Thursday Open Thread 12-14-2017


Good morning - Nothing profound today simply a couple of ideas on gardening and health I have found useful.

Ideas on Gardening

Square Foot Gardening
can be adapted to many different environments, including containers. Part of the focus is not over planting and overwhelming your time commitments and workload.

One square foot garden unit measuring 16 sq ft (1.5 sq metres) holds an average of 130 plants and produces enough vegetables for one person. A family of four can have fresh greens in abundance throughout the growing season and beyond from only 64 sq ft of growing space (6 sq metres).

Mel Bartholomew developed the system in the `1980's and the techniques have been incorporated in many growing practices recommend today.


Keeping oneself healthy

Massage is a powerful tool for pain relief, maintaining health and healing the body. Finding an excellent therapist and learning self-care techniques is part of the journey.
I am not a believer in "no pain no gain" and look for practitioners and teachers that work with the body to enhance it own healing ability. One does not need to experience pain as proof something is working.

Taya Countryman, LMT teaches Structural Relief Therapy to other massage therapist and has some useful ideas we can use for ourselves and creating exceptions we have for a practitioner.

Using SRT changes the body by decreasing involuntary muscle contracture which decreases pain and increases range of motion. The way I explain it to my patients is that SRT reprograms their involuntary muscle contraction. The brain is creating chemicals that tell these muscles or strands of muscles to contract. For some reason, the brain has not received the signal back from the muscle that it is already contracting. When you voluntarily move, these signals are overridden, but at rest, the muscle cells begin to involuntarily contract again. This is why you feel tighter in the morning when the cells have continually contracted overnight without the interruption of voluntary movement. Principles of SRT

Her technique to self treat Middle-of-the-Back Tightness

Knowing her opinion on techniques a massage therapist should use to evaluate the body of a patient.

Farm Report
Temperature has been cold, below freezing for 8 days. Makes one thankful for a roof over the head, a functioning heater, food in the pantry and hot water on demand.

Egg production has slowed down, amazingly still getting a few.
soe ice water.jpg

Nightly fog has been transforming outside into a winter wonderland.
soe ice grass.jpg

Exaggerated barbwire
soe barb wire.jpg

soe ice scene.jpg

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Comments

QMS's picture

Love the ice crystals exaggerating the barbed wire. Nature fascinates. We are getting a good dumping of the white stuff this morning here in coastal southern New England. Time to ignite the wood stove.
Also like the containerized approach to veggies. I'm struggling with the in-ground method.
Peace

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changing the world, one thought at a time

dance you monster's picture

@QMS

. . . I recommend looking up where the landscapers are in your area. One such outfit near me that plants a lot of shrubs at corporate sites has been leaving the emptied pots outside the landscapers' modest home office, free for the taking. These range from 1.5-gallon mum pots (big herbs-size) to 20-gallon pots big enough for a dwarf fruit tree, and some of them are premium-grade containers that could hold plants for a decade or more without degrading. My gardener neighbor, with whom I've long shared plants and tips and watering duties at vacation-time, commutes past this outfit every day and has brought home probably $2,000 worth of pots this season alone. Free. All they need is a quick dilute-bleach bath to kill any chance of residual pathogens, and they are already back in use for our orchards.

Similar freebies might be salvaged old boards or bricks or concrete blocks from which to build raised beds, produce baggies from the grocery to hold scion wood you collect for grafting, plastic jugs you can refill with dark sand as a thermal sink between potted plants or against a north wall in a cold frame. If you can befriend a chipper crew to give you some of their ground-up trees (specify you want undiseased trees), you have a mulch that with a little additional compost (get that from a horse barn) will turn into soil.

Growing food is work, but it can be cheap. And it can be at any scale.

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mhagle's picture

@dance you monster

Never thought about the landscaper throw aways. Can attest to the wood chipper idea. Two years ago the electric company was clearing out under the lines near our home. I asked the head dude if he would like to dump loads at my place. They gave me five loads. Ultimately wonderful compost that lasted two years.

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

riverlover's picture

@mhagle It started to cook very fast. To hot. I used lawn fertilizer. I have a new surround for yard waste, still curled up on my deck. My E key is very sticky.

At the time, we had a denuded area around the newly-built house. On a SW-facing hill with 1' or less of topsoil. I needed "new" topsoil humus for infill. There was also a 4' transition zone in the front of house where the hill fell away. I used quarried shale (from basement dig) to build drystone walls.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

mhagle's picture

@riverlover

That's a great idea. Would have broken down much faster. I put nitrogen fertilizer on my round hay bales to decompose them.

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

QMS's picture

@dance you monster we have a "transfer" station rather than a dump. It's amazing the things people toss. I try to return with less than I brought, but sometimes there's just too much good material to be buried somewhere. We'll need the parts to rebuild after the collapse of empire.

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changing the world, one thought at a time

studentofearth's picture

@dance you monster Then funds to be spent can go to quality seeds and plants, or back to the household budget.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

studentofearth's picture

@QMS all stages - prepping ground, weeding and harvest. My other gardening areas become neglected. Using containers or small raised beds for vegetables gives time for flowers, shrubs and trees.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

QMS's picture

@studentofearth bite sized chunks. Thanks!

