Leaf Mold, Do Tell..

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On 10/11/07 10:34 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com, "Charlie" <Charlie> wrote:

I like to think of fall as the start of the year - always have. I love the harvest and feeling of settling in for the long haul. Spring and summer always go to quick.
Cheryl
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On Thu, 11 Oct 2007 13:09:34 -0400, Cheryl Isaak

I've been thinking about what you said, while cleaning up the garden and beginning to prepare it for next spring. It required a bit of effort to accomplish the mental change, but it does give me a new perspective upon the circle of seasons....perhaps that of metamorphosis or the time spent in the womb, beginning in the fall and then the birth in the spring.
Thanks for the mental exercise and mindshift.
Charlie
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On 10/11/07 8:36 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com, "Charlie" <Charlie> wrote:

year. Spring, like hope, is far too fleeting.
Cheryl
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<Charlie> wrote in message wrote:

I'm honoured. Had I known I would have fancied it up with talk of Daleks and mychorrizae and "It's not humus!" and stuff........... Nah...

I won't pretend to have an answer here. But, I noticed that after a few years of incorporating soil ammendments with a fork, it always seemed to revert to the same come Spring. Sandy loam that's fine when damp and rock hard when dry. I figured the plants roots would best adjust to homogenous soil, rather than a top layer of potting mix and then hit normal soil. Billy said it best that perhaps it's doing more damage to the soil strata, that then has to recover.

Yeah, it pained me that I might be trashing the worms environment. I stopped using Miracle Gro when I noticed that the worms seemed to seek refuge around a plants roots, away from the chemical bath I was giving them. I rarely even water the beds anymore. Some things do better than others, and the ones that don't are not meant to be. I have some day lillies in the front beds that rarely bloom, next to the hippeastrum that bloom and reproduce like rabbits. The transplanted day lillies in the back that I really neglect bloom nicely.

I kinda came to my own conclusions, but it most definitely parallels the Stout Method. Mostly because I was disinterested in the digging, and in the two houses I've lived in, I inherited long neglected beds. So, I'd throw some mulch on top and see what came up the next year. I couldn't really wreck it all by digging it up, and after planting a few extra things, it became impractical to do so.

And your discussions here have re-directed my interest in growing something edible, rather than ornamental. Actually both, as next year I'm going to rip out the shrubs along the street and plant peppers. Anyone who wants to pick them as they walk by are welcome. And maybe peas and beans, instead of wisteria on the trellises and fence. Front yard food......

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wrote:

As you well should be honoured. You have presented the process as it naturally occurs. As with so many things we undertake and try and attempt to "improve", we are often our worst enemy in many processes.

And this brings another thought to mind, When cleaning up and out in the fall/early winter I pull plants from the ground, roots and all, disturbing a large area of soil. I wonder if cutting the plant at ground level would be a better approach, leaving the roots and surrounding nutrients undisturbed?

Disinterested in the digging is putting it mildly! ;-) Those of us in our advanced years loath this amount of work (as do our aching bodies).

What a great idea, this sharing with passersby! Nice, very nice.
Front yard food is a great idea, particulary given the way thigs be developing........feh, who needs a lawn to maintain.
Some of our most valued and appreciated, by us and others, plants in the garden/patio area are the peppers we grow in containers. The foliage and the fruit are gorgeous. One of everyone's favorites this year were the tobascos, with their bright upright fruit. Golden Marconis are a tall pepper, nearly five feet, with eight inch oblong golden fruit, heavily laden and great raw, fried, roasted, grilled. The Ruffled Pimientos are a beautiful fruit that turns from glossy dark green, through shades of maroon, to a deep red.
There are so many edibles that are beautiful as ornamentals. Okra has incredibly beautiful blooms, hibiscus-like. We planted Hill Country Red this year, that has red tinged foliage and red stems, with red and green striped fruit.
Check out these folks for heirlooms that look great and are great tasting. I'm not shilling for them, I just buy from them every year. Never a problem in many years of supporting ther efforts.
www.seedsavers.org
www.rareseeds.com
www.seedsofchange.com
All have great paper catalogs that are full of good info.
--
Care, my friend
Charlie
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<Charlie> wrote in message

That's a hard one. Naturally, all roots stay in the ground after a plant dies. And, if you think of a field of mixed plants, their roots must all interwine. But, I imagine disturbing the soil structure on that level is not so great that it would recover quickly. I always shake the dirt back in the hole anyway.

It's not an original idea with me. I read an article where some places it's become quite the fashion. Getting rid of the concept of a lawn has to become more commonplace. It's wasteful and uninteresting.

