Lorne Martin wrote:I suggest a nice scoop of whole corn every morning before they go foraging.
I also noticed your location and are you close enough to the coast to smell the ocean. If so then the plants probably absorb more of that taste than normal.
Most likely you will eventually find the taste normal to your liking.
I would not feed any bird whole corn, if the crop misses a full grind of all kernels they will swell in the stomach and if there are enough mostly whole kernels in there, the stomach explodes, killing the bird.
At many of the feed mills I used to have to inspect when with the USDA, there would be dead pigeons all over the place, examination of the corpses showed their guts had exploded and the grain that caused it was whole kernel corn.
Pigeons also have good crops, so if whole kernels of corn can do that to them.
If you don't want to own a dog, wolf urine spread around the fence line will deter most raccoons and opossum out on patrol.
While the live animal is a sure thing, the wolf urine is something that usually works pretty well, however, should the pest animals ever figure out that there isn't really a wolf around, they will comeback.
A game camera or two will definitely identify the culprit(s) and don't forget ground hogs, they can do serious vegetative damage too.
This problem is best addressed with a good, aerated compost tea sprayed over the scale areas and the whole tree and soil.
Other good things to do for all your trees and plants are; Use compost both as an amendment and as the mulch, make your own compost (or re-compost bought compost) and add spent coffee grounds, wood chips along with making and using mushroom slurries in your compost making.
Just these few things will make a great difference in the nutritional profile of your soil (both ground and container) which will help all plants maintain good health and disease resistance.
The copper compounds used by commercial orchards work but they also add nasty things to the soil they fall on when the trees are sprayed.
Cindy Skillman wrote: I asked about spreading manure in backyard herds.com. By spreading the manure , I mean spreading out the manure that is already on the ground. I have three cows. Scottish Highlands. We have 12 1/2 acres, mostly grass. The grass mostly grows very well. Somehow or other, The thread got turned to spreading lime. The people think that I probably have acidic soil because I mentioned Pineneedles, and because they talked about spreading manure. They say I need to have my soil tested and it will probably need Lyme. I’m not sure this is the best way to go about things. We do live in the middle of a vast Pine Forest, so I’m sure the soil is likely to be acid. Nevertheless, the grass grows very well as long as there is rain. I should know. I’ve been mowing it for many years. We just got the cows, about a month and a half ago. So I was wondering what to do about all the little cow patties laying around in the grass. They’re frozen now. So I guess I won’t do anything at all at least until spring. Still, I’m wondering whether spreading lime is anything I need to be concerned about. What do you all think?
Sorry for any weird spellings, punctuation, capitalizations. The iPad did that, not me. I’m sure I probably missed some.
Instead of "spreading" that manure you might want to try "mob grazing", where you section off the pasture land into one to two day paddocks, then you move the cows in a rotation just before there is actual damage done to the paddock's grasses.
(S Bengi laid out a good plan for the number of animals you currently have.)
This method does wonders for the soil and thus for the pasture and the animals. The method allows for trampling of the soil as the animals add their urine and manure while they feed, cutting the grasses down for new growth.
This is how the great prairie was maintained by the bison herds that would continuously travel along, eating down the grasses, trampling in their urine and manure as they moved from place to place, it works very well and is very easy to do with little input from the herd owner.
As Travis brought up, do get some soil tests done so you can see what is there and what is missing or low in quantity, this gives you an educated starting point and will reduce the possibility of wasting money on things you don't really need for the soil.
Also there are, like Travis mentioned, more benefits to using lime than just pH adjustment, so even if your pH is pretty good, some lime can be used (light spreading) to release other nutrients that might be locked up currently.
Gentle liming also can benefit your soil by allowing the microbiome the ability to adjust organisms into better for your soil concentrations, without needing to use a compost tea spraying.
Good Point Marco, the farmers I've worked with that stuck to the methods now make money every year and most of them have converted all their fields (most started with just a couple of 250 acre fields as a trial basis) to feeding soil instead of growing plants.
