Abraham Palma

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since Jun 15, 2020
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Málaga, Spain
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Recent posts by Abraham Palma

Hello again.

This is another job. The client asked me to fix her flower bed so she can grow a few veggies. The soil was almost dead, completely compacted, hard clay. It had a few tiles as a way to reduce the slope.
My proposal was to till with organic matter, then make terraced no-till beds.
She already had one lemon tree and one peach tree in the larger flower bed, and wanted another fruit tree. I proposed a pomegranate tree and she agreed too.

This is my solution to the space. The log fence is still in progress. As you can see in the images, some space is lost for paths, but it is minimal, and in return it looks beautiful. Now it just needs to be filled with plants and veggies.
1 week ago

William Bronson wrote:OK, I totally misunderstood the issue at hand.

I build compost bins/lasagna beds right next to my trees when possible,knowing that tree roots will invade.
It's all on one place,leaving most if the roots free to breathe.
It's a great buffered place to add urine or swamp water or any ammendment,  basically offering free choice nutrition.

Based on my experience, I would definitely broad fork and use the humus.
I think any potential for damage to the roots  by  the broad fork would be mitigated by the good it would do.
I would probably add comfrey and alliums as well.

Excellent idea.
Alliums also can offer some protection against fungal diseases.

I will till radially, from the trunk (but not too close) to the canopy borders to minimise root damage.
First I will apply the mulching about 15cm thick, then I will till, meaning that the broadfork will till only 10 to 15 cm deep.

Thank you.
1 week ago

William Bronson wrote: Any chance you could pull up nd replant the smaller trees?
If they are sitting in a creek, extra mulch probably won't stop the effects of over watering.
Planting them in mounds might.

Good idea.
These trees are not in the path of the stream, and our creeks are seasonal.
The overwatering problem must be solved by educating my client to not watering when it is not needed.
Compaction is the immediate issue.

I hope that it will drain properly once it gets some extra organic matter. The trees are showing a nutrition deficit that I'd swear it's caused by the compaction.
1 week ago
Lemon trees, mangoes, avocados...

Most of them are 2m tall, but the fig tree and the loquat are 5-6 meters tall.
Tilling near the roots is risky, but the broadfork is not too deep, less than one feet,.
1 week ago
Hi there!

I can be patient with trees in my orchard, but I've got a client that made me a requirement for mending the soil of his fruit trees. These trees are living in a small creek, and watering is not a problem (except that my client is watering too much and the water is excessively alkaline).
I've just started a zone for composting, but I have not enough material or time, since the client wants it fixed for next week. He doesn't mind paying for ammendments or inputs, it's just for personal use at his backyard. Well, the creek is public space, but only a few neighbours can access.

The 'orchard' has not been fertilized in a long time, it's full of weeds, and some trees show signs of excessive irrigation. The soil is very compacted as a result of the excessive watering.

I would like to know what inputs are the best bet and how to apply it for best results.  Also, for calculating the volume, how tall should the mulch be?

Input options, ordered by price:
 Commercial compost.- I doubt it contains any active microbes, and it potentially contains herbicides.
 Mulch (mantillo).- It's mostly humus with some added fertilizer. May contain perlite.
 Topsoil (tierra vegetal).- It's a mix of dirt and humus.
 Potting substrate (sustrato universal).- It's just humus, may contain perlite.

Applying options:
 Surface tilling, mulching over. Giving some aireation and a protective layer.
 No tilling, mulching over. That's fast and easy.
 Mulching, then tilling. This would add the organic matter deeper, both aireating and feeding.

Since I am going to use a broadfork for tilling, what is the recommended distance from the trunk?

1 week ago
Also, a few pics not about orchids, but they were just next to them and I couldn't help it.
1 week ago
Hi there!

Last week I went to some Orchids Days. It's a curious hobby. Orchid lovers go to several places trying to find and take a photo of the rarest or coolest orchid they can find. As a complete noob, I was only able to identify 5 species where the others saw 26. I still think they were 5 species with small variations or hybrids.

Anyways, I learned how to pick photos of a standing flower (they are not as still as you would think). I'd share a few for you flower lovers.

Some facts that I learned about orchids. The european orchids are grounded all of them. They have two bulbs, which give the name of the genus (orchids means testicles). They are all endangered in my country and it is strictly prohibited to pick, sell and/or distribute specimens, except for study or conservation projects. That makes them perfect for people who want go to the wilderness and spot one of these small miracles of nature. Every orchid species have an exclusive relationship with a fungi, and some require it's fungi and a specific pollinator, which makes them almost impossible to propagate in a nursery.
As most mediterranean flowers, they are very small, in a rather small plant. Most of them are 20cm tall, and the flowers are 2 or 4 cm wide.

Orchid fans brag about their cameras and the places they have visited searching for the rarest orchid. As far as a community, they look like a brotherhood, however, there is also bad vibes when it comes to authorship of a discovery. Sometimes a plant is surrepititiously removed so the others cannot take their share of the photo.

All in all, it's a beautiful hobby.

1 week ago
Hi, Jen.

When I learned about hugelkultures, it was clear that I was going to need to irrigate like a lot, and given that I have little spare water I tried a different approach. I built a sunken hugel bed. It's 90 cm deep, with several layers of branches, dirt and some manure, and the top layer is still 15 cm under ground level. It's hard to work there, though.

As far as water retention I have a divided opinion. For instance, it seems to catch water properly, but I've noticed that the soil is excessively fluffy, so it also drains faster than I like. I should have added more dirt and less branches. A few veggies are still growing, but I'm planning on adding more dirt once they are harvested.
1 week ago
I apreciate the work, but I don't know what to think of it.

As it is now, it tells what is going on in the videos. It is no different of what we would get just watching the class, but with less content.
I wonder what it is its purpose.

The advantage of the guide is that we can watch the figures in better resolution and we can use the search function in a pdf reader to find some key words. For example, I could go a search for 'spiders' if I don't remember what they are good for.

For its length, it is very close to being the Garden Master Course in written format, but in this case we wouldn't write "Helen discussed the importance of growing diverse plants in small gardens to reap multiple benefits". It would simply say "Growing diverse plants in small gardens produces multiple benefits. Plants such as chickweed (Stellaria) and plantain (Plantago) can be grown both for its beauty and they are a good food source at the same time".
In such case, this guide could be just an alternative to the recorded class, it would be a guide no more, but a text book on its own.

I admit that I was expecting a different study guide. Something with a very brief summary of the concepts so I can find them easily on the recorded class

Day Three Afternoon: Working with Deseases in the Farm/Garden System
(22' 10") Differentiating between pests and benefitial insects
(24' 20") Recognizing Different Types of Aphids and Leafhoppers

And then some exercises, proposed workouts, fact sheets.
For example, one sheet with all the Principles together.

1. Diversify the soil food web with ABOVE and BELOW-GROUND plant diversity.
2. Disturb the soil as little as possible; create year-round refuges.
3. Keep a growing root in the soil year-round.
4. Keep soil covered with as much diversity as possible.
5. ...

Then some questions, so we have to study them.

Q: What root weeds can be useful for principle 3 in a temperate climate?
A: I'd take a look at pfaf.org and filter for temperate climate and perennial, then pick a few plants with different root structure that apply as weeds, and write the answer.

This is what I imagined the guide could be.
3 weeks ago
I don't like freezing grains for this reason. They recover better after drying.

I've experienced something similar when I tried to keep the grains in water every other batch. Like, if they don't feel at home, they don't grow. And it tastes more acid than usual.
While it recovered, I used the curd for making labneh.
3 weeks ago