Thursday Open Thread 4-12-2018

Morning, the burst of activity that accompanies spring is full swing. Days are long, time is short and dreams of future harvests keeps one motivated. Anything I grow, make or repair does not benefit a corporation or create taxable income for our nation's war machine.

Similar vegetable gardening method from opposite sides of the earth that do not require plastic or industrial fertilizers.

French raised method

What is meant by "double-dug"? It basically means that you dig down into the soil at two different levels, loosening it and incorporating compost. The first dig is when you loosen and actually remove (or move over) the top spade-depth's worth of soil (about 10 or 12 inches deep). The second dig is when you loosen the soil beneath that level with a digging fork, going down another 10 or 12 inches, and again incorporating compost. (See video demonstration.)

By loosening the soil very deeply (20-24”) and incorporating a lot of compost, the soil gets fluffed up and raised above its surroundings by a foot or more. This fluffy, loose, deep and friable soil now allows plant roots to grow straight down, rather than going down a few inches, hitting a hardpan, and turning sideways where they compete with each other for water and nutrients.

Chinese raised beds

With the exception of areas containing such "water crops" as rice and lotus (which require sunken beds), this intensive gardening technique is used on almost every spare inch of land. Entire fields of raised beds stretch to the horizon. There are tiny strips of cultivated earth beside factory walls, city dwellings, and highway right-of-ways. Some small gardens are even tucked in among the rock monoliths of Kunming's "Stone Forest" national monument. Such "postcard-size" plots play a large part in putting good fresh vegetables on family tables, and often produce enough surplus to earn the gardeners extra income at "free markets."

Comparing dug (French Style or rototiller methods) and undug beds (No Dig or Square Foot gardening) in England. He uses fine compost to avoid problems with slugs in the damp temperate climate.

Starting seed without an electric heat source.

Charles Dowding has added several videos on specific crops this past year.

Farm Report
Independent of world affairs the cycle of the year marches forward.

Sunday morning the serviceberries had leaves. These are the bushes from my childhood home, planted by the homesteader years before my folks bought the place in 1964. Moved my parents and the plants at the same time. No small birds flew by the house until bushes arrived.
soe spring.JPG

soe leaf.JPG

Farm animals provide glimpses into various behaviors we typically think as human characteristics. Greed and theft - instead of doing the work of finding your own resources steal it from another. Added some meat chunks that were a little old to the chicken food. This hen was racing around the house to keep and eat her prize.
soe race.JPG

Three feeders full of food with the meat scrapes and they are all looking at each other for a piece to steal.
soe pecking.JPG

Monday afternoon, the first calf of the year.
Where do I find the food? Who is this stranger my size? Camera again, I am out of here.
soe life.JPG

The miracle of life - a thinking, independent creature that did not exist 2 hours earlier.
soe face_0.JPG

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mimi's picture

Can you help me out?

Some person dear to me insists that vegetable and fruit/nut gardening is easier in a climate that has no cold temperatures. Like tropical, subtropical or mediterranean climate, warm to hot, dry to wet. Sometimes you get four harvest cycles per year. I have to admit that I have a hard time to listen to that.

I want some arguments why gardening can be as easy and successful in cold climate zones. What do you think?

And thank you for the pictures and the subject area so well covered. Really nice.

I am going to go now, but would be happy for any input on that. Thank you.

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dance you monster's picture


Figs do well in a Mediterranean climate, so do olives, but try to find an apple there.

Several food plants need a winter, sometimes a heavy-duty winter, to produce fruit or nuts, and just because the harvest one year might be light doesn't mean the next season won't be any good (apples and oaks, for instance, are notorious for alternating years of fruitfulness).

Lettuce and spinach and other greens want chilly conditions, and even in a quite northern summer can be reluctant producers or quick to bolt into bloom and seed. Leeks grow right through winter, protected -- and getting their characteristic, desired white lower section -- by having mulch piled up around them.

Persimmons need a frost to sweeten up; prior to that frost they are too astringent to consume.

It all depends on what you want to eat. And also at what altitude one is growing: mountains along the Mediterranean extend that region's ability to handle cooler-season crops.