When we focus on the soil and work to make it better, the plants just naturally get better and you use so much less fuel and no chemicals that the money you spent on those things in the past becomes instant profit.
One of my clients said "thank you for showing me better ways to farm my family land", that was not only wonderful to hear but a blessing as well since his family had been farming that land for over 130 years.
Most of the originators of the regenerative movement forget to mention that the purpose of tilling is actually disturbance.
Disturbance is what nature uses to reset the natural progression of succession, so it isn't such a bad thing to do if you are using it for the right purpose.
If you have a field that has been left alone for several years and trees you don't really want are growing there, then a disturbance might be called for to reset that field from growing those particular trees.
If you have depleted soil you can speed up the regenerative process by doing a one time tillage, this will put into the soil all the organic material that you spread on the surface.
The effect is that you speed up the influx of organic matter, which then speeds up the growth of bacteria and fungi, and that is what we want to happen.
If I took two identical fields and never tilled one but instead grew a multi type plant cover crop and chopped and dropped this crop twice a year I could have great soil, 12 inches deep in around 4 years.
If I took that same field and once the covers were growing well, I added cattle to graze the field, moving them in a mob grazing pattern so they were one place only one or two days, I could get to that 12 inches of great soil in two or three years.
If I took the second field and grew the same cover crops and instead of cutting them to let them lay and rot I waited till they were near maximum height and density then tilled these under, I would reach that 12 inch deep great soil in 2 years or less.
If I did this tilling, replanted and repeated the once through tillage, I would be at the 12 inch great soil at the end of the second tilling. I would then come back with plantings of what I wanted to grow there, in alleyways with trees defining the alleys.
At this point I have, in two years, reached the level it took Gabe Brown and Mark Shepard 4 years and more to achieve using no till methods, so I have reduced the wait time for great soil by doing one tilling per year for two growing seasons.
Now I never have to till again, unless I want to completely change the succession plants from what I started.
I don't have to worry about pH, the plants I grow will be able to make those changes for me, I will have soil with plenty of fungi and bacteria growing in it to feed the plants I sew by broadcasting them on the surface too.
If I take this twice tilled field and now add cattle grazing in a mob situation, I triple the effectiveness of the system and my soil gets richer, faster, just like the no till field will get to in another two years.
Diversity is the key element that nature uses to grow all the greenery on her skin, by understanding how she uses diversity and disturbance, we can set lands up to grow what we want and maintain soil nutrient levels far easier and higher than the farmer who follows the "modern methods".
Tilling is not something that is great to use every year, it does have a place but it isn't used the way most farmers use it, we use tilling to enhance and add to the soil, then we leave it to do the things soil likes to do which is grow a wonderful microbiome that feeds all the organisms that call soil home.
What we end up with is a fully sustainable soil where we can grow foods, harvest those foods and replenish the soil nutrients without any extra expense on our part.
If we should ever find evidence that our great soil is or might be missing some elements for nutrition, we just spread them on the soil then run the mower through for a chop and drop cover over our just spread goodies.
For indoor plants one of the nicest looking and effective mulch materials are glass beads found at hobby lobby and other craft stores.
These come in a variety of colors as well as clear and they will last forever, no sharp edges, easy to clean too.
Most people who grow mint indoors don't put in where it can get enough sunlight and that causes spindly plant growth, over watering is the second largest mistake.
Mints do grow well indoors but they need at least 6 hours of sunlight, out doors you want morning light and afternoon shade, same holds true for indoor plants.
Alternately you can use grow lights, which will work well for just about any plant you would want to grow indoors.
Strangler fig tree roots are responsible for most of the destruction of 2500 year old temples in Thailand, Cambodia and India.
This same tree has been used to make root bridges for several thousand years too and some of the bridges span over 100 feet.
Oak tree roots can split granite, one of the hardest rocks found on the earth mother.
