Dang, I love all the huckleberry varieties, now I'm jealous.
Indeed, you have exactly what you need to do a superior soil inoculation there.
Try to get the inoculating soil touching the roots of the in need bush, that shortens the time period for the fungi to get to work.
That is also known as Shan Yao, one of the true Yams and it is very good food.
I would grow it, it also is a medicinal and the flavor is very nice.
I first found out about this yam from a Japanese family that lived across the street from me in California.
He and I exchanged a lot of methods and techniques over a 4 year period (I even worked at his nursery for a year).
Remember the leaves oppose directly across from each other on the edible species of true yams.
First off, the mushroom slurries will go a long way at getting those trees much healthier and the addition of the fungal hyphae will provide more of the minerals that are in the soil but not currently water soluble.
When your compost gets ready, you can make an aerated tea (do not use molasses for a food, just leave that out please, we are wanting an 8 to 1 fungi to bacteria ratio) and you can spray that on the soil and all over the trees to give them the immune system boost.
Once the soil fungi get a good foot hold around the trees they will not be nearly as prone to have leaves crisp up or any of the other issues fruit trees can have.
By getting your soil biology up to par, you won't need to worry about soil testing, the minerals and other nutrients are in the soil all over the planet, it is just a matter of getting the biology right to release them for the plants to take up.
Remember kola Nicole, if you have a question, I will answer it to the best of my ability.
This years weather got most all of the fruit trees I think. Ours only set a few fruits each.
Nicole Alderman wrote:We made the mushroom slurry! The kids were really excited about it, and wanted to pour it on the garden, too. I gave my son a measuring cup, and he dumped his one two different places, and then wanted more! My 1.5 year old daughter got a little plastic tea cup...and promptly spilled half of it on the driveway, and dumped the rest somewhere else...and instantly wanted more! I gave them both seconds--my son put his on one of his corn sprouts *sploosh!* I have no idea where my daughter deposited her's--probably in the lawn! Due to their rather ineffective--but very enthusiastic--"helping" I went inside to make a second batch so I could actually get some under my fruit trees. And, of course, they all wanted more to pour out, and they of course got some :D.
Who knew mushroom slurries could be so much fun! My son even drank some :-D Mmmm, oyster mushroom slurry!
Don't forget that your compost heaps will love a little drink too! It sounds like the kids were having great fun and doing your soil good at the same time. Woot!
The blue berries are very tuned into mycorrhizae, especially the arbuscular mycorrhizae. This particular type can be found in forests, and well growing blueberry bushes would be the ideal donor.
It takes about 1/4 cup of soil from the root system to inoculate two blueberry bushes with enough AbM to make them take off in one season of growing. From there, they will continue to get better every year.
Which reminds me that I need to go into the forest and hunt some myco soil myself. (if you find enough to do all your fruit trees and have some left over, you can store it in the fridge with damp paper towels to keep it moist for about 3 -4 weeks).
Sadly, mycorrhizae don't grow without roots to attach to, they don't die however, they simply hibernate. You can tell if you found some by close inspection of the roots in the soil sample (magnifying glass will work fine for this) the roots will have fine white "hairs" all around them.
Wow, simply wonderful thread Greg, the photos show the progression and the pit fall is a great heads up for all thinking or planning to build with cob.
I am in awe of the amount of work you two have done and are doing.
I should have added that if you know of any trees that seem to be doing far better than others of it's kind, take a shovel (or trowel) of that tree's soil and roots.
Trees that do far better than others of the same species usually are the ones with the best Mycorrhizae in and around their roots.
If you can take a sample of that soil with a few feeder roots, you have a mycorrhizae gold mine that you can either grow more or inoculate other trees with (just takes a tea spoon of that superior fungal soil at the roots of a tree) a bit of that soil to give them the mycorrhizae they might be missing.
In the soil there are really no "bad" mushroom hyphae it is the fruits (the actual mushroom caps) that might be a problem.
I use a lot of different fungi fruits (I have something like 12 different species of wood eating fungi on my land and a few edibles) for making slurries.
To make a slurry a blender comes in very handy, I have an old one that is now used only for this purpose.
I fill the blender jar with the mushrooms (they do not need to be fresh) then I add water to about half way and cap and use the "Pulse" a few times then hit "Puree".
