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Author Topic: Northern Permaculture  (Read 32952 times)

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #255 on: August 15, 2019, 11:01:14 AM »
An old-fashioned English garden crop is Good King Henry, a.k.a. Lincolnshire Spinach, Latin name Chenepodium bonus-henricus. 



There are several positives about this plant:

*Food value: It provides several possibilities all at once - leafy greens, asparagus-like stalks, and seed tops that are essentially perennial quinoa. 

*Growth habit: It is a perennial crop which comes back every year, gradually establishing nice little rows or clumps of fairly uniform-sized plants around 18" in height.

*Preferences: It actually enjoys partial shade, unlike many crops which require full sun.

Negatives:

*Quinoa-like seed heads require some hand-processing to be usable, such as stripping seeds from stalks (simple), winnowing to remove chaff, and soaking to remove saponins (soap-like phytochemicals common to many edible and medicinal plants).

*Like annual spinach, it contains oxalates, especially in the leaves, which people prone to gout, stones and arthritis might want to avoid. 

*Started rootstock is somewhat rare now and generally must be mail-ordered from such sources as Richter's and Artemisia's Forest Garden Nursery in Canada, or Food Forest Farm, Perennial Pleasures, and Oikos Tree Crops in the States.  Richter's will also ship to the States in small or large quantities.  Numerous locations offer seeds, but they can be challenging to germinate.

Here's a grower in Denmark demonstrating how the seed heads are harvested and processed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI1fuqzNg2s

PFAF link here:
https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Chenopodium+bonus-henricus


ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #256 on: August 15, 2019, 05:45:34 PM »
This looks so interesting that I'm going to find a source tonight!  There are few plants that offer so much:  fresh greens, high-quality edible seed, and it's perennial.  Almost too much to ask for in one plant.  Thanks for posting!

ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #257 on: August 24, 2019, 10:20:40 AM »
(Editor's note:  Who would have thought microscopic soil roundworms might save the day.....!?!)

https://btiscience.org/explore-bti/news/post/worm-pheromones-protect-major-crops/?utm_source=Acres+U.S.A.+Community&utm_campaign=87718fcc55-Soil+News+8-2-19+Soil+Fertility+16+Methods&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65283346c2-87718fcc55-184796477&goal=0_65283346c2-87718fcc55-184796477&mc_cid=87718fcc55&mc_eid=3011577f1a