We have had the water tested and it's pretty good as far as heavy metals go. There are some infrequent fish die offs and it's definitely very turgid with a lot of algae.
The soil content is likewise low in heay metals, but also low in fertility with a pH around 7.5 - we are adding organic compost and animal manure at the time of planting.
I'll go with defining organic in our context rather than speaking about Taiwan in general. It's a meditation and yoga retreat with an emphasis on sentient/yoga diets (no garlic,onion,egg,meat,mushrooms) and we have more than 10 people who live on the property, many volunteers who stay here and also many guests. It's not so realistic in this rural and agricultural environment to be overly demanding about organic purity. I want to do the best I practically can. We generate A LOT of food scraps and make hot compost, we use farm-grown mulch regularly - but it breaks down fast, we use farm-made enyzmes and liquid compost along with commercial organic fertilizers.
I absolutely agree about planting trees and shrubs around the perimeter of the garden.
So, in conclusion, my thoughts for now...
1. Adding a foam sheet around the river pump will help prevent contamination, but will be a nightmare to regularly access and clean.
2. I'm looking at in-line filters, but they also have to be easy to screw in and out and cope with high pressure
3. A slow sand filter appeals to me, but I'm concerned it's not practical with a 20,000L tank to top up and the pump costing quite a lot to run if I reduce the incoming pressure into the tank and thus take much longer to fill it. Ideas?
4. Gravity feeding water down into the 20,000L tank from our lotus pond. Easier to access and filter. Might need to install a float valve
pH = 7.5, this is about + 0.8 from where most plants, and especially vegetables would prosper, it is also the same for overall nutrient availability. It is good that you know that heavy metals are low concentration.
Algae can be filtered out quite easily with a large quantity sand filter, this could be done in a pipe type or it could be done in an open tray type setup that feeds the tank you speak of.
If you went with a tray type filtration setup you could have it in three sections, pure sand at the inlet then a membrane separator, next would be a wood chip/sand mix charged with mushroom slurry to get the mycelium growing for further water purification which would take care of any residual herbicide and pesticide as well as any heavy metals, next would be another membrane separator, the third section could be a pH adjustment section with some pure mineral sulfur mixed into the sand of this layer and finished off with a double layer of membrane just before the discharge tube that would go into the storage tank.
This system would allow you to not have to wait for sediment settling prior to usability of the water in the tank, if you use perforated plates at the filter system inlet, the water pressure could be dissipated enough to prevent filter material erosion.
Costs of such a system would be minimal as well, the containment box could be constructed of wood and if total collection of water was needed some sort of fiberglass containment could be constructed as the unit was being built, to fit under it or even made as the bottom of the filter materials container unit.
The use of pressure reducing plates means no need to reduce the pressure of the pump as well.
Your idea of gravity feed to the tank sounds great as well, taking the down hill side of the pond and turning it into your filter bed like I describe above is a good solution, the lotus plants would add a layer of pre-filtering sediment settling.
If you are promoting the sentient/ yoga diets, the closer you can get to true organic practices, the better for the chakra's of those participating.
(with as much literature as their is about the definite immune system benefits of garlic, onion and mushroom consumption, I am surprised that these are no-no's to these diets).
Any time you use a "fertilizer" that contains any water soluble minerals or other nutrients, you are providing a soda pop to the plant as well as the microbiome.
Soda pop makes bacteria and fungi (particularly) lazy because they have no need to produce enzymes to procure their food supply, this shuts down the normal food web that keeps soil thriving and plants growing, it is why commercially grown foods have lost almost all flavor and nutritional value.
This is the conundrum that "Big Ag" never talks about, they want everyone to use their fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides so it would be against their best interest to actually give the public scientific facts about what is happening to the foods you buy, because of their greed.
"Free minerals" are not free for humans, they create an imbalance in the natural flow in the microbiome and that creates situations in plants that they rarely make the transition back to what should be going on for them to produce the nutrition humans need from the plant's fruits.