Thanks for the recomendations..... I have wild chile pequenos that a neighbour picks and eats right off the bush. Not for me, thanks, but there are some others I'd like to grow.

Thanks for the links. I knew of the Seeds of Change site, and must plan on ordering some stuff from them.
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from Charlie contains these words:

Why do all the work that worms will do for free? I keep topping up a deep layer of soft mulch material on the soil surface (grass clippings, leaves, wood ash, seaweed, herbage such as comfrey, nettles, bracken, home made compost), which attracts a huge breeding population of worms to feed on the decaying material.. The worms make soil tunnels (which let in air and water and nutrients), and excrete perfect fertiliser all through the soil. Birds looking for the worms, constantly scratch and turn over the mulch, breaking it down even faster and gobbling up all sorts of slugs and bugs they find.
The superiority of the natural, undisturbed soil structure this creates, is demonstrated by the amazing growth rate of plants (without any chemical fertilisers at all).
Janet
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I've been reading this thread with great interest, in particular the part about alfalfa meal for the compost pile (embarrassed to say I've never heard of this one, and I was a nursery manager/buyer for 12 years in D.C.)
Question: are those of you who don't dig the soil or add materials referring solely to edible plants/annuals/very tough perennials? Wouldn't you dig the soil well and add organic matter for shrubs, trees, and perennials, especially those which require excellent drainage?
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Require excellent drainage is not something we speak of about here in sandy loam country. I guess if you want excellent drainage or acidic soil you must apply sand and acid creating amenities. I use oak leaves which are about big time. Seems you may want to plant something that would not live there unless you apply help or energy. Your additions are added expense but going cheap has it virtues.
Bill whose brother is a nursery manager too for about 30 years. We differ on plant life philosophy. I favor my Dad and that English guy long gone.
Any way here is a video.
http://www.kitchengardeners.org /
--

S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade

This article is posted under fair use rules in accordance with
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On Thu, 11 Oct 2007 15:17:15 -0400, William Wagner

Good. Thanks.
I liked Michael Pollan's nine-step program on another page
Damn, I gotta read the Books.
Charlie, now listening to Soul Ballet, Trip The Night Fantastic
-------------------------------------------- http://www.kitchengardeners.org/2007/01/michael_pollans_nine-step_program.html
If Wendell Berry is America's unofficial farmer laureate, Michael Pollan is making a very good case for being the moral voice of the American eater. His most recent essay in the New York Times offers nine concrete suggestions on how we can build a better food system, one bite at a time:
1. Eat food. Though in our current state of confusion, this is much easier said than done. So try this: Dont eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldnt recognize as food. (Sorry, but at this point Moms are as confused as the rest of us, which is why we have to go back a couple of generations, to a time before the advent of modern food products.) There are a great many foodlike items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldnt recognize as food (Go-Gurt? Breakfast-cereal bars? Nondairy creamer?); stay away from these.
2. Avoid even those food products that come bearing health claims. Theyre apt to be heavily processed, and the claims are often dubious at best. Dont forget that margarine, one of the first industrial foods to claim that it was more healthful than the traditional food it replaced, turned out to give people heart attacks. When Kelloggs can boast about its Healthy Heart Strawberry Vanilla cereal bars, health claims have become hopelessly compromised. (The American Heart Association charges food makers for their endorsement.) Dont take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health.
3. Especially avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number or that contain high-fructose corn syrup.None of these characteristics are necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but all of them are reliable markers for foods that have been highly processed.
4. Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. You wont find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmers market; you also wont find food harvested long ago and far away. What you will find are fresh whole foods picked at the peak of nutritional quality. Precisely the kind of food your great-great-grandmother would have recognized as food.
5. Pay more, eat less. The American food system has for a century devoted its energies and policies to increasing quantity and reducing price, not to improving quality. Theres no escaping the fact that better food measured by taste or nutritional quality (which often correspond) costs more, because it has been grown or raised less intensively and with more care. Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is shameful, but most of us can: Americans spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their income on food, down from 24 percent in 1947, and less than the citizens of any other nation. And those of us who can afford to eat well should. Paying more for food well grown in good soils whether certified organic or not will contribute not only to your health (by reducing exposure to pesticides) but also to the health of others who might not themselves be able to afford that sort of food: the people who grow it and the people who live downstream, and downwind, of the farms where it is grown.
Eat less is the most unwelcome advice of all, but in fact the scientific case for eating a lot less than we currently do is compelling. Calorie restriction has repeatedly been shown to slow aging in animals, and many researchers (including Walter Willett, the Harvard epidemiologist) believe it offers the single strongest link between diet and cancer prevention. Food abundance is a problem, but culture has helped here, too, by promoting the idea of moderation. Once one of the longest-lived people on earth, the Okinawans practiced a principle they called Hara Hachi Bu: eat until you are 80 percent full. To make the eat less message a bit more palatable, consider that quality may have a bearing on quantity: I dont know about you, but the better the quality of the food I eat, the less of it I need to feel satisfied. All tomatoes are not created equal.
6. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. Scientists may disagree on whats so good about plants the antioxidants? Fiber? Omega-3s? but they do agree that theyre probably really good for you and certainly cant hurt. Also, by eating a plant-based diet, youll be consuming far fewer calories, since plant foods (except seeds) are typically less energy dense than the other things you might eat. Vegetarians are healthier than carnivores, but near vegetarians (flexitarians) are as healthy as vegetarians. Thomas Jefferson was on to something when he advised treating meat more as a flavoring than a food.
7. Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. Confounding factors aside, people who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than we are. Any traditional diet will do: if it werent a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldnt still be around. True, food cultures are embedded in societies and economies and ecologies, and some of them travel better than others: Inuit not so well as Italian. In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to how a culture eats, as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and alcohol?!) so much as the dietary habits: small portions, no seconds or snacking, communal meals and the serious pleasure taken in eating. (Worrying about diet cant possibly be good for you.) Let culture be your guide, not science.
8. Cook. And if you can, plant a garden. To take part in the intricate and endlessly interesting processes of providing for our sustenance is the surest way to escape the culture of fast food and the values implicit in it: that food should be cheap and easy; that food is fuel and not communion. The culture of the kitchen, as embodied in those enduring traditions we call cuisines, contains more wisdom about diet and health than you are apt to find in any nutrition journal or journalism. Plus, the food you grow yourself contributes to your health long before you sit down to eat it. So you might want to think about putting down this article now and picking up a spatula or hoe.
9. Eat like an omnivore. Try to add new species, not just new foods, to your diet. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases. That of course is an argument from nutritionism, but there is a better one, one that takes a broader view of health. Biodiversity in the diet means less monoculture in the fields. What does that have to do with your health? Everything. The vast monocultures that now feed us require tremendous amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep from collapsing. Diversifying those fields will mean fewer chemicals, healthier soils, healthier plants and animals and, in turn, healthier people. Its all connected, which is another way of saying that your health isnt bordered by your body and that whats good for the soil is probably good for you, too.
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Charlie expounded:

Yes you do! Everyone needs to read The Omnivore's Dilemma. People have to learn what's been done to our food. This statement is so telling: "Americans spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their income on food, down from 24 percent in 1947, and less than the citizens of any other nation". Cheap food isn't all it's cracked up to be.....
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Ahh, c'mon, can't I just do the cliff's books routine and listen to a few more podcasts???
Damn, why did I just get this feeling of being back in school and Mrs. Richards standing over me in English class? ;-) BTW, she was my neighbor and favorite teacher, feisty as hell and back in the days before, not afraid to box your ear when necessary. She even gave me hell in my, or her, own backyard when necessary.
Charlie
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Charlie expounded:

You could, but you'd miss all the little meanderings he goes through. Just when he gets almost stiflingly clinical he goes off on a jaunt that leads to wonderful places :o)

Sounds like my kind of woman! A teacher who taught because she loved it. Lucky you!
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Oh Fine! Next time I haul my butt out of the hermitage and get off to the big city, I'll pick it up. <Grumble, Grumble>

She is one of a kind. Could swear with the best of them, smoked continually when not in class, kept an AXE HANDLE in class and used it on miscreants, lovingly but with enough pain to drive the point home, and then you received the honor of being able to sign the damn hard thing. Was into Rodale before anyone even heard of Rodale and hooked me on a better way. She was the most revered teacher to ever walk the halls of our little high school. I love her to pieces.
She is still living and in Palmer Alaska. In her early nineties and still sharp as a tack... she jokes about not being able to see or walk well. It's been a few years since I talked to her, though Mom does a couple times a year. I'm glad this came to mind in this exchange.
And I apologize to you for our recent set-to. I went over the top and should have just kept my big fat mouth shut and observed the two-minute rule on posting.....something I often have trouble doing, keeping my mouth shut, that is.
The weather has changed and I have now come into my season and perhaps my humour shall moderate. :-)
Care & Peace Charlie
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I apologize if this shows up twice, it hasn't come through yet for me on my server)
Charlie expounded:

her with us.

our moments, I've surely had my share, and I really do try to not be mean - it's so hard to communicate on this flat, black and white field. None of us are black and white, that's for sure! :o)
We got home late last night from the Maine homestead (hubby did some brush hogging and we tended the bees), One of our neighbors came over to tell us that there's a new neighbor, a sow black bear, another neighbor was feeding her apples, but Larry told him to stop, because she's a threat to our hives - he did, but we think she's already visited the hives and got a snout full of 8,000 volts from the electric fence we've got up around them. There's a nice pile of pooh full of berries about a bear's length from the fence (scared the sh*t outta her, I'll bet!). Thankfully the hives are fine.

