Joshua Parke

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since May 06, 2014
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert solar
Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Recent posts by Joshua Parke

Another thing you could implement is a flame weeder.  Or just use a propane torch, the long ones you connect to the 7 gallon tanks.
1 week ago
I purchased David Pagan Butler's dvd a few or so years ago, and I haven't reviewed the info for almost a year.  But here's what I recall on the biofilter sizing.  It is a 1:1 ratio, based on the surface area and not the total cubic volume.

The biofliter/regeneration zone isn't required to be attached to the pool itself.  You can pump the water to somewhere else.  Some of the pictures/videos of the natural pools I've seen have done this, especially the larger public pools.  They will have a biofilter detached from the swimming area, and pump the water between the two.

David Pagan Butler has a youtube account with some videos and a little bit of detail on the pool.  I also seem to recall that you can get some free info on the subject from his website...??

If you want clean water then no fish.  Fish will dirty the water too much with their urine/manure and the pool will fill with algae and become a pond.  Mosquito's are controlled by the insects that live in/around the pool, I think there is short video mentioning this on David Pagan Butler's youtube account.
2 weeks ago
It kinda sounds like your biggest issue is that your ground isn't quite soil yet and it's still sand without much life in it.  Laying down mulch will help build the soil and bring it to life, but if you want to speed things along you can till compost into the sand.  Aged manure/compost tilled into your sand would go a long ways to getting the organic matter mixed with the sand so that it will begin to hold microorganisms.  I wouldn't till in the mulch/hay though. 

You could also use compost tea, it will help a lot and you can start implementing this right away.  I don't have sandy soil, but I have dry dead desert soil, and compost tea is incredible at getting life into the soil and turning the area into an oasis of green.

You mentioned that your garden is on a slight slope.  It may be worth it to dig in some small swales into your garden, it can make a big difference.  I did this two years ago when I moved here.  I dug tiny swales in my garden area, put aged horse manure and mulch in the swale depression, and that's where I planted...in the depression instead of on the mound.  These were tiny micro swales maybe only 6-8 inches deep at most....but it made a big difference, I also used compost tea, and a cover crop mix.

Planting tall hardy plants around the perimeter of your garden could help if you use them as a wind block.  You could use the hardy sunflower in your area if it's big enough.  This will help reduce the hot dry desiccating wind from causing your plants to wilt up so quickly.

Plant your garden densely.  Many gardens you see have neat rows with lots of exposed ground between the mature plants/rows.  All of that exposed ground in the desert heats up and evaporates moisture.  If your plants are densely planted then it will keep the ground shaded and more moisture in the ground.  And your plants will grow better, be happier.

All of the bugs will be attracted to the oasis of lush green in the desert.  Lots of smelly plants and dynamic accumulators will help with this.  The plants that attract beneficial insects to your garden will help with the pests.  You can also purchase predatory insects to help get the population established.  Here's a link with a good list of plants for this. -- Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects
I wanted to mention that the general rule of thumb for maximum slope angle to have a swale is 18 degrees.  I don't recall why you don't want them on steeper land, or maybe I never really knew.  But anything steeper than 18 degrees should be a terrace, and I imagine that there's a maximum slope angle you would want to not use terraces as well.  I did a quick search for the 18 degrees slope and swales trying to figure if it was degrees or percent and I came across this thread which may help you out a bit.  Build a Swale on Steep Hillside
1 month ago
Having spent over a decade researching human health I've come to learn that most health conditions can be reversed and healed if one is dedicated enough to the process.  To get to the point where the body begins to heal itself it needs to be clean internally, and the quickest way to achieve this is with a high fruit all raw produce diet, with plenty of juice fasting/feasting and dry fasting interspersed.  When the body is fueled with fruit and has days of fasting, it will begin to remove waste debris that's been accumulating for years.  It's truly a whole body approach, but the place to start to focus with herbs would be the kidneys and lymphatic system.  Get the kidneys to start removing waste and then you can begin to target the lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system is what removes all the cellular waste, and it all filters to the kidneys to be expelled.  So it's important to ensure the kidneys are filtering out the waste before stirring everything else up.

Here's a man, Dr. Morse, that has over 40 years of experience helping people learn how to cleanse their body so they can heal.  I picked a video and jumped it forward to the bit on scoliosis, if you search his channel you'll find other videos on the topic.  I've listened to quite a few of his videos throughout the years and I've heard a lot of stories of people he's worked with whose skeletal structures aligned as they should.

I can't seem to embed a video to start at a specific time, so here's a link that will go directly to the start of the topic.

Q&A - 380 - Scoliosis.......


Jump forward to 9:05 on the embedded video below to get to the topic.

1 month ago
I'm in no way someone with enough knowledge on this topic to know what is possible with your septic field.  If it's a standard septic field then the general consensus that I've heard throughout the years is to not plant anything on it, especially trees/bushes, because the roots will penetrate the leach pipes and plug them up.