Current studies are beginning to show that the current "modern Agriculture methods" are causing foods to not only not have the nutritional values they should have, but also that these foods are carrying components that can cause mutations at the cellular level which is leading to diseases such as diabetes and autism.
The jury is still out since these studies are ongoing but the new resistance to the data being recorded smacks of another "Big Ag" white washing.
It is always best to use "found in nature" items to make any amendment to soil, this promotes the microbiome to remain healthy and viable which in turn allows plants to get the proper nutrients and thus provide us with nutritious foods with good flavor (flavonoids are an Important part of the human diet).
hau (hello) Borislav, First thing to start for chestnut trees to grow well is getting the soil lots of compost and other organic materials mixed in.
This can be done with cover crops of all kinds or you can make compost and spread and turn under, both will do the job.
Cover crops would be "chopped and dropped" which gives a mulch layer that will begin to rot and leak nutrients into the soil while worms will pull some of the materials under the soil.
This "no effort" method works but it is time dependent (Mark Shepard worked his farm this way for ten years to get the clay soil turned into rich topsoil).
If you can get compost (the more the better) and turn that under so it is mixed with the clay soil, you can cut the time period by many years (depends on how much compost you can spread).
I would go with the chestnuts you can acquire there, I've talked with several companies here in the states who do not ship to Europe because of all the paperwork required.
There is nothing wrong with the Chinese varieties, I find they seem to produce better, bigger nuts that have a much nicer flavor than the American species that has been crossed with the Chinese species.
There is no pure strain American chestnut since the blight, the few trees that were surviving after the blight and so used to make the crosses, have succumbed to the blight.
What ever species you can acquire, do get as many as possible and let natural selection take over, you will end up with a more ideal for your conditions trees that way.
Chestnut tree roots tend to grow down about 20 feet, that would not be deep enough to reach any aquifer layer unless you have some springs in your area that you could plant near, on the uphill side of the spring.
The only issue you would have with using a shipping container for a linen press would be moisture condensing on the interior.
That can be handled with good insulation with a moisture barrier.
The access door is pretty easy as you mentioned and either skylights or windows will give interior lighting.
I'd go for it. I would probably use a spray foam insulation product then a moisture barrier and an interior sheeting, wood studs fastened to the ribs would work for screwing or nailing the interior boarding (drywall, paneling, etc.) as well as something to attach shelving to.
DryWall is called that because it has to remain dry. There are some newer products that do have moisture barriers as a coating (instead of just paper) but they aren't going to stop all the moisture as a stand alone product.
For block walls you really need to use a water barrier coating (inside and outside if possible) to keep moisture from penetrating through the blocks, they are very much like water wicks.
Others have covered the ventilation issues quite well.
Stucco is not a water barrier, it is a finish coat, so unless you install a barrier prior to putting up the screen that holds the stucco up and perhaps added a cement water barrier coating to the scratch coat, moisture would still penetrate the stucco get into the blocks and end up on the interior of your home.
I do hope that you used a moisture barrier, rigid foam layer under your slab floor, otherwise that too will let moisture in by wicking action.
good information there susan, thanks for posting this.
Note that even though plants have a minimum temperature for germination that does not mean they should be expected to germinate with vigor at those low temps.
Usually there is an optimum germination temperature where the seed will germinate and sprout in a shorter time span and the sprout will grow with best vigor, thus it will be on the road to maturity at a faster rate as well.
Some plants that germinate at their low temp threshold will do well, others might not, it is part of the natural selection process.
The bulbs probably do best at that low temp threshold when compared to actual seeds of the same plant.
There is one issue that I have and that is that if you were to be limited to a single nutrient, you would be on the road to extinction because that scenario is a mono culture and we are creatures that are designed to thrive on diversity.
No matter which "nutrient" you choose, you are leaving out so much of the necessary for life compounds that death would be imminent, the only question is how long before you succumb.