When it looks like all the mushrooms are chopped as fine as they are going to get, I turn off the machine, pour the "soup" into gallon milk jugs and go walking through the gardens or orchard drizzling the slurry around trees, through the middle of garden beds and anywhere else it looks like I need to add some.
This is something you can do anytime you have left over mushrooms that you didn't cook, dried ones work pretty well too.
One of my lands most plentiful is the turkey tail then the Jew's Ear is second to that, right now I have a few really large ones that I don't know the species of, but they will get whizzed up when I have the time, if animals don't eat them first.
Those dried oyster mushrooms are golden Nicole, especially around fruit trees, they will be super in any garden bed too.
If you have a not so great compost heap going, you can boost it by adding a little slurry to it, that will bring up the fungal side of the microbiome you are feeding in the compost heap.
Kola, you should know that just as there is no "silly" question there also is no such thing as too many questions.
And now we extrapolate this thread from humans to plants and trees.
Doesn't it seem logical that if the human organism benefits from having a complete, functioning microbiome on the outside and inside, that our plants and trees would also benefit from having the same, complete and functioning microbiome so they are protected from insects and microbes the same way humans can be?
This is the idea of spraying good compost tea on your plants, shrubs and trees, it builds a coating of microbes on the surfaces that then protect the plants the microbes now live on.
The only real difference is that our plants already have their feet in the ground, so if we build the soil, that half is taken care of already.
Dyed wood chip mulch can be remediated and then composted as long as you use fungal slurries to remediate the toxins prior to composting.
The preferred mushrooms for slurries in this instance would be Oyster and King Stroph. These will break down not only the dyes but also any "treated" wood that might be in the blend.
When it comes to the question "how do I grow bacteria and fungi to add to my soil?" it is possible to find at least 10 different methods, many of which are designed to grow all the wrong organisms.
To set people on the right track it is important to bring up Aerobic vrs. Anaerobic, the first means with air present and the latter means without any air.
The organisms we want in our soil are all aerobic organisms, they die, or go dormant without oxygen being present.
If you are growing Anaerobic organisms be aware that these are the pathogens and parasitic organisms preferred environment.
Fermented compost is not healthy compost and if you read the full instruction set for these methods, they all add air just before you use them and as you use them.
That's because those organisms we don't want can't survive in an environment filled with air.
If all you use are anaerobic methods, you will see some plant growth but you will be on an up-hill struggle, until the aerobic organisms get going well, which they might not do if they are overwhelmed by pathogenic organisms.
Pathogens secrete poisons to protect themselves, that means that before the good bacteria and fungi can really get going strong, they first have to overcome the defenses of the pathogens.
If this sounds like it might be counter productive for your plant roots and leaves and stems, you are correct.
If you were to go back through most all I've written on this site about the different methods, you should find mentions of add air for a few days before you use those anaerobic method composts.
All the good fungi and bacteria, nematodes and all the other desired organisms for good soil are air breathers.
While my own tests of methods like bokashi and other anaerobic methods have shown good nutrient values, the biology tends to suck until you add air to switch off the pathogenic bacteria and fungi and allow the good bacteria and fungi to take over.
None of the Anaerobic methods take into account the organisms, they only talk about the nutrients, which is the only good thing about those anaerobic methods.
Use those methods to get the nutrient values up, but don't forget to add air at the end, before you use them in your soil, that way you won't accidently give your plants diseases or make them sick.
Once we decide what plant type(s) we want in a specific area (garden bed or field) we can then check the soil to make sure the microbiome there is set for great growth of our selected plants.
If we want vegetables then we need to know the ratio of bacteria to fungi that those plants really want to help them thrive and stay healthy.
Veggies like there to be a bit more bacteria than fungi in their soil, this tells us a few other good to know things like, approximate pH desired, and highest used nutrients, in a perfect environment veggies want 600 micrograms of bacteria and 450 micrograms of fungi in every square inch of soil. Or a ratio of 7:5
If we want to grow things like corn and other "row crops" then we need to up the fungi count and reduce the bacteria count.
The numbers for these crops are 500 micrograms of bacteria and 800 micrograms of fungi.
When I am checking soil organism numbers for food growing gardens I usually look for a 1:1 ratio (50/50) this is because when this ratio is present, the plants you grow will, thorough their exudates, regulate the bacteria and fungi numbers so they are where that plant wants them to be.
