Loretta Liefveld

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since Mar 19, 2021
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Retired and living on 55 acres in North Central Idaho, zone 6b-7
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North Central Idaho-Zone 6b (officially 7a)
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Recent posts by Loretta Liefveld

Arthur Wierzchos wrote:We just made our move to Northwestern Poland from a more tropical environment of Taiwan.  

Hopefully they make it through!  I don't think there are many people growing these species at 50 degrees North Latitude.  



Wow - moving from Taiwan to Poland!  You will definitely have a challenge learning to deal with all that cold weather and snow.  But that's what I love about gardening - always a learning adventure.   In the meantime, I'm thrilled you brought starts with you, and they are growing!   I do think you will have to actually  heat your greenhouse, though.
3 months ago

Ralph Kettell wrote:We ended up with over 50 pepper plants in the garage.  


OMG!   50???  no wonder you were overrun with peppers  LOL



When we first took delivery the greenhouse temps were daily swinging from 40 degrees to 110.  


I feel your pain.   It is so hard to handle those huge swings.  We have them in the fall, also.


3 months ago
This is my first year trying to overwinter peppers, and I believe I'm going to have good success.

I had one pepper plant that I had been growing in a 5-gallon bucket.   Wasn't very happy, actually, but I managed to get a number of peppers from it.   Near the end of the season (after a lot of very hot days), it had a bunch of baby peppers.  I couldn't stand the thought of losing them, so I brought the whole bucket into my greenhouse.  They continued to grow, but very slowly.   As the days got shorter and shorter, I added grow lights.   My peppers are all turning red very nicely!!

I also had 3 other varieties that were in the ground or raised beds.   I following some instructions I found, cutting off all leaves and most branches, all the way down to the first  'Y', then pushing a shovel straight down all the way around the plant before lifting it up.   I have put these in 1-2 gallon pots, and because of the conditions in my greenhouse, they are already sprouting leaves.   I guess I'll just let them go ahead, rather than trying to force them to stay dormant.
3 months ago

Tristan Vitali wrote:
- surface application only with the sulfur "buttons", and not too thickly.



Dandelions have just started blooming!  Yesterday it got up to 85, so I'm guessing it's time to put sulfur down.  

Two questions, though:
1.  We're supposed to start having a week of rain starting mid-week next week.   Should I still put the sulfur down now?  Or should I wait until the rain is over?

2.  I'm a little worried about whether my chicken will think those little yellow buttons are something good to eat.   When I put some granular fertilizer down in my daffodil bed, they started eating it all up!    I have to assume it would be poisonous for them.    Thoughts?   Do I need to be sure to fence them out of the area for a month?
10 months ago

Thekla McDaniels wrote:Yeah! It works a charm.

You need to be able to cover a large area, because the roots are not necessarily straight down from where the plants are this year.  



Hmm...  I can probably do that in the veggie garden, but the other place that it's absolutely rampant is a 'meadow' garden.... I've planted all kinds of meadow flowers..... and of course the place that it's most prevalent just has to be right where the majority of the flowers are.

Well, I might just have to sacrifice that garden for a year or two.   Leave the perennials in and cardboard around them.  I'm pretty desperate at this point.

thanks for the tip.

(Sorry for hijacking this thread on clay soil)
1 year ago

Thekla McDaniels wrote:

When I put cardboard down before the wood chips it will kill bindweed, or cut way back on it for a couple years


Wow!  So good to know!  I have 2 garden areas that have so much bindweed.   I've been trying to eradicate it for several years... but as you most likely know, the roots *can* go down a couple of feet sometimes, and they are very fragile, so they break off when trying to dig them out.   The best I've been able to do is to go out weekly or twice weekly to try to dig them out.   I will definitely try cardboard over them.
1 year ago

Luke Mitchell wrote:

Loretta, I'd love to know more about the chipper you bought? Would you consider posting about it in another thread?



I found a thread "All about Wood Chips" and someone was asking about recommendation for a chipper, so I responded to that thread (since I have no idea how to actually START a new thread).   Here's my response:  Wood Chipper response

I've never shared a post in a thread before.... hope I did it right.
1 year ago

Wally Jasper wrote:Bryant, you mentioned your wood chipper in this thread. I'm looking to buy a wood chipper. Any recommendations for good quality, durable chippers? Many thanks.



