Bryan Milne

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since Oct 21, 2011
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Recent posts by Bryan Milne

Sorry if this question is super lamo redundant question, but how exactly does one go about getting apples at the permies.com forums?
any comments on this....

http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/avoid-borax-in-your-green-cleaning-products

I've been adding it to laundry (about 2 Tbsp) pretty frequently... could this be the cause of itchy skin?

Anyone know if there are issues with toxic vapors from Borax?

I've seen recommendations for mixing it with boiling hot water and dumping down the drain to remove drain gunk too...

I guess I'm looking for feedback on what amount or frequency of use becomes toxic, or is all use toxic?
5 years ago
Anyone have experience with composting wood/branches from Catalpa trees? I find information on the internet stating it has alleopathic properties.

I'm interested in using some fallen branches for hugelkultur beds.

Even if certain species are considered "alleopathic" are they always going to pose a problem for hugelkultur beds, or only take longer to break down/decay?


6 years ago
Hi Toby,

I am super stoked that you are here on the forums and working with Paul. I have explored your website in much greater depth and found the articles and videos and interviews so helpful. Listening to the podcast by Paul has really kept me charged and inspired to continue advancing my permaculture studies and activism, including looking into your website more often. I'm not really here to win any prizes because I already have a copy of your book, but I would love if you could help me explore a topic that I've been trying to get feedback and information about over the last year or so.

I posted my question/challenge on several different groups on LinkedIn and have received very polarized reactions (maybe you've seen some of these discussions already?). I also started a thread here on the forums to explore this topic amongst the "permies.com" crowd. Here is the link to my question on the permaculture forums. I think I spelled it all out pretty clearly, but if it isn't clear I'm definitely interested in achieving mutual understanding.

http://www.permies.com/t/10818/organic-sustainable-practices/Biochar-Biofuel-already-existing-Invasive

My question is a bit complex and involves multiple areas of controversy:
1. "Invasive" plants
2. Systemic herbicide application for "invasives" (particularly the degree of toxicity to ecology and soils such practice poses?)
3. Biochar

I'm not sure of Paul's take on Biochar, but it seems (from listening in to podcasts) that he is not in favor or at least suspicious of this technology.
From what little I've seen biochar looks to be very promising, but I have to admit that my personal experience and data exposure is very limited.
I imagine that biochar in combination with coppice or highly renewable perennials could be a major solution for building soils and recycling biomass while at the same time creating fuels and heat.

I hope this question isn't too complex, but I'd really love some feedback and to hear what you think about this line of thought.
I'm all ears and have very deep respect for whatever answers or input you may be able to add to this discussion.

Thanks Toby!
7 years ago
Seeking ideas about the best ways to filter, purify and protect ourselves?

Product reviews are welcome.
7 years ago
Here is a question/discussion I posted in several different groups on "LinkedIn" and am curious to see what folks at the Permaculture Forums might have to say.

"Does anyone have any experience or information with making positive use of so-called "Invasive plants" such as Phragmites or Japanese knotweed for Biochar or Biofuels?

More specifically, any precedents for how governments and municipalities might implement such a program as a win-win alternative to the use of and addition of yet even more toxic herbicides to our biosphere?"


For the record:

1.  I don't have any personal experience yet with producing either biochar or biofuel.

2.  I completed a PDC in August 2008 (taught by Larry Santoyo, Toby Hemenway, Dave Jacke and other guest  instructors).

3.  I am a landscape architect with several years experience working for the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation supervising landscape construction and arboriculture in the field.  I have seen the money and labor that is invested into the removal of these opportunistic plants on contracts with goals of natural restoration, not to mention the promotion and use of toxic synthetic herbicides.

4.  My question is in no way implying or advocating for the industrial production or monoculture of the opportunistic species in question.   This became a heated issue of contention with many on the Ecological Landscaping Association and ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architect) Groups.

5.  I am seeking information on how others might have made use of pre-existing stands of these specific "invasive" plants for producing biochar and/or biofuel using appropriately scaled technologies   (decentralized, non-toxic, carbon neutral or negative, easily repaired/operated, possibly made from recycled materials, etc...)

6.  I am seeking alternatives to the use of synthetic herbicides and the ecological toxicity and corporate/government corruption and apathy there use supports.

7.  If biochar or biofuel could be created from the biomass of these plants it could potentially create fuel for machinery/vehicles and biochar (preferably optimized with compost/compost tea) could be added to the soils where restoration and other landscaping efforts are proposed.


7 years ago