This regulatory function of exudates is one of our biggest helpers as gardeners.
As we move up the "woody plant" ladder the bacteria numbers go down and the fungal numbers go up.
blueberries and other berry bushes want a 5:1 ratio of fungi to bacteria if we did a count of a square inch of soil we would want to find 600 micrograms of bacteria and 3000 micrograms of fungi.
Our fruit trees like plums, pears, apples, oranges, peaches, etc., want to find about 400 micrograms of bacteria ad 10,000 micrograms of fungi or a ratio of 25:1 fungi to bacteria.
When we get to the wood providing trees, normally termed as old growth forest trees, the ratio leaps to 333:1 fungi to bacteria or in that square inch of soil the numbers would be 300 micrograms bacteria and 100,000 micrograms fungi.
As you can see, fungi are the most important once we get into the more woody stemmed plants.
Conversely if we wanted to grow weeds the bacteria would far overshadow the fungal count 100 to 10.
But now that we know how much bacteria and fungi we want to find, the other part of the equation question becomes; which bacteria and what fungi are we wanting to find in our soil?
hau Devin, I am very familiar with the practice of "Grounding", it works. As to if part of the theory of grounding involves the microbiome.
I am not aware of that actually being part of the practice but it certainly occurs if you are practicing grounding as prescribed by the founders of the theory.
Grounding is based on the magnetic field of earth flowing into those organisms in direct contact with the earth mother.
Sitting in the soil is definitely contact with the earth mother.
So, while practicing grounding you are definitely exposing your body to the microbiome and gathering more bacteria and other microorganisms, thus adding strength to your overall immune system.
Recent Scientific studies show that burying food scraps can create an anaerobic condition in the immediate area of the burial.
Since all the "bad" microbes love and flourish in such conditions, the practice of raw food scrap burials as a way to amend soil seems to be detrimental to the objective of creating good soil microbiomes.
Raw food scraps will put off CO2, Methane and other gasses as they decompose, these gasses can cause a kill off of the beneficial bacteria, fungi and nematodes that are highly desirable in soils.
The best methods of dealing with food scraps are Vermicomposting and hot composting since these methods limit the gassing off of known greenhouse effect gasses, they also prevent putrification of the materials which keep pathogens and parasitic organisms to a lower population.
I use wood straight from the tree cutting, bark on, diameters usually range from 1/2 inch up to 5-6 inches.
I have a drying rack area where I stack all the wood I cut, my sticks are usually 3-3.5 feet long, then depending on what I'm going to use them for, they get cut to proper length at the time of use.
I cut trees for wood usually in spring and again in the fall, nothing gets used until it has aged at least a year, except for mushroom logs, those are cut and used immediately and they have their own ricking area.
I've never tried sand in the bottom of a barrel, but I would imagine that would help one last longer.
My latest method involves the good old 55 gal metal drum with lid and ring. I drilled 7- 1/4" holes in the lid, filled the drum and fastened the lid on.
Set the drum on 3 8" tall concrete blocks and built a fire under the drum, next time I will raise the drum another block so I can get to the fire easier.
This turns the drum into almost a TULD, but no stack, don't stand around the drum the whole time, the fumes coming off the wood inside can be rather nasty.
I did use one year dry wood for this test run, the charcoal came out very nice with just a little ash, I'm sure I could have set the fumes alight to stop some of their nastiness, but I was doing other stuff while the burn was going.
I think more holes might be better at getting those fumes out of the way as the wood cooks.
next burn will have 14 of the 1/4 inch holes in the lid, the ring does what it is supposed to do, keep the lid on tight.
The one problem is that you burn 12 - 16 sticks of wood for the process.
The best part, it acts like an oven and you get almost a full yield.
The thing I like most about this method is that it is simple to put together and it didn't explode, light off spontaneously, and the char was nice and "tinky".
To make sure you get the right fungi and bacteria in your soil so when you do sit in it you are getting better than average exposures, I have a new thread, Bacteria, Fungi and Nematodes started that is going into more detail about these organisms and what they do for us and how they do those wonderful things.
Gather wild mushrooms (or too far gone to be good ones from mushroom logs), fill blender add water and whirr up till the mushrooms are pulverized, If really thick, thin with more water and pour on soil in garden.
