Stewart Lundy

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since Aug 14, 2012
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Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Recent posts by Stewart Lundy

Great idea. I agree that chipping it would be advisable. Organic fruitwood chips for smoking? Yes please.

Not directly related to your enterprise, but I once visited a winery in Italy (Salcheto) that produces carbon-neutral bottles of wine and they save all their prunings, not for smoking, but to heat their cellar in winter.
7 years ago

Henry Jabel wrote:Elevated copper levels inside a cell causes oxidative stress and the generation of hydrogen peroxide.

I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing. Viktor Schauberger himself indicates that if you want to simulate "enlivened" water from dead well water, you can enliven water in a copper vessel with vortices OR you can put the water in the full sun OR you can add hydrogen peroxide. He considered H2O2 an important aspect of living water and your comment about copper and hydrogen peroxide reinforces that image.
7 years ago

Henry Jabel wrote: Schauberger was obvious keen on copper for plows, garden tools etc. However copper also kills bacteria they even use it in hospitals for door handles to prevent infections. However does anyone know if it kills all bacteria (and fungi) or perhaps just the undesirable ones?

That's a good question. I do not think copper knows how to discriminate. However, once copper has turned green, I don't know if it has the same effect anymore. Copper is a stimulant in small doses, and a poison in (relatively) high doses. I will see what happens in this pile, but I can already say that it is not killing the pile so far!
7 years ago
In the diagram below is a regular compost pile. The central red area (Zone 1) has a tendency to go anaerobic & cold because of the collapsing weight of the pile and poor access to air. A simple way to handle part of that is to pile wood very airy/light substances at the core. But in order to bring the heat down from the hottest point (the peak), something that wants to move heat downward is helpful. Physically turning a pile can do this by moving the outer zone to the inside and inside to the outside. Or you can take a shortcut with a copper heat pipe, provided you have established good aeration and want to keep the humus-building thermophilic stage at its peak longer.

Some of you might already be familiar with Viktor Schauberger's recommendations for building compost piles around already established fruit trees. Such a tree already serves a number of these functions of moderating temperature (see image attached).

The gentle swaying of the tree is a perpetual aeration of the pile, maintaining an open channel from top to bottom.
7 years ago

William Bronson wrote: Sounds like a heat pipe


Your thought of spiraling around the outside is interesting, but that would bring the overall temperature of the pile down towards ambient temperature if it is exposed to the air. If the entire contraption is buried in the compost, it would maintain even heating without heat loss. On the other hand, if you intend to lower the temperature of the pile, your way would assist in dissipating heat quickly.  

I like this, though its purpose is to remove heat (not what I personally would be after): Water alone in hoses would do this work, though water in copper would do it better (and far more expensively). When I have more results, I will share them. The single pipe will make a considerable difference.
7 years ago
Consistent warmth throughout means that parts won't overheat and other parts that might've cooled off will stay more active. A more homogenous final product without the burden of turning a pile physically.
7 years ago
Even with enough air, a pile rarely heats consistently. The outside will usually have more air (and often too much air) and the inside will almost always have less, but possibly more warmth. How a compost pile heats depends greatly on the care put into assembling it. Even with great care, you'll find a "perfect" zone of compost towards the outside and an unfinished zone within. If aeration is more of a problem, a copper pipe with holes punched in it would utilize the fluid dynamics of air AND the heat distribution quality of copper. Worth comparing.

There is no reason you couldn't use soft copper tubing, but extracting your investment might be tricky, especially if you don't want to damage it. I think a solid pipe is the easiest to remove and replace.

Water changes its behavior once it has been agitated enough. The effect seen when you can jars (cooling water contracts) also happens when you stir water in a vortex -- the water contracts in on itself. A pipe filled with this behaves quite differently. Hope that helps... it's a lot to address here. I recommend looking at Schauberger's work with compost, copper, and water.

People already run water through compost piles using copper, but to heat outdoor showers. The same copper pipe, shut off within the pile, can be used to circulate warmth within the pile itself. I suspect piles using this approach will need fewer "turnings"
7 years ago
I am experimenting with methods of controlling compost temperature passively.

For those of you who are familiar with Schauberger's work already, you'll know what I'm talking about already. It's a simple principle based on how copper heats.

If you apply heat to one part of copper, the entire piece of copper wants to heat evenly. This is why chefs love copper. Steel does not heat evenly: some of the food is undercooked, some of it is burned.

In my case, I soldered an end cap to a copper pipe, filled it with "imploded" (stirred) water, and placed a second cap (loose and not affixed) onto the other end. The loose cap means you can always change it, clean it, etc. This pipe can be inserted into a compost pile. What does it do?

The copper pipe crosses varying zones of heat in the compost pile. The copper pipe is always warmer than the cold zone and cooler than the hot zone. The water inside the copper pipe constantly stirs, accumulates heat, and wants to radiate to the cooler parts of the pile.

This is a cheap and easy way to stimulate a more vigorous self-stirring of a compost pile. I hypothesize that careful placement of one of these (or several) might mean that you would not have to turn a compost pile, but you would have a superior product as if you had turned the pile.

Yes, a twisted vortex shape would probably work better -- and if you can make them, contact me -- but there's little reason for a fancy and expensive contraption inserted into a compost pile. It is compost we're talking about after all!

It's up to you what kind of water goes inside the pipe: do you add biodynamic preparations? Or is water enough? How well does air (which obeys fluid dynamics too) work instead of water? It's too easy not to try.
7 years ago
Worth noting this chart from Robert Kourik's book Understanding Roots, page 80.

Silicic acid is off the charts with Equisetum. A lot of people have the best experience with Equisetum by making a concentrated decoction ("tea") and then letting it ferment before applying it.

Note Stinging Nettle has a very high Silicon PPM.

On the chart, High is the DRIED plant. Low is the LIVE plant.
7 years ago
Consider also SeaCrop which is a special concentrate made from sea mineral solids, processed in a special way.

Sea-90 is a great way to make up for mineral deficiencies. We give it to our livestock in their water and we use it as a foliar feed. It can also be broadcasted.

I use a perpetual Vortex Brewer, and I add the Sea-90 to that along with some biodynamic preparations (lately, Barrel Compound) and let it "brew."
7 years ago