Amay Zheng

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since Oct 25, 2020
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Recent posts by Amay Zheng

Hello, I have rented a plot (named ZoeLand) and would like to use it as an opportunity to treat existing boots / ants / residents.

Here's how it works! Take a picture / video of yourself at ZoeLand (by yourself or as a group) and post it here!

At the end of the month, $300 will be split equally among the ants and boots who showed up in the pictures in that month. Showing up multiple times does NOT get you more!

There will also be more budget to make the place more enticing (like a picnic table?). If you have ideas message me!

If you wish to participate please message me your PayPal/Venmo/ however you wish to receive coin.
3 weeks ago

Eric Hanson wrote:Two years ago I had a huge abundance of wood chips left over from a major brush clearing project..



Hello, I want to dabble and try to grow myself some wine caps, but I am too lazy /busy to get wood chips. My wife recently bought a bunch of stuff for our newborn so I have a bunch of cardboard boxes, could I use those instead to grow wine caps? Cardboard boxes and wood chips are similar right? haha.



3 months ago

Abraham Palma wrote:

is cloth diaper better for the environment if we don't recycle laundry water?


If you wash them with eco-friendly cleaner (potash soap), I should think that it's more ecological. In the worst case, the poop goes to the sea and it feeds algae (though it can be recycled too!). Meanwhile, the disposable diaper requires resources (energy, petrol) to be produced and the waste is non recyclable plastic that pollutes for centuries and gets in the trophic chain. The cloth diaper also needed some resources (energy and fibers) but it last much longer, so I think it should use fewer resources. The reason disposable diapers are cheap is because we don't price petrol properly, because if we did we wouldn't be using much of it, to the petrol industry lose.



Thank you for the analysis, I feel much better about using cloth diapers now haha.
3 months ago
I have a newborn, born 6 weeks ago.

We've been doing cloth diapers during the day, but I'm curious, is cloth diaper better for the environment if we don't recycle laundry water? The cloth diapers results in alot of laundry (twice a day) and I'm not sure if it's more environmentally friendly to just use disposables. Anyone have an idea?
3 months ago
I found a couple of exciting things around the area!

https://www.rayofsunshinefarm.com/dairy
This seems to be embrace permaculture values and I hope to check it out soon! Will update if I do.

https://getchipdrop.com/
Someone online mentioned this site to get wood chips and with a click of a button, a neighbor 10 minutes walk away from me reached out to me. They have a big load of woodchips in their backyard and offered me to take as much as I want.
10 months ago

Stacy Witscher wrote:Hi Amay, San Jose is lovely and I hope you find lots of people to connect with. I'm no longer in the SF Bay Area, but I was born and raised in Palo Alto, and raised my kids in the East Bay. The climate is lovely and you should be able to grow lots of amazing things.



Thank you Stacy! I'm new to gardening, and I've documenting my journey here: https://permies.com/t/164053/Gardening-Journey

Currently just focused on healing soil.
10 months ago
Day 2 update:

Today I woke up and I was inspired by Jen's process for making a her Hugel beet. I went to craigslist and bought some tools for $55 (picture attached). The guy was nice, I didn't know what most of the tools were used for and he explained each tool to me. I primarily wanted a shovel so I can start digging a hole for the hugel beet.

I wanted to get started right away so I started digging (picture below). As the dirt came up, I realize that I should probably get the wood first before I continue digging otherwise I'll just have an empty hole. So I put this on pause and started looking for a truck. I'll have a truck next week to go around town to pickup some wood blocks and wood chips and rocks and whenever else I need. Should probably make a list.

I relaxed and took my time today, covered another patch of ground with cardboard so the soil doesn't get sunburned. Now I have 2 cardboard patches!
10 months ago

Paul Fookes wrote:...I was referring to climbing beans/ peas as a partner crop with your corn and not a cover crop.



I didn't know there was a difference! Ordered some climbing peas (Oregon Sugar Pod II). What you said about getting things to do more than one thing, I like that and I'd love to see plants working together that would be a beautiful thing to see!

Jen Fulkerson wrote:This is my version of a hugel beet.  I decided how big I want the raised bed.  I dig 18" to 2' into the ground.  Then I fill the bottom with the largest wood I can get my hands on.  We had some old fire wood that was punky, then, I did a layer of native soil I dug out of the hole, then small branches, sticks, stalks from sunflower, you get the idea. Soil again, then a layer of wood chips, then I did stuff I was going to compost, then soil, then I add organic compost, organic chicken manure, and organic soil. I mix that, and it is the top layer. I used cement blocks for the above ground part of the  raised bed.