There are ways to create a septic system that grows trees and bushes though, and I thought it may possibly be of interest to you or give you some ideas.  Look up Watson Wick, it's fairly simple, and I seem to recall that there is one that was installed over 30 years ago which is still functioning today.

Don't know if that'll be of any help, but that's about all I know on the subject.
2 months ago
I had this typed out but it looks like I deleted it for some reason.  If splitting your airline to each lift pipe doesn't make a difference then your air pump could be a bit small for that volume of water and the height it needs to be lifted.  I have a 15 gallon cone bottom tank with a single lift pipe, and I use an AP 100 air pump that puts out, 2375 gallons of air per hour, or 9150 cubic inches of air per minute, or 150 liters per minute, or 2.5 liters per second, and the lift pipe is as short as I could make it while still lifting it to the top of the brewer.  I posted a few pictures with a couple details about my setup in this topic New to Composting Tea  If you scroll through the topic you'll see that the OP Dennis, had to get a bigger pump for his 55 gallon vortex brewer to work.  I seem to recall that some people were using multiple airpumps, one for each lift pipe, for their larger brewers.

The size of your airlift pipe makes a difference too.  I built mine with 2" pipe because I dump everything into the brewer instead of putting it into a filter bag, so I wanted to ensure that all the particles could flow through the pipe and not create a plugged pipe.  I've put fungus covered woodchips in it, the smaller chips, not the ones that are 2-4" in length.  Also speaking of plugged up lift pipes, that is potentially an issue as well which is easy to verify one way or another, by running water only first to see if the vortex forms.  With a smaller pump to a larger volume brewer, it may take a few minutes or more before you notice a vortex forming  And if it is forming a vortex with water only, then dump in your ingredients slowly instead of all at once so as not to create a plugged up pipe.

I should get some video of mine, I had some at one point I just can't find it, the setup I'm using creates a vortex so strong that it reaches the bottom of the tank....or at least very close to the bottom from what I recall.  I'm about to run it again here in a couple weeks, maybe I'll get some video.

A few things to ponder and play around with to help you create a nice vortex.  The diameter of the lift pipe as well as the height of it plays a role in how well it works.  The volume of your brewer is important to consider.  And the size of your air pump is also an important factor.  If you play around with those things you'll find a nice medium ground where you get a good vortex.
2 months ago
My vortex brewer only has a single lift pipe, so I'm unsure that I'll be of any help.  Though I seem to recall something that could possibly remedy the situation.?

The air will take the path of least resistance.  If I were to guess I would imagine that most all of your tea is flowing through the lift pipe on the left side, "when looking at the picture of the bottom of the brewer".  All the vortex brewers I've seen with multiple lift pipes will have an airline attached to each individual lift pipe at the same height for each one.  I would confidently imagine that splitting your airline in two and injecting the air at the bottom of the lift pipes, "on the vertical section", would get both lift pipes to function equally.
2 months ago
Yeah I clean it after every batch.  It's been a while since I read about this topic, but from what I read years ago is that it's important to clean it after every batch.  Something about the sediment that sticks to the walls of the brewer will go bad over time if it's not cleaned and it will mess up the tea.  I was reading info from sources on the internet where they were using microscopes to document what they were doing, so I just trusted their advice and I make sure to scrub it down real well after every batch.

I also remember reading of some that would run a continuous brew, and they wouldn't be cleaning it between each run.  They simply removed what they were using that day, added more compost/ingredients and water and that's how it continued.  But, I also seem to recall that it was something that was attractive to people selling compost tea, so maybe they were doing this for convenience and not for the best results?  I'm not real sure, and I can't recall if there was evidence to show that there was no harm done to the finished tea.

Here's one of the sites that I remember which has quite a lot of info and research done with a miscroscope.  MicrobeOrganics
3 months ago
I don't know how much tea you would need to cover your veg plot.  I've yet to hear of someone saying that they have over applied compost tea when using good finished compost.  Though I have heard of people saying that after so long, their soils are now populated with a diversity of microbes so they find that applying tea at that point doesn't seem to make any impact....but at that point their soils are incredibly diverse and alive and keeping a layer of mulch on the surface of the soil is enough to keep the soil fed and growing.  I have a 15 gallon cone tank with an ap-100 air pump.  It creates a nice strong vortex.  I don't have video of it in action, but I posted some pics of the brewer a few months ago in this thread... New to Composting Tea

EM - I haven't used this one as much in the garden....only because I moved just as I learned of it, and I have to haul water to my place at the moment.  I don't know if you can over apply EM either?  I would guess not likely?  But I really don't know?  EM is super easy to make with rice and milk.  I don't think having a heated jug for making the EM is necessary, unless it gets super cold where you are going to be letting the EM finish.  Homemade Lactobacills Serum
3 months ago