Wally, I'm not Bryant, but I can tell you what we use.   After a whole lot of research, we bought a WoodMaxx DC-1260e.   Here's a link to it on their website.  WoodMaxx DC-1260e

The 1260 (without the 'e') is a recoil start.  The 1260e is electric pushbutton start... but you can also pull start it if the battery is dead.  I'm the one usually doing the chipping, and a pull start is just too difficult for me.  We try to keep it attached to a battery-minder, but right now, it's out in the open, with just a tarp over it, it's been months and months since I started it, and it still starts.  To me, that's a huge  plus.

My husband was more interested in the engine itself and other 'mechanically technical' details... which you can see on their website.

I seems to be very robust, and handles whatever I feed it, although I'm careful not to put anything too big in it.   It supposedly can handle up to 4" diameter, but I've only gone up to about 3".  At 3", it was a little difficult to get the branch to feed into the blades, but once it got started it handled it well.

It says it is 'self-feeding', but it's not as self-feeding as a chipper we used to have that attached to our tractor.   The chute is sloped, which is supposed to gravity feed the wood.  Once you a specific piece of wood started, it pulls the rest in.  But sometimes it doesn't feed the wood automatically into the blades.   I have a separate wood pole that I use to push the wood along, being careful not to let the pole itself get into the blades.   However, since the pole is wood, the occasional times that I've pushed a little bit too far didn't hurt the pole much, and certainly not the chipper.

Because this is a chipper and not a shredder, I find that if I put a bunch of small branches (like pencil-size or smaller) into it, it jams.   Not nice.   Not very difficult to clear, but would be nicer if it handled those better.

I also find that I need to be sure that the wood that I'm already pushed in has gotten to a certain point before I jam more wood in.  I'm pretty impatient, and sometimes I just get too much in at one time.   Then the wood gets all  jammed up in the chute before it gets to the blades.

One other thing to note... Be sure the short pieces (less than 12") stay perpendicular to the blades if you want chips instead of sawdust.   And the same goes for pieces that are just slightly longer than 12".... if it gets 'cock-eyed' and wedges diagonally in the chute, it holds up the whole mess.
1 year ago

Nancy Reading wrote:

Loretta Liefveld wrote:

In both instances, there is quite a bit of 'burned stuff' that didn't burn completely to ash.

Can any of that be used for soil improvement?



Loretta, Sorry I didn't see your post earlier: Wood ash is rich in potassium which is good for developing flowers and fruit and for ripening growth to toughen it, Charcoal becomes biochar in contact with soil which acts as a nutrient 'battery' harbouring water and bio-organisms in the soil. It is probably good for your soil especially around perennial plants, but also where you grow fruit like tomatoes. Depending on how good/dry your soil tends to be you may or may not see a real result, but unless they burnt any nasty man made stuff along with the branches, I think it will be good for soil improvement



Thanks, Nancy.  Since this was fire mitigation, they were cutting down dead trees and small trees and bushes that become ladder fuel.  I think there are a couple of places where old fence posts might have been burned, but most of the burn piles in the 7 acres they did consisted of just the ladder fuel.

My soil is clay, clay, clay - mixed with silt, silt, silt (which is almost as difficult as clay, just not as sticky) - mixed with basalt rocks ranging in size from fist-size to basketball-size (and upwards).    The people that built the house just cut off the top of a hill, so there's very little topsoil in most places.   I've been working on amending it, one small area at a time, adding compost, worm castings and gypsum.

I think I would have to inoculate the charcoal pieces.... thinking of putting some of them in my compost pile and some in the worm bin to inoculate.   Because the burn piles were in the forest, on the ground, it's all somewhat in contact with the soil, but I'm thinking it probably needs a little more inoculation.  Maybe I could mix it up with some goose, duck or chicken poop.
1 year ago

Michelle Heath wrote: No luck with chipdrop



I had no luck with chipdrop, either.   Living in a rural area, I don't think these types of services are very available.   But we bought a heavy duty chipper.  We split our own wood, so there's always a huge pile of bark  - mostly from conifer trees.  I chip these into a 3-sided bin' we made from plywood that is about 4' x 8' x 4' (tall) . Out of last year's bark, it's over 1/2 full.     I know bark isn't the best chip material, but it's still organic material. I wish our chipper were also a shredder, so I could shred up smaller, live branches.  Our chipper clogs up on those.

Clay is so super slippery and gooey that walking out into the yard is a real problem, so I spread wood chips on the paths.   I'm assuming that eventually the paths will become less gooey.... maybe I'll even end up using those as planting places and make new paths
1 year ago