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studentofearth's picture

@mimi I have been surprised how hard the southern gardeners are working in their gardens. Hay bale gardening to creating good soil medium for crops. Providing shade to keep plants cool enough for production.

Pest Control
Our seasonal cold temperature is an effective method of insect and disease control. When these plants are grown in warmer climates (including greenhouses) more effort is needed for pest control, including pesticide use. The top contaminated vegetables and fruits are cool weather plants.

Cool Weather Vegetables
Cool season vegetables require colder soils of spring or cool nights for germination.

Plant Hardiness Facts
At a soil temperature of 40 degrees F, plant arugula, fava beans, kale, lettuces, parsnips, peas, radicchio, radishes, and spinach.

At a soil temperature of 50 degrees F, plant Chinese cabbage, leeks, onions, Swiss chard, and turnips.

At a soil temperature of 60 degrees F, plant beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower.

Other cool-season vegetables include asparagus, celery, collards, garlic, kohlrabi, potatoes, rhubarb, and rutabagas.

Cold weather for storage or taste
Frost triggers changes in plant to improve taste or storage. Chemical defoliants are used in commercial potato fields to prep for harvest. Kale is sweeter after freezing in the garden.

Cool Weather Fruits
Many of fruit varieties require cool weather.

Peach, grape, blueberry, cherry, strawberry, and apple lovers are in luck: Though these crops are considered to be among the most pesticide laden when conventionally raised, they’re a snap to grow organically at home.

Nutritional value of crops start to diminish after harvesting. Flavor also diminishes.

High Temperature Problems
Many cool weather vegetables stop growing or reproducing with temperatures above 90 Fahrenheit

Perennial Food Gardens
Perennials take a little longer to set up than an annual garden bed, but continue to provide a harvest for years.

A vacation from gardening is provided every year by winter. By spring one is ready to start the cycle again.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Lookout's picture

Thanks for the OT, SoE.

As to Mimi's question....every place has the potential of growing food, and there are plants adapted to almost every region. Some of the largest vegetables in the country are grown in Alaska where daylight hours are so long in the summer.

Understanding your climate, soils, water supply, and so on are the factors that determine what and when to plant. There are soil surveys for most US counties. You should be able to find yours here:

Each soil type is an individual with unique characteristics. They change mainly with topography (at least here in the east). All soils can be amended to improve fertility and structure. I've not plowed my garden in 30 years. I'm a mulch gardener - using about 50 bales of straw per year. I grow in 3 ft wide beds that I can drive over to add mulch or compost.

Even if you have concrete for soil, you can always use containers or straw bales.

As SoE explained very well, there are many approaches to how to garden. There is no one "right" way. It is the nature of gardening to experiment...and every year is different. From my perspective that makes it fun.

We are just starting our harvest of spring lettuce, radish, parsley, and greens (collards are my favorite). Peas are up but not blooming yet.

Well happy gardening!

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

mimi's picture


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riverlover's picture

I have to move some rescue plants out into the wet today. Packages and mail need to be moved IN. Balance continues to improve with occasional stutters. It might reach 60 today. Then back into the 40's. Snow is still a possibility. An extended pre-Spring.

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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.

studentofearth's picture

@riverlover today.
Glad the balance is improving.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

smiley7's picture

method of gardening as i recall from childhood, Grandpa and Ma dug trenches in the huge garden and placed manure in them, then refilling--also i believe the manure was cured before using as Grandmother told me that too much manure would burn the plants, especially tomatoes.

On the fields, manure was spread directly on top of the soil without curing and then tilled under as were ground crops like alfalfa.

Raised beds were used around Grandpa's yard: potato slips and herbs i recall.

Opening a new batch of homemade sauerkraut soon, hoping for a good probiotic result and taste.

Thanks for this OT and have a good one, all!

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enhydra lutris's picture

somewhat concerned. Nothing I can do howeveer, so on with living. High wins but slightly lower temps. Everybody have a good one.

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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 --

mimi's picture

I just thought to share them with you. At least I find both "reasonable" and/or interesting.

