Nancy Reading

master gardener
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since Nov 12, 2020
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A graduate scientist turned automotive engineer, currently running a small shop and growing plants on Skye: turning a sheep field into a food forest.
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Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
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Recent posts by Nancy Reading

The only advantage I can think of at the moment is that known rootstocks have been chosen to give predictable final sizes for the fruiting trees. So in a monoculture orchard you can plant the trees Xft apart to give good spacing for the grown tree. However, the scion also will affect the size that the tree grows to, so unless you plant only the same variety of fruit (all golden delicious apple or all morello cherry for example) then even this advantage is lost a bit. There may be a case for using a rootstock with a known disease resistance, as I believe they do for grape vines in some areas, but I don't think these have been selected for top fruit trees as yet.
16 hours ago
Michael, Thank you for posting this and I wish you all every success! I've had fun browsing the videos on the youtube channel.
I could see the obvious advantages of having instant torque at 0 rpm in an agricultural context, this is one of the main advantages of electric powered vehicles also of course. The price seems to me to be competitive (a bit over £30k plus taxes?) to diesel tractors. What the price would turn out to be in working form is one important factor, also the ability to have the range of farming attachments, and low ground pressure. It's not clear to me how it will compare in finished form and it might be worth some clarification on this.
The advantage of being able to run off waste products from the farm is invaluable of course and difficult to put a price on, due to every circumstance being different (wheat straw, corn well as purpose grown fuel?) . It is also interesting to think of the engine being a combined heat and power unit and how that might give advantages in an off grid location (including making the tea!)
16 hours ago
Hopefully they haven't been too disturbed by your maintenance. They look pretty happy anyhow.

I always wonder where my toads come from. They don't seem so numerous as the frogs, which I often see in the grass and the spawn in the pond. There are a few toads though. One used to like it in the polytunnel, which you'd have thought was a bit hot for it, but it seemed happy enough - plenty of food presumably. I never see the spawn though. I gather they can be a bit fussier about their spawning grounds than frogs, who seem here to spawn in any reasonable puddle!
1 day ago

Rachel Lindsay wrote:I feel extremely apologetic that my attempts are far, far from spectacular, as I had hoped they would be...but at least I did something,

Doing something (anything) to step in the right direction is infinitely better than doing nothing and keeping the status quo. The fact that you posted your efforts here to (hopefully) inspire others to take a little step too makes it better still.

There's always next month! :)
1 day ago
Thank you all for the suggestions.
I'm taking the chicken juice up today and will see if she feels there is anything else she could fancy. My suspicion is that she could do with not living alone as well. Even when feeling well, cooking for one gets boring quickly....I know she does have some allergies though so need to be careful if bringing an extra supper portion.
1 day ago
That looks well worth the obvious effort you've put in to building it - I have greenhouse envy too!
1 day ago
I'm looking for suggestions for a local lady, whom has been a bit poorly recently and has completely lost her appetite. She is getting on a little in years and lives alone and can't afford to lose much more weight. In the past I've made her a little chicken bone broth with some mild spices (coriander, fenugreek, turmeric and ginger) and that seemed to kick start her appetite a little. What other ideas can I suggest that are tempting for her to try, and that will be easy to digest?
1 day ago
The plants are in!
I'll put the pictures in as attachments so you'll be able to enlarge them to see details. It looks a bit bare at the moment - the plants are all pretty small, but will bulk up in a year or so (hopefully). I haven't got bulrush/cattails in the end. I decided that maybe this area wasn't the best choice for it. I would still like to try it, but I might put in in near my pond by the river, where there is more space and it won't be in danger of swamping other interesting water plants.
I've mostly buried the feeder hoses now and covered the last 6 feet or so with stones, so they will be easy to find but hidden from view. I've covered the ends so they run out over a rock into the top water terrace to avoid erosion.
So I'm pretty happy with how it looks now. I'm wondering though whether I ought to think about mulching the dry areas. We're going through a bit of a dry spell just now, and the earth is looking a bit dusty. I have plenty of cut grass and I'm thinking a covering of this might protect the soil and maybe give the soil organisms a helping hand.

Some minor issues:
The dogs like to bathe in the water, which is likely to disturb the marginal plants a bit. The caltrop is looking a bit bashed too! I'm not sure it's going to survive. Once the plants get established the dogs bathing won't be a problem.
This area is also not within my deer fence, so I may get issues with deer eating the plants and going in the water.
I've got a bit more planting to do above the top water terrace, and the soil is generally looking a bit bare. I did put in some comfrey and some more elder there, but they will take a bit of time to establish. I'm thinking for this year to sow some buckwheat asd a temporary groundcover. It seems a bit incongruous, but will be better than leaving the soil bare whilst the plants get going. I may put some herbs in there and keep my eye out for other sun loving plants. The top bank has ended up being rather well drained, although the sticks underneath should also help with water retention, it is really above the natural marshy area.
1 day ago
Thank you for starting this thread Ron, it will be easier to keep up with your projects in one place. I have several threads on my different projects - like a 'blog. You can always start a new thread for new projects or questions too.
The aerial views put your property in context - It looks like how I imagine the 'little house in the big woods'- Complete with gallons of maple syrup! I used to love the Laura Ingalls books as a child. I seem to remember they had lots of stored squash in the attic, is that on your growing plan?
2 days ago
Hi, It looks like you wanted to post a picture but it hasn't worked. Try this thread and see if that helps.
You could also post in introductions to say hello and a bit about yourself.
3 days ago