You can use store bought mushrooms, that's just an expense but if you can't get wild ones, they will work just fine.
hau Michael, Your plan sounds more like creating Terra Preta. I like the idea and your plan very much.
I would only bother with the soaking if I wanted to filter my pond water.
How do you plan to incorporate the char into the soil? This is far more important to know since that should dictate how you might want to "charge" the char.
If you are going to bury it, then you will need to follow Chris' advice and get the char mixed with some really good compost then bury that mix.
If you are just adding the char, you can go ahead with your plan or just bury the char as is.
RedHawk! It´s a honor to read your comment here. I understand that might be the case.
"At 2m height you could find the lines don't empty all the water from the tank." - Is this an estimate in relation to the length of my main pipe laid down, or is a guess based on your intuition and experience on the subject?
That is what happened to me on my first try at gravity irrigation lines, the main line was only 50 feet long, the emitters slowed the water enough that the tank stalled with about 8 inches of water left in it.
Once I raised the tank to 3m it emptied nicely, no stall out.
If your tank behaves similarly, you might try using a secondary tank fed by the large one, that way you could have more head space perhaps (by raising the small tank so the tops are at the same level).
(This is a list of--hopefully--all of Bryant RedHawk's awesome threads about soil microbiology. I made it a wiki that can be edited so that new threads can be added and hopefully short summaries of each thread will be next to the link for easy reference. I plan on putting a link to this thread on each thread so it's easy to find other's in the series.)
Getting the right mix of all the soil microorganisms can be somewhat tricky, especially if we don't really know which ones we want and more importantly which ones we don't want in our soil.
While it is pretty easy to make improvements to our soil, getting things right for any particular crop plant for most people is similar to gambling at a casino.
Since there are so many different methods published about improving the soil, making compost, fermenting stuff and even anaerobic methods, it is easy to use these tools the wrong way and that can mean disaster for your soil.
So l am going to go through what organisms, proper numbers of each organism for plant types and what is good for the soil and what is bad for the soil and Why it matters.
The best place to start anything is at the beginning, so we will go through the creatures of the soil food web and each one's place in the food chain (who eats whom and how this feeds our plants).
About 4.6 billion years ago, life began on this planet, it was after the creation of amino acids, polypeptide chains and RNA and DNA that Bacteria took shape and life began.
We know this from the fossil record and those first fossil forms are still being created today, by those same bacterial species.
From this fossil record we can safely say that the thing that feeds all other life, directly or indirectly is bacteria.
The next life form to show up was fungi, but this second life form didn't show up until about 1 billion years had past from the creation of bacteria.
Fungi fed on the bacteria and grew as long, strands in the soil that the bacteria had created from the rocks, by the way, water was already around when the bacteria popped on the scene.
Over the next few billion years, other microscopic creatures came into being and each new life form fed on the others.
Then plants came on the scene and found all this microscopic life around its roots and figured out a way to use the microorganisms to gather food for the plant to use.
Plants also figured out which organisms gave them the best foods and the plants devised ways to nurture those organisms.
After the bacteria and fungi came the protozoa then the amoeba, flagellates, nematodes and the microarthropods (springtails are a member of this group).
So in the critter eat critter world it works to; Bacteria are eaten by fungi, protozoa, amoebae, flagellates, nematodes and microarthropods.
Fungi are eaten by protozoa, amoebae, flagellates, nematodes and microarthropods.
Protozoa are eaten by amoebae, flagellates, nematodes and microarthropods, and so on down the road.
Then there is the curve ball that nature likes to use now and then, starting with the bacteria, there are parasitic species, which do the plants no good at all, and these we label as "the bad guys".
There are, as an example, root eating nematodes that will harm our plants unless the fungi are there to entangle and then devour those nematodes.
Along with the parasitic, there are the predators, fortunately we want the predators in our soil because they will keep the parasitic species to acceptable levels.
This behavior can be found at every level of micro organism life, and the only way we have to determine who is a good guy and who is the bad guy is the microscope.
The problem with this isn't that we can't tell which player is which, the problem is the amount of learning how to identify them through the microscope, it takes two to three undergraduate classes to get fairly proficient at it.
Even then you are well advised to purchase and use the several huge volumes of Microbiology identifier text books, none of which are under 75 dollars.
For those on a severe budget the library becomes a great tool, especially if they have a copying machine, the micrographs you are most interested in are the bad guys, then use the process of if it isn't a bad guy, it must be a good guy.
