Interesting, we have an old well, done the old fashioned way (hand dug and with some kind of flat bricks- tiles on the wall) I wonder if somebody has deepened before on a dry year this kind of wall, how they've takled the masonry on the new lower part of the wall (the new bricks adhering to the old upoer ones an fitting to the new bottom.
Buff. In not all the countries it's so easy to own/find a firearm, here in Catalonia (Spain at the moment) is imposible to find a firearm on a pawn shop. I don't have a gun license, but licenses are hard to get, shotgun is the easiest (you can own a 12 caliber shotgun much easier than a 22 rifle, but you still need to do a psychological exam and justify that you own a hunting license, and have an interview with the police)... A handgun is almost imposible, you have to be a member of the police or have your life treatened in order to be able to legally own a handgun. That's the reason that I was asking for those calibers. I was wondering the 20 shotgun with birdshot... If the moment arrive, maybe I give it a try before with a piece of meat with bones, and I feed it to the dogs. Many thanks for he answer, though.
At the moment I don't have chickens, but I do have a plan to have a flock in the future. I wonder if there is any breed of chicken that have been developed only by the taste.
If I put 10 different breeds in a tractor or a paddock and I feed them the same, they will develope different tastes at harvesting time? I mean I can distinguish the taste of a duck to a chicken or a quail to a partridge. Independent of size or if one meat is leaner than the other... If so, which is the best breed, just for taste?
Mike Gaughan wrote:I've read Solomon's The Intelligent Gardener and found it to be generally scientifically valid, at least as far as the basic topic of cation exchange. His formulas for mineral additions are strongly based on Albrecht's theories, and are also in-line with Michael Astera's recommendations. For an excellent overview of soil remineralization, check out Astera's article at http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010178.better.than.organic.pdf.
I implemented Soloman's concept in my garden this year, beginning with a soil test from Logan Labs. I worked through the formulas for each nutrient and came up with a prescription for my soils. Some materials such as lime were available at my local garden center. I ordered other materials, such as copper sulfate and zinc sulfate, from Alpha Chemicals http://alphachemicals.com/home. I tilled them into garden this spring. I can't really say I noticed any difference in plant growth as compared to previous years; however, we had a trying spring/early summer here in central CT. The season started with an extended cold, dry spring, then a mid-spring heat wave, followed by intense heat waves in July. August (so far) has seen seasonal temperatures and excellent growth. I have noticed that some of the veggies have been especially tasty, including the broccoli and tomatoes. I don't know this is the result of the additional of minerals or the plant varieties. It is difficult to put my finger on whether the performance of the plants is the result of re-mineralization or other factors such as weather or variety.
My big issue with the Soloman method is that the refined mineral salts he recommends, such as copper sulfate, are soluble in water. A tablespoon of copper sulfate will dissolve in a glass of water just like regular table salt. So, if I were to apply copper sulfate powder to my soil and then some big rains came through, the material would, worst case, leach right out of the root zone of the soil. Soloman would argue that the cation exchange capacity of the soil would trap the copper sulfate and prevent leaching. In fact, Soloman's prescriptions are such that you only add the quantity of minerals that can be trapped by your soil. I hope it works! Another approach, such as that espoused by Eliot Coleman, is to add rock dusts (finely ground rock, as opposed to refined salts) that are insoluble in water but release their minerals through biological processes. The theory here is that rock powders will slowly break down over time, providing a long-lasting source of minerals. The Soloman method seems more short term.
The trick with the Coleman method is finding natural rock powders that contain minerals in the right proportions needed by your soil. For example, greensand (recommended by Coleman) contains a lot of potassium and micronutrients (good) but also has a high percentage of magnesium. My soil test says my soil is already too high in magnesium, so adding greensand would throw the soil out of whack with regards to the very important calcium:magnesium ratio. With the Soloman method, you can tailor your mineral additions so you get just the right amounts of calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, mangesium, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, and sodium.
My plan for next year is to add biochar and bentonite clay to my compost pile to drastically increase the cation exchange capacity. I will then add the minerals to the compost, let it sit for a while, then add the whole mix to the garden. I hope this approach will minimize leaching of the relatively expensive mineral powers and provide the greatest benefit to my plants.
Just my 2 cents, thanks for reading!
Really interesting that somebody here is trying the Solomon's/Albrecht methods. What kind of soil do you have? Sandy, Clayey? What's the size of the garden you're experimenting with?