It was 37 Saturday morning when we woke up. Autumn is definitely here!The foliage up near the house is at peak. One of my favorites are the white birches. I love the little yellow triangles of leaves that dangle and shimmer in the wind. My other favorites are the oaks, the deep russets, burgandies, golds and shades of brown. The dark season, time for reflection, contemplation, and reading good books. The woodstoves will be in full swing from now on!
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Ann wrote:

your electric fence is a form of a pesticide. I bet no one ever said that.
consider pest control goals of prevention, suppression and eradication.
the electric fence is by itself incorporating the two methods of prevention and suppression. by preventing the pest access while suppressing the pest's desire to continue with attempts to gain access you've reduced the damage to the desirable product to a level of acceptability.
the suffix -cide actually means killing or reflects death as in the word suicide. to the unlearned and unknowing student the word pesticide always means to kill something which is considered a pest causing damage to that which is desirable. for the schooled agronomist, killing the entire population of that which has been termed or deemed to be a pest is not always the best solution and actually should always be left as the third and final choice.
take for example a soybean Farmer finds one of his fields covered in waves of grasshoppers eating large amounts of foliage from the soybean plants. the Farmer overreacts and makes the mistake of and application of insecticide without properly evaluating the circumstances and all variables of the total equation. in this case the Farmer acted in an environmentally unfriendly manner because what he perceived to be a crop under attack about to be devastated was actually an acceptable condition because bean production is not effected until over 70% of the plant foliage has been removed. aside form the Farmer's choice to release unnecessary insecticides into 'our' environment the economics of his choice yield a no return while creating an undue expense. due to modern methods of soybean production and row compaction the crop will most always produce its canopy by the time grasshoppers show up. from our studies and observations the wave of grasshoppers will move across the tops of the plants rarely penetrating the canopy.
I was going to expound further concerning the menacing pest known as asian rust and fungicides, but the dryer just finished and if I don't go and fold the clothes I'll be required to operate the iron in order to remove those pesky wrinkles from my shirts.
best, Jim
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Just a little black and blue once in while! ;-)
That usually heals.
You are right, communicating on usenet is an art form nearly, that is difficult to master and maintain.....especially when one allows onself to get het up about something.

I've had a several run-ins with black bears, long ago on some scout trips. I have a lot of respect for those critters.

I looks to be a rather unlovely fall here, as far as the colors go. A few of the hard maples flared briefly, but so far, everything is just kinda fading. I too love the oaks, they have a pastel look from a distance. We've had little cool weather, until about a week ago, which is unusual. Our avg. first feeze date Oct. 11. We're still getting lots of peppers, green beans, cherry tomatoes and okra. The leeks of course are good to go for quite a while. Had the garlic ready to put in, but I procrastinated a overlong and had a couple inches of rain, so that is delayed for a bit.
We no longer are able to burn wood, but did for many years, early in our marriage and as kids. Wonderful on several levels. Elder son has a stove in his basement and an insert in his fireplace, so it is still available. I love going and helping him cut and split wood.
Care Nostalgic Charlie
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On 10/12/07 8:19 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

teacher. Lots of love for the subjects and for the kids.
C
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And her idol, George W. Bush, is still the center of all that is evil in this country. There is no terrorist conspiracy against America that is any larger than Timothy McVeigh's. Bush needs a reason for the squandering of America's resources (and enriching himself) and he found it it a Saudi, Osama bin Laden, who was a CIA lackey. We set him up in Afghanistan and now he is a nationalist. We helped him defeat the Russians and now he has us in his sights. If we create more "terrorists" in suppressing him, the more money Hallibton, Bechtel (Sen. Feinstein), will make.
I wish you two the best.
--
FB - FFF

Billy

Get up, stand up, stand up for yor rights.
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I wish you two the best???
W T F are you going on about, Billy?
This is not about Ann RIchards or whatever you misread. The Mrs. Richards we were discussing was my high school english teacher.
In Missouri.
Hell, maybe I am confused? Did you respond to the right article?
Charlie
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