Bryant RedHawk

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since May 15, 2014
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Part Nakota, part Irish. The Nakota took over long ago but still lives in two worlds, the European world and the first people's world. He lives on a small (15 + acres) piece of mother earth deep in the woods. Was trained in the cooper's arts as a child, since the family owned a cooperage. He has been a carpenter, and timber wright but love all aspects of farming.He holds a BS in Chemistry and Biology and a MS in Horticulture. Worked for the USDA for 16 years. Currently working on his PHD in Microbiology, the thesis is plant communication through the micro-biosphere network. Redhawk and his wife Wolf are setting up to be fully self sustaining, growing all their own foods and collecting rain water. "Soon we will be self sustaining and closer to being off the grid" he said when asked about future plans. They continue their own research both in Agriculture and soils with the hope to make the world more like it used to be, before mankind began screwing up the Earth Mother. This is the only way humankind will survive, we must fix what we have broken.
Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Recent posts by Bryant RedHawk

Wheat hay works pretty well and if you don't plan on turning it under in the spring you can presoak the hay to sprout any wheat seeds left and then let it all dry out so the sprouts die before you spread it over your garden space.

I buy timothy hay for our donkey and have used it for chicken bedding then used that to cover a garden bed too,  both work pretty well.

Wheat hay works best when mixed with some type of manure that has already been composted in city type environments.
As S Bengi listed, you can also make additions through the hay covering and those will help deterioration of the hay as they leach through to the soil below.

44 minutes ago
Redbud is a coppice species and some nurseries actually do braided trunk  Redbud specimen trees by doing a coppice at the 5th year then braiding three "leaders" after pruning the others off.

As long as you keep the soil moist, you should have several new trunks come out in spring.
Coppice trees have hidden buds in the trunk bark that are there for catastrophic events or fire that kill the above ground part or parts of the tree.
If you desire to keep pests out just coat the stump with Elmer's glue (the white variety) and let it dry, it is far less damaging than any of the "pruning sealers" that are petroleum based.

4 hours ago
I am in agreement with Roberto's thoughts on this issue your having to deal with Bernie and there are some things you can add to Roberto's ideas.

Fungi are capable of working with char socks (you could even add a mushroom slurry to the socks as you fill them).
Fungi will sequester just about all heavy metals and this would work in unison with all other methods you incorporate to limit/ remediate the possible damage as well as the damage already done.
One of the best documented species for this type of remediation is Oyster mushroom mycelium but all the ground living fungi also do this sort of remediation too, so the more species you can incorporate the better.

Keep us up to date and If I find some other things for you to try out I'll post them here with the how to.

For the socks I would try to find something fairly tightly woven but still permeable (cotton, nylon are probably the two fabrics that are easiest to find and procure, the environmental crew should have some other suggestions and may be able to provide those to you).

4 hours ago
Good ideas on how to get char to the bio char stage.
Here's how I make mine, and what I'm currently doing with it.

Create the char and run it through my hammer mill (wood chipper), I have a bag that fits the discharge tube which collects the broken up char nicely, I end up with mostly small pieces (less than 1/4 inch).
I make aerated compost tea most of the summer months which is used in over most of our land that we grow our foods and pastures, so I have good microorganisms available  most of the time.
I empty my bags of processed char into a food grade barrel I labeled for this purpose to prevent cross contamination issues then I spray the barrel with compost tea and drop the lid in place.
Every time I am going to spray compost tea, I do a test of the filled sprayer into this barrel, I never "soak" the char, just let what I spray trickle as gravity decides.
When I'm ready to use the char, usually about a month has passed at this point, I make a few sample slides and check these under the microscope for organism counts.
I tend to find well populated pieces as well as non populated pieces but the average is heavy towards the populated (biochar) pieces.
I have one area that is being used as a terra preta test site and this gets additions of biochar twice a year which are spread then shallow tilled in.
I am one full year into this test site and with two applications the terra preta currently extends 6 inches into the soil, no bleed effect has started as of yesterday.

I have also created a char compost heap for the purpose of documenting the progression of microorganism population.
This heap has been inoculated with four doses of mushroom slurry and the heap is composed of layers of straw from the chicken house, donkey and hog manure and spent coffee grounds.
Between a set of these layers, which are each 3 inches thick, I placed a 3 inch layer of fresh char that had been crushed through the hammer mill.
This heap has been added to every month from March to September this year and it shows greater microorganism population than the "barrel" method being tested.
We are getting ready to re-do many of our garden beds this winter and come spring I will use this char compost heap to top dress the beds for beets, beans, onions, garlic, carrots and the squash beds. (That is going to use up the quantity I have currently)


5 hours ago
First and foremost pawpaw is an understory tree, do not try to plant one less than four years old in even almost full sun, they will get sunburned and die.

