cmonkey's journal

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halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:51 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:This guy will talk about wood chips all day.

http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/
Looks interesting! I just ordered it from the library, since streaming video is an unattainable dream in my woods.

@cmonkey, now you (and this link) have got me thinking about no-till gardening. Just have to indoctrinate DH, who is all about disturbing the soil one fork at a time.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:00 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:
This guy will talk about wood chips all day.

http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/

I got around to watching this tonight and it was great. He's doing exactly what I have been thinking I wanted to do, but I hadn't seen or heard of anyone doing it. Thanks for sharing this.

The key here is not to plant IN the wood chips, plant in the soil underneath them. As the wood chips break down, they become the soil, which you plant into. After 2-3 years, you start building a thick layer of great soil. I loved the part where they were harvesting potatoes by hand! You know you have great soil if you can do that.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:24 am

Yea. I mean, if this no-dig-lasagna method works. And the Grow Biointensive dig-everything works... how do people fuck up gardens? It seems like anything works.

Jason
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Jason » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:43 am

Kriegsspiel wrote:... how do people fuck up gardens? It seems like anything works.
Well, there is that matter of the apple.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:13 am

If you go with what he said, it's that man thinks he has better design than nature, which just isn't the case.

Fun fact - the fruit of the knowledge of good/evil is thought to actually be a quince.

Jason
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Jason » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:25 am

I heard that too about the quince. And supposedly they are none too tasty. Hence, nobody's bobbing for quinces.

George the original one
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:02 pm

cmonkey wrote:The key here is not to plant IN the wood chips, plant in the soil underneath them.
I felt the key was to make sure you used plenty of compost/manure. Note the failures where compost/manure was NOT used. The wood chips do their part in moderating moisture which makes the soil soft, controlling weeds, and eventually breaking down, but breaking down won't happen for many years as you could see by the guy who tilled playground wood chips into the ground.

There is also a difference between "wood chips" (all manner of living material put through a chipper/grinder and then allowed to compost) and "wood chips" (forestry waste). The former is usually what you will find for sale as compost, sometimes augmented with manure and often with a black dye added, and the latter is only suitable for ground cover. A weak version of the former, unaugmented and uncomposted, is what you get when the tree service dumps a load of chips and the chips are going to be largish because they haven't been run through a swing-hammer tub grinder which helps randomize & reduce the chip size.

Compost augmented with manure, about 4" applied in two stages, is what I use tilled into the soil to quickly improve soil texture. Then annual 1/4"-1/2" compost applied in succeeding years.
Last edited by George the original one on Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:13 pm

I, for one, am glad they ate of the ToKoGaE. Goddammit, taking the Lord's name in vain ALONE is worth it.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:25 pm

@GTOO, Thanks for some more info. The stuff I have is pretty rough, but lots of different sizes. Some leaves mixed in too. The stuff I put down 2 years ago has completely disappeared, so it does break down relatively quickly. I'm planning to put down other stuff too, basically everything organic. The chips are just the majority since I can get so much.

It was 60+ degrees here today so I spent about 3-4 hours spreading some mulch, and also pruned my pear tree. The single load I have so far will easily cover our north garden, which is the larger. It felt great to get outside. :D

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George the original one
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:57 pm

OMG! So _that's_ what a dry winter garden looks like!

LOL... this week has been, er, moist here. 4" snow/rain on Sunday which melted some then froze Sunday night, another round of snowfall/rain on Monday that kept the depth at 4", 0.5" rain Tues while the snow persisted even though 40F, 2+" rain Wed, and 4.75" rain Thurs. Light showers and occasional hailstorms Friday.

Anyway, I'll be planting first batch of peas on Monday as we get another rain cycle after that and who knows when the next dryish spell will come.

halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:39 pm

George the original one wrote:Anyway, I'll be planting first batch of peas on Monday as we get another rain cycle after that and who knows when the next dryish spell will come.
Wait, what? Planting peas? I've been assuming that your climate is similar to ours, but we plant peas in April. You do know that it's early February, right? By the way: we had 10" of snow...SO THERE.

Sorry for the hijacking, cmonkey, but I cannot let the snow/pea-planting challenge go unanswered. :evil:

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:24 am

Haha! It is far from 'dry'. I couldn't walk in the dirt (mud) until I put down the wood chips. They are beneficial already. :)

That's a ton of rain!

George the original one
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:55 am

Temperate (instead of tropical) rain forest. The coast range snags low clouds coming in off the ocean and they spill rainwater. We're 10 miles inland from the official weather stations, so our rainfall is often double the prediction. It is not uncommon for rain to fall that doesn't show up on radar because the precipitation is too low for the radar to pick up.

Fortunately the garden soil drains fairly well, being sandy loam or sandy clay. I can usually walk on it a day or two after these deluges without sinking into muck and by the third day can work it with a fork.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:51 pm

We sit on a very heavy clay and so our soil takes a longer time to dry out. After a deluge like that I don't think I'd be able to get in the garden up to a week after that. I'm planning on the wood chips to break down and lighten the soil over time.