There are also acceptable microscopes that are within reach of most people, if you are interested in growing the best food crops possible (for your own use or to have enough to sell as well as supply yourself), you will want to own an adequate microscope.
Adequate in this meaning is a scope that has 2500X magnification capability. The step up model is one with EPI-Fluorescence for the light source, these are costly though, you can add this light source separately later on.
The average person will spend around 350.00 for the scope, slides, cover slips, stains and specialty tools for slide making.
The scope I usually recommend as a good starting point is around 250.00, it is designed Veterinary/Clinical use and has a good illumination module with iris.
Bacteria come in three main body shapes;
Round or spherical, flat and cylindrical (cigar).
Gram stain makes these easier to see and it also helps some with determination of type of bacteria.
For us to be able to actually tell good guys from bad guys we must have the EPI light source so we can differentiate them.
In the garden we generally want to know what numbers of bacteria and fungi our chosen plants desire to have in their soil because every plant type has different needs.
I'll go over the list in the next installment.
There are soil fungi and lignin fungi, that we are interested in, the lignin fungi are the wood eaters, the soil fungi are our prime interest, this is the portion that contains all of the soil food web species.
We are interested in the networkability of the non-mycorrhizae since they are the ones that will knit with the mycorrhizae and transfer, plant to plant communications undersoil.
The mycorrhizae are the ones that hold our primary interest though and there are several types of mycorrhizae, some of which are listed below.
Ectomycorrhizal, and Endomycorrhizal, the two main catagories of mycorrhizae.
Ecto means exterior, that means these fungi wrap around the outside of the roots and link to other fungi hyphae in the soil.
Endo means inside, these fungi enter the cell walls of the roots and live there, connecting to the ecto fungi so they can move nutrients into the cells for transport up the stems.
There are Arbuscular, Monotrapoid, Orchidaceous, Ericoid and Arbutoid, which are all types of Endomycorrhizae.
If you grow Blueberries, you want to have a lot of Ericoid endomycorrhizae in the soil around their root systems.
Again, I'll go over the list of plant desires in the next installment.
You will want to read my next thread then, I'm going to be going over this exact subject in some detail.
I just skimmed over it in a previous thread and I talked a little about in my current research thread.
yes you can use those, just be sure to aerate them before incorporating. *added later because I missed reading the kefir/kombucha question.
One of the things I use for potted plants is spent coffee grounds, I spread them as a mulch layer and water through them, ants don't get into or if already there, they leave quickly because of this "treatment".
Oil is not good for the bark of trees, it seals the respiration qualities and that can damage or even kill a small tree.
If the ants are coming up the outside of the container, that is where you would place the oil.
Alternative would be to add a pan larger than the container bottom and oil that so the ants could not get to the tree.
I have used Rainbird items for everything from large commercial installations (golf courses to indoor green spaces) and from farm rows to small home gardens.
They work very well and they do have a help line should you run to problems unforeseen.
As Rebecca mentions, you will need to add a filter prior to the manifold to prevent clogging by algae.
If you could lift that tank to 3m off the ground level you would be better off since the pressure will drop as the tank empties.
At 2m height you could find the lines don't empty all the water from the tank.
I use 270 gal. Totes that are set 2m off the ground and fed by our gutters, these feed water down hill to gardens that are lower so the head ends up measuring 3m-4m, the drip lines will run for about 3 hours on a full tote.
If you want to do some bacteria increases with out having compost teas available, you can use some Acidophilus milk or yogurt as an inoculant for the soil.
Another item is probiotics, should you happen to take these, just dissolve a couple of the capsules in slightly warm water and use that to inoculate.
That quote was about the Brazilian Rain Forest, there is actually nothing but clay in that area, all the soil is detritus from the forest canopy laying and decaying on the clay.
When they cut all the trees in this rain forest so they can farm the land, they get two years of crops, from that point on, the there is only dirt, well, actually clay and it does not support pioneer plants, it is much like the loess area of China was before they started the restoration work there.
In the USA land left alone (abandoned) will revert to what it was before humans intervened and that takes a total of 100 years to get back to how it was when the first ships from Europe arrived here.
Javier Lopez wrote:Hello everyone. New here. Great community from what I've seen so far. Excited to be a part of it.