While protein does help build bone and muscle, it is incapable of doing so without calcium being present, along with boron, magnesium, manganese and lots of other minerals, those protein built bones will be very brittle and there will be no marrow for production of blood cells.
Now if you are in a survival situation, where you have only one item to choose to get you to a better location where you can pickup at least some of the missing ingredients for a good diet, then yes protein is a key element.
A body that feeds only on protein feeds upon it's self much quicker though. The body likes to metabolize proteins because they are easy food, once those are gone, you either get hungry or switch to fat stores in the body.
Very nice write up Amit.
I love to grow barley and for making malt there is no substitute in beverage making. :)
I plant wheat and next year I'll be planting sorghum but these are more for the deer to use as food than for the two legs on our land.
Corn is another I like to plant but I use the very old world varieties (most call these "indian corn").
Sunflower is truly awesome and the birds love the ones Wolf plants for them.
As you mention using plant protectors is a costly affair when talking about using thousands of them.
Jeanine Brought up the most permaculture idea and method, which is to invite natural predators to the area, let them take care of the rodents for you.
This also is a large step in getting the area back to the proper ecosystem, once the rodent population is under control, the excess predators will go else where for hunting,
If you are planting thousands of trees, some will die naturally anyway, so instead of wasting money on an item that will require extra time both to install and then again to remove, why not use those funds for even more trees.
As long as you are providing the right conditions for prey, the predators will come, all they need is an environment that allows them easy hunting. Mulching with leaves, like a natural forest floor has, and a water source nearby, is probably all the environment snakes need to thrive.
My problem with beets is that they just don't seem to grow here (greens get big but roots stay miniscule). The soil is a loose combo of sand and red clay. Its not just me, other far more experienced gardeners around here also say they just can't get beets (or spinach) to grow well.
In the south we have to grow beets early and late in the season, once it gets hot beets are doomed. (same goes for all the brassicas like Broccoli, Brussel sprouts etc.)
We plant our spring beets in mid February and is harvested just before June gets going, (we use row covers until the rainy season is petering out), our fall beet crop goes in about mid September and we harvest just before the first killing frost.
We harvest the outer beet greens and use them like you would kale, turnip or mustard greens all throughout the growing season.
The real trick is keeping the soil moist and using a mulch between the rows does help in the fall more than in the spring.
Clay soil is not good beet soil, you would need to add compost and then add sand, in that order so the clay doesn't turn into brick making material.
One of our beet beds was mostly red clay (topsoil was only about 6 inches deep at the outset), we added in 150 lbs. of good compost and then we added 275 lbs. of 8 mesh sandblasting sand (sharp sand).
We still don't have this bed in great beet growing shape but we can grow beets in it and get a fair crop.
What I've been doing is adding the experimental drums after the spring season is over to this beet bed, it is getting better as I go along with the testing (this was the 4th year of testing soil mixes).
I would recommend picking one bed (ours is 36" wide and 18 feet long for two planted rows) and growing some winter peas, clovers, buckwheat and then turning those into the soil or chop and drop then turn the soil.
Don't go deeper than 8 inches when turning and once you have that done, come back with some mushroom slurries to get the fungal part of the soil built up.
When you have the soil starting to get nice and crumbly then add sand to open up the structure of the soil (just spread it and use a garden fork in a twisting pattern (straight up and down then twist once in each direction) to work the sand down into your newly structured soil).
Beets love to have lots of fungi in their soil, it allows the bacteria to move all the needed nutrients to the plants root system and that seems to be a key factor for growing good tasting beets and other root crops.
Never eat the skin, it is where all the bitter likes to settle in. The easy way to slip the skins off is to steam the beets for 10 to 15 minutes and use nitrile gloves and an old "tea towel" to rub the skins off and keep your hands from being dyed by the beets.
Beet juice is one of the nicest reds (maroon) you can natural dye with, I've done cotton and wool yarns in the past.