First Angela Merkel said she will exclude a military participation in military operations in Syria. That sounds 'good enough' to me.
Merkel excludes participation in military operation
Google translation unedited:

While US President Trump threatens a military operation in Syria, Chancellor Merkel excludes a military participation of Germany. France claims to have evidence of the use of chlorine gas by the Assad regime.

Play video ... video (this is local German time)
Thursday, 12/04/2018 14:17 Uhr Print Usage rightsFeedbackComment
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has ruled out German participation in a military strike in Syria. "Germany will take part in any - there is no decision, I want to make that clear again - military actions," she said during a visit to the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. However, the federal government is doing everything "to signal that this use of chemical weapons is unacceptable."

Now the whole range of measures must be considered, said Merkel. For Germany, that means "that we support all activities in the UN Security Council and the work of the Organization for a Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)." Uno-General Secretary António Guterres had previously warned against a loss of control in the conflict.

The situation in the conflict remains extremely tense. The background is the suspected poison gas attack by the Syrian regime on the city of Duma. Meanwhile, for French President Emmanuel Macron, the matter is clear: there is evidence of the use of chemical weapons: "We have the evidence that (...) chemical weapons were used, at least chlorine, and that they were from the regime of Bashar al-Assad were used, "said Macron in an interview with broadcaster TF1.

Macron: "Unacceptable Situations"

Unlike Germany, France was also open to a military strike, but did not commit in time: "We have to make decisions, in due course, if we think that is most useful and effective." He pointed to the vote with US President Donald Trump: "Our teams work very closely together." Macron said there were "unacceptable situations". At the same time, he affirmed that France would by no means allow an escalation "or whatever could damage the stability of the region".

After US President Trump threatened to launch a missile in Syria, international uncertainty prevails over whether and when a military strike could occur. Trump, who also blames Assad for using poison gas in the Duma, had previously threatened a military strike. But now he wrote on Twitter: "I never said when an attack on Syria would take place." Syria's ally Russia rejects the allegations against Damascus.

Donald J. Trump

 Never said when attacking Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our "Thank You America?"

12:15 - 12 Apr. 2018
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The Syrian army has been on full alert for days and withdrew on Wednesday from other bases. Already on Tuesday, the Syrian army left some military bases to reduce the potential for a possible attack by the US and its allies.

In the attack in Duma in eastern Ghuta, the aid organization According to White Helmets, at least 42 people have been killed. More than 500 people were treated in hospitals. The US speaks of at least 85 dead. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had announced that it would send a ten-member team of experts for a Duma investigation.

I am not familiar with the condition of being "bipolar" but it looks as if the dear drumming leader might be a candidate for it.


2. My local printed newspaper "Das Hamburger Abendblatt" has a front page article about the port 0 harbor in Hamburg. It says they will not longer process transports of Uranium through their harbor.

But I am kind of nodding in agreement with that decision of the Hamburg harbor. Unedited google translation of the article (in German):

Nuclear shipments in the harbor are about to leave
Martin Kopp
Container ships are loaded and unloaded at Burchard kai. In the future, HHLA does not want to turn around atomically radiating cargo anymore
Photo: A3390 Kay Nietfeld / dpa
Container ships are loaded and unloaded at Burchard kai. In the future, HHLA does not want to turn around atomically radiating cargo anymore

In 2017 alone, 150 nuclear transports were handled in the port. HHLA and Hapag-Lloyd now want to put an end to this.

Hamburg. The registration of nuclear transports is nationwide for security reasons as "classified information" and is only "for official use" communicated. As a result, the hamburger usually does not hear about it when radiant cargo arrives at their port. Hamburg is a hub for uranium. Practically weekly, nuclear transports are handled here. Last year alone, there were around 150.

But that should soon be over. Two of the port's largest and most important companies have agreed to refrain from handling nuclear fuel in Hamburg in the future. The Abendblatt has received correspondence from Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) and the largest German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd. They are each signed by two members of the Executive Board. In it, the companies say that they will voluntarily refrain from "future nuclear fuel within the meaning of Section 2 (1) Atomic Energy Act in Hamburg".

Especially uranium oxide is handled in the harbor.

It is mainly about uranium oxide, from which later fuel rods for nuclear reactors are produced as well as the extremely toxic and highly corrosive uranium hexafluoride, from the fissionable material in centrifuges. And it is already finished fuel rods that are delivered from Hamburg to France or Switzerland.