Mike Gaughan wrote:To the original poster, your comparison of Solomon and Savory is interesting...Savory is lobbying that controlled grazing with cattle is the key to revegetation of the deserts and controlling climate change (Google his now famous TED Talk). On the other hand, Solomon argues (in The Intelligent Gardener, I believe) that soil improvement through controlled grazing is a myth. This is a topic where Soloman may be out of his league. His knowledge of gardening and basic soil chemistry is very strong, but his opinions on grazing do not appear to be in line with other sources I've read. Of course, some of those other sources include Joel Salatin, who is trying to sell books on rotational grazing. And Solomon is trying to sell books on gardening. Both Solomon and Salatin, however, do seem to possess altruistic motives to improve the world through better agriculture. But from my standpoint, where is that fuzzy line between science and marketing?
Good topic, Daniel. Thanks for bringing this up!
I've read the Intelligent gardener and althought I enjoyed as well, I didn't agree with Solomon's opinion on grazing. Which he went so far to say that grazing could contribute to the deterioration of soil and depletion of minerals. Which I believe that it could happen only in a heavy grazing situation with consequent erosion and in a long term scal. And more, if having a full reminalizated soil is so good for the nutrition value of the vegetables we eat. Then, if we are omnivores; it should be passed to the grasses that our animals eat and on to the nutritional value of the meat that we eat.
Landon Sunrich wrote:So I'm slamming my head over not being able to figure out how to get pictures up / adding potassium (in the form of wood ash and bio char) to my bed when apparently that can be an issue with wood core beds - but I am keeping up on the discussion here. I am looking forward to checking out (literally. from a library) 'The Intelligent Gardener'. Cation Exchange is a concept I am familiar with - but still don't completely understand. Anyway...
My assumption has always been that the wood core filled with split exposed grain wood - in my case the addition of wood chips - would slow and 'catch' minerals being leached. Especially those being added in the form of a soil amendment. Like, if I put on a good dose of blood meal onto loose sand on top of clay, water is going to sweep all of those minerals away - but if there is something for it to soak into - like wood - it should be more or less bound there until accessed by a plant, fungus, whatever. I mean a Huglekulture or any other wood based bed is going to be fairly thick. Mine is at least 3 feet think - so that water has quite a bit of organic mater to work through before it finds a way to run out of the system. I think wood chips are key here though too - I mean it provides a whole lot of surface area and water -saturated with whatever it picks up - is going to be caught and trapped by it.
Is my thinking wrong here?
I think that biochar will not increase a lot the potassium content of the soil. The beauty of the biochar is that thanks to its structure, will increase the cation exchange capacity of the soil, preventing the leaching of those precious minerals and it will be at the same time a good habitat for the beneficial funghi, bacteria and microorganisms.
In the intelligent gardener by steve solomon (really interesting if you want to follow this path) they recommend an M3 (Mehlich 3) test from logan labs or spectrum analytics, around 20US$. And a fizz test at home with vinegar to check if the soil is a calcareous one, which then requires an special test.
William Bronson wrote:How does one add these other minerals?
I know there are accumulators, but if the underlying subsoil doesn't have what is needed, what then?
Funny thing is I was worried that the organic matter in my soil was to nitrogen rich, leading to the 100 foot of squash vine with but a single squash on it...
IMHO, one of the solutions is to add Rock Dust https://permies.com/t/7154/soil/Rock-Dust ; but before this, I would do a full soil test (of the subsoil as well) to make sure that I really don't have those minerals. Maybe there are the minerals but the PH is not right and the plants cannot make use of those minerals, maybe there are those minerals but I don´t have enough life in the soil to help te plants utilize those minerals, maybe the soil is supersaturated with one element (potassium for example) and doesn´t allow the plants to make use of those minerals, or maybe I still have enough minerals in the subsoil and I can bring them up with dandelions, or comfrey, or daikon...
Daniel Bowman wrote:Excellent, Joan. Great quote. Just wanted to add that his composting book is downloadable for free from Steve's soil and health library.
Not only this, I remember Helen Atthowe in one of the Paul Wheaton's podcasts (#15 I believe). Mentioning the build up of Potassium as the cause of her stopping the addition of compost of her already well tilt and well stablished soil. (Not the addition of organic matter, as she was still adding the bulk of her crops as a mulch to the soil)
I've read both books from Solomon the one on dry farming (I believe that he trusts in tilling too much) and the "organic gardening composting" which I enjoy most when he doesn´t lecture about composting. Specially the part about potassium saturation, lack of minerals and Albrecht's teory on soil's nutrition.
By the way this is not bashing organic or permaculture it's just a way on discussing/improving it.
I will quote some texts that can be added to the discussion:
"For many years I have lectured on organic gardening to the Extension Service's master gardener classes. Part of the master gardener training includes interpreting soil test results. In the early 1980s when Oregon State government had more money, all master gardener trainees were given a free soil test of their own garden. Inevitably, an older gentlemen would come up after my lecture and ask my interpretation of his puzzling soil test.