There are other trees that will do what you are looking for Chris.
Ponderosa Pine, Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, Port Orford Cedar, Alaska Yellow Cedar, all are faster growing, longer living and these have deeper root systems as a bonus.
If these can be established either as a mix or in groves (the way nature plants them is small to large groves mixing another species around the fringes).
I think you would have a very good base for a new ecosystem that was quite similar to the ancient ecosystem.
All root vegetables will pick up some of the flavonoids of the soil they are grown in, the amount of fungi mycelium in the soil is what will reduce those flavonoids which translates into less "soil" flavor in the vegetable.
This is true for carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips, horseradish, parsnip, etc.
We have experimented with soils for beets in particular since wolf and I love them pickled and fresh cooked.
So far we have not found the magic formula but we are getting closer and below is what we will be using this next year in our test containers (50 gal. drums laid on their side with a 12 inch slit cut out for planting in).
My test drums have drainage holes covered with copper wire screening.
I mix up a batch by weights, more for ease of record keeping than anything.
25 lbs. sand (sharp is better than playground sand since the particles are smaller and uniform)
15 lbs. composted manure (ours is donkey, hog and chicken manures mixed with straw, spoiled hay and leaves)
10 lbs. compost (no manure just grass cuttings and straw, leaves, shredded paper)
10 lbs. sandy loam (our soil dug up and added after passing through 1/4" sieve)
Mix together well (I use a cement mixer)
Pour into container and plant and water.
If you want to make sure all the minerals are present 1/4 cup of Sea-90 would be a good way to take care of that.
currently we are not adding minerals, once we find the nearly perfect mix we will do a second trial of that mix with the Sea-90.
Michael Moreken wrote:
I have a 23 qt pressure canner so maybe use that for sure. Do you know what Star San is? (Used in brewing to sterilize).
Yes I am familiar with Star San, I clean my brew kettles with it. I think it might take extra washings if you used it for sanitizing grains or wood chips for mushroom growing though.
Patrick's idea of using hydrated lime is a no go for mycelium unless you rinse all of the lime away, it will act in an allopathic way to the mycelium.
using an anaerobic situation raises the numbers of ciliates to dangerous levels too, the time period for letting chips dry and thus kill off the ciliates would be around two weeks so with this method it would be four to five weeks before inoculation. (unless you turn the pile of chips daily, which will shorten the wait time)
In the end it is more about how much time you want to spend I think, over which method is best, they all work well when done correctly.
The paper products would need to be separated for strictly composting, paper can create lots of issues with a bovine stomach system.
I'd look more on the composting side than the animal feeding side (unless you can find a hog farm, hogs can and will eat just about anything), that way you won't have any possibility of a law suit later on (not that you would loose it but that can be a real hassle).
I agree with Nicole, no need for cardboard unless you have some woody type plants to get rid of also.
The woodchip - nitrogen depletion thing is more misinformation than truth, If you want to get those chips deteriorating make some mushroom slurries and pour those over the woodchips as you are spreading them.
I did a post about the woodchip myths a while back. If you are concerned, just add some spent coffee grounds to the woodchips, that will take care of any nitrogen needs you might think you have to address.
I like the concept but worry about the feasibility of such a tall system for several reasons.
Wind resistance, how high speed do the winds get in your area? Wind can cause catastrophic failure of a tall structure that is inherently top heavy (which this would be since the highest section would also be the largest and heaviest).
Will you have this structure set up to dump the finished compost into a motorized carrier (truck, etc.) and if so, how high does the bottom of that last bin need to be to accomplish this?
Remember this is also going to add to the height of the first (start bin) and how are you going to get materials up there? belt or bucket lifts?
This concept might be great if inside a large building which would prevent wind buffeting of the apparatus.
Like I said, I like the concept but it will need some refining and be sure to try and cover all possible problems during the on paper stages.
I would start my hunt with the local extension service folks.
Alternatively you would probably want to get the word out via news paper, news on TV and social media.
