• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Bill Erickson
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Bryant RedHawk
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Dan Boone
  • Daron Williams

Are All Sunflowers Hyperaccumulators or Which? Thanks  RSS feed

 
Posts: 64
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, No biggy. I just find plastic fragments in our garden, periodically. Here sunflowers are used in phytoremediation but dunno which. Wouldn't surprise me if it were the black oil type, but lol, i dont even know its proper name. I Just wanna-be a proper permie, LMAO
 
gardener
Posts: 551
Location: SW Missouri
98
chicken food preservation goat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They are just called "Black Oil Sunflowers" AFAIK...  Helianthus annuus
As far as soil remediation, all the stuff I'm seeing all just says "Helianthus annuus" and doesn't specify the exact cultivar, so my guess is all of them work about the same.
And thanks! You made me look some stuff up, changed where I'm planning to put my sunflowers! There's an old trash/burn space on my property that will be sunflowered up now!! The birds in my area thank you!

 
Nick Dimitri
Posts: 64
3
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You're very welcome! I learnt bout it from this book: http://earthrepair.ca/resources/bioremediation-types/phytoremediation/ but didn't have a copy on hand to check which variety. What i do recall is phytoremediation is best combined with myco and microbes too. Funny, I have what used to be an old burn pile of previous owners in the corner of my garden. That's where i concentrated my initial plantings, but plan more to give sweeps of shade to other food plants and trellises for climbers.

Yeah, so there may be something inherent to sunflowers that gives at least some bioremedial strength to all varieties, as this Helen Keller quote suggests on this page: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/sunflowers-to-the-rescue-15614

Spring FWD so we may Summ Up, OgreNick
 
pollinator
Posts: 321
Location: SoCal USA
32
bike cat dog tiny house trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If a county extension office can perform an affordable test, it would be interesting to first test your soil for harmful contaminants like heavy metals, then extensively use accumulators in that area and compost all those plants in their own pile that can't leach into the ground, and then take the finished compost and have it tested as well.

With some plants having really deep roots, I would wonder if leached contaminants could be pulled up from subsoils and get concentrated in our garden beds and we wouldn't realize it.
 
gardener
Posts: 1620
Location: USDA Zone 8a
259
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would agree with Mark that a soil test would be advisable.

My property has a place that was a burn pile from building materials.  Nothing has grown there for 5 years.

I would try planting the sunflowers just to see if they would come up if it wasn't for the deer.
 
Nick Dimitri
Posts: 64
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If my world were ideal I would right away do that, agreeing that's the way to go. But here in rural Canada those tests are expensive, about 500$ each last I looked a few years ago. So I'm just going on that sunflowers can turn that trick, so I'll continue to plant them with trust and hope. We've already been cultivating (building this soil) for 3 yrs. It's not that I believe there's a real or serious problem there. I just know that was the problem spot so focusing my initial sunflower planting there this year. Not that I dont like the scientific method. I've long planned to do test plots here and there and will commence full recording of relevant goings on here, as that's what you'd do in either science or business and I'd like to get both going here. Thanks for reminding me so gently. OgreNick
 
Posts: 52
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aren't some sunflowers allelopathic?
 
Nick Dimitri
Posts: 64
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh geez, parade rainy, are we? Good point to check. Wish I knew which I had sown, cuz I'm sure itsa mix. ....going to ogle...this site: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/sunflowers-harm-garden-61282.html ...suggests rather it can be worked with, keeping down weeds, tho beans and potatoes are partic susceptible to its allelopathy, while lettuces, chives and cukes (from a companion guide) do well in companionship. That's good 'nuf news to run on, I believe. back to the garden for an evening planting. OgreNick
 
Posts: 45
Location: Central Indiana
2
books homestead kids
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So maybe i'm missing something or not seeing it correctly.  If sunflowers pull unwanted chemicals or heavy metals out of the soil then they go into the plant.  Now some of these chemicals might get into the seeds and then eaten/carried off by birds or other animals.  However if you compost the stalks after the fact aren't you just moving the toxins (for lack of a better word) from one place to another?  Or is there some kind of breakdown/neutralization that goes on behind the scenes i'm missing.
 
pollinator
Posts: 913
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
35
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great that your'e looking into this topic and looking at plants for remediation.

I've been around the block with this one for a while, so I want to chime in.

I'm gonna do a little raining on the parade here, and then suggest some alternatives.  I don't endorse raining on parades, but I want your parade to go well and I feel it's necessary in this case to say what I have heard/read.