Worm Pheromones Protect Major Crops

by Aaron J. Bouchie | Jul 23, 201

The cover of the May 2019 issue of Journal of Phytopathology shows that soybean plants treated with ascr#18 (right) were healthier and had higher survival rates compared with untreated seeds (left) when infected with Phytophthora sojae. Photo credit: Aardra Kachroo, University of Kentucky
Protecting crops from pests and pathogens without using toxic pesticides has been a longtime goal of farmers. Researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute have found that compounds from an unlikely source – microscopic soil roundworms – could achieve this aim.
As described in research published in the May 2019 issue of Journal of Phytopathology, these compounds helped protect major crops from various pathogens, and thus have potential to save billions of dollars and increase agricultural sustainability around the world.
Led by BTI Senior Research Associate Murli Manohar, a team around Professors Daniel Klessig and Frank Schroeder investigated the effects of a roundworm metabolite called ascr#18 on plant health.
Ascr#18 is a member of the ascaroside family of pheromones, which are produced by many soil-dwelling species of roundworms for chemical communication.
The researchers treated soybean (Glycine max), rice (Oryza sativa), wheat (Triticum aestivum) and maize (Zea mays) plants with small amounts of ascr#18, and then infected the plants with a virus, bacteria, fungus or oocmycete.
When examined several days later, the ascr#18-treated plants were significantly more resistant to the pathogens compared with untreated plants.
“Plant roots are constantly exposed to roundworms in the soil, so it makes sense that plants have evolved to sense the pest and prime their immune systems in anticipation of being attacked,” says Schroeder.
Because they boost plants’ immune systems instead of killing pests and pathogens, ascarosides are not pesticides. As a result, they are likely to be much safer than many current means of pest and pathogen control.
“Ascarosides are natural compounds that appear to be safe to plants, animals, humans and the environment,” says Klessig. “I believe they could thus provide plants more environmentally friendly protection against pests and pathogens.”
In previous work, Klessig and Schroeder demonstrated that ascr#18 and other ascarosides increased resistance against pest and pathogens in tomato, potato, barley and Arabidopsis.
“By expanding the work to major crops, and concentrating on their most significant pathogens, this study establishes the potential for ascarosides to enhance agriculture production worldwide,” says Klessig.
Indeed, rice is the world’s most important staple food for nearly half of the global population. Ascr#18 provided protection against Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, a bacterium that causes yield losses of 10-50% in Asian countries.
Wheat is close behind rice in importance as a food staple, and ascr#18 protected it against Zymoseptoria tritici, a fungus that is one of the most severe foliar diseases of the crop.
Maize is the most widely grown grain crop throughout the Americas with great importance for food, biofuel and animal feed. Ascr#18 provided protection against Cochliobolus heterostrophus, a fungal pathogen that causes southern corn leaf blight.
Soybean is a major high-protein, oil-rich seed crop used as a food source for humans and animals. Ascr#18 protected soybeans against Phytophthora sojae, an oomycete that can kill infected plants in days, as well as the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv glycinea and Soybean Mosaic Virus.
Extremely small concentrations of ascarosides are sufficient to provide plants with resistance against pathogens. Interestingly, the optimal concentration appears to be dependent on the plant species and not the pathogen.
The researchers believe the reason that different plant species have different optimal dosages is likely related to the plant cell’s receptors for ascr#18. Different plant species may express different amounts of ascr#18 receptors, and receptors may have varying affinities for ascarosides. Such differences would affect the amount of ascr#18 needed to trigger the plant’s immune systems.
The group is now working to determine the molecular mechanisms of how ascarosides prime the plant’s immune systems.
These discoveries are being commercialized by a BTI and Cornell University-based startup company, Ascribe Bioscience, as a family of crop protection products named PhytalixTM.
“This work is a great example of how the Institute is leveraging our technology through new start-up ventures, an important strategic initiative at BTI,” says Paul Debbie, BTI’s Director of New Business Development. “The Institute is proud of the opportunity to develop innovative technology in partnership with a new company that is having a positive economic impact here in our local community and for New York State.”
In addition to their BTI positions, Klessig is an adjunct professor in Cornell’s Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology and Schroeder is a professor in Cornell’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
Collaborators included researchers at Cornell, University of Kentucky, Justus Liebig University in Germany, University of California, Davis, and Colorado State University.
The research was partially funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture, the USDA Agricultural Food and Research Initiative, the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board, and the German Minister of Education and Research.
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R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #258 on: August 24, 2019, 04:24:54 PM »
I would never have guessed any of that - very interesting!

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #259 on: August 30, 2019, 11:54:30 AM »
To provide outside inputs or not to provide outside inputs into your permaculture system?

The debate rages on between die-hard closed-loop permaculturists and those who advocate allowing an opening in the loop for things that the homestead cannot provide on-site.

As Socrates has often reminded us, soil-building is key to a successful microfarm.  And professional permaculturists will often say "Get mulch down on the ground as soon as possible, around everything!"

Some, including myself, find great value in shredded wood or bark mulch. 

I especially find cedar mulch to be useful:

*It can be used near buildings without encouraging mold to climb the structure

*The aromatic oils repel some pests, including termites

Beyond the aromatics, all mulch has these additional benefits:

*Cooling plant roots

*Conserving moisture

*Breaking down slowly over time to provide nutrients and soil structure

*Insulating rootstock during winter

Most planting beds can benefit from mulch, with the possible exception of plots that will soon be dug, such as tubers.

But mulch can add a considerable cost to the bottom-line, and needs to be re-purchased regularly unless one owns a wood chipper or sawmill, or has massive amounts of grass clippings, etc.  It can make sense to wait until the end of the growing season to renew mulch.

Advantages to mulching at the end of the growing season, instead of the beginning, are:


*Buying when others are not

*Drastically reduced price from suppliers who are diligent about liquidating their supply annually so as to be able to offer fresh aromatic mulch at the beginning of each spring.

Big box stores offer cedar mulch for around $4 per roughly 2 cubic ft. bag, but I was able to source it locally from a small nursery for less than $2 per bag this week, which enabled a larger than normal purchase, enough to cover the new primocane raspberry patch, the gooseberry patch and renew strawberry beds.  It felt good to know that newer plots were off to the best start possible, and that neglected plots were refreshed.



ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #260 on: August 30, 2019, 04:12:25 PM »
To provide outside inputs or not to provide outside inputs into your permaculture system?

The debate rages on between die-hard closed-loop permaculturists and those who advocate allowing an opening in the loop for things that the homestead cannot provide on-site.

As Socrates has often reminded us, soil-building is key to a successful microfarm.  And professional permaculturists will often say "Get mulch down on the ground as soon as possible, around everything!"

This chick is in the "outside inputs" because of Jared Diamond's book Collapse..., in which he talks of how areas which receive seaspray just from proximity to an ocean or sea receive regular mineral-rich inputs that inland areas never receive naturally.

He also mentioned that those areas which experienced fallout from volcanic ash at least every 100,000 years have richer soils than those who don't experience such fallout.

For those two reasons alone, it's easy for me to be persuaded to buy sea salt (if uncontaminated) and crushed volcanic rock, both of which are unavailable here in this inland area.

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #261 on: August 30, 2019, 05:41:24 PM »
Interesting that you should mention sea inputs Ilinda - I'm just beginning to experiment with a type of compost made from lobsters, of all things!  Not surprisingly, it comes from Maine:



ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #262 on: September 02, 2019, 05:01:29 PM »
Sounds like a nutrient-dense compost, so we can hope it's sustainable, like maybe discarded shells from restaurant fare? 
Let us know how it works.


R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #263 on: September 02, 2019, 05:05:37 PM »
Well, I had transplanted a young persimmon tree into it in the heat, against conventional wisdom, and it seems to be thriving. 

Here's what the package says about it:

Quote
Coast of Maine Organic Products Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost is made with chitin and calcium-rich lobster shells, compost and sphagnum peat moss. It is a dark-brown, complex soil filled with naturally occurring microorganisms all plants need for healthy growth.  It drains well and is an ideal soil conditioner for existing beds that need reinvigorating.

It is OMRI certified for use in organic gardens.

Available in 1cf bags.

Target pH 6.5
 

Am just hoping that with our shellfish allergies in this family, except for my hubby from Louisiana, that we won't find ourselves allergic to the persimmons from that tree!

ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #264 on: October 15, 2019, 11:18:26 AM »
This year's parsnip harvest was very interesting.  Earlier this spring, I had complained about the constant rains we had last winter, and that most of the parsnips I had planted in December, 2018, did not germinate, leaving huge gaps in the bed.

RR, you had suggested that it was the constant rains in the winter that may have been the cause because there are those poor little seeds, trying to slowly germinate, and having to endure constant freezing and thawing, which normally occurs without being surrounded by waterlogged soils!

Well, this harvest tells me that a second disadvantage of planting parsnips in December for growth the following year is that those seeds that DO survive the waterlogged winter, will not grow into nice long roots.  Rather they produce large bulbous, almost round, but quite short, roots with many, many side shoots.  They are possibly the worst parsnips I've grown.  Those that survived waterlogged soils sent their roots outward, rather than downward.

So I'm taking your advice and not planting parsnip seeds until very early next year, perhaps February.  Early spring is the recommended time, but here that seems almost too late as they seem to finally germinate when it's getting hot.

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #265 on: October 15, 2019, 01:02:41 PM »
Well, all experiments in the garden are valuable, even when they don't pan out as hoped!

With all of your experience on the farm, maybe a book might come of it some day?  :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #266 on: October 16, 2019, 10:05:27 AM »
These may be the most durable and practical raised beds that I've ever seen:



ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #267 on: October 16, 2019, 05:36:42 PM »
They probably are the most, or almost the most practical and here is one reason:  raccoons might not be able to climb them.

Not too far from here a farmstead has for the past couple of years something similar.  Visible from the road are a bunch of heavy-duty plastic looking "bins" which are about the size of those posted on the "theprairiehomestead" in previous post, except these bins have smooth sides, which would make it almost impossible for a raccoon to climb.  All a raccoon needs for climbing is a ledge or wire or something to grab.  A welded wire fence or poultry wire is nothing more than a raccoon ladder, as I have learned the hard way.  And they can climb with blinding speed!

Plus, rats and mice would probably not be able to climb the bins either.  They look like a real winner. 

 

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