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Albert Johnston

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since Aug 21, 2011
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Recent posts by Albert Johnston

I've not really been following your drama online with forums. I find there is so much useful and entertaining information that taking any time out to post my opinions, which are always subject to change, is not very productive. But my first thought when reading your post was that there are people that feel like they have figured this whole life thing out, and now are on a campaign to change everyone they can with their own gospel of whatever. I suppose if the day comes that I am living off my own land and being a vital part of the community I too can go forth and preach my own gospel and perhaps bring in a few disciples in the process. But until that day happens I am going to just enjoy the process and enjoy who I am today. But I do have a vision of the future that fascinated with life and it's may prospects.

I love your podcasts, your hosts, and your opinions. I am a loyal listener.
It is understandable considering the damage done by cats to the environment that an Australian would have to say no to cats. Every geographical area has their own history with felines. Most of these nocturnal critters thrive because humans feed them and think they are cute. Here in Central Florida we have been blessed with the return of the coyote. It's cunning and nocturnal habits have helped bring down the feral cat population along with the overpopulation of raccoons and opossums. Bobcats and panthers are a normal part of the Florida wilderness. So there is a place for cats here. Just not so many. I would say that the fire ant has been far more destructive to native species than all of the history of felis domesticus.
7 years ago
Has anyone tried using incandescent lights in series? That should increase the turn-on time of the bulb and extend it's life. Or use a dimmer switch. I like the ceiling fan controller because they are more rugged and should last a long time. I have some ceramic fixtures that can be wired in series for experiments.
7 years ago
I've been using CFL's for about twenty years. Overall they have been very disappointing. The only positive that I can say is they are ok where the light has to stay on for long periods of time AND there isn't a human there being tortured by the weirdness of the light. I have one above the front porch and one above the kitchen sink. In the bathroom the light quality is okay but you get about one year per bulb. That's about 60 hours per bulb.
7 years ago
I don't have a system. The only species I have successfully maintained is the common mosquito fish, gambusia. I also have my mosquito digester that is photographed on my Facebook. Oh yes one Oscar in a heated tank outside. So I am just beginning like a lot of people. I think that aqua-culture has to be the first step. If I can create a healthy pond with dozens of species of plants and animals without the use of a lot of power that is the way I'll go. Aquaponics needs a lot more research.
7 years ago
There MAY be a place for aquaponics in homestead permaculture. It depends on your talent, temperament, and resources. I'd like to hear if Sepp Holzer has experimented with aquaponics. I live in Florida which has helped enable me to conduct experiments with a variety of super easy species.
7 years ago
It's great as it is now. I had a similar challenge. As an experiment, I cut down a lot of young oaks to thin out the area. I ended up with more invasive weeds and vines. The beautiful mushrooms I had photographed the year before were gone. I had no use for the young trees besides chop 'n drop. 

As a less invasive alternative perhaps you could ring a few trees. Let them become snags and harvest the fallen limbs for firewood or mulch. Perhaps to amend some hugelkultur. Then in a year or two when there is plenty of sun in the summer plant some plum trees. If you can grow elderberry give that a try. There really is no limit to the "experimenting" you can do.

If you can fence it off you could run chickens through the area  several times a year.
7 years ago
(IMHO) When asking questions about sustainable (and profitable) food forests in Florida, get used to the sound of crickets chirping. That's about all the advice you are going to get.

I am by no means an expert. My only knowledge is from a few years observing our local environment and listening to the advice of others.

I've turned my attention from broad scale food forests to backyard food forest, or horticulture maybe a more precise term. And fortunately for me I have an interest in greywater and rain harvesting.

Although some of my early experiments are showing signs of success I am skeptical that a food forest in Florida sand would survive a year or two without a significant amount of inputs.

Some random thoughts:

If you can harvest the greywater and a large amount of pavement runoff from a mobile home park, say 200 units, you may be able to pipe in enough nutrient to make a sizable and profitable food forest.

Another idea may be to use your greywater and blackwater put into a built lagoon. This could be used to grow fodder for livestock.... And think bees, always think about the bees. You won't get anything accomplished without bees.

Another approach may be to truck in large amounts of municipal shredded mulch from local towns. Citrus county has a good program. Use that as bedding for some kind of livestock such as chickens or turkeys. After exposure to manure and some good turning by chickens, etc,  work that into some garden beds and eventually your perimeter food forest.

I don't believe any single approach will work. It will take a variety of disciplines and years of experimentation. Think bees, aquaculture, poultry, ducks, turkeys, perhaps a goat.  And perhaps consider participation in some kind of fishing, or managed hunting of wild hog and turkeys.

You may want to follow Jack Spirko and The Survival Podcast.  Tons of great information on sustainable living and permaculture that is relevant to the Florida landscape.

Another important thing to remember is the frequency of frost. The frost belt can shift dramatically from decade to decade. But generally speaking the zone south of Tampa Bay along the west coast is frost free. And the area inland south of highway 60 is frost free with a few exceptions. Inland lowlands can become frosty. But that just determines your selection of elements.

I consider sustainable permaculture in Florida and the Gulf Coast area to be one of the greatest and possibly most rewarding science and occupation of the new century.

Let me know if you found this useful.

7 years ago
I would like to know which permaculture groups are most active in Haiti, and which are most active in Mindanao, Philippines. What projects are they working on?
7 years ago
This year has been the worst year for grasshoppers that many people can remember here in West Central Florida. I have a few pet ducks in my backyard. I haven't seen a grasshopper in years, and as far as I can tell my adjacent neighbors don't have a problem with grasshoppers either.
7 years ago