John Saltveit

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since May 09, 2010
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Food forest in a suburban location. Teaches grafting and helps people learn how to grow food. Involved with a local food exchange group.  Shares cuttings and knowledge with schoolchildren.
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Recent posts by John Saltveit

I'm sure that Rudolf Steiner would agree with you wholeheartedly and that seemed to be the reason why he explained what was happening in his Agriculture series 100 years agi, that formed the basic ideas of the Biodynamic Movement.
John S
2 days ago
I am always happy whenever Redhawk is posting on a thread I like because I know I'm going to learn a lot.

I am using 55 gallon drums, which I can get for free off Craig's list in my home town . TLUD because it seems I can make lots of biochar more quickly than with retort.  Many retorts have tiny inner chambers, and I also found it very difficult to find the inner chamber.  Other systems are inefficient.  TLUD is efficient, partly beause the fire is funneled into going straight up quickly.     I found this video to be extremely helpful:

I did everything in it, except for cutting the hole on the top of the stove.   I think you can draw a circle around your chimney on the top of the barrel and cut into it with your angle grinder.  My chimney was a bit different, but those were the parts I could get.

You have to see when the fire settles down and then douse it with water.   It makes fantastic, light, metallic sounding biochar.  I simply grind it with a simple 2 x 6, with another piece attached to the bottom so it's wider there. I wear gloves. 

Then I have inoculated it with urine, sea water, compost, rotten fruit, or anything else nutritious that was around and that I could use.  For a month.  Then I put it in the garden.

I am excited.  Healthy soil and declining carbon in the atmosphere = Less climate change and better food.

Let's use the wisdom of previous indigenous peoples' civilizations as a tribute to them and their ingenuity.

John S
3 days ago
There is a nursery that sells persimmons in Southern Ontario, Grimes Nursery.  I think they are fairly common there.

I would ask them.

Northern Ontario always makes me think of the Neil Young song "Helpless".

"There is a town in North Ontario..............."

John S
3 days ago
Good point. A few volunteers doing service for zillions of people isn't very people connecting.

We also have a neighborhood sharing group in which some are great at growing vegies, others fruit, herbs, etc. People share their ideas of how to grow, cook, graft, biochar, hugulkulture, etc.  To paraphrase Yogi Berra, 50% of gardening is 90% social. 
John S
4 days ago
I have been doing this work for decades.  You don't have to buy quince rootstock. If you have a quince tree, every time you prune it, put that stick into the ground and it will probably grow into a tree. Then graft pear onto it the next year. Get your pipeline going. 

Pear also easily grafts onto many types of hawthorn. I have many pear on hawthorn trees as well.  Hawthorn is a weed here too.  Free rootstock. There are also good edible medicinal hawthorns.

The vast majority of fruit varieties aren't patented, like 90%.  The kinds you see in stores or hear advertised are more likely to be patented. The patent wears off after 17 or 20 years or so.   Do a little research. In some parts of the country, there are scion exchanges. There are also many businesses that will sell you scion. I have done this through free exchanges and in the mail, and it works.

Many rootstocks aren't patented and they are nearly all cheap.  Some have suckers, which when removed from the trunk with a bit of root attached, form new trees.  Free rootstock. Replant it in a new locale and then graft that tree.

Grafting is a technique, like composting, planting, pruning, or training a tree.  Not hard, but you need patience. Once you get it, you can do it for the rest of your life.  Some trees are harder to graft. That's why we have experts, and why we can buy trees already grafted. 

There are many organizations that help redistribute the fruit on the trees that are already in neighborhoods. No need to chop down a tree at a house you move into. Learn how to use it.  People will help you.   In my town, it is Portland Fruit Tree Project.  Groups like this exist in many, many US cities.

We need to get people figuring out how to do this so we can adjust when the industrial/colonizing/extractive/polluting/greed based economy wears away.

John S

5 days ago
I love those sports but I'm married, kids, not moving. Great idea though.
JohN S
Redhawk-I love how you are connecting ideas we may know with interesting and different ways of understanding things like soil and water, that are so crucial.
John S
1 week ago
I think of homesteading in a different way than many people on this forum.  I don't think that the goal of everyone should be to make their own homestead.

When I was 10, I just wanted to skateboard. I still skateboard, but I'm not pro.

When I was 14, my goal was to become a pro baseball player. I still play baseball, but in a lower rec league.

When I was 23, I wanted to be a professional musician. I still play music, just not professionally.  And so on with hang gliding, kayaking, unicycling, bike riding, and gardening/permaculture.

I think of real full time homesteading out in the sticks as "Major league permaculture".  The vast majority will never want to put all of our focus on that, nor attain the skills to be able to survive only on that. 

Most of us will have to live close enough to some town or develop some internet job to have some income to pay electric bills, send our kids to college, buy a car, etc. 

Plus, there are advantages to living close to others. My city is big enough to have several baseball leagues. I can skateboard and unicycle on pavement, but not on dirt or gravel roads.

I can ride my bike and check out books and music at the library. I can ride my bike to get enormous varieties of organic produce, much of which I will never be able to grow here: guavas, papayas, amla, most citrus, etc. We have lots of farmers' markets.

I can go see huge varieties of very skilled live music. I can go to huge numbers of really great restaurants from huge numbers of different cultures on public transit or bike.

As I get older, having a variety of medical treatments at high quality is a real draw. 

I like hanging out with my friends and family.

I think for most of us, the optimal situation is some kind of mix that involves some amount of homesteading-like permaculture on a smaller scale and many of the other benefits of civilization, while avoiding the downsides.

John S
A lot depends on the individual climate you are in.  Some grow better outside, others inside.  Some are easy to gather in some places. Some are difficult to gather in nearly all places. In some places, it is difficult to gather very many to sell at all.  It also depends on how big your inside space is and how big your outside space is.  Do you own it? Then you can change it.
John S
2 weeks ago
I love Green Deane.  I am on his email list.  He writes great articles about wild edibles.
John S
2 weeks ago