I've heard from a talk by remediation expert (second-hand, since i missed the talk myself but my housemate was there) that the sunflower study was one study and it was incorrectly assessed (water may have washed the heavy metals out of the soil).  ANd then it got quoted by people over and over until it became legend, and then "fact."  So--I haven't tracked down primary sources on this myself, but I would suggest that.

Then, I've heard other things suggested as accumulators:
--barley
--brassicas (kale, brocolli, etc.)
--hazelnuts

More parade rain: just because something accumulates something doesn't mean it takes a significant enough amount out of the soil to make that soil safe.  ARGGGG!  This pissed me off so much when I realized it.  SOmetimes though the problem is the solution the problem just isn't ENOUGH of a problem to actually solve the other problem!  (ANd you might think, well, as long as the biggest accumulator is only getting .1% of this heavy metal out of the soil, that means that's the most that any plant will get out of it, so once that .1% is gone now the soil is fine...the math doesn't add up.  Because there maybe 400 times that much crap in the soil, and the plants are only taking up a little percentage of that each time.

On the plus side, you don't really need to do soil tests unless you're going to eat the soil, eat root veggies you grew in it without washing the dirt off REALLY thoroughly or peeling.


I've also heard that trees don't mind the lead, and the woody stems prevent transfer of lead from roots to fruit.

The other approach to this is binding hte lead in a bio-unavailble or "inert" form, with phosphorus, which your friendly neighborhood bones provide.  Not your bones, your chicken bones, fish bones, etc.  (If you're a vegetarian for animals' wellfare, you can still dumpster dive some trash with bones and put these to better use than simply filling a landfill, and the animal will not have died in vain quite as much, if that's consolation...).

What you do with the bones is a) burn off all the meat that might be on it so you don't have rotting meat problems--e coli, smell, or raccoon friends visiting and overstaying their welcome, flies, etc.  This means put them in a tin, poke holes in it, and bake that for a while on a fire.  Outdoors.  It will probably stink pretty bad.  I haven't had the nerve to try it in the city here, but just remembered I could bring a tin with me to my rural spiritual community, so I"m intending to do that with my accumulated ones.  (Tip--keep[ them in the freezer).

I've heard others say they just add biomass to the soil--compost from kitchen scraps--for long enough to bury the lead and then the roots don't bother reaching down that far.

Or that you can just make the soil a bit more alkaline, that plants only uptake lead/heavy metals when there's too much acidity.

Problem is there are other toxins besides lead--not just arsenic (from the lead-arsenate spray our lovely ancestors inconsiderately used as a pesticide on the apple trees) but also weird chemicals from building materials, PCB's...

Ultimately, you've got to ask nature, and observe.


----
My own experience:

We started with 454 parts per million in the soil in the garden bed, or maybe 630, I'm going to use the lower number to be conservative.

Did an apples-to-oranges comparison, my apologies to science, but I realized after the first year of growing sunflowers and sunchokes and then pitching them in the landfill that I really didn't care about the soil as much as the plants themselves, and also that there is a $15 plant tissue analysis test I could order!  so I tested the plants--and in the brassicas we had no parts per billion (ie less than one half of one part per billion--so that could be anywhere from 0 to .5 ppb) and in the sunchoke leaves we had...drumroll...less than 2 parts per billion, which makes me think you could compost that and that it would be healthy enough compost.  So I did that, I used our sunchoke stalks as compost.

So, the moral of the story is. . .I think the "put biomass on top of it" folks were right enough.  That's the main thing we'd done.

The soil test was to 12 inches depth.  The plant test was. . .well, the sunchokes never go more than a few  inches down, the brassicas (except maybe daikon) same deal. 

In our case, we don't grow the sunchokes for roots (or at all in that bed anymore, that's another story), but were only interested in cycling the biomass.


 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 913
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
35
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jonathan Ward wrote:So maybe i'm missing something or not seeing it correctly.  If sunflowers pull unwanted chemicals or heavy metals out of the soil then they go into the plant.  Now some of these chemicals might get into the seeds and then eaten/carried off by birds or other animals.  However if you compost the stalks after the fact aren't you just moving the toxins (for lack of a better word) from one place to another?  Or is there some kind of breakdown/neutralization that goes on behind the scenes i'm missing.



No, there isn't, you would want to kiss a few of your squirrels goodbye...or maybe not kiss them, they might give you rabies...and NOT compost the bioremediator plants but landfill them.  That is the only appropriate use of landfills, in my book--putting heavy metals back where they came from, deep under the earth.
 