So I'm looking to purchase some property (40 acres or so), and after reviewing the soil analysis done by the state, the soil seems to have a much higher PH than what I would want, to grow my crop. I know that using elemental sulfur is a method used to bring down the PH, but I'm concerned about side effects. Are there other, more natural ways (that won't break the bank) to bring down the PH?
OK, so what is the pH? you didn't tell us.
Until I know where the starting point is, it would be rather futile to try and give methods that work for large scale amendments.
I have to agree with John, the best way to move hogs is to make use of their food motivation.
The night before the move, give them a half ration then move them in the morning with full feed buckets in hand.
Walk fast enough that they can't quite catch you, shaking the feed bucket will get their attention and it will also keep their attention if you shake it every so often on the move.
What we are doing in the microbiology world today is finding out the consequences of the increasingly sterile thinking of the human populace.
If you study the way all aspects of living are going, you will see a trend of sequestering the human from interactions with the environment from the beginning of the Western world industrial age to today.
Farmer's began to create dirt (sterile soil), people then started to live more of their days indoors then they started eating foods prepared in a factory, and on and on.
Today it is hard to find anyone that doesn't rely on electronic devices to the point that they don't remember friends phone numbers, aren't able to do simple math (addition or subtraction) without using a calculator (usually an app on their phone) and they spend as little time outdoors as possible.
They wash away their protective microbiome at least once a day and more and more people are exhibiting germaphobic behaviors, washing or "sanitizing" their hands after any encounter with another's hand or a door knob or anything that might harbor microbes.
While it is good to clean your hands often out in the world, at home you could probably do less of this and be fine.
I suppose the real message is "It is Ok to have a little dirt on your body and hands, most of the time".
Of course if you are preparing food or happen to be an MD (especially a surgeon) you will need to practice really good hygiene at least while at work. (this goes for microbiologist too)
Not trying to protect others from your own microbiome (germs if you will) is simply rude and crude, respect others rights to good health and cover that sneeze or cough and Please, Please, keep sick children at home, sequestered away from others until they are well.
The healthiest people in the western world today seem to be the homeless, they don't have access to perpetual indoor living, they don't have access to showers much and they spend almost all their time outdoors and they are thus exposed to many more microbes than most other people.
Studies have shown this to be an increasing situation, the more money and better things people have, the more often they get sick from things that are considered "common" illnesses.
When humans led less sanitized lives, they were healthier. Things like the Black Death actually did a weeding out, humans became like the bacteria under attack from doses of anti-biotics, the strong survived and multiplied, making the overall population stronger.
My wife loves the show "The Big Bang Theory" If you want a great example of how to get sick at the drop of a microbe, act like Sheldon Cooper, I can assure you, your body will have no defense against any microbe that finds you.
I'm not saying we need to all become "Pig Pen" like but we do need to understand that you need your protective bacteria, mites and the other microorganisms that call our bodies home.
The more of these helpers we have, the healthier we become and the less likely we are to catch that cold, flu, or other infectious microbe born illness or disease that we come in contact with.
This doesn't mean that we should not bathe, it just means we don't need to obsess about it in either direction.
Currently microbiologist are working on identifying which bacteria are truly beneficial as opposed to antagonistic or even benign.
This involves DNA work since there are literally millions of look alike bacteria out there.
It is going to be a huge break through, but it will take time to get everyone a positive ID so we can then create therapies that work at peak power.
Sorry to hear about the borers finding your redwoods.
Good raised beds work best if they are at least 16" deep.
Voles can be deterred by using raised beds of 18" to 29" tall (a good bench height) and sinking either the base of the bed surround material or heavy gauge 1/4" hardware cloth sunk around the perimeter.
Hugels can be built above ground, almost all of the originals were stacked, rotting wood that was covered with soil, they can be just about any height you want to make.
My hugels are around 3 feet tall, the big thing with hugels is to use well rotting wood instead of fresh cut wood.
In Europe it seems the hugels started out as fire wood stacks that weren't used and started to rot, at which point soil was thrown over the wood then plants started growing on them and the locals noticed this and made use of them for food plants.
Instead of digging I would go to the trouble of adding soil as I could.
First thing to do is map your sunlight travel so you know where the most sun is and I would also map where different amounts of shade are located.
That will help in planting planning so each group of plants gets the sun they need, or as close to their needs as possible.