C Murphy

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since Jan 29, 2021
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Southern Gulf islands, BC, Canada
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Recent posts by C Murphy

Anne Miller wrote:I knew we are a very different climate though before mentioning rosemary and prickly pear, I did check to see if they grow there.

I like the idea of a polyculture-type hedge with tall hedges in the cent with a border of smaller shrubs.  

The thicker the living hedge the more likely that deer will not jump the living hedge especially if the lower shrub will deter them like the rosemary and prickly pear.



They certainly grow here, but neither reach a decent size really.. Maybe a super vigorous Rosemary after many years. Prickly pear usually limps along as small plants unless you can provide very specific soil conditions so it doesn't get waterlogged over winter.
3 weeks ago

Anne Miller wrote:The deer where I live are white tail deer.

These ddr do not eat my rosemary bush so I often use cutting to stick over my rose bush to keep the deer from eating that.

I have lots of prickly pears which they will eat the tunas though be aware that during had times the deer might eat some of the pads though I doubt that the deer would eat all the plants.

I don't know if agarita will grow where you live though that is another that they eat the berries and leave the bush.

I am sure others will chime in with their experiences.

Very interesting! I think we are in quite different growing areas, based off your message. We are a moderate, cool climate, with very wet fall and winter (PNW).
3 weeks ago

Cristo Balete wrote:
C Murphy, for what it's worth, and from my experience in a rural place for the last 35 years, a 7 or 8 foot tall living fence would require clipping/trimming probably on a ladder.  There's probably enough to do without that kind of job added to the list, and it will create some shade on the other side of it, not so great for vegetables.

Also, where I am, deer are the easiest to deter.  It's the packrats, roof rats, and the rabbits, and sometimes even voles will climb and chew things off.  Those critters chew everything, and packrats like to decorate, so they will chop stuff down and haul it off, doesn't matter if it's toxic to them or not.  

So a living fence will be wide open on the bottom to little critters like that.  Rabbits, packrats, roof rats, voles leave a 45 degree angle on the cut, and not deer, so you can tell who's been out there chewing. Foxes, bless their hearts, I just love them, but they will raid the fruit off of a fruit tree, breaking branches as they go, and need a solid barrier.

I have one acre fenced in, 200 feet on a side, 800 feet total, and this has been the most reliable for me for the last 30 years.  There's 2 rows/layers of chicken wire spread horizontally.  The one-inch hole chicken wire, 3 feet high is the lowest layer.  The bottom bent outwards about 6 inches so the weeds can grow through it and hold it down.   If anything is getting through there will be a trail through this six-inch edge that is obvious.   Rabbits sometimes get under this edge when the weeds die, but it's rare.  It can be held down with a slanted stake pounded into the ground.

The top layer is the two-inch-hole galvanized construction plaster wire (that looks like chicken wire,) three feet high, is the top row.  (I have yet to have this construction stuff rust, but packrats can get through two-inch holes so I don't use it on the bottom.)  

Upright metal T posts with shorter extensions take it up to 8 feet, with the plastic rope that ties hay bales strung across the top from pole to pole.  The gap from the wire to the rope is not big enough for deer to risk it.  People who feed their large animals hay will have bags and bags of this rope that they love to get rid of.  It lasts for years.  It also makes the chicken wire edge visible to birds, like quail, who in a panic 14 of them go over the fence and the last guy doesn't smack right into the chicken wire.  This rope is also a godsend for tying things, strapping things down, it's great stuff, very sturdy.  It's usually blue and white.  Knot the ends of it so it doesn't unravel.

The chicken wire is easily wired onto the poles with a strand of about 14 gauge galvanized wire, 100 feet for less than $10.  Then the two layers are "sewed" together, about every 7 or 8 holes, because the deer are smart enough to slip between the layers.

Every 6 or 7 years I might have to replace a section, it depends on the manufacturer that Home Depot gets it from.  One whole side of mine from 2006 has never rusted.   But it's easy to replace.  It's a bit of an investment to start with, but you can go to bed at night not having to will things to be there in the morning.

Hey, thanks for your input. We have a set of pole pruners that can reach up to 20 feet, so this isn't a problem. We also really don't have issues with any of those other animals in the garden, at least not on a noticeable scale. We have trailcams up and it's 100% deer. Our idea is a harlequin style living fence so that once pruned, the light can travel through.