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changing the world, one thought at a time

We are having mild temperatures here with the exception of one day where it barely dipped down to freezing and I had to cover all my container plants.

I agree with that philosophy of breaking things down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Sometimes you just have to do that when things are overwhelming.
My container garden is somewhat like square foot gardening in that it is less daunting than the bigger garden projects. It helps that most of my plants in containers are herbs, greens, and tomatoes, and can take care of themselves at times. It's also a great pleasure to pick fresh herbs and a few veggies as I'm cooking a meal and add them to the recipe right away. There's something satisfying about doing that. (Kids enjoy doing that as well.)

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divineorder's picture

Chickens, gotta love them ! So entertaining to watch as they go about their jobs, scratching and clucking, pecking at each other. Doing their wings up yoga. Cocking their heads for closer examination. Enjoying life.

Thinking about the immorality of the Republican #taxscam medicare medicaid curs push makes me want to get a massage!

Viva Costa Rica. Headed back there in Feb.

Climate action for gardeners.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

studentofearth's picture

@divineorder Believe they were one of the leaders in ecotourism.

The country has been working to grow its forest cover, it has banned single use plastic, and as of now, they've run almost entirely on renewable energy for 300 days.

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3 users have voted.

My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

mhagle's picture

I really look forward to your photos each week.

Going to watch your video on square foot gardening. Sounds good. Dr. Deb Tolman advocates planting many plants in the keyhole gardens. Says it keeps in moisture and promotes the composting beneath. Subscribed to Taya.

Several months ago there was a person here at c99 who was a total fanatic for collards. My first reaction was "ewww." I had not had much experience with them, except for where they were served swimming in some sort of pork fat. Ish.

Then my neighbor gave me a few leaves and I sauteed them with butter and onion and threw in a couple of eggs at the end. Hmmm . . . pretty tasty. Didn't think much more about it. Then I put a plant in my greenhouse, just for the heck of it and it was extremely prolific. Mostly harvested and gave to my friend who loves them. In August I planted cabbage and collard plants in a bale. They are doing so well. Beautiful cabbages and collards. Partly due to the person on c99, I thought I should revisit the idea of collards. So I watched videos and prepared them the old fashioned southern way (I guess) of cooking them for hours with bacon. I used a collard seasoning packet from the store. Nasty. Although later I put balsamic vinegar dressing on the leftovers (lots of leftovers) and they were redeemed.

OK . . . rethinking collards . . . the recipe I used said, "cut out the stems." Tasted a stem. Tastes like cabbage. So far I have sauteed in butter with onion, green tomato, adding an egg. Very delicious. They are chewier than spinach - not tough though - but the flavor is very good. Yesterday I chopped a couple of leaves (they are huge) in the food processor and added to chicken noodle soup. Excellent. Next I will see if I can ferment them like sauerkraut.

The point is . . . they are extremely prolific. That is what I am trying to discover. Now that I have raised beds and round bales - giving me decent soil for growing - what works here? I have had some luck with swiss chard and spinach, but not consistent luck. Not like the collards in my greenhouse last winter and now outside the the bale.

And those cucuzza squash freaked me out. I intend to substitute them for cucumbers. One cucuzza = 10 cucumbers.

The person who is moderating the programming course/space on nowthepathforward.us is an avid gardener. She is in Florida now, but formerly lived in Fort Worth. She advises I grow yard long green beans, peanuts, snap peas, and 1015y (short day) onions. She said she only needed 2 beans to make a side dish for her family. Excited to try those veggies this year.

This is kind of long for a comment, but I have one more thing I need advice on.

This fall our hens hatched about 40 baby chicks. However, there seems to be some sort of eye disease on some of them. Ugh. Sixteen year old son feeds the chickens and gathers eggs and reported the situation. A few have died. We are not in the situation where we can afford vet help. We neuter the pets and take them to the vet for serious injuries, etc. I have my powdered antibiotic that is always the first line of defense. Read something about a salve you can put on chicken eyes. We get about six or seven eggs a day. It doesn't appear to be spreading to the larger flock, just some of these new chicks affected. Sigh.

A seemingly successful home remedy for dogs . . . We have 6 dogs - 3 big and 3 little. 4 are rescued dumped dogs. The chiweenie has had a terrible skin problem. Ferociously scratching all her fur off, greasy and stinky to touch. Really pitiful. Tried giving her allergy pills (vet recommended) - didn't work. The only thing that helped was taking her to the vet for a $30 shot. That would help for a month or two. That's an expensive solution for our budget. So about 4 months ago I started giving her an aspirin a day, and two aspirins to our big old arthritic black lab. Now the chiweenie's fur is the thickest it has ever been, she is not greasy or smelly, she doesn't scratch, and she does not seem to have fleas when the other dogs have them. So now everyone is getting an aspirin or two a day. 1/2 an aspirin to the tiny long haired chihuahua.

Whew! That was a long one. Wishing everyone a great day. Smile

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

studentofearth's picture

@mhagle may also be signs of a respiratory problem. Check these three sites

Eye Disorders University of Florida
Important Poultry Diseases MSD Animal Health
Common Poultry Diseases and Their Prevention University of Maryland

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

mhagle's picture

@studentofearth

Will check out those sites.