Jen, your process for making the hugel beet makes alot of sense to me. I was excited and got started right away. As I dug into the ground to make my trench, I realized I should probably find the wood first before I continue digging otherwise I would just have more exposed dirt in the sun. Haha. Next week I'm borrowing a truck and I'll be looking for wood.

Nancy Reading wrote:Keep it fun.



Thanks Nancy, that's the plan!

10 months ago

Jen Fulkerson wrote:Congratulations Amay, I think you are on your way.  It's great to learn as much as you can to help you be successful. I would like to tell you not to be afraid to fail.  When it comes to gardening, no matter how much knowledge, and experience you have there will be failures along the way.  Since most of us learn more from failures then success, it's not really a fail, but I learning opportunity. Though it probably won't feel that way when you are going through it.
I was wondering how you plan to keep the cardboard in place?  I would like to suggest wood chips.  You can get them free, and they do wonders for hard dry place like ours.  I live in Northern California zone 9 b.  Since you are renting, I don't know if this is aloud. Maybe just the areas you intend to plant.
As far as growing with minimal water use, top of the list would be a hugelkultur. If this isn't aloud, or possible, maybe a hugel beet.  It looks like a regular raised bed, but has the benefits of a hugelkultur.  I have both, and both work great for conserving water, and build amazing soil.  There are also ollas. (A clay pot you put in the soil. Only the top for filling is above ground.) They make it so easy to keep plants watered with less waist and evaporation. You can use them in any garden application, even in pots.  You can buy them, or YouTube how to diy them, it's pretty cheap and easy.
The main thing I want to say is just do it. Experiment, play around, try different techniques, find what works for you.  For me gardening nurtures my mind, body and soul.  Even the times when my hands are cracked, my fingernails are disgusting, my back is killing me and I exhausted, there is a feeling of well being, peace, and joy.  
Good luck, I look forward the reading about your journey.



Thank you Jen! My back is killing me and I feel exhausted today! Regarding failure, I think the more emotionally attached and the harder I try, the more I'm afraid to fail. So I'm starting my journey with half-assed effort into the things I'm doing.

Today I went on craigslist and I found someone giving out rocks so I drove over and picked them up (picture attached). As I move the green bucket of rocks back and forth slowly, I suddenly remembered a memory where I was at Home Depot wondering what a wheel barrel was used for. Now I know.

Then I kept a cardboard in place by putting the rocks on top of the cardboard (picture attached). I think I may need alot more cardboard and rocks, but perhaps I could substitute the rocks with woodchips to hold the cardboard in place, I will go look for them sometime this week. My landlord wouldn't mind what I do, she shared with me her plan to cover the backyard with concrete one day and build an additional unit so she does not care what I do in her backyard. My zone is 9b and 10a.

I think Hugelkultur is too intense for me atm, I would need to get a truck and get some logs and I don't know how to start searching for logs. Do I buy them? I've never heard of Hugel beet before and I can't find anything about it.

Also, I found some green netting in the ground and pulled some out. Anyone know what they are called or what they are used for? I can't imagine what the previous owners must be going through to cover their entire backyard with such thin plastic that breaks down so easily. (picture)

Random note: I finished reading Coyote's Guide to connecting with nature today. It gave me alot of ideas for activities and games to play with my future kids to connect them with nature. What a great book!
10 months ago

Paul Fookes wrote:

I have the lease at my place for another year and I hope to post daily(ish) updates on this thread as a journal for myself and anyone else interested.  



This is a lot of work.  Can you extend your lease?  If this is a limited lease then you may be better to do potted gardening so if you need to move, you can take your garden with you.
Congratulations on starting your journey.  Vegetables such as peas and beans can be grown with corn.  Corn is a gross feeder. Peas and beans put nitrogen into the ground and will grow up the corn storks.

After the crops are harvested, just do a chop and drop to protect the soil and increase the soil vegetation.



Can I extend my lease? Yes I probably can, but I go where my wife goes (she's the breadwinner). At this point I'm just experimenting for a year to see where I end up. I don't mind starting over when I move.

Thank you I bought some pea (yellow pea - cover crop seeds) and bean (alfafa) seeds from trueleafmarket.com. I will plant them next to the corn when I receive them in the mail. The pea packet comes in a 1lb bag, I think I may end up sprinkling them everywhere in the backyard.

I'm looking forward to the chop and drop!
10 months ago