One other idea is to provide barrels for the riders and crew to toss the leftovers into at each stop and then pick those up and deliver those to those who show an interest in composting these "wastes".
That would be a chemistry test that involves 1 large test tube and rack, chlorine to add to the liquid to precipitate out the Potassium, an accurate scale, filter paper and funnel (to collect the KCl precipitate and to dry it on) and a calculator to do the math.
Many commercial labs will do a Potassium test for you (here they cost between 25 and 50 dollars for the singular test).
If you can make a good compost tea and spray the trunks, limbs and ground around the trees, every month for a year, you might have a chance of saving them.
Borers are inside, eating away at the tree's cambium layer and once they go all the way around the trunk, they have girdled the tree and it will die because no nutrients can get up to the limbs.
All that stress, even if they don't manage to girdle the tree below the bark, takes a huge toll on the tree's health.
Whole forests have succumbed to pine borer damage.
check the trunks, I am afraid you have pine borers, the tree on the left is dead, the one on the right is showing tell tale signs of borers (the way the tip needles are dying back is not indicative of seasonal needle drop).
The avocado is a fruit, all fruit trees take at least 7 years to bear their first fruits, that's why most nurseries sell trees that are older than 7 years from sprouting. (I specify 10 year old trees to my nurseryman when we are buying new trees for the orchard)
The Hass avocado is probably one of the best for growing in the USA, it has been acclimated to the USA for over 100 years.
It is the sap you have to be concerned with, this is found only in the cambium layer of the tree and the roots.
So, if the tree is not a fresh cut (has had time for the sap to congeal and or dry up completely) there isn't anything allopathic left.
The leaves (needles) will create a little acidity if they are fresh and water (rain or other) flushes through them.
Think about where nature grows pawpaws and you will know the ideal set of conditions for growing them.
Pawpaw trees are an understory tree, that means they like a fair amount of shade to start life in.
pawpaw leaves will sunburn when they are less than four years old, sunburn = death for pawpaw trees.
They also like to live along streams, not on the stream but near it, that means some drainage is required but it also means they need a fair amount of continuous soil moisture.
You don't ever find pawpaw where bald cypress grows with knees, that means no wet feet, ever.
I just plant them and let nature do the work, seems to me that if nature plants chestnuts in the fall, then that's probably the best time to do it.
I do the same for all tree seeds including fruit trees.
hau Matt, The others have given you great ideas to run with, marketing is key to becoming one of the online celebs, if that is what your aiming for.
Long ago I took the approach of, I will do my thing and if people ask, I will share my knowledge and views, if they like that, super, if they don't like that, it is their problem not mine.
To get your kids involved, you might find some science might be a good way to get them really interested.
I have grandchildren that love to look through the microscope and see all the things that live in soil and water and on leaves.
The love to watch me do soil tests too, why I have not one clue but hey if it turns them onto helping heal the earth mother who am I to deny them that fun.
I have a couple of friends that do youtube, it took them around one year to start getting a following.
Facebook is something I rarely go to, even for friends, the family uses it to stay up to date on each other, wolf takes care of most of that for us both.
Susan Wakeman wrote:From the perspective of soil microbiology, how would you rank the effectiveness of the following composting methods? I've ranked them in ascending order of work or attention required.
First I want to thank you for this question and I also want to give big kudos to SuBa for a very good post about this subject.
Your first line indicates you are interested in soil microbiology and building the soil full of microbiology.
Then you delve into methods that are listed in amount of laziness allowed but with still good results of compost making.
These are really two separate things, you either build soil or you do lazy man's methods of composting, they will eventually come to a point of convergence but it will be a while before this happens.
The best way to improve soil microbiology or the microbiome of your soil is to make good compost.
Good compost is balanced between nutrients and microorganisms, it usually comes from hot composting methods and it should be noted that using bokashi or biodynamic methods indicates that you are going to be adding these to a hot compost heap to reap maximum rewards for your soil.
