Louise Berns

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since Oct 25, 2021
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homeschooling kids fungi foraging urban food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead ungarbage
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Recent posts by Louise Berns

I decided to focus on a tiny area this fall to see how sustainably I could put in a brand-new polyculture and I’m so proud of how it turned out!  Nothing in this picture added more than five minutes of driving. I planted beach plums and anise hyssop from a local permaculture farm near my kid’s forest school; monarda I grew last year from seed from our local seed library; chives, daffodils, and strawberries divided from clumps elsewhere in the garden, and lupine and plantain from foraged seed. Even the bricks for outlining the path are from a neighbor. Fingers crossed it grows in well!
6 months ago
I’m also in former 6b/new 7a and it rings true for me. The last two years I’ve planted twice, once by each set of recommendations, and the 7a plantings have fared much better. I am in coastal RI, though, and I wonder if the warming ocean is more of a factor here.

I also echo that midsummer drought-it’s becoming increasingly unrealistic to grow tomatoes and summer squash without frankly exorbitant irrigation.
So, I’ve got a problem—black vine weevils in my urban permaculture garden, going after my new peach trees, my beans, my horseradish, and even my strawberries. I’m seeing a few non-chemical recommendations for dealing with them:

1- they are driven out of the soil by damp, so “remove excess mulch.” I do a very deep mulch layer, so this could definitely be contributing. But also the mulch works really well and I’m hesitant to change it.

2- nematodes, apparently the only natural predators. My main concern here is doing it right—if I already have beetles, is it too late? Has anyone had success?

3- this is speculation, but the ornamentals that came with the house are basically all on the list of these guys’ favorite foods (rhododendrons, euonymus, hostas, cedum, phlox, etc.). Would replacing some of these help in the long term?
9 months ago

May Lotito wrote:

I saw this photo of "candelabra sprouting" and it looks similar to yours. Check out the article in the link here.growing produce

Oh, yeah, that’s definitely it. Makes sense too—the straw was from a neighbor and it’s totally possible it was herbicide-contaminated. Thank you!
1 year ago
Hey all,

I threw together a Ruth stout potato bed about six weeks ago because I had the materials just lying around. I’m just curious because I seem to be getting very little growth—is this normal? Just a small amount of roots and a few tendrils of what look like Asian bean sprouts.
1 year ago

I have! It seems very nice—dark, fluffy, great smell—but is also quite scant, almost a dusting. It’s amazing how much the chips broke down. Maybe in a year or two of growing in the same spot I might get enough depth to plant into.
1 year ago
Hey all—

Wanted to give a year two update on my winecaps on wood chips. I had plans to really thoroughly refurbish the bed in the fall, but actually all I did was dump a wheelbarrow of fresh chips down. Nothing happening at all there. On the other hand, my entire garden is now full of mushrooms! Like all the random chip piles, the beds, the paths. Last big rain I harvested nine pounds. I’m currently experimenting with Trad Cotter’s “bluet burrito” to propagate mycelium on cardboard sheets because the neighbors all want their own now!
1 year ago
May (part one):

NINE POUNDS of wine caps from my wood chips beds and polyculture beds: some of these got eaten right away, some given to neighbors but most were dried or frozen.

Early radishes
1 year ago
I’ve got an abundance of strawberry leaves and was recently fascinated to discover strawberry leaf played a major role in my ancestral herbal traditions! I have both alpine and junebearing strawberries growing in the garden , so I picked some fresh, healthy-looking leaves, air dried them, crumbled, and stored for tea. Thanks for your consideration!