Look for: deep shade with evenly moist soil that stays that way even in draught times (not at the surface but within a foot of the surface).
This is where you want to plant either seeds or young trees, and no where else.

In Nature pawpaw trees are found along streams, not next to them but along them, usually around 20 to 50 feet from the stream bank.
There will be an over story that provided deep shade until the tree is old enough to reach some dappled sunlight, as the tree gets taller it will seek out more and more sun.
This is why most nature grown pawpaw trees are tall with only crown branches.

23 hours ago
Coffee water will work great for adding nitrogen and even some fungi (will help both the wood break down and the bacteria thrive and move about), and it won't clog up air channels which will help the pile heat up.
As the chips begin to heat and break down, you might find you need to add air from the bottom up (pipe and air hose will do that pretty easily).

1 day ago
Check with your state department of agriculture about your land rights, you should be able to reopen a creek that has been closed/silted in without needing any permit, but is always good to check before you start.
Most states will allow land restoration, and that is the approach you want to take when asking about whether or not you can bring back the creek (you should be able to do that).
Do not be afraid to ask government for answers, they really aren't as bad as most think, especially when you start bringing up land restoration, in fact most states will be happy to give you some ideas on best ways to do that.
If you mention that you have water issues that were not there previously, they might even have a hydrologist give you some helpful ideas on how to best handle the problem.

The correct way to take samples is to first decide what you want growing where, then lay out a grid pattern of each of these areas, from there you take samples from each square and  mix together for a single, overall sample or you can offer individual samples.
Be sure you make a sheet and mark each sample so you can relate any one sample to the exact area it represents, letters and numbers usually work great for this.
Sample size is usually a quart jar, this gives them enough for multiple tests just incase the first one is compromised by contamination at the lab.

1 day ago
Effective microorganisms (EM) can be found just about anywhere there is bioactive soil (as opposed to dirt).
Many people promote the use of molasses (sugar) to feed these organisms and thus grow more of them.
Sugars are not the best food for any Microorganisms we want to grow in our soil, they can work but they also feed the organisms we don't want in our soil.
Better foods for growing our preferred microorganisms are complex (just like foods we eat, sugars have the same effect on humans as they have on any other organism).
So, pieces of fruit, vegetables, the leaves, stems and roots of plants, all are going to be far better foods for growing any of our preferred organisms over sugars such as molasses.

You can jump start a microorganism world simply by pouring milk on soil that you have buried corn in. Look at how Native Americans traditionally prepare soil for growing (corn uses fish under the seed with a barrier of soil between, because corn is a heavy feeder).

One of the best ways to grow EM is to use softened (partially cooked) rice that spoiling milk is poured over in a container and that then gets an addition of healthy forest soil that is nearby your garden space.
This method grows all the right organisms for the space you are going to be planting, and it is easy to do.


Tereza Okava wrote:I feel like I'm asking a stupid question here, so I apologize in advance.
I'm reading that for bokashi, the solids that are in the barrel have to be buried/composted for at least two weeks before that area can be planted, if not the plants can be damaged.
If I'm doing an anaerobic composting bucket (like the video of David the Good linked up there), do the dregs on the bottom also damage plants if I use them for mulch, for example? Similarly, if I don't let it ferment long enough, will the liquid I drain out hurt my plants? (sorry for lack of better terminology, I am not clear on whether the damage is because this stuff is too "hot" or what).

I was going to move to bokashi/swamp bucket for my kitchen scraps because during the summer I quite simply don't have a bed I can use as a compost pile or to bury waste. If I have to bury the solids anyway, I'm not entirely sure how useful this system is going to be. I'm not sure if just blending all my non-rabbit-food kitchen scraps and mulching my plants with it would be better, worse, or the same as mulching with this bottom sludge.

hau (hello) Tereza, there are no questions that could be considered as dumb, stupid or silly (unless you already know the answer, in which case it would be rhetorical).
The reason bokashi books mention the buried in the bed for at least two weeks is so the ferment can become aerated by the surrounding soil, you can simply use two buckets and pour the liquid back and forth three or four times to get air into the liquid and then use it as a surface liquid.
If you are going to use the solids, just bury and wait the two weeks for the air to get into those solids.
Dregs are solids, so treat them accordingly and all will be fine.

Many of the Nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil are anaerobic. The processes that bacteria use to change free N2 (nitrogen) into ammonia are anaerobic processes, this is where the idea for anaerobic fermentation (Bokashi, etc.) comes from and it does work quite well when done properly.
It is even more effective if combined with other nutrient amendment methods, creating a massive amount of beneficial microorganisms in the amended soil.

1 day ago

William Bronson wrote: Why no broccoli?
I find it hard to grow, too prone to pests.

It now gives her gas and with the ostomy that can be a very real problem.

Bugs are always an issue with Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables for us, but DE does help if we get it started early enough.
1 day ago