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

@mhagle They can be a nutrient dense plant if treated properly and eaten fresh. This is where gardening goes hand in hand with self-care and health in the sense that it is all about obtaining the maximum amount of nutrients from the food we eat.
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/24...

Note how much Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Folate you can get. Pretty amazing. I would say since it grows well for you, grow it in abundance. There are lots of interesting recipes out there for it.

Another highly nutritious Green that supposedly grows well in our climate is Malabar Spinach. I really want to try growing it. I think it requires a trellis though because it goes absolutely ballistic.

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mhagle's picture

@randtntx

I have it in the greenhouse. It is 3 years old. Survived 130 degree temps in the summer and the greenhouse is heated in the winter. A frost will kill it, but you could easily save seeds and replant every year. I don't care for it raw but cooked is just like other spinach.

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

divineorder's picture

@mhagle

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Lookout's picture

We use beds rather than containers, but garden similar to the sq ft method in that we use multiple species planted closely. Now we have onions, garlic, radishes and greens (lettuce, Arugala, mustards, turnips, and collards) together in single beds under rowcovers. We pulled the row covers to give the plants a little unfiltered sunlight yesterday, but put them back on for last nights 30 degrees temp. We've had temps down to 20, and everything is hanging in there.

Today is beautiful and sunny (high about 50 today). Quite different from last week...
snow dec 2017.jpg

Did anyone get out last night to see the geminid meteor shower? We built a little fire and hung around long enough to see several of the ancient dust particles burn up in our atmosphere in the early night. The show peaks about 2 AM eastern time, but we caught several nice ones before 8 pm. Should still be a show tonight for those who have an interest. For more info: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-gem...

meteor-gemind-Wesley-Loftis-Clarksville-VA-12-13-2017-e1513174897222.jpg

Marilyn and whoever has an interest: My favorite way to cook collards is with coarsely chopped onions and a good dollop of olive oil (no fatback needed). Add salt if you like. I like collards cooked a little longer than my partner who prefers them lightly boiled (although it depends on the size and age of the leaves). We make hot pepper sauce with vinegar and peppers in the fall and like it on collards!

Have a good day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mhagle's picture

@Lookout

That sounds delicious. Yum.

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

QMS's picture

@Lookout gather to look in the area of the old crescent moon and Jupiter after midnight and eastern low sky for the earth grazers early eve. Fun!
Thanks, peace

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changing the world, one thought at a time

enhydra lutris's picture

info. Haven't checked the links yet. Your columns always get me thinking about how we garden and one thing that occurred to me is that some of our pots ate stupidly designed. The ones that I thought about are sort of hemispherical, so that there is a serious loss of soil depth away from the center. I guess those would only be good for single plants that through a large similarly shaped root ball, which, given the area that they consume, would have to produce a good sized crop, like maybe bush beans. Research is requires, I guess. I had been thinking of using one for garlic, and probably sill still do so all the same.

Another thing that I have to get it together on is shallow rooted plants, for shallow containers, of which I have a ton. IT does seem that containers as a variation of square foot gardening would allow quick and conversion of areas that are decorative rock or hard pan into garden plots.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris various sizes and different soil mixtures. Still have not achieved the germination and growth rate my Grandmother would get with cut off paper milk gallons, quarts and pints. Potting soil was dug from ground (sandy loam), her compost pile (never turned) and a bag of steer manure.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

detroitmechworks's picture

The corporate overlords are pulling out all the stops for their new besties at the FCC.

So much so that the Net Neutrality hastag... has been deliberately suppressed by a misspelling, which is the first autofill correct on Twitter, and the highest hashtag. As a result, everybody complaining isn't tied in to the comments that have been going on for days, and instead are subjected to tweets from people who don't bother to spell check.

It's a subtle but highly effective form of censorship.

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You can't expect to wield Supreme Military power, just cause some corporate tosser lobbed a contract at you!

riverlover's picture

@detroitmechworks and also demeaning and dissing.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

detroitmechworks's picture

@riverlover Looks like the corporate bot flow was overcome, FINALLY by actual users.

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3 users have voted.

You can't expect to wield Supreme Military power, just cause some corporate tosser lobbed a contract at you!

studentofearth's picture

@detroitmechworks not always using the search words typed in originally. DuckDuckgo is not changing the retyped search when launched from its web page. Noticed the same auto-correct on Youtube.

By the way I plan on coming over Saturday for th eC99 get together. How about sitting inside instead of the patio. I am getting a little weary of being out in the cold.

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3 users have voted.

My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

detroitmechworks's picture

@studentofearth It's a nice building after all. I'll still wear the camo shirt, just so everybody can spot me easy.

And the whole net neutrality discussion... sigh... is now moot.

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3 users have voted.

You can't expect to wield Supreme Military power, just cause some corporate tosser lobbed a contract at you!

riverlover's picture

Who runs that? Google? I side-eye all internet-related Companies now but Mozilla. My first contact was with DARPAnet. Co-wrote a paper on DARPA.

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4 users have voted.

Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.