But also the German nuclear power plants Lingen and Gronau as well as Moscow and Västeras in Sweden are receivers of the radiant materials, as a list shows, which the senate issued on a written small request of the left in March. Accordingly, HHLA alone handled shipments of nuclear fuel that required nine licenses at its terminals by mid-March of this year.

Frank Horch triggered the now promised waiver.

The trigger for the company's now promised renunciation was talks by economics minister Frank Horch, who had asked HHLA and Hapag-Lloyd to refrain from nuclear transports. The background is an agreement that the SPD and the Greens made in the 2015 Coalition Agreement.

Although the transport and handling of radioactive substances are actually a matter for the federal government, they can not be unilaterally restricted by the senate or the citizenry. However, the government wanted to work with relevant companies to renounce by way of self-restraint on the transhipment and seaward transport of such substances in and through the port of Hamburg.

HHLA confirms its willingness to forego radiant cargo
"It is important to the Senate that no nuclear fuel be handled in the Port of Hamburg, and we are happy to support the Senate in this regard," said a HHLA spokesman for the Abendblatt, confirming the letter to the authorities. Almost identical is the letter that Hapag-Lloyd addressed to the economic authority.

The shipping company also does not want to handle nuclear fuel in Hamburg anymore. But that does not mean that they will completely renounce the transport of the radioactive charge. It can even happen that a Hapag-Lloyd ship with radioactive cargo enters the port of Hamburg. It should not be unloaded here anymore.

Hamburg is taking a different route than Bremen
For business senator Frank Horch this is still a great success. "We had a very constructive dialogue with both companies on the subject and we wanted to make sure that there was a voluntary renunciation."

Hamburg is taking a different route than the city of Bremen, which has tried to regulate the stop of nuclear transports by law. However, the Bremen Administrative Court has questioned the constitutional compliance of the Bremen Act, because statutory regulations on the use of nuclear energy are reserved for the federal government - and Bremen may therefore violate the principle of covenant loyalty by going it alone. However, the Federal Constitutional Court has not yet decided in this case. "Hamburg is by the voluntary scheme further than Bremen," it says from the economic authority.

Private companies are likely to be more difficult to change
The talks with the port industry are still ongoing and will continue. "We will now also have talks with the other port companies involved," said Economics Senator Horch. He talks in particular with the second major terminal operator in the Port of Hamburg, Eurogate. But also the south-west terminal of the group C. Steinweg is likely to have the senator on the call sheet, because at its quay also radioactive cargo is being handled.

It would be harder for these private companies to waive their claims than for the companies HHLA and Hapag-Lloyd. For with the latter two, the city can put pressure on the board, because it holds a considerable stake in them. But the goal remains: an end to nuclear transports in Hamburg.

Yeah, leave the uranium transports out of 'my' harbor, dudes and your soldiers out of Syria.
3. Meanwhile the OPCW confirmed that:
Experten bestätigen britische Angaben
Ex-Spion Skripal wurde mit potenziell tödlicher Chemikalie vergiftet -
(Experts confirm British statements: Ex-spy Skripal has been poisoned with potentially deadly chemical -

Die Organisation für ein Verbot der Chemiewaffen hat festgestellt, dass der frühere Doppelagent Skripal mit einem Gift russischer Herkunft attackiert wurde - einen Schuldigen nannte die OPCW allerdings nicht. =
The organization for banning chemical weapons has found that the former double agent Skripal was attacked with a poison of Russian origin - but the OPCW did not name a guilty person.)

There is a longer detailed video in this article, unfortunately only in German. Wouldn't dare to try a translation. But may be it is helpful for some of you. I am still listening to it and to me it's very detailed and gives me insight.

All in all it's foggy, freaky, murky and you smell the obfuscation, weasel wording everywhere. But it's better than no news at all.
Right? Scratch one-s head

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The Aspie Corner's picture

Yup. This S.O.B. is now working for a weed firm and talking about criminal justice 'reform'. Hell has frozen over. He and Liberturd Bill Weld can kiss my ass.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.