Nick Dimitri
Posts: 64
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Uh, no. Seems the rest of us are missing som'n, or we're all just now peacing it together. For instance, check out the pictures of contaminated site's surrounds here: https://thepreppingguide.com/sunflowers-cleaning-radiation/   ; ...and do any of us think they harvest all these expanses of sunflowers before they go to seed and pile them into a great compost heap, adding the right mushrooms and microbes to round off and hopefully finish off the work? I really doubt it. But then again, I haven't done the research to find out either way. I dont live anywhere near Fukushima or Chernobyl, but do believe we all best develop a global NIMBY mentality. I certainly live close enough to Hanford, particularly if these bioremediation efforts are only backfire spreading the problem. ...I somehow think it's not tho: that science has enough a handle on science and science isn't fully in money's grimey grip. Thanks for getting us towards the bottom of this. OgreNick
 
Posts: 944
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
31
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:

Jonathan Ward wrote:So maybe i'm missing something or not seeing it correctly.  If sunflowers pull unwanted chemicals or heavy metals out of the soil then they go into the plant.  Now some of these chemicals might get into the seeds and then eaten/carried off by birds or other animals.  However if you compost the stalks after the fact aren't you just moving the toxins (for lack of a better word) from one place to another?  Or is there some kind of breakdown/neutralization that goes on behind the scenes i'm missing.



No, there isn't, you would want to kiss a few of your squirrels goodbye...or maybe not kiss them, they might give you rabies...and NOT compost the bioremediator plants but landfill them.  That is the only appropriate use of landfills, in my book--putting heavy metals back where they came from, deep under the earth.


Sure but sending whole plants in there is a terrible use of space.

Composting in a leachproof system would work well to reduce it.

A rocket powered incinerator with some form of filter to catch particulates would be interesting, though I am not sure if that filter would have too strong a negative impact on draft
 
pollinator
Posts: 1730
Location: Toronto, Ontario
114
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the best approach is a mycoremediation strategy. I think that growing biomass in the contaminated soil that then drops seasonally atop the soil creates a thicker biologically active layer that shelters the fungi as they do the real heavy lifting.

I think in a managed situation, I would do exactly the same things for a contaminated site as for a clean one that I wanted to grow food in: nurture the soil life.

If the soil lacked anything I could give it minerally that would improve growing, I would make such amendments as necessary. I would ensure there was enough organic matter in and atop the soil to feed soil bacteria, and then I would douse it regularly with an oxygenated compost extract and mushroom slurry, probably oyster, but I am not up on the latest favourite remediation 'shrooms.

At that point, I would grow whatever would grow. I like sunflowers for the amount of biomass they can generate in a season, especially the mammoth varieties.

Hemp has been found to sequester heavy metals, and is also seasonally prolific in the biomass department. I have heard that nettles are candidates too, although they are slighter in stature.

In a case of active remediation, I would grow a remediation polyculture atop the site prepared as above and ensure it doesn't dry out. I would harvest everything periodically, down to the mushrooms, and probably either pelletise the lot for a batchbox rocketmass heater designed for them or use them as mulch in an area that produces no edibles, ideally shelter belt woodlots for the coppicing and pollarding of firewood, or the growing of fibre crops for paper production, hemp being a good example.

It's a good thing to keep in mind that if the remediated material is used as mulch across an equivalent or larger area, and then becomes soil used to grow something that isn't eaten but used for another purpose, the remediation has been successful. The overaccumulation of whatever had poisoned the soil has been drawn out, spread out over many times the original amount of first-generation biomass, and rendered inert in a useful item, in the case of structural lumber, perhaps for decades.

I would love a definitive answer to whether or not sunflowers in particular, or specific sunflowers, are hyperaccumulators, but my instinct tells me that a plant that grows over two metres tall with multiple heads larger than dinnerplates is doing more conversion of soil elements, water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into biomass than a similarly designed lesser sunflower.

-CK
 
Posts: 96
Location: Czech Republic; East Bohemia; Latitude 50˚ 12' 34"
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After Chernobyl, the mushrooms that grew under where the cloud passed were radioactive for quite a while. I think you might have good results if you till in a lot of sawdust and then seed it with mushroom spores, oyster mushrooms seem to do well at accumulating heavy metals. When they fruit you collect all the mushrooms and find ways to get rid of that or process it.

There is a guy who proposes to grow the accumulators and then burn the plants after (I suppose in an electric generation plant?) and use the ash as an ore to sell to places that need these minerals. His name is Rufus Chaney. At least with his approach the toxic stuff is not just getting thrown into a landfill.

Here is a wikipedia page I found on the accumulators for the various minerals:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hyperaccumulators

Maybe someone can try them out and see if they help.
 
It would give a normal human mental abilities to rival mine. To think it is just a tiny ad:
What makes you excited about rocket ovens?
https://permies.com/t/90100/excited-rocket-ovens
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!