Sheet mulching is more for controlling weeds than for building the soil microbiome, that occurs as a side bar type process.
Cold composting is more along the lines of leaf mold making than good, microorganism rich compost.
Worm bins give you a ready to use manure, you simply apply these like a natural fertilizer.
Hot compost is the method used for building good, oxygen rich, microorganism rich, nutrient dense material for applying directly to soil or making compost teas for increasing Microorganism numbers in your soil and protecting plants from disease or infestation.
Methods to create good things to add to a hot compost heap for the purpose of increasing the numbers of microorganisms are:
"the preparations most call biodynamic" (biodynamic is a registered trade mark and the preparations they promote were created by Steiner in the 1920's at the request of some farmers.
Use of Steiner preparations is a very good way to build Microorganism rich compost, but first you have to make the preparations before you add them to the working compost heap, this adds large amounts of time to end goal.
Making bokashi (fermented vegetative scraps) requires the time to ferment then you need to aerate this soup and then you add that to the working hot compost heap. again, time is consumed to get to the end product.
Simply making hot compost will grow the multitude of microorganisms we are looking to add to soil to make it really good soil, the other things are great for boosting these numbers but they are not necessary if you build well constructed compost heaps.
The main purpose of turning compost is to get air into the whole of the heap, compost settles as it decays which means that air pockets are getting smaller and smaller while this happens.
I turn a heap usually three times, but you don't really need to turn it, you do need to get air into the whole of the heap.
This can be done by using a piece of 3/4" pipe by ramming it at an angle all the way to the soil beneath the heap, go all around the heap from about 1 foot above the soil level, then repeat every foot above that first round until you are at the top of the heap.
This method of adding air takes far less effort than turning (unless you are doing windrow style composting in which case you should have a mechanical compost turner).
The only other requirement is that moisture remains constant, moist not dripping is the key here, misting works best for filling this requirement.
Just to clarify, there are many of the "specialty products" growers who are providing most of their own food as well, just on different plots of land. So the statement
Calories are necessary. The anticarcinogenic properties of saffron, the antioxidants in dark chocolate or green tea -- none of these will sustain life unless the person first gets enough basic calories.
is answered for those growers. This is a country by country thing it seems to me and we should also recognize that there needs to be a reduction in human population for the survival of the planet, so maybe it's ok for those folks to end up however they end up.
Antioxidants are good, whether or not they provide many calories, the human body needs the immune system reinforcement to remain healthy. If you aren't healthy, you aren't going to be able to grow much of your own food either.
Since you state that you are an ecologist with a passion of preserving rain forest. Would it not make sense for you to try to change the minds or improve the thinking of those growers of "Luxury" products?
In the Amazon basin there are many people involved in the new plantings of canopy trees, they have gotten the children involved and every year there are more hectares being brought back to forest, it just takes many years to undo what can be done in hours or days.
I believe that both sustainable income and sustainable planet can be achieved but it will take time, because human nature is to resist change both in methods and in thinking.
There are places right now that you can see those who used to destroy nature, now working to rebuild it because they have found that westerners will pay them to come and see the wildlife in it's natural habitat and that provides these previous destroyers with better income than their old ways.
It will be a long, hard road to walk but we can do this, as long as we don't get discouraged or quit.
Before you see any mushrooms the bags will have to be completely filled with mycelium, at this point you would want to make sure the moisture level is up (mist the bags) which will induce fruiting.
When you say one bag is reducing do you mean that the mycelium is turning yellow and getting slimy looking?
If that is happening then you would need to add some sterile grain or straw that has been soaked well, that is an indication that there is no more food for the mycelium to feed on.
I get my best results in bags that are a mix of grain and straw, the grain has more nutrient value to the mycelium than the straw does.
The absolute best results are normally from hard wood chip filled bags since oyster mushrooms are found on logs in nature, oak is the best nutrient source for oysters.