Margie Nieuwkerk

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since Aug 02, 2011
Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
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Recent posts by Margie Nieuwkerk

Also works on the stolons:   "Stolons of bermudagrass were collected from the Agro-
nomic Research Area, University of Agriculture, Faisala-
bad, Pakistan.The stolons were cut into pieces to separate
the nodes. Each Petri dish of 9 cm diameter was filled
with 10 g of loam soil. Five fungicide-treated nodes of
bermudagrass were planted in each Petri dish.Then, the
25, 50, 75, and 100% mulberry leaf water extracts were
poured on the soil uniformly in the respective Petri
dishes. Distilled water was used as the control for com-
parison. All the Petri dishes (covered with lids) were
placed in a germinator (MIR-253; Sanyo,Tokyo, Japan)
at 25 ⫾2°C. The data on the sprouting, radicle and
plumule lengths, and fresh and dry weights were
recorded 12 days after sowing (DAS)."

1 year ago
This is the bane of my garden and plants!  Bermuda grass!! I call it devil weed.

I've been searching for about 2 years to find a remedy.

By accident I just found it, while looking for something else.

There was a research paper (Researchgate) on the success of using mulberry leaf water extract, a 75% solution KILLS Bermuda Grass!!!

Who would have known, and I have loads of mulberry trees!

Here is the link to the article:

scroll down the paper and you will find how they make it, my short version is:

wash leaves thoroughly and let the leaves dry ( a few days)

soak dried leaves in tap water at 10%(w/v) at room temp (13-25 degrees C) for 24 hours,

filter to obtain a 10% extract

Then boil to concentrate it by 95% - this is now 100% stock solution.

Dilution of stock solution can be made to make 75, 50 or 25%

basically above 25% seems to block the bermuda grass from growing but they seem to recommend 75% or more

75% to 100% mulberry leaf water extract sprayed on the offending devil weed will kill it!

I plan to make cauldron's of the stuff!

1 year ago
The Grow Network has a good article about why NOT to use straw as mulch.

I read the article and initially thought that this was a bit alarmist.

Then I reviewed the success (or lack thereof) of the areas where I'd used straw in the past two years.

I ordered a bunch of bales this fall, in my barn now, just for the purpose of mulching.

Long story short, I decided to test bean germination.  One plate of beans with water, one plate with straw tea (straw soaked in water for a few days)

Here are the enlightening results:

the plain water beans - 28 germinated out of 39 beans
the wheat tea beans germinated 4 out of 34

The 4 wheat tea bean sprouts are very small and stunted one of them 1/2 cm, the others less than 1/4 cm, the plain water ones look normal, most about 1/4 cm to a cm

I am going to recommend others do the same if they plan to use straw as mulch.  This also means that the straw from my chicken coop and rabbit pen can't be used as I had initially planned.  

3 years ago
IS it possible to mosaic the bench part of the heater along the lines of some of the projects here ? I am thinking it would be quite a bit of work but might make it easier to clean the surface, and also make an aesthetically pleasing "piece-a-furniture". Would it block heat?

Has anyone tried it?
5 years ago
Great video, thanks So Much!!!

Regarding the experimental pepple style RMH:

For the "bypass" Is there a good close up of how the bypass works? or maybe a little diagram? We are trying to figure out how to construct that and can't quite make it out.

Also for the "bubble" - is this an extension of the burn tube with a lid on top, or does it have a particular shape? is there a drawing of how the bubble relates to the burn tube?

5 years ago
Kochia plants make GREAT outdoor brooms!

If you take two or 3 kochia plants at maturity, either dry them or wait for them to be dried, tie them together from the root end going up about a foot or two, these make fantastic outdoor brooms. This is what they do in my village here. For outside on patio and drive areas, there is no broom that is better. I think you use about 3 of them in a year. I would imagine if you chop kochia down before it goes to seed, they would make a really nice chop and drop mulch as well.

I am going to try it this year. I am also thinking of planting some in little short rows as windbreaks for some of my other stuff and see if it works.
5 years ago

Stefan Sobkowiak wrote:Sorry it's hard to summarize 20 years of learning into 2 hours!!

Whattabout a series then? Could be a 2 or 3 or 4 part series?

Anyways, not to stress you out, I am delighted that you did this video, and as soon as my next pay comes in I will order it, and I know I will see it many many times.

If you don't do another one, I will be ok, but if you decide that you would LIKE to do another video, count me in!
6 years ago
Me too, would love another film on integrating animals into the orchard! I was considering doing a chicken tractor, but i think my trees are still too small and will not provide enough shade for the chickens, and it does get very very hot here in July and August.
6 years ago

Stefan Sobkowiak wrote:
Margie I tried to scythe in the beginning. Buccolic, romantic, great exercise. After a few 500 foot rows I realized this is WORK and I had another 25 rows to go!!
Small is beautiful. Grow the grass that grows best in your area. Look at what grows along the sides of the ditches. That's usually a good indicator of what is best suited for your conditions. Use the grass to chop and drop. We now use mow and blow as a faster version of chop and drop. Maybe you should just grow herbs and vegetables in the rows if it is small enough to maximize your yield. That's how you can be profitable from year 1.

OMG! Well, my place is much smaller, i have about 1/2 acre and a part of it is my orchard. Sounds like a good plan on the chopping and dropping of the grass, and I am also trying to grow something called Herniaria Glabra in hopes that this could work as low growing herb but that can be walked on. perhaps what I'll do is do several rows with different plantings and see what works best. Thank you for all your input!!
6 years ago
Stefan! Thank you sooooo much for taking the time and resources to make the video. I am really excited about it and your orchard looks wonderful. I can't wait to see the video!
6 years ago