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Brian Moolman

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since Apr 16, 2011
Port Elizabeth, Nanaga area, Eastern Cape, South Africa
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Recent posts by Brian Moolman

naauwpoort wrote:
There are named varieties, one I have read about is called Fuseau which is recommended as it is less knobbly. The ones I bought many years ago were merely labelled Jerusalem Artichoke. Mine are fairly smooth and taper at both ends -- a similar shape to sweet potato but significantly smaller.
- Shahn

Good to know,

7 years ago

naauwpoort wrote:
Hi Brian,
Did you get hold of Jerusalem artichokes? I am in Johannesburg and could help.

Hi Shahn,

Yes thank you I got a few roots from the klein karoo already. Hopefully they take, failing which I would be very grateful if you could help me out. Do you know if you get different strains/cultivars of the stuff?


7 years ago
Hi there,

Is there anyone in SA that has some Jerusalem artichoke tubers that they can post to Port Elizabeth, I can't find it anywhere.

Maybe someone knows where you can obtain it from.


Brian Moolman. 
7 years ago
Yeah iv been mulling this over in my head the last few days and the more I think about it the more unsure I am it will work. TOO many things to go wrong, its only a matter of time before your dog figures out a way in and that will end in disaster.

Was fun thinking about it though, really need to find a cheap fool proof solution, I live in South Africa and I can't find any of that electric netting stuff anywhere, seems like there is not enough demand for it here.

Maybe livestock guardians are the only answer, here where we are there are loads of predators like jackals, lynx, african bush cat, mongoose, hawks etc. etc. It just seems those lgd are really big and will cost a lot of money to feed for a few chickens for the house.
7 years ago
Ok so I was listening to Paul's podcast with Toby about animal problems to solutions.

The basic message is for every animal problem, there's another animal thats can provide a solution.

So I was working in my garden yesterday when it came to me. Our farm house is one of those ones that are encircled by a driveway, now the driveway also marks the border of my dog Zulu's boundary limit (he has one of those invisible fence electric collar thingys). Our chicken coup is on the other side of the boundary and they don't dare walk over this invisible barrier coz Zulu likes to pluck there tail feather out for them (Nobody messes with Zulu) .

So I was thinking if this dog barrier can keep the chickens out the garden couldn't  you use the same principle to keep chickens in where you want them, like on a chicken paddock shift system. Is this crazy or cruel or something, I'm not sure.

Here's how it could work. You set up the border wire in a circle/square around wherever the chickens need to be, u place some flags or something so the dog knows where it can't go and chickens know where their foraging border is, then you get a type of dog that will sit all day and make sure those chickens never get out. I'm pretty sure a jack russell will have no complaints doing that job.

At night the chickens are locked up in there moveable coop, then the next morning the coop is moved and the new forage zone setup before the chickens are let out. Dog in place then out the chickens go!

I think its possible for this to maybe work but there are surely some issues with it.

- training chickens to recognize their border
- fatalities to slower learning chickens
- battery on collar could go flat on you

The upside is the dog is likely to deter predators away especially if you have 2.

So what do you think?
7 years ago
I do have a few other tree species in there, but the majority of it is the cypressy stuff.

I do have some comfrey plants already growing up, so when they are big enough ill make some root divisions.

7 years ago
Thanks biologybill,

Some really interesting thoughts there, I like the insects using exposed logs as pathways and entry point for fungus. Makes sense.

BTW it is the beginning of the growing season here, springs starts in September for us, so the potatoes are definitely for yield. I hope anyway, I planted 3 varieties Buffelspoort, Argos and Harmony.

Now let me try remember all the seeds I used in the mix:

Edible flower mix
African daisy
evening primrose

There are more just can't think of them now.

My idea is that whatever is right for the conditions will germinate.

7 years ago
Thanks for clearing that up.
7 years ago
Thanks Hvala

Why not monoecious?

I looked it up and from what I gather, monoecious means a plant that has both male and female reproductive organs. Why does this make a difference for hugelkultur?

7 years ago
Hi to all,

I am new to posting on this forum. Here are some pics of my 1st hugelkultur bed.
I have a few concerns that perhaps you guys can help clear up for me.

1. I never dug down into the turf first, I just simply cut down a tree that my mother didn't want anymore then piled a whole lot of logs, sticks, etc about hip high then I covered it with kraal manure from the sheep and goat pen. On top of that I used some red soil that was already excavated from a burn tip site  on the farm as a top layer.

- If I had to do it again I definitely would dig into the ground first and use that soil and turf as the top layers. Saves me having to go fetch soil and the turf provides instant green matter to add nitrogen to the compost process.
I just thought if I put the wood directly at ground level the bed would be higher for the same amount of wood. Is this going to cause the bed to work less effectively?

2. The wood I used was some type of cypress (I think, not sure, not too many trees like this in these parts) and the wood has a very resinous smell.
- Do you think this is going to have a huge negative impact? Are these trees alleopathic?

3. Now that the soil is covered there are some small logs sticking out the soil in some places.
- will this wick/evaporate moisture out of the beds. Should i pull the area apart and reshuffle the wood so nothing sticks out?

4. Sepp Holzer ("THE MIGHTY, THE AMAZING, THE GLORIOUS") describes 2 methods of planting on his video.

a) broadcasting a seed mixture on his newly made terraces, plain and simple.
b) he describes the cardboard mulching and planting the specific plants into holes made into the cardboard method.
- this requires starting seedlings individually, then transplanting them into their new spots in my hugelbed - a bit of a mission + wont get the diversity as easily!

I would like to plant up a potato polyculture of flowers, deep rooted plants, comfrey, companion veg etc by firstly planting the seed potato then broadcasting the rest on top and raking in. We have had some good rain last night so the beds are nice and wet. Got to get moving soon.

What do you think, any suggestions? Appreciate your time.


Brian Moolman

7 years ago