting to the soil, etc.

I am considering purchasing a cheaper model of a wood chipper to put the cheapo mulch through in hopes to get it smaller and easier to work with.

Does anyone have any experience with this or know how to make this happen or if it is worthwhile?

Before we go back into the "no wood chipping" discussion... I live in a residential home that has 0.12 of an acre and have only the mulching in my paths that I want to cover. My goal is to cover my entire back yard with wood chips, to remove weeds from the property, and to focus on adding plants and trees that I want in my yard.

7 months ago