sean stimac

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since Jun 28, 2011
Cincinnati
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Recent posts by sean stimac

Hi all, I'm not sure that this is the right place for this and I apologize if it isn't. I've been lurking here for years, but haven't really had much to contribute. I work in Cincinnati and really like the area. I'm outgrowing the city and my backyard garden isn't enough for me. I've dreamed of having a small farm for most of my life and want to start to get things rolling. I'm looking for land 10+ acres would be the ideal in Northern Kentucky within an hour of the city (45-50 miles). I would prefer good land over a good house (fixer uppers are OK by me). I've done some looking on the web and I've only found trophy properties, which is out of my price range. My ideal would be about $3.5k or less per acre plus the cost of a small three bedroom fixer upper. A garage or pole barn is also desired. Maybe one of you knows of a property that isn't listed by a big company. I appreciate the help and if I can find what I'm looking for, I'll do my best to share my projects here. Thanks folks.
6 years ago
A pH test would be a great idea.  I'll look into who offers those services in the area.  The clay is very hard.  Water runs right on top of it.  Half of the yard is the top of a hill, half is at the bottom.  I had planned on leveling the bottom a little and building beds partially on the built up area and partially on an elevated area.  I will have to be careful what plants I place where, but I have a good number of years of experience so I think I'll make some good decisions.
8 years ago
Rehashing an old thread, but at the very bottom center of the first photograph there's a little raspberry plant.  I don't know what the others are, but that's definitely raspberry.
8 years ago
I hope this is the right place for this sort of thing.  I found out about this gal this morning while reading mother jones.  For about 8 years I was a music promoter in Norther Michigan.  I dealt mostly with folk, bluegrass, and indie acoustic musicians.  I wish I had heard of her and her bands sooner.  AJ Lee is 13, has received a handful of awards and already has a voice that's as rich and sophisticated as some of the best bluegrass singers that have been in the business for decades.  This stuff is consistently leaving me speechless.  MJ was comparing her to Alison Krauss, I'm not sure I'd go that far yet, but check back with her in a couple years and maybe.  Check out this link for one my favorites that I've found this morning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbP6PlL9dH4
8 years ago
art
Consensus has it that I skip the sand, I'm definitely Ok with this.  I hadn't even considered that I'd be building adobe like conditions under the compost.  That could have lead to some headaches and some choice words. 

I rarely turn the soil, let alone till and I certainly value excellent soil quality.  I'm a firm believer that I don't actually grow plants.  I build up soil, assist in establishing a suitable environment for microbes and animals, and they grow the plants.  That said, I'd like to free up some of the nutes hanging out in the top couple of inches of the clay.  Now, normally I would lay deep sheet mulch instead of tilling in the fall so that by Spring time I have some pretty great dirt to play in, but with this stuff I'm just not certain that's the best idea. 

If I do end up tilling it, this will be the only time I do so and that's just to free up some nutes and create a transition layer between the "new" compost and the clay.  I've done this before with really sandy soil and had great results.  I'm also not worried about disturbing microfauna because it's virtually non-existent in this soil (yeah, it's really that bad - I'm pretty sure you could make pinch pots with this stuff).  I'm also planning on introducing earthworms to the bed once it's been built up. 

I'm totally new to clay though, so any advice you folks offer is definitely going to sit in my head for the next month or so until I have to make a decision.  I've been really spoiled these past few years in the Upper Peninsula - the soil is generally pretty sandy, but it's pretty easy to amend.  This clay nonsense is tough, but I love growing food so I have to figure it out.  Thanks to the folks who have chimed in so far.

Cheers,
Sean
8 years ago
I thought about that as there is huge quantity of yard waste that would be great for hugelkultur around here this time of year, but the landowner wouldn't care for that sort of land modification.  There is an area in the backyard that would be great for building a large hugelkultur bed, but it only receives about half a day of sunshine each day due to the shade of a massive, massive maple.

I did get the Ok to add 6-8 inches of material in parts of the backyard, though.  I was wondering about the sand because I thought it would be able to break up the clay quickly with a tiller.  I had thought of going a little lighter on the sand and heavier on the organics, but this clay is only a little better than hardpan.  It is so hard to even crack up with a pitch fork.

As a side note the composts I will use are predominately woody material, rotted horse manure, and mushroom litter.
8 years ago
I'm a long time food gardener and I've recently moved to Cincinnati.  The soil here isn't soil at all, it's clay and hard to break even with a fork.  I'll be moving into a place in a month or so that allows me to do a bit of gardening so I'm wanting to get started on building some soil for the Spring.  Here's what I'm thinking, tell me what you think.

The area is about 300 square feet.  I plan on buying about 4 cubic yards of coarse sand laying it down and tilling it in.  I'll then apply about 4 cubic yards of mushroom and horse manure compost - both aged at least 3 years.  I'll work them in.  If my math is right that will be about 4 inches of each.  If I work both new layers into the top 4 or 5 inches of clay I should have about a foot of workable soil for next year.  In late November I'd also add a few inches of maple leaf litter ground up with the lawnmower.  If I go this route do you think I'll have some workable earth next Spring.

Honestly, I've never had build soil from clay.  It seems really daunting because of the amount of work involved.  All said and done it's not terribly expensive - it'll cost about $250 for the 300 square foot.  I'll start my own seed and factoring seed cost and electricity for the sprouts I'm out another $150.  So that breaks down to a bit over $1 per square foot.  I can certainly grow more than $1 worth of food per square foot.

Thanks for the forthcoming advice, it's appreciated.
8 years ago