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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:13 pm

Our old place in Oregon City was clay loam or silty loam, depending on where you were on the acre. I used a lot of compost on the clay areas and even with less rain, it could take a week to be dry enough to fork. Very fertile, though!

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:22 pm

Single Catdom Update

Well we officially have half of the operation done. Monty and the one girl can be together and be trusted alone. Monty has been taking the entire thing very well, only displaying mild interest in the girls. No aggression at all. The one he is now merged with only gave some mild spatting a few times. Now she is down to small hisses if she gets a good whiff of him. In time this should pass.

The other girl is going to take a lot longer. She still has not graduated beyond the kennel yet because she still growls a little when she seems him for the first time each evening. She will nap within a foot of him after the first 20 minutes so its coming along well.

Positive association! We haven't let them leave on a bad note.


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melonhead
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by melonhead » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:35 pm

Registered on the forums to post a warning about woodchip gardening.

At our house in SE Michigan we have a ton of slugs. On rainy nights we can go outside and pick up hundreds of them without putting much of a dent in the population. The slugs are a huge problem in the garden as they will decimate anything green. They're especially detrimental when seedlings are first planted, and we've had entire plantings wiped out in a single night. I have found over the last 2-3 years that woodchips seem to be a favorite place for them to live and breed. I think they'll even overwinter in them, if the woodchips are deep enough. I have also seen this information corroborated on the Permies forum from another individual in SE Michigan who runs a CSA off of his small farm.

I'm not sure how the slug pressure is where you live cmonkey, but I know a few of the other posters in this thread are from the Pacific NW and I imagine the banana slugs out there are even worse than what I see here. Just thought I'd throw out a warning.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:17 pm

Thanks for the warning melonhead. We've got some very tiny slugs, but nothing over 1/4 inch in size. From what I've read they live in the soil during sunny days and come out at night and on cloudy days. The wood chips might give them more opportunity to hide, but at the same time you get more places for predators as well.

The best thing you can do if you have a slug problem is to build a pond (of any size). Once you have some frogs living in your garden they will go to town and keep them in check.

I'll keep any eye out for more slugs.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:12 pm

Do chickens not eat slugs? Can't you just turn them loose upon the wood chips?

halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:25 pm

cmonkey wrote:The best thing you can do if you have a slug problem is to build a pond (of any size). Once you have some frogs living in your garden they will go to town and keep them in check.
Thus speaks the midwest gardener! ;) We have a large pond filled with frogs, and they're too busy having frog sex to keep up with the slugs. The only possible way we can impact the slug population is rigorous patrol with hedge shears, snipping them in half whenever we see them. Doesn't result in nasty slug carcasses everywhere, because the live slugs quickly consume the dead (soylent green, anyone?). Slug snipping is DH's job, along with killing other things as required. That's the deal; my job is cleaning up nasty messes. When we had numerous dogs, I could snap out of a deep sleep to the sound of a dog puking in the next room.

Back on topic: seems like having a wood chip playground for the slugs would make it easier to find them. Snip, snip.

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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by melonhead » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:54 pm

Chickens will eat small slugs, but typically need to be trained to eat larger ones (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtcD2RcVgrk). We have 6 chickens and have had little success training them. I think if we had more birds I would put more time into it.

I would be concerned with running them through wood chips though. I've heard the sharp edges of the chips can puncture their feet. Once their feet have a wound it is likely to get infected.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:12 pm

The chickens would work a little, but slugs are mostly out at night when the chickens are roosting. Also +1 on the woodchips not being good for their feet. We've had to treat one chicken's foot so far and just found another one that needs treating today. They currently have soft leaves to walk on.

The woodchips would most likely make it a bit more difficult for small slugs to get around because they would have to crawl UP and DOWN each piece of wood. It's also very dry and scratchy, which they hate as well. I would expect to not have much issue, but I'll let everyone know.

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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:19 pm

I thought ducks & geese are supposed to be more enamored of slugs than chickens?

My favorite use of birds for garden pest control, however, was a bird run made of poultry fencing around the garden perimeter. Took care of the problem that the birds tend to abuse the vegetation too much if left on their own. Basically a chicken moat for the garden!

halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:51 pm

George the original one wrote:My favorite use of birds for garden pest control, however, was a bird run made of poultry fencing around the garden perimeter. Took care of the problem that the birds tend to abuse the vegetation too much if left on their own. Basically a chicken moat for the garden!
This is brilliant, for all sorts of buggy pests. :idea: I feel that chickens are (again) in our future!

I also have heard that ducks are better at eating slugs; not sure about geese, because the ones we had only ate grass. I've seen ducks lunge out of our pond, run across the grass and sieze a slug, then carry it back to eat in the water. I'm guessing that the water is to wash the gluelike slime out of their mouths. I would need kerosene.

This is all species-dependent, of course. Ducks are just as picky as humans: some only dive for food, some never dive, some are vegans, some are pescatarians, some follow the @brute keto diet.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:24 pm

Hoophouse Update


One month ago tomorrow I planted my seed. I think I'm going to have to do some thinning. :D We'll probably have a lot of arugula and lettuce in mid-March which is very early for our climate.

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