The maintenance is certainly something that we are considering, but the current fence maintenance is also a pain in the ass, and ugly, so we're hoping to hear from anyone who has done something similar to what we're planning.
3 weeks ago
Is that even possible? The deer here (southern gulf islands of BC, Canada) eat everything. Especially during our drought summers when their other food dries up. I'd like to build some kind of living wall system but have a hard time believing they won't chomp their way through. We currently have a woven wire fence that could probably survive a few more years, long enough to establish a living fence inside of it.

Because of our drought and wildfire risk, a brush fence is not an option. WWYD? Do you have experience with living walls holding up to intense deer pressure? It also needs to be at least 7 feet tall, preferably 8.

Edit: it's early, I didn't see the fencing forum.. Will direct my query there.
3 weeks ago

Ned Harr wrote:I built a wattle(ish) leaf bin out of sticks that were lying around in my yard. Mostly maple, some boxelder, some sycamore. I say "ish" because I did it randomly and spontaneously, and quite sloppily, but the chaotic result is aesthetically pleasing to me and it contains the leaves quite well.

It measures approximately 5 by 8 feet and is about 3 feet high. And I've added to it a bit since I took these pictures...it's kind of a work in progress, and I weave more sticks into them now and then whenever I feel like it.

Now that is a pretty leaf bin! Looks like a random weave basket.
3 weeks ago
A couple years ago I had some friends over for my birthday.. One friend brought a big overflowing bowl of these beautiful yellow plums. They tasted like honey and sunshine. Was one of my favorite gifts ever. Only downside is they weren't 'freestone', but I may ask for cuttings from the tree, or some pits to grow on in my airprune bed anyway.
1 month ago
I harvested the last of the parsnips this weekend! And replanted with potato onions. Also did some weeding and shared some oregano plantlings that got evicted. We had our local Seedy Sunday yesterday which is always fun. I found a Flax variety that I've been looking for for years, at the swap table no less.
I get too many apples every year. I choose apples! Them and squash are big dietary staples for us. In my medium sized city many people put their unattractive, lumpy and bruised apples out in the street for people to help themselves. I keep a tote bag on me during apple season and take a handful from each box. I juice them in my steam juicer, then run the mash through my food mill and freeze the resulting applesauce. I use the sauce in one of my favorite breakfast porridges (1:1:1 applesauce:oats:hot leached acorn), as a base for fruit leather, for applesauce muffins, in cake recipes, cook it down for applebutter, and sometimes I add the odd bit to my sourdough. I also dry a bunch in 'rings' (not actually rings, just slices, I spit out the seeds as I eat them and the dog gets any tough/yucky bits). Tomatoes I love but prefer fresh and there's only so many I can grow here in my small garden. I have adjusted my pasta eating ways to mostly pestos and squash based sauces as that's what we have a lot of.
1 month ago
I never thought that a tiny French bulldog would make the best gardening/farm/life companion, but Rosie does it all. At only 17lbs, she is a rescue from a puppy mill, with a crooked spine, two bad knees, and a botched butthole surgery (I'm not joking). She's been trotting along at my ankles and making me laugh 24/7 since day 1 💕.
3 months ago
We're just finalizing details before we break ground on a small light straw clay or chip slip cabin. Would  appreciate any advice, tips, or constructive criticism  of our ideas.

Location is a Southern Gulf Island, BC (PNW) so rain is a factor. 16×20 cabin. Concrete slab foundation and 18inch stem wall. I know 12 inch wall width is standard but we are considering 10 inches to save on floorspace and drying time, will this be an issue? We have a relatively mild climate. Double stud walls (gf doesn't want to go the Larson truss route as she's worried about  splitting the thin wood). Metal roof for rainwater collection. Planning on an earthen floor, woodstove for heat. Clay plaster interior and lime exterior, hoping that will help with the water. 2 foot overhangs.  Still  deciding  between chip slip and straw, we have access to free chip but it's quite large chunks, we could potentially send it through  another  chipper to make it smaller. Will do some tests first before we make that call.

Future plans/amendments that we are taking into consideration are; a covered porch, covered cob oven/outdoor kitchen area, and either a masonry heater or RMH.

If there's anything I missed or any glaring issues please  let me know! Hoping to start in spring.
3 months ago