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Hello again Zach. This is my second set of questions. I saw that you are into greenhouses and so I was wondering what is your standpoint on direct sowing, or transplanting? Do you believe one is better than the other or do they both have their own important place in the scheme of things?

My second question is:

What are a few of your favorite plants and why?

Now in my education thus far I have learned that prairies and grasslands have extremely fertile soil. They have more organic matter deeper into the soil due to the roots of the grasses growing and dieing back all the time. so my question is:

Do you believe that grass can be used as a tool in order to heal the Earth?
how and/or why?

Thanks.
 
pollinator
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Location: Montana
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For a comparison between direct sowing and transplanting you really need an on site experiment and to observe the results. Try both approaches and see which works better in your situation. Personally I usually prefer to sow seed rather than deal with transplants as I've had better success with this approach. I think that people should do whichever they prefer and get better results with. Sometimes the benefit of transplants isn't so much in the technique but rather the increased observation, as flats inside often get more attention for germination requirements. This can provide valuable learning about what conditions are required so that they can be created naturally outdoors for sowing seed in future experiments.

I really like water lilies in my climate because they decrease evaporation during the driest times of year, help stabilize the conditions in aquatic systems, and have such beautiful blooms. Cattails are another great plant as they provide a tremendous number of resources, from food to down insulation to arrows and material, while also regenerating the water. Currently I am really fond of Nero Aronia because of the high antioxidant content (I believe the highest known?) and for being so vibrant in such harsh conditions. I'd say that I even like the taste! The fig is such a great specie, I am quite fond of growing them in Montana, and peaches are one of my favorite fruits. Berries of all kinds because because they are delicious (and they make pie!). Black Locust is another great plant, a great pioneer tree with rock hard rot resistant lumber. Some plants that I would like to learn more about and start cultivating; Kaniwa - Quinoa family but heartier and higher limiting amino-acid content, Chocho - an Andean lupin with an oil content higher than soy, and Inca berries - another delicious berry! Ice Cream beans are a most amazing gift of a tree, a nitrogen fixing pioneer plant whose seeds are coated with an ice cream like coating, as is Cacao, the seeds are surrounded with a sweet and sour coating. My favorite fruit to eat is currently Caimito. I could keep going for days but there are lots of other questions to get to still. Notice how the reason quickly goes from function to taste!

I believe that most of the resources that we have available can be used to heal the earth if people think ahead, think about the future, and listen to the natural world. Even oil wells can be used to heal the earth when you think about it on a grand scale.

Grass is certainly a good tool to use, my understanding is that when management properly grasslands can sequester the most carbon into the ground. When grasses are grazed at flowering height there is tremendous root die back that is cycled in the soil. This puts a lot of organic matter back into the soil. The system grows soil.

I will say that I don't believe grasses are the best way to feed humans though. Obviously grasses have a role in grazing systems but after seeing Sepp's systems where animals are fed with agroforestry systems this seems like the happiest healthiest animal to me. It seems like the final stage of succession for a Holzer permaculture farm.
 
Daniel Kern
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In my experience I have had about equal success with direct sowing and transplanting. Although I prefer direct sowing.

Nero Aronia does seem to be a highly potent plant medicine, and one that I am new to. It sounds like a plant that I need to grow. I also love figs. one of my favorite. I have made some cattail jalapeno cheese bread one time. It was delicious and extremely filling/ dense. I am growing some ground cherries right now. Not sure if they are Inca berries or not but I can't wait to taste the fruit for the 1st time! soon. Ice cream bean sounds amazing. I wish I could try some.

Of Those plants that you mentioned, which ones are growing in your projects in Montana?

taste is important. and so is pie.
 
Zach Weiss
pollinator
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Location: Montana
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I believe ground cherries are derived from Inca berries but they are a bit sweet and not quite as sour, I really like the sour taste of the Inca berries.

Of the plants I mentioned we are growing lilies, cattails, Aronia berries, figs, honey berries, nanking cherries, raspberries, service berries, sea berries, buffalo berries, currants, jostaberries, gooseberries, elderberries, black locust and much more. Kaniwa and Chocho are two that I will start growing as soon as I can get my hands on some seeds.

The Ice cream bean, Cacao, and Caimito are all things that I got to experience while on a consultation in Ecuador. It would be great to be able to grow them here but way too much work in such a cold climate.
 
Daniel Kern
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Do you think it could be possible to create a large scale crater garden in order to create a micro climate which could be home to something like the Ice cream bean, Cacao, and Caimito? or is that just too much of a stretch. Maybe in a greenhouse?
 
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