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

I have to agree with fearless leader here, 90% to 95% loss of mass volume seems spot on.
I compost mostly manures mixed with lots of straw, twigs and leaves.
A 4 foot cube will reduce in 90 days to a 4x4x2 foot area, the soil under this mass will be totally awesome soil, very soft, full of worms and with a microbiome that is hard to measure because it is so stacked with bacteria, fungi and all the other good critters that it is very hard to count them.
Because of this I usually build heaps where I want to plant once the compost is ready, most of my compost goes around the orchard trees, except for the small amount (2 inches) that I leave for mulch on the new garden plot.
Over the years I've tried lots of methods and finally settled on this one for best fit all around.

If you use a scale and weigh your starting heap and your finished heap, the mass retains about 70% by weight dry, but volume shrinks tremendously no matter if you turn it or not.

I did a side by side way back in 1983 with two identical heaps that were 4' cubes, one turned and the other left alone.
Starting weights were 115.76 lbs. and 115.78 lbs. end weights were both 80 lbs.
Both heaps were layered with each layer being compressed with a 40 lb. flat tamper, then allowed to spring back for 1 hour before the next layer went on, this was repeated until the cubes were level full.
Layers were 14 inches thick before compressing with the tamper.
The components were; dried cow chips, fresh from a square bale straw, fresh cut grass clippings.
Each layer was misted via watering head and hose after compression.
The trial went on for 90 days with the turned subject cube being turned once every two weeks throughout the trial period.
At the end of the 90 days neither cube was sieved.
cubes were 1 inch thick pine lumber and they were weighed at start and finish with a certified truck scale.

I was actually surprised at the end results, I had anticipated the unturned cube to be less completely decomposed and to weigh more than the turned cube, I was wrong in that anticipation.

Error, I said mass when it should have been volume (the strike through)
1 hour ago
silica gel and silica packets are not pure Silica (mineral) these are products used to adsorb water molecules in packaging.

The easiest to find source of silica is beach sand (find the crystal clear particles and you are looking at pure silica).

Steiner wanted us to grind quartz (second hardest mineral on planet earth) into fine particles, this is rather difficult at best and the equipment is expensive to do enough of it.

While I appreciate those who want to follow Steiner to the letter, my own experiments with the preparations has shown that my methods work and produce a similar enough material that all the difficult to find items can be eliminated unless you just have to follow his methods exactly.
I don't operate within those constraints simply because the science shows it isn't necessary to go by what a trademarked company says. (biodynamic is nothing more than a company that registered the name and only they can use it, so if you must limit yourself, be my guest).


I would locate some good cow manure from a cattle station or perhaps even a sheep station, use mason jars and give the preps a go. You might like the end results.

Redhawk
2 hours ago
hau Cesca,
Why rice? well the IMO techniques come from Korea and Korea has a lot of rice being grown every year.
Rice is also very starchy and when you cook it those starches gelatinize and then the bacteria can turn those starch molecules into sugars.

Rice eating organisms happen to be good for soil since they are mostly the right bacteria, fungi and molds which we want in our soil.

Mycorrhizae are not as species specific as many questionable sources will tell you they are.
Most of the really good (made by mushroom people) mycorrhizae products will have a broad spectrum of species of both exo and endo mycorrhizae so that you will most certainly have several species that will work with your plants and trees.

Now, yes you can use oats, wheat, barley, even corn that has been cooked as gathering mediums for IMO purposes and they will work just fine.

Redhawk
2 hours ago

Ralph Kettell wrote:I am curious if anyone here on permies has done any comparisons on the available varieties of comfrey.  I have acquired both the Bocking 4 and 14 strains and they are getting started nicely.  I am still trying to figure out how best to keep them segregated. Also  how to allow the deer to eat some of the growth on the Bocking 4 stain which supposedly can be used for fodder while not allowing them to kill it.  I realize that once it is established even a large herd of deer probably couldn't kill it, but I am talking about until it is well established.  I have some ideas about cages to allow it to grow through but protect it closest to the ground.  I just haven't come up with what I yet consider a really creative and reliable means of doing this.

Thanks



Instead of just planting comfrey you might want to consider a mixed planting of alfalfa, field peas, rape, buckwheat, hairy vetch, sweet clover, crimson clover (no red clover for deer) and maybe even add in some annual rye.
This sort of cover planting will withstand feeding pressure faster and over a longer period of time, plus you will have lots of roots working their magic on the soil.

Redhawk
4 hours ago
hau Josh, how acidic is this land?

When you say raised beds how high above the natural soil level? This will make a difference to the growing garden plants.
Daikon will not penetrate very deep into solid clay soils, a better choice for the first year cover crop might be Lucerne (alfalfa), clovers (red, crimson, white, yellow(sweet)), buckwheat, hairy vetch, all these will end up giving you great stuff to broad fork in once they have grown up or you can chop and drop prior to broad forking. skip the fertilizer unless it is a composted manure, instead try for spent coffee grounds, plenty of N and you also will get a fungal boost. If you plan to use wood, try to keep it to wood that is already in the process of rotting, it will work faster.

Trenching in is a great idea, you can even add kitchen scraps then cover back up with the soil, also don't rule out mushroom slurries as a way to get more fungal life into the soil to help break it up.

Redhawk
4 hours ago
hau Jennifer, I think that adding a small amount of soil would be a grand idea, go slow with it though, I'm not sure how the larvae will do, they are normally found in detritus on forest floors.
To breed these you will first need to let them pupate and become adults, this means you would take a few and place them in a separate bin since in groups they tend to remain in the larval stage.
The beetles will most likely need a cover to contain them for breeding and hatching the eggs.

polyethylene is, as you have discovered better handled by regular meal worms.

Redhawk
9 hours ago
hau Bill, I think Dave has given simply awesome suggestions for remediation of "railroad land".

Odds are that the oil slicks are diesel fuel from leaking fuel tanks on locomotives (I've witnessed it literally pouring out of some both in the yards and because of derailments).
First thing to do would be to get the fungi growing, (there are specific "oil eating" bacteria that are used for major spills, I'll see if I can get you some info on which and how much they would cost if you like).

Redhawk
1 day ago
Dan, If you should ever be able to gather some seed, I'd really love a few to try and grow on Buzzard's Roost.
4 days ago
your very welcome Dennis.
4 days ago
I was taught to remove the bud then graft it into the parent tree.
To remove a bud from a scion you want to cut deep enough to take some wood behind the bud (nice sharp enough to cut you when you look at it knife, or use a razor knife).
Once the bud it removed, make a T slit in the bark all the way through the cambium layer then insert the bud and wrap in place with rubber band material, when the rubber band rots off, the bud should have taken nicely.
If it begins to form a branch and the wound looks like it is swelling a lot, you can remove the band and be safe.
4 days ago