The average soils in our region test moderately-to strongly acid; are low in nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium; quite adequate in potassium; and have 3-4 percent organic matter. Mr. Organic's soil test showed an organic matter content of 15 to 20 percent with more than adequate nitrogen and a pH of 7.2. However there was virtually no phosphorus, calcium or magnesium and four times the amount of potassium that any farm agent would ever recommend. On the bottom of the test, always written in red ink, underlined, with three exclamation points, "No more wood ashes for five years!!!" Because so many people in the Maritime northwest heat with firewood, the soil tester had mistakenly assumed that the soil became alkaline and developed such a potassium imbalance from heavy applications of wood ashes.
This puzzled gardener couldn't grasp two things about his soil test report. One, he did not use wood ashes and had no wood stove and two, although he had been "building up his soil for six or seven years," the garden did not grow as well as he had imagined it would. Perhaps you see why this questioner was always a man. Mr. Organic owned a pickup and loved to haul organic matter and to make and spread compost. His soil was full of worms and had a remarkably high humus level but still did not grow great crops.
It was actually worse than he understood. Plants uptake as much potassium as there is available in the soil, and concentrate that potassium in their top growth. So when vegetation is hauled in and composted or when animal manure is imported, large quantities of potassium come along with them. As will be explained shortly, vegetation from forested regions like western Oregon is even more potassium-rich and contains less of other vital nutrients than vegetation from other areas. By covering his soil several inches thick with manure and compost every year he had totally saturated the earth with potassium. Its cation exchange capacity or in non-technical language, the soil's ability to hold other nutrients had been overwhelmed with potassium and all phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients had largely been washed away by rain. It was even worse than that! The nutritional quality of the vegetables grown on that superhumusy soil was very, very low and would have been far higher had he used tiny amounts of compost and, horror of all horrors, chemical fertilizer."
"Over geologic time spans, water passing through soil leaches or removes plant nutrients. In climates where there is barely enough rain to grow cereal crops, soils retain their minerals and the food produced there tends to be highly nutritious. In verdant, rainy climates the soil is leached of plant nutrients and the food grown there is much less nutritious. That's why the great healthy herds of animals were found on scrubby, semi-arid grasslands like the American prairies; in comparison, lush forests carry far lower quantities of animal biomass.
Some plant nutrients are much more easily leached out than others. The first valuable mineral to go is calcium. Semi-arid soils usually still retain large quantities of calcium. The nutrient most resistant to leaching is potassium. Leached out forest soils usually still retain relatively large amounts of potassium. William Albrecht observed this data and connected with it a number of fairly obvious and vital changes in plant nutritional qualities that are caused by these differences in soil fertility. However obvious they may be, Albrecht's work was not considered politically correct by his peers or the interest groups that supported agricultural research during the mid-twentieth century and his contributions have been largely ignored. Worse, his ideas did not quite fit with the ideological preconceptions of J.l. Rodale, so organic gardeners and farmers are also ignorant of Albrecht's wisdom."
"The potassium-fortified soil gave a 25 percent higher bulk yield but the soybeans contained 25 percent less protein. The consumer of those plants would have to burn off approximately 30 percent more carbohydrates to obtain the same amount of vital amino acids essential to all bodily functions. Wet-soil plants also contain only one-third as much calcium, an essential nutrient, whose lack over several generations causes gradual reduction of skeletal size and dental deterioration. They also contain only half as much phosphorus, another essential nutrient. Their oversupply of potassium is not needed; humans eating balanced diets usually excrete large quantities of unnecessary potassium in their urine.
Albrecht then analyzed dozens of samples of vegetation that came from both dryland soils and humid soils and noticed differences in them similar to the soybeans grown under controlled conditions. The next chart, showing the average composition of plant vegetation from the two different regions, is taken directly from Albrecht's research. The figures are averages of large numbers of plant samples, including many different food crops from each climate.
Average Nutritional Content by Climate
Nutrient Dryland Soil Humid Soil
Potassium 2.44% 1.27%
Calcium 1.92% 0.28%
Phosphorus 0.78% 0.42%
Total mineral nutrition 5.14% 1.97%
Ratio of Potassium to Calciuim 1.20/1 4.50/1
Analyzed as a whole, these data tell us a great deal about how we should manage our soil to produce the most nutritious food and about the judicious use of compost in the garden as well. I ask you to refer back to these three small charts as I point out a number of conclusions that can be drawn from them.
The basic nutritional problem that all animals have is not about finding energy food, but how to intake enough vitamins, minerals and usable proteins. What limits our ability to intake nutrients is the amount of bulk we can process—or the number of calories in the food. With cows, for example, bulk is the limiter. The cow will completely fill her digestive tract at all times and will process all the vegetation she can digest every day of her life. Her health depends on the amount of nutrition in that bulk. With humans, our modern lifestyle limits most of us to consuming 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day. Our health depends on the amount of nutrients coming along with those calories."