dirtfarmer Hatfield

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since Sep 25, 2010
Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Recent posts by dirtfarmer Hatfield

mrchuck wrote:
I'm thinking dandelion or dandelion's close relative chicory would make fantastic perennial cover crops and should be sown in a field that will be a future orchard or farm. Sowing would probably be as easy as blowing some puffballs where you want it to be. Maybe a dandelion/ legume cover crop mix would be good; anyone else think so?

Dandelion + white or Ladino clover + rattlesnake and broadleaf plantain, ground ivy, a little grass (crabgrass, mowed),
foxtail millet (mowed), a little spearmint or peppermint..might make a good combination. In a fertile pasture these would do well;
could mix in herbs and wildflowers. 
8 years ago

Plankl wrote:
How did mole planting worked for you? Did moles tried to repair their hills? I will try to sow veggies in mole hill in spring at friends property where there is a lot of this stuff in spring, but i heard about repairing.

I discovered a huge multi-stemmed pokeberry plant growing out of a gopher hole in a steep loose dirt embankment.
It was firmly embedded in the hole; roots probably going well into the tunnel.
8 years ago

Synergy wrote:
dirtfarmer, as long as you have assessed your present and potential future uses of your land adding more biodiversity is terrific .  I seeded every mole hill with red clover and introduced herbs and medicinal trees  .   I will add a cautionary note here that ground ivy has some level of toxicity ,  certainly to horses.

Its a great catch crop (nutrients) and nice looking ground cover & smells good. I have over three acres fenced in to keep deer out, successfully, and no horses, no other livestock just a cat.
Speaking of biodiversity, I discovered that fire ants know how to Keyline plow too and they need only themselves to do the work.
They cut a highly visible groove across my hard packed drive way with crusher run and crushed rock embedded in it. Over 12 feet long;
never seen anything like it. They had a convoy underway, hauling whatever from the base of a large chimney where their mound was,
across the drive and over the edge and into a big drainage ditch surrounded with lots of weeds and tree seedlings. I Like having them on my property and encourage them any way I can. When tilling a bed I wrecked part of one of their active mounds running across the bed. I restored it by spreading loose dirt over the damaged mound section. In a few weeks they had made the whole thing as good as new and were thriving. They, in addition to dung beetles and worms are Nature's little rototillers.
Here's part of a thread in the permaculture list you may appreciate:
There really is a balance of nature, ...
<> DB:
I used to think that this is just a romantic idea. Yet after more than ten years on this land, I come more and more
to the conclusion that this is in fact very true and that all our endeavors will be in vain if we don't understand
this balance of Nature and find ways of living in harmony with Nature.
<> LL:
Interesting to consider that we evolved within Nature. Nature made it possible for us to come into being. It seems that
Nature in balance is the essence of Gaia, a manifestation of Gaia, its need to continue and grow with its component
parts in coexistence, coevolving.
8 years ago

tel jetson wrote:
seems like it would be difficult to sell something that's so widely available for free.

They are not as abundant as they used to be at my place. I would like to  create
herbal lawns to seed with the wild variety, broadleaf plantain, rattlesnake plantain, clover, mint,
comfrey, maybe a little crabgrass to mow high, ground ivy and anything else
that will coexist without dominating. I probably should plant several raised beds with dandelions.
8 years ago

Kelda O. wrote:
Agreed: dynamic accumulator which is a low-maintenance medicinal and ornamental herb.

What does it accumulate or does it hyperaccumulate anything, minerals, N, P, K calcium?
I wonder of there is anywhere you can buy seeds of the wild variety.

This is a great thread..
8 years ago

Dandelions are in the chicory family and the greens are good for people with respiratory problems, raw in salads of course.
You can buy cultivars to grow for market (Johnny's).
8 years ago

Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Loose sorts of replication are actually fairly abundant. I found the following here (emphasis mine):

Note that this is not an organic farmer, but a researcher who is happy to eliminate herbicide, reduce the use of chemical fertilizer, and sees benefits to the crop which can't be explained by nitrogen alone.

A direct laboratory experiment showed that cutting was important, and soil disturbance unnecessary, in the transfer of nitrogen to wheat from inter-planted white or red clover. This is consistent with the practice of scything clover while wheat is just beginning to grow. Abstract & link

Strip cropping on the contour of fields with alternating wheat (or spelt) and clover would allow safe scything of the clover for regeneration without disturbing the wheat; nitrogen from the clover would migrate downhill across the grade to fertilize the cash crop. The cut clover would provide animal feed or could be left in place for added humus and nitrogen.

From my earlier post:
After pigs spread rock dusts over the land for mineral nutrients, remineralizing the soil
Spread hay, mulch or compost over the land and
Plant red clover into it; the clover will interact with soil fungi to augment the mining of phosphate
and possibly other micronutrients for plant use - follow this in Fall with a planting of rye grain or winter rye grass
(a great soil builder).
A good time to add rock dusts would be prior to seeding the clover.
8 years ago
Info on CCD causes:

Joe Cummins
Prof. Emeritus, Genetics
(some big university in Canada)
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Honey bee killer explained
...Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 19:43:03 -0400
From: joe cummins <jcummins@UWO.CA>

The evidence relating CCD and a virus along with the fungal parasite Nosema is very strong. However, the published studies have not looked at a thrid culprit the systematic insecticide. That chemical will reduce the bee's immunity to virus and parasite. The final answer to CCD is close but still does not say what weakens the bee's immunity to both virus and parasite. However, there is evidence that the insecticide is likely to be the final piece of the puzzle , what causes CCD?
8 years ago
Kelly, in my permaculture list, has adequately answered my question, so for your benefit here's a crosspost:
There is no need to feed bees in the winter.  For the most part, they are in a semi-dormant cluster, are unable to fly anyway, and so would be unable to partake of your gift.  Bees cannot fly in temperatures below 50 degrees fahrenheit.  Unless your spring and summer have been unusually absent of flowering  trees and other plants, the bees will have put up more than enough food for the winter.  Wild bees have few needs that humans can supply!  How refreshing!

Bees are opportunists and if a food source is nearby and discovered before their winter dormancy, then they will definitely take advantage of the resource - hence the attraction of hundreds of bees to your compost pile.

If you are wanting to assist them, the best ways to do so are to protect the tree or cavity that they are nesting in, plant maple, linden and other flowering trees in their vicinity, locate a water source near their nest for spring, summer and fall that is set up to prevent them from drowning, and plant a variety of flowering medicinal plants such as catnip, mints, thymes and such so that they can self-medicate as they need to, and most especially lobby your neighbors NOT use pesticides and herbicides on their properties.

Hope this helps!

Boulder, CO
8 years ago

Ludi wrote:
This is what I'm going to try with my next planting of fruit trees.   

I second that as a great innovation; better than just building a ring of compost and mulch around the tree's drip line.
The feeder rots will grow into the Huegelbeet.

8 years ago