Lisa Brunette

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since Apr 29, 2020
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Garden Blogger | Permaculture Enthusiast
Midwestern USA
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Recent posts by Lisa Brunette

I did a whole lot of research to allay that concern beforehand. Our cat is indoor-only, and therefore highly unlikely to contract the disease in the first place. The feces, as I mentioned, is removed and put into a hot compost for a minimum of 6 months before it's ever used on the soil as compost (and this is a separate method I've only just begun; I hadn't used this compost on the garlic bed). You have a better chance of getting toxoplasmosis from raw meat and unwashed fruits and veggies, by the way.

Source: Cornell University Feline Health Center

Because cats only shed the organism for a short time, the chance of human exposure via cats they live with is relatively small. Owning a cat does not mean you will be infected with Toxoplasma. Since it takes a minimum of 24 hours for T. gondii oocysts in cat feces to sporulate and become infective, frequent removal of feces from the litter box, while wearing gloves and washing hands afterward, minimizes the possibility of infection. It is unlikely that you would be exposed to the parasite by touching an infected cat, because they usually do not carry the parasite on their fur. It is also unlikely that you would become infected through cat bites or scratches. Indoor cats that do not hunt prey or consume raw meat are unlikely to be infected with T. gondii. In the U.S., people are much more likely to become infected by eating raw meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables than by handling cat feces. The possibility of infection after gardening in soil that has been contaminated with cat feces also exists, and this possibility can be mitigated by wearing gloves and by washing hands after gardening.

But feel free to avoid using spent kitty pine pellets this way, if that's your comfort level.
3 weeks ago
First, I want to thank the permie community for previous threads on this topic, especially Potato onions - the easy-to-grow "perennial' crop

Now I want to announce that I got seed heads on my very first try with potato onions. I'm told this is a rarity, so I thought I'd share with you all.

Full story: The Strange Case of the Bloomin' Potato Onions

Seed heads:

I don't have an indoor space to start seeds that my cat won't dig up, but a friend is partnering with me to try this in her greenhouse. Wish us luck!
3 weeks ago
Question for the permie hive mind: Is it possible to grow garlic scapes on softneck varieties? My research says "no," but...

I grew a bumper crop of 'Silver rose' garlic this year, and some of them threw up what looked like scapes just before harvest. Here's a pic:

1) Is that a scape?
2) Why did my softneck garlic grow scapes?

3 weeks ago
I ran a little impromptu experiment on my garlic crop this year. I put in 2 beds last fall:

1. 'Silver rose' softneck, amended with a mixture of coffee grounds and the sawdust left over when the kitty litter pine pellets break down to sawdust (rich in nitrogen) + compost tea
2. 'Early Italian' softneck, amended with only compost tea

Nearing harvest time:

The result: The Silver rose produced a bumper crop (65 bulbs!). The Early Italian entirely failed to germinate.

Silver rose bulbs, hanging to cure:

Silver rose bulb:

Besides the variety factor, which I admit could be a significant factor here, the only difference was the amendment. Using the spent pine pellet kitty litter sawdust/coffee grounds mixture is a perfect permaculture move. I'm diverting both products from the waste stream and using them to nourish crops, which means I can avoid outside inputs as well. The poop, incidentally, is removed and added to a hot, min. 6-month compost. Sawdust never touches the vegetables at harvest. It's added at planting time, breaks down completely, and is no longer present at harvest.

Read the full details here: 65 Bulbs of Garlic on the Wall...

Harvest shot:

Anyone else trying something similar?

3 weeks ago
I like to grade our gardening efforts using the traditional US report card metric. This year's spring cool season grade is a B.


- Arugula - made these into reseeding 'practically perennials' using tarp method
- Green Arrow Dwarf English shelling peas
- Sugar Snap Tall peas
- New Kuroda carrots
- Early Green Acre cabbage
- Bronze Looseleaf and Jericho romaine lettuce
- Premier kale


- Tall Top Early Wonder beets
- Keuka gold and banana fingerling potatoes
- Black-eyed peas

Full details: Our 'Cool Season' Annual Gardening Report Card 2021

Is the B justified? Higher? Lower? How does your garden rate?
Hello! I think I'm supposed to have both the straw badge for the above BB AND the sand badge for my BB in making pizza (here:

HOWEVER, my profile still shows only the Air BB for food preparation and preservation. ??
Anyone else have a funny story about trying to store food? Ours is one we call the 'poop potato' incident.

We were following the advice in a book, but the author of the tome likely didn't have cats, or at least not one like ours. Read the full account here:

Last Year's Peculiar Potato Problem

The culprit:

1 month ago

Jen Fulkerson wrote:Great job 👍. It's beautiful.  I love all the wild violets, way better than grass.  Congratulations.

Thanks so much, Jen! I couldn't agree more about the violets!
1 month ago

Gilligan Caisse wrote:What an amazing transformation with such beautiful results, nice job!

Thank you! We love it.
1 month ago

Anne Miller wrote:Lisa, you have done so much for your property!  I love your "lawn", it is beautiful.

Congratulations on the award!

2 months ago